Starter Cleaning Tips

By Eric Eason
November 2001

Recently my 1984 K100RS has been behaving a little poorly, first I thought it was a flat battery as it wouldn't start and the instrument lights were very dim.

However it bump started easily and didn't give any more problems for a while, then it did it again and after checking the battery I noticed one of the terminal bolts was a little loose, then fine again for another week...

Yesterday it did it again and I knew the battery and the terminals were fine even though it was giving all the symptoms of a flat battery, clicking relay and no or dull instrument lights, bumped it in 3rd again, (this time on the flat, best if you take off the left pannier off first).

At home I thought about cleaning the ignition switch but then decided to pull the starter from my other k, which was without battery, and try that, started fine!

Now this is one of those things i've been avoiding but in the end it only took about an hour and very easy to do, here are a few hints.

  1. Removing the battery is easy if you twist it 45 degrees and then use the edge of the battery to force back the plastic mudguard so you can finish the turn to 90 degrees, now it should pull out straight up.
  2. Leave the battery tray in, after removing the 2 starter mounting screws slide the starter back an inch to get to the plastic cover and the 10 mm nut on the terminal, (getting the starter back is tricky if it's never been out before, you just have to keep on jiggling it while pulling, it comes out eventually).
  3. The 2 long screws holding the starter together are in very tight, I put it in a vice and used a phillips bit on an extension in a 3/8 socket wrench to crack them.
  4. Once they are out it is easy to slide off the end cap and gently free the brushes and holder from the rotor, be careful pulling off the endcap as it is connected to the brushes by a wire and you don't want to pull that off.

For the rest see these photos, keep pressing next:

eric e