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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I may have stumbled upon a likely culprit for slow starter performance. This all started this morning when the bike wouldn't start after a fuel up. Turned over really slowly a couple of times and then nothing, just a click. Long story short, I pulled the fairings and checked all the likely things. Still nothing. So when I got it home (in the back of my truck) I started doing some testing. Battery was charged well and I was getting about 13V. First thing I did was to test the starter relay. There was no voltage going from it to the starter when the start button was pressed even though I could hear the solenoid activating. So I did what any normal person would do, I shorted the 2 terminals with a screwdriver and lo and behold the starter kicked over. Great, I found the culprit. So I called the local Ducati dealer here in Hawaii and was told they don't have any and won't for about 3 months!!! Holy crap. So I went online. A used one can be had for about $25 but you never know if it's about to go as well so I started looking for a new one. Over $100...? seriously...? okay so here is the interesting part.

I had nothing to lose so I decided to take the solenoid apart. I just couldn't figure out how a simple switch could malfunction. It's not a serviceable item but... So everything looked good from the outside. No corrosion or anything. I bent the 3 small tabs out and carefully pulled the insides out. Again, everything looked good. The main body has a small coil that is used as an electro magnet to activate the connection. I could hear it clicking so I knew that worked. I was still perplexed so I removed the two 10mm nuts on the posts in the top cam and pushed them through. They cover a small circular disk that actually makes the contact when the electro magnet pulls the piston out of the way. And that's where the problem was. There was a layer of what looked like plastic almost completely covering one of the terminals, seperating it from the disc and not allowing contact. I chipped it out with a small screwdriver and put it all back together. I did a quick bench test to see if it was still working and was actually making contact between the posts (i.e. that I didn't break it). It worked fine. So I reinstalled it on the bike, put the battery back and punched the start button. I have never had the bike start so quickly and powerfully. Every time!!!

So here's my theory. So for some time, that gunk has been building in there. Today, it finally severed the connection completely. I think a lot of the slow starts are because of this. You will still see 12V if there is still a connection but none of the posts I read were measuring amps at the starter. So I surmise there are a lot of these solenoids out there that have some level of gunk in them which is limiting the throughput of amps, which is causing the starter to turn slow. This could account for most of the symptoms I have read about while researching this issue.

The bad part is you have to take the solenoid apart when it wasn't really designed to be taken apart. The good thing is that it's pretty easy if you know what's in there. Anyone with a slow starter and some knowhow want to try theirs to see if it is indeed the culprit?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yeah, I wasn't thinking I was going to find anything, I was just looking to see how the thing worked so I didn't take any pictures or a video. Wonder if anyone has a spare one laying around they could send me and I could do a video of it. Pretty simple tough.... Anyone have a spare solenoid?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
After video

So this is the bike in it's fixed state. I will do a video of the procedure if I can get ahold of a solenoid. I'm afraid if I keep taking this one apart I'm going to break the wires that go to the small coil inside since it's not really designed to be taken apart and repaired in the first place. Oh, and the battery's voltage is at 12.7V in the video. And, yes, I dorked up the start at the end. Needed to hold it for a fraction of a second longer than I did. It starts reliably on the third chug. I don't think that anything special but it turns over much stronger and faster than it used to.


Kyon
 
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