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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Problem: The bike won't start; I hear a few clicks, then nothing.

Background: The problem started late last year before I normally put the bike up for the winter. Just would not start once in 3 tries, then rapidly never. I even tried running it down the street and popping the clutch, not fast enough I guess. I did try charging the battery, but no luck. I then found a long thread on this forum by pretzel http://gl1800riders.com/forums/showthread.php?356377-Will-not-start!&highlight=won't+start. I think my problem is starter relay A. I tried several of the steps suggested, in order, and that one (#26) seems to have located my problem. I pulled the fuse in slot 12 and put the red probe from my multi-meter in one of the slots and the black one on the frame, turned the key to on and hit the starter. It didn't move - stayed on 0.00. I heard one maybe two clicks and that was it. The battery was fully charged (I took it off when it registered 12.46 v - in the bike it dropped to the low 11's [I forgot to check it right away]).

My questions: I'm confused and also concerned about which relays to get. The advice in the other thread said it's best to replace both, so I'll do that. But I'm unsure about the relays. I saw somewhere that I can purchase two of a single relay since "they are essentially the same", but an old post I read from 2006 said not to as they aren't the same. The part #'s on Honda's parts site strongly suggest a difference - 35850-MCA-003 and 35850-MZ0-J10, both labeled as SW, STARTER MAGNETIC.
  1. Are they - essentially - the same?
  2. If not, how do I know which relay replaces the old (new for old)?
  3. I see relays on eBay and Amazon for ~$10, but $50-$70 on parts sites. That tell me the cheap ones are lower in quality of the materials. However, is it a significant difference? I'm still fairly new at the maintenance side of things, so I need advice from the 'veterans'.

Many thanks in advance for your advice and time!
 

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I have replaced a both of the relays your talking about a couple of times for a different reason. When I replaced them, the starter would not quit spinning because one or the other was stuck. I get them for Honda Direct and they are not very expensive. They are different however one of the leads is longer and the connectors are different on the ends. I would try what Murgie said though because I have not heard of them doing what you describe as the problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Did you take a voltage reading across the battery terminals while cranking on the starter? From what I am reading I wouldn't rule out the battery yet.
No, I didn't, but it sounds like I ought to. I'll do it later today and report back. And just so I can be sure, todo this I'd put the red probe on the positive terminaland the black to the negative? (Sorry if this is so 'elementary'; sometimes what is clear to you is not so clear those without the experience.)
 

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GL1800 Doctor
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Mike, if you turn on the key and the radio, does the radio mute when you hit the starter button? If it does, then your starter button switch is working. Go under the seat and swap the reverse relay in the rack with another like it and try it again. While troubleshooting this issue, you can pull out fuse #9 to kill the headlights so they don't drain your battery. If the reverse relay makes no difference, then your A starter relay may be bad. The A and B relays are interchangeable, they have a different color connector on them and that's the only difference in their function. I would order both for a 2010 year model, so you get the cheaper listed price for each.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Mike, if you turn on the key and the radio, does the radio mute when you hit the starter button? If it does, then your starter button switch is working. Go under the seat and swap the reverse relay in the rack with another like it and try it again. While troubleshooting this issue, you can pull out fuse #9 to kill the headlights so they don't drain your battery. If the reverse relay makes no difference, then your A starter relay may be bad. The A and B relays are interchangeable, they have a different color connector on them and that's the only difference in their function. I would order both for a 2010 year model, so you get the cheaper listed price for each.
I hadn't thought of trying the radio when hitting the start button. I'll give it a try and report back. As for the reverse relay swap, I'll do a hunt for a diagram or picture so I know what to look for. And thanks for the info on the relays.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·

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GL1800 Doctor
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I hadn't thought of trying the radio when hitting the start button. I'll give it a try and report back. As for the reverse relay swap, I'll do a hunt for a diagram or picture so I know what to look for. And thanks for the info on the relays.
Sorry Mike, I had to go do some work for the man. Here is a picture of the relay bank and the relay itself for your model year:

 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
New Honda Starter Relays Relay A has red connector and Relay B has a blue connector
http://www.pbase.com/fredharmon/image/63166720
You need to move the left saddlebag out some to access the relays (refer to saddlebag removal procedures)
http://www.pbase.com/fredharmon/root

Disconnect the battery before you start to work on the Starter Relays

35860-MCA = Starter Relay A

35850-MCA = Starter Relay B
Sorry Mike, I had to go do some work for the man. Here is a picture of the relay bank and the relay itself for your model year:

Wow, thanks!
 

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I just had the same problem. It turns out that all 4 nuts on the solenoids were just hand tight. I tightened them down and the problem solved. I didn't completely remove the saddlebag. I just took all the screws out and bungeed it back out of the way a bit. I have bigger fat hands and I had room to get in there to do the work. Beats undoing all the saddlebag stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I just had the same problem. It turns out that all 4 nuts on the solenoids were just hand tight. I tightened them down and the problem solved. I didn't completely remove the saddlebag. I just took all the screws out and bungeed it back out of the way a bit. I have bigger fat hands and I had room to get in there to do the work. Beats undoing all the saddlebag stuff.
Hmmm ... good to know, thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Did you take a voltage reading across the battery terminals while cranking on the starter? From what I am reading I wouldn't rule out the battery yet.
You might be right; just got to a point where I could work on the bike using this thread from top to bottom. When I put the prongs on the battery, they register 10.47 (already a 1+ drop in voltage in ~24-hrs). When I hit the starter button it fluctuates from the mid-9's to about 8.8. I also noticed a whine, and I think I heard one click.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Mike, if you turn on the key and the radio, does the radio mute when you hit the starter button? If it does, then your starter button switch is working. Go under the seat and swap the reverse relay in the rack with another like it and try it again. While troubleshooting this issue, you can pull out fuse #9 to kill the headlights so they don't drain your battery. If the reverse relay makes no difference, then your A starter relay may be bad. The A and B relays are interchangeable, they have a different color connector on them and that's the only difference in their function. I would order both for a 2010 year model, so you get the cheaper listed price for each.
OK, I'm back. In answer to your questions/ideas -- The radio won't turn on, so I went on to the reverse relay. I switched it for the one to the immediate left as you look at the relay bank. I also pulled the #9 fuse. No change - no start and a whisper of a click.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
My plan tonight is to take out the battery and let it charge for ~24-hours. I suspect it's bad, but maybe I can get enough voltage for better test results on what has been suggested so far.

Just took a reading on the battery (which is still installed in the bike) and it's already down to 10.06.
 

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GL1800 Doctor
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My plan tonight is to take out the battery and let it charge for ~24-hours. I suspect it's bad, but maybe I can get enough voltage for better test results on what has been suggested so far.

Just took a reading on the battery (which is still installed in the bike) and it's already down to 10.06.
Yea, you either have a bad battery or a serious drain on it with the key off. The starting system will do all kinds of strange things if the battery is below 11 volts.
 

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If you think it's the battery, just jump it from your car. If it starts, replace the battery.
 

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The battery should never fall below 10 when the start button is pressed. Under that, the bike may crank, but the coils won't fire the plugs.
 
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