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Hi all,

I've done a TON of research around this, and it seems to be a pretty common problem without a well-known solution. Like most of the people experiencing this issue (seems to be across most years of ZX6/9's), I will go to start my bike, and hear a loud BANG/CLUNK sound. It is NOT a backfire, it is a mechanical/engine sound. My bike only has 4,000 miles on it, so I was very hesitant to assume that the starter itself or starter clutch gear had a broken tooth or any undue wear.

Anyway, last night I pulled the starter out and examined it closely. The teeth on the gear that meshes with the starter clutch gear look fine. Nothing obviously broken or worn. There are some spots on the gear that appear a bit smooth, but without being an expert it all appears to be normal wear to me. I then shined a light through the open port to the starter clutch gear, and pulled the side case off and rotated it with a socket. I kept an eye on that gear as it went through a full rotation, and same thing - no worn or broken teeth that were obvious to me.

Like everyone else before me, it does not seem to be an electrical problem, as I have a new battery that I know is fully charged. When this happens, I can hit the start button a few times and it just clicks almost like a dead/low battery clicking, but it seems to me like the starter is stuck in place. Hopefully after a few clicks I can get it to crank and it fires right up and the bike runs great. Doesn't seem to make a difference if the bike is hot/cold/sitting, etc. Just randomly it will do this, although it is seeming to happen more and more often. I am positive it has something to do with the starter gear getting stuck or jammed and not being able to crank.

So I initially thought I'd just replace the starter to eliminate a problem as I have it out of the bike anyway. After doing some research today, I find that the damn starter is $400! I found a few replacements on ebay used, but I'm not sure that throwing a used starter in there is going to solve the problem.

Any ideas on the recommended course of action here? Pull the starter apart and see if anything can be cleaned or repaired? Has anyone repaired or rebuilt a starter motor before? I'm not really sure where to start with that, but the shop manual shows how to disassemble it so I'm sure I can figure it out. (BTW, I was able to finally find a few PDF copies of a 2001 ZX9 manual, so if anyone needs a copy - PM me. I had a hell of a time trying to find these, so I would be glad to share if anyone is in need of one).

Here are some additional links I have found of people have similar problems for reference:

http://www.kawiforums.com/zx-9r/61318-starter-noise-loud-bang.html

http://www.kgrant.co.uk/Forum/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=476&sid=e3e6fe4afc2822450a24d0936ae06dab

http://www.zxforums.com/forums/zx-9r-forum/44500-loud-bang-noise-start-up.html

Any help is appreciated. Hopefully we can figure this out and have a solution for this damn problem once and for all. :banghead

Thanks!

-Ian
 

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Well, I guess no one was really interested in this issue, but I wanted to follow up and provide some closure. I know other people are having the same problem as evidenced by all the other threads on the topic, but no one has followed up to any of them and provided a resolution or anything that has worked for them.

Well I think I might have fixed the issue, and I'm confident enough to call this closed.

I pull the starter out over the weekend and took it apart to inspect everything. I checked the gear at the end of the starter, expecting to see a chipped tooth or an extremely worn gear, but it looked to be in great shape. I checked the starter clutch gear and it was in perfect shape too - no worn or broken teeth.

So since nothing looked out of place, I took the starter apart and just cleaned everything up, cleaned contacts, etc. Put it back together, and reinstalled it. I made sure that it fit smoothly back in the case and the gears meshed well. Then I made positive it re-seated perfectly and torqued the 2 starter mounting bolts back in place, and then I connected the power wire and cleaned all the contacts to make sure it made a great connection.

Since doing this, I took it on a 200 mile ride on Sunday, probably stopping and starting the bike 20 times throughout the day. It started instantly and perfectly - when before it would have absolutely had the starting issue with that many starts. I even took it on nearly 100 miles of riding today with multiple stops/starts, and no issues whatsoever. It is now starting better than ever - noticeably faster as it fires up immediately on the first crank rather than taking a few turns.

I don't know that I've solved this problem for everyone across the board, but I can confidently say that I solved it for me. I can only guess, but I suppose that the started could have been slightly tweaked when it was initially installed and the gears were never meshing perfectly. Or perhaps the power cable had enough corrosion to be causing weird issues, or some combination of these weird issues.

So there you have it - I know a few years from now someone will be googling this same issue and hopefully you'll come across this thread and try a few of the troubleshooting steps I did and maybe it will work for you too. I'll update this too if anything happens in the future and it starts up again, or if I find out anything new.

Hope this helps!
 

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Sorry, I'm terrible at electronics, so I would have just added noise to the issue you were having. However, I much appreciate you taking the time to follow up. It's not a regular occurrence that we have a thread that is seen through to completion, but the 9R/7R bunch are probably more thorough than most.

Good job. I hope it's smooth sailing for you from now on.
 

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Well, I guess no one was really interested in this issue, but I wanted to follow up and provide some closure. I know other people are having the same problem as evidenced by all the other threads on the topic, but no one has followed up to any of them and provided a resolution or anything that has worked for them.

Well I think I might have fixed the issue, and I'm confident enough to call this closed.

I pull the starter out over the weekend and took it apart to inspect everything. I checked the gear at the end of the starter, expecting to see a chipped tooth or an extremely worn gear, but it looked to be in great shape. I checked the starter clutch gear and it was in perfect shape too - no worn or broken teeth.

So since nothing looked out of place, I took the starter apart and just cleaned everything up, cleaned contacts, etc. Put it back together, and reinstalled it. I made sure that it fit smoothly back in the case and the gears meshed well. Then I made positive it re-seated perfectly and torqued the 2 starter mounting bolts back in place, and then I connected the power wire and cleaned all the contacts to make sure it made a great connection.

Since doing this, I took it on a 200 mile ride on Sunday, probably stopping and starting the bike 20 times throughout the day. It started instantly and perfectly - when before it would have absolutely had the starting issue with that many starts. I even took it on nearly 100 miles of riding today with multiple stops/starts, and no issues whatsoever. It is now starting better than ever - noticeably faster as it fires up immediately on the first crank rather than taking a few turns.

I don't know that I've solved this problem for everyone across the board, but I can confidently say that I solved it for me. I can only guess, but I suppose that the started could have been slightly tweaked when it was initially installed and the gears were never meshing perfectly. Or perhaps the power cable had enough corrosion to be causing weird issues, or some combination of these weird issues.

So there you have it - I know a few years from now someone will be googling this same issue and hopefully you'll come across this thread and try a few of the troubleshooting steps I did and maybe it will work for you too. I'll update this too if anything happens in the future and it starts up again, or if I find out anything new.

Hope this helps!
I have the same issue, seems like it gives me the most problems when leaving school after being there 3 hours or so. Never have issues on the first start of the day. I will give this a try. How long do you think it took to fix?
 

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Hi, thanks a bunch for posting this.

I have the same sounding issue, except when this happens my clock and odo rest to 0.

This makes gauging fuel use quite hard...:angry

I figure it has to be electrical in nature and was wondering if the starter could sticking slightly and then be pulling too much current when trying to start????

I will have a go at cleaning stuff up when I get time. And when its not [email protected]*dy raining. :banghead
 

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My bike (E1) has been acting recently too, not so much a clunk/bang, but def clicking and not starting. Mostly i would just hear the fuel pump vibrating while cranking. I used my DVOM and traced the lack of power to the junction box (fuse box). Picked one up on ebay for 20 bucks and so far have not had an issue. If there are any loose connections at the junction box it will reset your trip odo and clock as well.
If your bike is clicking when you start it, check voltage @ main starter wire (on the starter), if nothing, then check output from the starter relay, if nothing check the signal wire from junction box to the starter relay. I could go on and on but i would def look into this with your volt meter (DVOM). Good luck! Lemme know if you need a wiring diagram, i could get it.
 

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My bike (E1) has been acting recently too, not so much a clunk/bang, but def clicking and not starting. Mostly i would just hear the fuel pump vibrating while cranking. I used my DVOM and traced the lack of power to the junction box (fuse box). Picked one up on ebay for 20 bucks and so far have not had an issue. If there are any loose connections at the junction box it will reset your trip odo and clock as well.
If your bike is clicking when you start it, check voltage @ main starter wire (on the starter), if nothing, then check output from the starter relay, if nothing check the signal wire from junction box to the starter relay. I could go on and on but i would def look into this with your volt meter (DVOM). Good luck! Lemme know if you need a wiring diagram, i could get it.
That's pretty cool knowledge. I haven't run into that, fortunately, but if I do I now know what it is. :mfclap
 

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My bike (E1) has been acting recently too, not so much a clunk/bang, but def clicking and not starting. Mostly i would just hear the fuel pump vibrating while cranking. I used my DVOM and traced the lack of power to the junction box (fuse box). Picked one up on ebay for 20 bucks and so far have not had an issue. If there are any loose connections at the junction box it will reset your trip odo and clock as well.
If your bike is clicking when you start it, check voltage @ main starter wire (on the starter), if nothing, then check output from the starter relay, if nothing check the signal wire from junction box to the starter relay. I could go on and on but i would def look into this with your volt meter (DVOM). Good luck! Lemme know if you need a wiring diagram, i could get it.
Hi, thanks for the info, I will be having a good poke around when the rain stops :rolleyes so I'll let you know what I find.

Oh yeah just remembered but when I ca\me to start her this morning I gave her a gentle roll back and forth and I could swear I heard a bit of a clunk....imagination or something sticking? either way she started first go.
 

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Dude, you must be a clairvoyant. I have had this same issue for the last 2months and just googled for a fix. I will definitely try it over the weekend and post my findings. Thank you.
 
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