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Thread: Starter Motor Turning Very Slowly

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2023

    Starter Motor Turning Very Slowly

    Hello everyone - I am new to Buell ownership but a long time admirer (& quite familiar with spannering on Jap bikes). Many years ago I used to be a HD motorcycle instructor in Tyne & Wear (UK) & was given Buell's to instruct on.

    I bought a XB12SS late last year intending to use it as my fair weather bike as I am lucky enough to have others to use to commute to work in London on. On the ride back I realised that it was vibrating too much & diagnosed a worn out front engine mount. I laid her up waiting for the part to come from abroad (How much! - is it made of gold?), & since then she has been sitting on a CTEK battery tender on her side-stand. I fitted the new front mount not so long ago but tried to start her this week and the starter motor barely turned. I checked the battery (which was good) and piggy backed a massive jump pack off the back of it. Again the starter motor turned but very slowly. All the electricals are good & strong & both the battery & jump pack lost most of their charge trying to wake her up.

    I posted on the Facebook page about my problem & it would appear that oil has seeped into the (normally) dry sump & I am experiencing a hydraulic lock as there is no oil showing on the swing-arm dipstick (there had been when I bought it). I am currently trying to resolve the issue but could do with a bit more info on how to?

    My plan is to drop what oil remains in the swing-arm, remove the oil filter, remove the spark plugs & push it around in gear to try & clear the 'lock'. Please let me know if I am missing anything or if I have this wrong?

    Thank you so much in advance for your assistance. I love this bike & can't wait to get it back on the twisties.

    Last edited by Nock; 04-24-2023 at 05:24 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Cooter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Crawling up your skirt
    I would hope it isn't a hydraulic lock. Engine wouldn't rotate over TDC or BDC at all if it was actually "hydraulically locked". Great advice for getting the oil back into the swingarm, it happens sometimes when they sit with a leaky check valve but thats hard to do without it cranking well.

    By "good battery" what do you mean? at least 9.6VDC while cranking? No? Sorry, get a new battery with MINIMUM 220CCA, the cheap ones that 'fit' won't cut it.

    If you test the battery and it has plenty of voltage left while cranking, check voltage draw again but now at the big starter terminal. If it is less voltage (while cranking) than you see at the battery, the circuit is compromised somewhere, cranking slow is a sign of the high amp wires or the solonoid itself corroded or loose.

    If it is within .2VDC to what you see at the battery the circuit is fine. Time for a starter

    Swapping a starter is an easy job you can cheat without pulling the clutch pack off (use a ball end 5/16 allen), but the primary cover is coming off for sure. BEWARE it is different than the Sportster unit. The cone is sealed, get the right one or you will have a high RPM oil leak and you'll be doing it again, and worse they are typically listed incorrectly for aftermarket stuff. It is also well worth the extra money for the good, higher Kw unit as well.
    Last edited by Cooter; 04-25-2023 at 03:09 AM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Barrett's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2020
    AmishLand, PA
    I have seen many instances of XL-XR-XB "wet-sumping" on others, as well as my own models. Have never experienced hydrualic-lock of the motor which was directly associated with sumping. Sumping is simply the result of oil pooling in the crankcase cavity from gravity...vacuum...accrued air pressure causing engine oil to force its way past the pump check-valve. I have NEVER seen it hydraulic the motor, in the process. You may very well have somehow forced pooled oil into the combustion chambers. Scrap existing accrued drained oil and start fresh.

    1-Remove both spark plugs...remove 10A FUEL PUMP FUSE.

    2-Remove swingarm oil fill cap...remove drain plug....drain the swingarm...replace the drain NOT replace oil fill cap.

    3-With battery fully charged by a real 6A charger...and same charger now attached to battery...and above fuse removed...hold throttle wide open and spin engine over for 5 seconds....stop...5 more seconds....stop...5 more seconds...done

    4-Replace with just a tick less than 2 quarts of 20W50 quality oil-install plugs-fresh fuel.-oil fill cap---both fuses---now crank to start. Your inability to spin the motor over as listed above appears to be cylinder hydraullicing as opposed to a bound up crankshaft. After running for a bit and getting some heat into the motor, shut off and immediately perform a proper oil level check and top off if necessary.

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