Thursday, September 12, 2013

GSF1250 Bandit starter problem

I had been away on holiday for 3 weeks and despite the battery being on an Oxford Oximiser, on trying to start the bike it wouldn't turn over. I replaced the battery with a Motobatt and it started immediately, so I went for a 2 hour ride the next day.  The battery was fully charged when I left but I noticed on the ride it was getting sluggish turning over and by the time I got home it would not start at all.  Putting the meter across the battery after trying to start it showed around 12V, but checking the voltage when running showed no voltage increase at 5000 RPM (Suzuki say 14.5 - 15 volts at 5000 RPM).

It gave all of the symptoms of a flat battery due to it not charging, as jump starting it off car leads worked fine.

So, what was it?  The magnets inside the starter had come unglued and were smashed inside.  It could not be turned by hand, but sufficient current would occasionally turn it.  It gave a sluggish start and drew sufficient current to mean the battery struggled and of course you won't get peak charging system voltage until it is charged again.  It very much duplicated a faulty charging system as there was no untoward noise from the starter

Fortunately, I was aware of the issue on the 1250 Bandits and happened to have a spare starter I had scored at a low price from a late model bike a few months ago for this very eventuality (the starters are nearly $1100 NZD).    The bike is all fixed again, and I referred the issue to Suzuki NZ as a starter should not collapse like this on a 40,000 km well maintained bike.  I heard back, but they were unsympathetic, which isn't surprising given the bike is a K8 model.

Here's the pic of the interior showing the magnets.  Not repairable.