A reliable 961 starter motor? Calling all Hog Jockeys.

Clive

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So far 2017 961 CR running really strong and well but I have always had niggling starter motor issues. First one I kept operational by freeing the seized brushes and cleaning the commutator in situ but eventually replaced under warranty. second one started to show same symptoms then stopped completely so taken in for warranty repair but turned out to be the solenoid contact come loose so this was tightened under warranty but the starter motor is starting to get more reluctant and tends to stall before turning over and firing which can mess the ecu up. Even when it was performing ok when warm it would struggle at less than 10degC. I put it on charge every night and the standard battery is not very old. Solenoid contacts are skimmed and fine. As it is total pain to swap the starter, which I understand is used on HDs, there must be an equivalent fit-and-forget quality item available which is used on high compression HD/ S&S engines? Any recommendations please?
 

BLIGHTYBRIT/SF

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Richard 7 & dad have got an affordable replacement contact kit on Colorado Norton Works site, & I’m pretty sure Tony A had some sought of ingenious quality replacement adapted , no doubt he will fully inform us soon
 

Fast Eddie

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I don’t think you need any fancy S&S stuff Clive. Standard HD starter motors are excellent IMHO. I’m guessing the root cause of the issue Norton buying inferior parts.

My Hardly Dangerous is 1800cc and 9.2:1 CR and the stock starter handles it just fine.
 

Clive

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Richard 7 & dad have got an affordable replacement contact kit on Colorado Norton Works site, & I’m pretty sure Tony A had some sought of ingenious quality replacement adapted , no doubt he will fully inform us soon
I've turned up a little contact dressing tool so I'm confident those are ok. On the first starter the brushes were binding in the corroded carrier so they lost contact with the comm. - haven't taken this one apart yet; like I said a reliable maintenance free starter motor shouldn't be too much of an ask!

So do we have a HD or starter manufacturer part number? I don't want to end up with another piece of junk off ebay. I heard of some without sealing O rings which leaked water in.

Nigel thanks for that - so if your 1800cc Humpty Dumpty starts ok do you think these starters are really knock-off pieces of clap?
 

cliffa

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Clive, as far as I can ascertain the starter is the same as used on some Harley sportsters and the Buell Blast ( a single) amongst others.

ND Part Number TN128000-8453
Harley part Number 31391-91

TonyA posted this link, and if you look you can see there are also alternate part numbers listed.

 

Clive

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Thank you :)

Except there seems to be an international shortage of them in the UK......
 
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Fast Eddie

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Nigel thanks for that - so if your 1800cc Humpty Dumpty starts ok do you think these starters are really knock-off pieces of clap?

In short; yes.

The Sportster starter in the link looks pretty much identical to the one that cNw provide in their kit for ‘old’ Commandos.

I‘ve got one in mine, which is 920cc with 11:1 compression ratio, and it spins it up ridiculously fast and easily.

In your shoes, I’d try and buy a genuine OEM HD starter motor.

On IMHO of course.
 
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Hello , The one in the video is for newer Big Twin , the mounting flange is longer .But everything Doc Harley said applies. If you buy a ebay or amazon starter like the one in the link , I know it fits the Norton 961 because I have put one on my bike . The only adaptation is the starter relay connector is facing out and not down on HD . Not a problem though it will work. Now this latest Norton OEM starter I am using works very well still . If I was going to buy again I would buy a Genuine HD starter for a late model Sportster . The issue is the cost is double that of Amazon or Ebay HD replacements. You don't need the High Torque starter 1.4KW that they are selling on Ebay and Amazon. The standard 1.2 KW is just fine !

Clive , go to the HD dealer or find a friend and have a good look at the Sportster starter , you will see it is our 961 starter . The genuine HD starter will be sealed for use in a oil filled drive . My cheaper replacement leaked oil after a few weeks. The oil gets in to the drive and comes through the casting seams , or through the bearing if not sealed , or along the shaft without the o-ring seal.

Don't forget to seal the hole at the top of the flange if you have one , this would point down on a HD. And not having a trans vent makes this all much worse.

OR you can try this one for a lower price , take off the front (drive side) casting and seal it with RTV before installing. Then you can check if the bearing shaft are sealed at that time.

If you need a Harley model to order for from Harley , use my bike : 2010 Sportster XR1200 , this starter is matt crinkle black .

OR , PM Richard-7 and see if David C. will put one together for you ?

Lastly , You don't need to remove the clutch basket or any primary drive gears when removing and installing the new starter . You will need a ground down 5/16" or 8mm ball allen to get to the rear mounting bolt. Look it up in the search history , look at the picture its easy to make it on a grinder.
 
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Clive

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If you need a Harley model to order for from Harley , use my bike : 2010 Sportster XR1200 , this starter is matt crinkle black .
Brilliant thanks. I have seen references to the original being a 1kw whereas alternatives are 1.4kw. A UK site lists a 1.4kw and states that it is properly sealed at £120 but no stock. There are the American All Balls model at £300 available in Germany but I don't know how much better if at all. Our HD store in Birmingham has now closed so I'll ring around. An extra £100 or so for a HD branded box is nothing if it sorts the issue for the next few years. And thanks Tony for the short hex key trick! Sounds like another special tool for CNW!
 

Fast Eddie

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I come from the school of thought that “cheap parts are just too expensive”. The time and money taken to modify / fix their issues, to remove and fault find, and ultimately to replace with better, just ain’t sumthin I wanna be doin’ !

‘Pattern parts’ makers existing for one purpose: undercut the OEM. So, from the get go, the entire enterprise is based on cost cutting. So, whichever way you look at it, the parts ain’t gonna be better, and will most likely be worse than OEM.

The above doesn’t apply to quality upgrade parts, just ‘pattern parts’.

And it doesn’t apply to Garner Norton either, I mean ‘proper’ OEMs...
 
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Clive

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Very true: I remember at Lucas where components had to last for at least the duration of the vehicle manufacturer's warranty under all conditions otherwise there were warranty claims on the vehicle manufacturer and, as you implied, that then gets expensive. A pattern part just needs to last for a year, if that, and you have to resort to a 'merchantable goods' claim..........
 

Vernon240

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I remember speaking with an engineering company who made OEM starter motors for a big manufacturer. They explained that after they had machined the armature....they had just one more machining process. This involved adding in a calculated weakness so they had a fair estimation as to how long the motor would last...typically beyond warranty...but not too long. Apparently, revenue from service and parts is just as important to profitability as vehicle sales. I think Garner took this a little too far! The fact that they were taking time to add in a weakness to give predictability to failure truly ghasted my flabber!
 
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Brilliant thanks. I have seen references to the original being a 1kw whereas alternatives are 1.4kw. A UK site lists a 1.4kw and states that it is properly sealed at £120 but no stock. There are the American All Balls model at £300 available in Germany but I don't know how much better if at all. Our HD store in Birmingham has now closed so I'll ring around. An extra £100 or so for a HD branded box is nothing if it sorts the issue for the next few years. And thanks Tony for the short hex key trick! Sounds like another special tool for CNW!
The ball allen is not shortened . It is made a bit narrower above the ball end were it has to make contact with the starter ring gear in order to come in at that angle to get the rear bolt out and back in.
 
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My old German granny always said "If you can only afford to buy it once, buy the best you can afford."
 

Clive

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My old German granny always said "If you can only afford to buy it once, buy the best you can afford."
As a bit of a Germanophile that is so typically German. Just look at German TV adverts - they put someone in a white lab coat to explain the design and technical merits of the product - their favourite term is Profi. In the UK something will sell if it is a bargain price or discounted.....

Opened up the starter motor and there is a bit of corrosion but the brushes seem to be moving ok so still a bit unsure why the performance of the motor should have degraded. I'm going to wire up a different battery. Current one (pun intended) is about 2 years old so I might just test for volt drop in the connectors. Interesting comment in the video above ref the voltage drop when cranking, the solenoid starts to drop out and the contacts bounce and arc. I assume the HD batteries are about the same size and spec as the 961?
 
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Fast Eddie

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As a bit of a Germanophile that is so typically German. Just look at German TV adverts - they put someone in a white lab coat to explain the design and technical merits of the product - their favourite term is Profi. In the UK something will sell if it is a bargain price or discounted.....
Genau !
 
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