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The stock Road Star starter has a tough life even in the best of circumstances. You've probably thought so yourself at times--maybe when the weather turns cold and your battery is not as young as it use to be, or maybe every time you hit the starter button with your big-bore engine.
The starter is adequate for a stock engine with a new battery on a warm day. But if you repeatedly start your bike under more challenging circumstances, you might be asking for starter trouble.
This article covers two solutions which can be done separately, but should be done in order:
- Replace your stock starter wires with 4 gauge cable. This dramatically reduces the resistance caused by inadequately small wiring. The undersized, stock starter wires, and the associated resistance, can lead to premature starter failure.
- Swap out your stock starter for a Road Star Warrior starter. The Warrior starter has about 30% greater cranking power--even over the 1700 (102ci) models. Note: This option may not be necessary (but still desirable) if your pistons are stock, and you maintain your battery's charge.
- Starter Cable kit, available from Bulldogs Custom Cycle, Max Air Engineering, and probably some other suppliers, as well. Tip: Some riders have created their own cables by purchasing bulk cable from an auto parts store, and having terminal-ends fastened on. I opted for the Bulldogs kit because it is sealed against corrosion. I also felt that the time it would take to remove the stock cable, then measure, buy, and fastener-ize a homemade cable wasn't worth saving a few bucks.
- 3.5", 4-gauge cable, with ends soldered on, available from most auto parts stores. Tip: the Starter Cable Kit from Max Air Engineering comes with this short piece, so you won't have to get it separately. The kit from Bulldogs does not include this piece. Tip: Without this short piece, with a Warrior starter the negative wire may get hot enough to melt solder! And you might burn out your starter, over time. Even if you aren't going to install a Warrior starter, you'll rob yourself of some of the benefit of this whole project without this little piece.
- Warrior starter, complete with oil seal O-ring. Note: I opted for a nice, chrome starter from www.sxygramps.com.
- Wire ties, medium length (6-inch or so). Qty: 1 or 2, (optional).
- Warrior, 180 amp, type starter relay. Yamaha part#: 4BH-81940-02-00. Optional. See the Removing the Stock Starter Wires section for details.
- Dielectric (silicone) grease, to protect the terminal ends of the cable from corrosion.
- Wire cutters, or other tool to snip off wire ties
- Pliers, for bending the terminal ends of the cables to suit your bike
- Open end wrench (thin, 10mm, like the one in the R* tool kit), for removing/installing the cable from the starter terminal
- Large phillips (X) screwdriver or small sockets, for removing battery terminals
- Slotted (--) screwdriver or other tool, for prying open cable clamps
- Socket wrench with extension, for removing cables from the relay-block.
- Rat-tail file or rasp, for enlarging the entry hole in the battery box --optional
- Motorcycle lift --optional, though highly recommended