Honda Magna VF750C Starter by RumRunner


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									ANDY'S STARTER STORY.DOC                                                                                               JUNE 9, 2011

    1985 VF750C-E Honda V45 Magna with starter problems once the bike gets hot

Starts instantly when cold. Runs like a scalded cat all the way to the red line.                           Idles fine hot too.
Shut it down and try to restart and the starter doesn't turn over.                          Wait 10-15 minutes and it cranks
and fires right away.

Guess the starter is coming out this weekend. There was an oil leak from the front cover when I bought
it and the bottom of the bike was oily all last year. Hopefully a good internal cleaning and a little TLC on
the commutator & brushes is all it needs.

"Back in the day" I'd just use the kick starter while the starter was out - heck my BSA Starfire only had
a kick starter!

Happy in Hondaland,


Here's my update - just finished a test ride and restart when hot - oh GLORY!!!

When I opened the starter up I found that the rubber seals had worked and I didn't have a starter full
of oily muck - just a lot of black dust from the brush wear. I cleaned much of the dust out (be careful
not to breathe it in). Then I pulled the springs just out of the brush holder and slipped a penny under
each brush spring to release the tension on the brushes BEFORE pulling the armature out and removing
the brush holder set. I found the brushes at the minimum 1/4" length remaining but more important -
A quick trip to the local dealer to order new 'brush holder set' and 'brush terminal set' for about $40
and a few days delivery time.

Back home to do some temporary repairs. I cut the few remaining copper strands and drilled a 7/64"
hole about 1/16" deep in the side of the brush beside the original attachment point (on the side closest
to the commutator). Then I tinned the tip of the braid and hole and soldered the braid into the hole.
Repeated same on second damaged braid.

Next a thorough cleaning of all components with paint brush and rag. I used the unsharpened end of an
exacto blade to GENTLY scrape between each of the commutator sections and finished with a
toothbrushing to clean between the sections.

On re-assembly, I reversed the brushes end for end in the holders to load up the springs a bit more
(spring groove in one end). A little grease around the O-ring where the starter fits through the
mounting, two 8mm bolts, one wire and a 10mm nut later - Done!

A test ride to heat up my steed then home for the critical restart test - success! Even the cold start was
much quicker and crisper now that the starter could get full juice from the battery. Now I can stop for
gas (or BEER) without having to plan a 20 minute wait. When my parts come in I'll replace my repaired
parts and rework them at my leisure by making some new brushes. So many parts have been
discontinued (like the $575 starter!) that I never discard worn parts - they may be a lifesaver later!

Happy in Hondaland,


FEEL FREE TO USE THIS TO YOUR OWN BENEFIT – BUT IT REMAINS MY PROPERTY                                                          JUNE 9, 2011

                                                                   Do this when the bike is cool as you will be near the front exhaust
 Electrical connection                                             pipes.
   10 mm nut under
                                                                   If doing an oil change, drain the oil and remove filter then do the
     rubber boot                                                   work on your starter before replacing the oil filter. In there pictures
                                             2 @ 8 mm              a Goldwing oil filter is installed as part of the completed ‘oil mod’.
                                                                   If you place the bike on the centre stand a moderate amount of oil
                                                                   will leak out of the starter mounting hole – be prepared. If placed
                                                                   on the side stand oil may not leak as much.

     STARTER NEAR                                                  Start by GENTLY moving the rubber boot off the nut and back up
       OIL FILTER                                                  the wire. Clymer manual recommends disconnecting the battery
                                                                   negative – I didn’t but I did check to see that there was no voltage
                                                                   to the nut by measuring between the bared nut and the frame.

If you do have voltage there then you have a additional problem with the starter circuit – disconnect the battery and be
ready to sort out the starter circuit issues once this job is finished. There should only be voltage here with the key on
and starter button pressed.
                                                                                          NO EXOTIC
A quick word about tools – I used:                                                      TOOLS NEEDED
• 10 mm wrench to remove nut clamping the wire,
• 8 mm ¼” drive socket wrench to remove two mounting nuts,
• An old heavy flat blade screw driver as pry bar,
• Phillips head impact wrench and hammer to break free the long
    screws holding the starter together,
• Regular Phillips screw driver to remove the screws,
• Needle nose pliers to move springs, (not shown)
• 4 pennies to remove spring tension,
• Old paint brush to clean components, (also not shown).

Here are the old and new parts and the Honda OEM part numbers
for my 1985 VF750C-E V45 Magna.

                                                                    For anybody
                                                                    making their
                                                                    brushes they
                                                                    are 0.193” thick,
                                                                    0.388” wide, and
                                                                    0.482” long
                                                                    when new.

Back to the task at hand: Undo the 10 mm nut and remove the wire moving it as little as necessary (old wires tend to
crack their insulation if disturbed too much).

Remove both mounting bolts.

Wiggle and worry the starter out. Once it moves a bit it is possible to pry it carefully straight out – this can be a bit
difficult as there is an o-ring seal and the starter shaft is engaged with the starter gear.

Now that it’s out, all the hard work is done – well NEARLY.

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FEEL FREE TO USE THIS TO YOUR OWN BENEFIT – BUT IT REMAINS MY PROPERTY                                                         JUNE 9, 2011

                                                                   A critical operation is next – removing the three long screws that
                                                                   hold the starter together. These have a Phillips head (cross) and
                                                                   you really don’t want to damage the heads. There are different
             TAP GENTLY                                            sizes and shapes of Phillips head screw drivers – pick one that fits
                                                                   the head well. If the screws don’t want to break loose fit the screw
                                                                   driver and give it a smart whack with the hammer to seat the driver
                                                                   in the screw head and shock the screw. If you have am impact
                        Alignment                                  driver, use it (like I did) and save the screws. Once loosened,
                          marks                                    remove the screws.

                                                                    Now is a good time to note the alignment marks on the body and
                                                                   each end of the starter. I have highlighted them but they were
                                                                   clearly visible

                                                   GENTLY tap on the
back side of each of the mounting lugs to break each end of the starter
body loose. Be careful not to destroy the rubber seals between the
casings. You may need to ease them away from the casings with a screw
driver or flat scraper.

Remove the shaft end from the body first, being careful to note the order of
the washers on the shaft. I lay them down on the table in order for, like
Winnie the Pooh, I am a bear of very little brain.

Note that the bent tabs of the heavy washer face towards the cap.

                 Pennies slipped under
               springs to remove pressure
                    from the brushes                               Next remove the cap from the other end. Take a minute to observe
                                                                   the orientation of the brush holder set and how the small tabs fit into
                                                                   the starter body

                                                                   BEFORE removing the armature (centre piece of motor) slip a
                                                                   penny under each of the springs to hold it away from the brushes.
                                                                   A set of needle nose pliers is very handy to open each spring so the
                                                                   penny can be inserted.

                                                       Once the pennies are in place, the armature can be pulled out
                                                       through the other end. It is only held in place by magnetic force!
                                                       Just grab the splined end of the shaft and pull. Be careful not to
damage the windings when the shaft is pulled to one side by the magnets as it is almost out of the body. Do not let go
of the armature or it will shoot back into place like a battering ram and can damage the brush holder or brushes.

Do not pull the armature even partly out before installing the
pennies or the springs will snap the brushes forward as soon as
they clear the commutator and bearing. This can cause the
brushes or braided wires to be damaged. I have actually seen the
brush popped off the wire and sent flying by the force of the spring!

Two of the brush wires are bare copper and provide the path to
ground. These are attached to the brush holder set. The other two
have an insulated covering and come through the brush holder set
from below. These provide the power and are connected to the

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FEEL FREE TO USE THIS TO YOUR OWN BENEFIT – BUT IT REMAINS MY PROPERTY                                                       JUNE 9, 2011

                                                                  Ease the ‘insulated’ brushes forward into the middle of the holder
                                                                  and upwards set then gently pull the insulated wires outwards until
            Armature                     Commutator               they clear the slots and the brush holder set can be lifted away from
                                                                  the starter body.
                                                                  Loosen the nut and remove it and the several washers from the bolt
                                                                  shaft – noting carefully the order of the washers. Carefully push the
                                                                  bolt in SLIGHTLY then ease the brush terminal set upwards and out
                                                                  of the plastic holder and free of the starter body.

Be very careful when easing the rubber washer off the bolt shaft – you
REALLY don’t want to destroy it and expose all 30 amps of starting current
to the grounded starter body. I unscrewed my washer to avoid damaging it.
Yes that took a minute but it is at least a 30 minute round trip to get another
one – IF they are even available. Take your time. Be gentle – it pays.

                                                                   Starting the Re-assembly

                                                                   A new brush terminal set installed with the pip on the Bakelite
                                                                   insulator facing upwards and washers in the correct order. Tighten
                                                                   the nut firmly but don’t overdo it – there’s Bakelite and fibre
                                                                   washers to be considered.

Install the pennies in the new brush holder. Put it in place, correctly
oriented (remember those tabs?). Feed the insulated brush wires
into the slots in the holder. Put each brush into the holder located
counter-clockwise from the wire mounting point. Push the brushes
all the way in to the penny. Note that one end of the brushes is flat
and the other has a small grove across the centre of it for the spring
to sit in – that end goes in first.

I had a little trouble with the bare wires and had to bend their mounting tabs inwards slightly to get enough slack to get
the brush installed. Do not get rough with the brushes and try to force them – it would be a bad thing to rip them off
the braid. If you manage to do so in spite of my warning – repeat after me, “I don’t fakwaggin’ believe it, you dill-
headed funk-sniffing blankety blank dweeble dork”. Then go to the Hondaland store and buy another set.

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FEEL FREE TO USE THIS TO YOUR OWN BENEFIT – BUT IT REMAINS MY PROPERTY                                                           JUNE 9, 2011

                                                                   Now is the time to assess the condition of the commutator – that’s
                                                                   the place where the brushes rub and transfer the power to the
                                                                   armature windings. If you have a multimeter you can check the
                                                                   continuity between each set of adjacent segments – there should be
                                                                   continuity. Also check between each segment and the shaft – there
                                                                   should NOT be continuity there.

                                                                   There is a mica insulator in each slot between the segments. This
                                                                   should not be above the top face of the contacts. Brush dust can
                                                                   build up in the slots so carefully clean them out by pulling a flat
                                                                   blade along the slots then give them a brushing with a toothbrush.

                                                                   If the top face of the segments are very uneven they can be turned
                                                                   or filed down a bit but I usually avoid this as the brushes will quickly
                                                                   wear to fit the shape and are easily replaceable but a worn out
commutator spells big trouble for a DIYer.

It’s time to put the armature back in place SLOWLY against the pull
of the magnets – now is not the time to damage the new brushes or
the armature wiring. With the length of the new brushes it can be a
bit tricky to get them all pushed in far enough to go over the
commutator. Just take your time. On occasion, your favourite form
of verbal abuse directed at the last two uncooperative brushes can
make just enough difference to make everything fit.

Once it’s fully on use the needle nose pliers to hold each spring as
you remove the penny and lower the spring to the brush. Gently
rotate the armature to make sure that everything is OK.

A last check of the brush holder alignment, make sure the rubber
seal is in place, and put the second cover on and install the three
long screws to hold the starter together. A quick spin of the shaft to
see that all is OK and it’s time to re-install the starter on the bike.

                                                   This is where the starter mounts with the splines engaged with the gear. If your
                                                   starter doesn’t slip in place with only the force you can apply by hand then don’t
                                                   force it. It needs some force to overcome the resistance of the o-ring sliding
                                                   into the bore (hole) and wiggling it helps too but it is a bit of luck if the splines
                                                   and gear teeth line up the first time – this may be where the wiggling helps.

                                                   You will know the starter is fully seated when the mounting bolt seats in the
                                                   bottom hole. After both bolts are installed and tightened (before you get heavy
                                                   handed with it look at the size of the threads and consider that it is screwing into
                                                   aluminum) don’t forget to replace the heavy wire and rubber boot on the side
                                                   screw. Make sure that the
                                                   rubber boot isn’t pinched
                                                   between the metal connector
                                                   and the frame or the mounting
                                                   bolt for the engine guards. If
                                                   necessary, loosen the nut and
                                                   rotate the wire slightly to clear
                                                   any obstructions.

That’s it. Test time. Good luck and happy riding!

Brampton, Ontario, Canada

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