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03 chief starter trouble


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Well for the last day of December, I had a rare treat for living in Indiana. A 45 degree day, and I was able to ride!!! However, while I was attempting to leave my first stop, my starter would not engage. It sounded like it was just spinning.

My question is, my bike is a 2003 Chief RM. Has anyone had the same experience? Should I remove the starter and have it repaired locally (No Indian dealer close by). or does this sound like something else??? Is the selinoid located within the starter as well. If anyone has any insight I would appreciate it...

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could also be a loose nut on the end of the starter shaft if it is spinning but not engaging the motor...or broken gears that engage....but you would have noticed it before that.

If it is starter spinning then I suspect a loose nut....if it is engine turning but not starting or nothing is happening then starter relay.

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???  OR, if it's spinning and making a crunchy noise, then the compensator nut has backed off. Put it in gear and try to push it. If you can push it, then that's probably what it is.
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Irishman01, in the first pannle when you first login, at the bottom you will see an icon for Mechanical Problems. Check it out or better yet if you join the IIR you will get one for FREE. At least that was what I had read here in other post. Also check out on what Brock63 said, he seems to have been doing a bit of work on his bike.
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There is a bushing in the outer primary cover. When the starter is engagaed the pinion shaft pops out and the end of it goes into that bushing to support it while turning the engine. Although the starter pinion gear has a little float if it does not enter the support bushing the starter gear does not engage and as a result it just spins. If this is the problem it can be easily fixed by removing the outer primary cover and putting a small chamfer on the leading edge of the support bushing. To see if that is the problem pull the outer cover off and engage the starter but only momentarily as damage could incur without the suport bushing. Just enough to see if the pinion gear makes full contact with the clutch gear. If it does you could then assume that something is stoping it from engaging with the cover on. Also look for dings on the edge of the suport bushing as this is also a sign that the jackshaft is hitting off center. This is not the only problem that can cause your problem but it is one that I know of and have had to fix on two other wet clutch bikes.

On another note, misalignment of the bushing could account for some of the short starter lives and or harder cranking.

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:( I have been having the same problem with my 2001 Chief.Tried to start it when it was cold out, more than once, it cranked slowly at first, coffed a few times, then started spinning. Now that's all. Starter just spins. I was told I needed a new starter. It was allready replaced with a spyke, and has been doin it's job since. Question is...wouldn't it make a lot of noise before it just stripped the gears? I have a wet primary, so just pullin off the cover is a pain in the ass. My dealer says replace, I say fine if my Xtended will cover it, but thats not certain at this point.

also, any recomedations on a good starter for the S&S.

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If the starter gears are engaging for sure and it still spins that could possibly be the starter clutch slipping but it generally makes somewhat of a ratcheting sound until it's compleatly shot. The starter clutch can & will eventually fail. This part can be purchased seperatly but the starter needs to be removed to replace it. Other than that it's a simple job. If you can get a starter from warrantee than that's the way to go. Possibly some of the starter jackshaft support bushings may be on the small side and contract a little when cold causing fit interferance when engaging, just a thought.

HD uses a roller bearing for the support & a tapered (large chamfer) lead-in on the jackshaft, Indian uses a bronze bushing and just a small chamfer on the jackshaft lead-in end.

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Similar symptoms when my starter bit the big one.  Went for a ride with an HD buddy, and stop for breakfast.  After eating the bike won't start.  Acts just like a dead battery.  Since its the original batt. and 3 years old I figured that was it. Once home, I pull the seat to charge batt, and hit the starter one last time.  She spun like hell, but was not engaging with motor.  I assumed it wasn't trying to engage.  Turns out the gear in the starter broke into six pieces and also took a chunk out of the starter housing.  After the rebuild I put it all back together and for the first time ever didn't have extra pieces laying around.  I either did it right or lost some things, but she cranks and runs so what the hell?  Life can be interesting for us wrench-impaired.
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Generally speaking, the '03 Chief had either the Compufire or Tech starter in them. When you hit the starter and it just spins this is usually a sign that the starter clutch has gone out and needs to be replaced. You don't need to spend the money on a complete, new starter. You can contact the manufacturer and purchase a new clutch assembly. It's pretty easy to change out and most competent shops can get it done for you.  

 

        Frank

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