Starting Issues With 1989 Kawasaki Eliminator 250

| 4/30/2014 8:27:00 AM

Motorcycle Classics tech expert Keith Fellenstein

Editor’s note: If you’re having trouble with that old Suzuki, BSA or BMW, Keith Fellenstein is your guy. From motorcycle tuning tips to detailed motorcycle engine repair, he can draw from a wealth of experience to help guide you to success. Send questions to: Keith’s Garage, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609, or send an e-mail with “Keith’s Garage” as the subject.

Starting issues

Q: When my daughter moved away, she left me her 1989 Kawasaki Eliminator 250. It starts immediately when cold and it runs well. When it gets really hot and I shut it off, it will not start using the starter until it cools down. It will start immediately when being push-started. I suspect failure of the coils when they get hot. They are located behind the radiator in the hot airstream. I would try new coils, but they are no longer available. Can you recommend a suitable coil? Was there a problem with their coils? I can also try to shield the coils from the heat or relocate them. — Otto Hoffman/via email

A: Overheated coils would be a good guess, except that you say it starts immediately if push-started. That leads me to think the problem is more likely to be in the electric starter motor itself. My guess is it’s drawing too much amperage, but the troubleshooting should start with the battery and follow the circuit down to the starter. First, clean the battery connections, then check the point where the ground cable is attached to the frame and clean it, also. Have the battery tested for cranking amps, especially when hot. If it checks out, clean the connectors on the heavy duty cable connecting the battery to the starter solenoid. Test or bypass the starter solenoid with a heavy-duty jumper when the bike is hot to see if the starter then turns over. Clean the connections on the heavy-duty cable connecting the solenoid to the starter motor. Finally, check the amperage draw at the starter. I wouldn’t expect it to be more than 55 amps or so, but I don’t have a manual for that model to confirm the exact specification. If it’s higher than that and the problem persists, you’ll have to remove the starter motor and either disassemble it to clean it, or replace it. MC

5/30/2014 2:03:19 PM

I heep my Magazines for years, in the 2012 issue a guy was talking about trying to use a calibration wheel. I used one on my 1972 Triumph Trail Blazer250. It's owner thought it would jump the rail road tracks, NOT. he traded it to me for a 10 speed bicycle. I found a machinist that could help me, straightened the down tubes, made a bottom triple clamp all for $75. Bought a plastic front fender, then set about getting it running. Took me a number of days to sort it out as it had also been thrown into a lake. But once I got it running, great fun, pulled like a tractor. Wish I still had it.

5/8/2014 12:24:10 PM

I had a similar problem with my 1981 Honda CBX - when it got hot the alternator stopped charging. When I was washing the bike one day I saw that the charging came back on when the alternator got cold water on it. Long story short - the alternator brushes had worn out and only made contact with the commutator when it was cold. I replaced the brushes and the problem went away. Does this starter motor have brushes that are worn out?

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