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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 2004 V Star 1100. Today I was out and about. Went to work for half day, then went for lunch. Everything was fine. I pulled into a store and spent at least 45 minutes. When I attempted to depart that’s where my problem came into play. My ignition starting system. I started the bike.........the starter will energize but it will not crank the engine over. My starter just sounds like a solid constant sound. Sound like a hair dryer. I replaced the battery less than a year ago, so I don’t think my battery would be the culprit. Could the starter be shot? Could it be loose connections? Any of you bike owners ever encountered this problem. Any help would be very appreciated. I will be standing by
 

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Could be corrosion, the kickstand switch is a pain also. If you find any corrosion it would be time well spent to invest a couple of bucks in some dialectic grease to help prevent it from coming back. Have you tried to bump start it? Get rolling with the clutch in, in second gear, pop the clutch and see if it will fire. Thats about all I can offer up. Good luck!
 

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Hate to be the first one to post the idea, but sounds like you may have wrecked the starter sprag gear/starter clutch. I'm guessing that there is no "puffing" sounds from the cylinders turning over. It is unfortunately a common problem with the 1100s, though not as common on the 04 and up due to an improved starter design. Parts to replace it run around $500 and about a days worth of effort if you are brave enough. It's not difficult as long as you take your time. Definitely try the roll starting it to help rule out other issues. Best of luck and keep us posted so that we can further help/diagnose things.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
AlphaOmega,
How would I have wrecked the starter clutch sprag gear? Is it wrecked due to age? I suspect the starter is original. My bike is 15 years old with over 70k miles on it now. I bought it used in 2014 with 58k miles on it at the time.
 

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Sounds like a hair dryer? Like the starter motor is spinning up but not engaged?
It does sound like the infamous starter clutch is bad. Sorry, the 1100 are famous for that if you give it any throttle while starting.

If you give it throttle when starting, it advances the spark and it kicks back against the starter. The sprag is a one way bearing and when the engine kicks back it breaks.
 

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If you give it throttle when starting, it advances the spark and it kicks back against the starter. The sprag is a one way bearing and when the engine kicks back it breaks.
I have given it throttle multiple times on a cold engine start. However I would have never thought it would cause damage. So what should I replace? A whole new starter?
 

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Super Moderator "Loose Nut" - Houston, Texas
2001 Vstar 1100 Classic (sold), 2006 HD Electra Glide Ultra Classic
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Definitely sounds like starter clutch, been there, done that. The starter clutch will fail with little or no warning. It is a known 1100 weak point on the earlier models. It's a repair that if you have good mechanical skills it's not to bad. Google: Vstar 1100 starter clutch for many detailed videos. Here's a great link:

Another link for 1100 info:

Good luck and keep us informed.
 

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My money is on the starter clutch also. Never ever give the 1100 any throttle when starting. Use the choke lever which is really not a choke but an enrichener, it adds the correct amount of fuel to richen the mixture for starting. Many have encountered the dreaded starter clutch failure and it is almost always caused by using the throttle to start the bike causing the engine to kick back against the starter clutch that has a one way bearing. Can be repaired but if you attempt it get a service manual, do some research on the internet and take your time getting everything back together in correct position and timing. Good luck and let us know how it goes.
 

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Sorry I wasn't able to get right back to you, but the rest of the gang covered it pretty well. The links that Les posted should cover most of it. Thank you Les. One thing to look at also is the bolts that run the length of the starter. If they look twisted or off center, that is usually another sign that the starter clutch failed due to kickback from the motor. I just looked on Ebay and the improved Big Roller design is going for around $250. There is also a lot of recommendation to replace the starter at the same time as doing the starter clutch. I tore my starter down and cleaned it up and have been fortunate that I didn't have any further trouble. The most nerve wracking portion of the job was making sure that the timing didn't move. As long as you are aware of it and cautious, it is a job that is easily managed by someone with some practice turning a wrench. If you need, I will dig around and see if I can find the link to the repair site that I used.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Again, thank you all for reaching out and helping me narrow my problem down to the starter clutch. I watched videos. Surprisingly, my service manual doesn’t even cover the starter clutch at all. I am tempted to just take it to a local Yamaha Dealer and have them it. They will install the most efficient upgraded version. I know it’s gonna cost me extra money, but I think I will be better off in the long run. It will only take them three hours to swap out the starter clutch vs me spending a whole weekend or greater. Plus I don’t don’t know what road blocks I could run into and last thing is f&$) something up.
 

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If you can confidently do the repairs yourself, you can save some money. If not, it's probably better to let a professional handle it. Not sure I'd want to tackle that job simply because I don't have the right tools and while I have some mechanical ability and I can follow directions, there's a lot in there that can easily be messed up. Plus, as you said, it would cost you a whole weekend. Sometimes that alone is worth paying a little extra for. Good call.
 

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My money is on the starter clutch also. Never ever give the 1100 any throttle when starting. Use the choke lever which is really not a choke but an enrichener, it adds the correct amount of fuel to richen the mixture for starting. Many have encountered the dreaded starter clutch failure and it is almost always caused by using the throttle to start the bike causing the engine to kick back against the starter clutch that has a one way bearing. Can be repaired but if you attempt it get a service manual, do some research on the internet and take your time getting everything back together in correct position and timing. Good luck and let us know how it goes.
I was at a local motorcycle shop and the mechanic said he tried to replace a starter clutch on a Yamaha V Star 1100 and he ended up blowing the engine. He isn't likely to try that again in the near future. I am very careful when I start my V Star 1100 by just choking it with no throttle. So far it has done well but I am also looking in the Cincinnati, Ohio area for a qualified mechanic in case it goes out. The local Yamaha dealership will not work on motorcycles over 10 years old.
 
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