Rebuilding your starter  \ Replacing the starter seal

This is a basic instruction page on pulling your starter to replace the starter seal, this project assumes that you are somewhat familiar with your bike, basic hand tools and have the desire to do it yourself.

All the usual disclaimers apply here. if you are just not sure then please take your bike to a professional repair shop.

Riders of Vision is not responsible if you hurt yourself using these instructions ...etc. etc.

 I'll put in a plug for Jason Morris here, A fellow Visionary, Jason does vision starter rebuilds. his email address is contact him for pricing etc.

If you've gotten this far, congratulations, you probably just want to fix your bike.

Step one is to first disconnect the battery at the negative terminal, this is an important safety precaution so please do not omit this step.

Step two will be to drain your engine oil, the starter sits below the engine oil level and you will have a large puddle in your driveway if you do not do this first. now is really a good time to get that oil change done anyway.

Step three is to remove the starter. this is a pretty straight forward operation, first remove the starter lead with a 10mm wrench. next remove the 2 bolts that hold the starter in place like so:

Once you've removed the bolts, the starter will slide out towards the right hand side of the bike. It's held in by an o-ring. if it doesn't slide out easily, you can try using a prybar or large screwdriver. alternatively a light tap with a piece of wood and a rubber mallet should get things loosened up and moving out. Once you get the starter out of the bike and onto the bench we can get started ;o)  on rebuilding the unit    .One thing to take note of with the unit intact before dissasembling would be to maybe make a mark along the side of the starter unit. This can help getting all the pieces back together the same way once you've finished.  The starter pieces are actually keyed but marking it will help you get it back together easier.

If you've got access to a workbench and a benchvise, it'll make the work go easier. Clamp the Starter snugly in your vise using a rag so that you don't damage the housing. the next thing you need to do is to remove the 2 long philip screws from the starter. depending on how corroded or tight they are will dictate how dificult this will be.

For those of you without a vise, you may find it easier to temporarily put the starter back in the bike to actually loosen the assembly screws. if they are really being difficult, an impact driver should do the trick.

Once you've got the screws out, you can carefully pull the pieces apart. try to keep things in order and remember the way they came apart.

 As it turned out we were lucky in that the seal was not leaky and there was no oil in the starter. If you do find that your starter has been soaked, get yourself a can of CRC brake parts cleaner and some rags and give everything a good cleaning.

In order to get to the seal, you'll need to disassemble the gear assembly or nose-cone. a pair of snapring pliers is what you'll need to get it apart. I believe you can pick up a cheap pair at your local autoparts store or better yet if you don't own a pair, call up your auto mechanic buddy and borrow them.

After you take the snapring off, you can then slide the starter drive gear off of the end of the nosecone, this will expose yet another snapring underneath which holds the starter output shaft in place in the bearing. Now is a good time to spin the output shaft and check that the bearing moves freely without any binding or noise.

Go ahead and remove the second snapring keeping an eye on how it is clipped into the groove. most snaprings have a sharpedged side and a more rounded edge side. the side with the sharp edge side should be facing up as in the picture. This is the retaining side.

Once you've got the 2nd snapring out you can remove the output shaft from the starter nosecone. If it doesn't slide out easily, a slight tap with a block of wood or rubber mallet should get it to come out. I suggest you remove the 2 small planetary gears first marking which way they came off so that they don't go flying off under the bench or something.      Ok, we've finally gotten to that pesky seal. get a medium or large screwdriver and pry under the seal to remove it. Once you've got it out, now would be the time to clean up and remove all the old grease. 

Once you've cleaned everything up, get your new seal and lube the inner diameter with some grease. I like to use high-temp wheelbearing grease for jobs like this, it's tough, thick and tends to stay put. I've also packed the starter bearing with grease as well. Next, using a  * SMALL * light hammer and either the old seal or something like a  1in. socket, carefully tap the new seal in place. When you are done the top of the seal should be flush with the housing with the numbers facing up towards you..

Now you can reassemble the output shaft into the nosecone housing, lightly grease everything as it goes back together, you don't have to overdo it but I like to make sure everything is well lubed.

install your small snapring onto the shaft, once you've got the shaft all the way into the housing and the snapring groove is visible from the top side. next reinstall the output gear as shown and finally install the larger snapring. at this point you should find that the assembly spins smoothly and easily. if that is not the case, stop now and go back over your assembly to find out what is wrong.

The next step is to look at the rest of the starter and get it ready to go back together.

Lets have a look at the commutator to see what kind of shape it's in.

Ok, the unit looks good, no obvious marks on the outside, no visible signs of shorting or binding.  lets get some emery cloth and clean up the brush surface just a bit. If while your examining the commutator you see that there is a lot of wear on the brush end, or signs of grinding or burning then you are going to need to have the commutator repaired\replaced. A local electric motor repair shop should be able to do this for you.

While I didn't follow the order in exactly this way, you can see the result. just lightly clean up the commutator brush end surface to assure good contact.

Ok, lets get a look at those brushes. these brushes have some wear and probably should be replaced soon. there is still enough meat on them to probably get through another season and they otherwise look fine. If there is any question at all when your doing your starter, by all means put a new set of brushes in while it is apart. I won't be replacing mine this time.

The next step is to get a q-tip or rag and clean out all the old grease from the bushing and put some fresh grease in there. Do not pack it full of grease because you will have problems getting it back together.

ok, lets get all the parts ready for reassembly, we've cleaned and put some fresh lube on the planetary gear set.  If you never heard the term planetary gear, its a way for getting gear reduction or torque multiplication in a very small space. Here, the planetary's revolve around the outer ring gear to achieve higher torque without adding much to the actual size of the starter.

In any case, you'll want to put plenty of grease in and around the planetary gears because there is quite a bit of load on them.

Go ahead and start assembling the pieces, starting with the commutator and housing.  oh yeah one word about the o-rings, I found mine were in terrible shape so I hustled down to my local hardware store to peruse their assortment of square cut o-rings. I found a couple that would do the trick and back I shuffled. I did find a couple that didn't and after a bit of trial and error I was back in business. you may want to try and order these from Yamaha if they are available. These days I pretty much assume nothing made of rubber is going to be available and make other plans. One tip I did find out was that you can be a bit smaller on the o-rings and they will work out ok. Ideally you'd be looking for square cut o-rings of about 2 5\8" in diameter. I found some @ 2 1\2 and they worked well.. 

now is a good time to clean up those assembly bolts, wire brush and clean them, I recommend using a good antisieze compound when putting them back together to prevent problems if you have to pull it out sometime in the future.  Finally install the brush end, making sure that the brushes are making good contact with the commutator brush end, this will probably mean pushing against the brushes as you install the end cap. I found it easiest to kind of hold the end at an angle and push it sideways while sliding it on. Spin the end around till you get it lined back up in the notch and hopefully the marks you made earlier. Install the bolts and tighen them slowly and evenly until they are snug. make sure everything is lined up and tighten them up a bit more. What I found is that you do not want to over tighten these bolts as they tend to push the o-rings out of their slots.

Once you've got it all assembled, you should be able to turn the starter by hand with some effort, It should turn smoothly without binding.  Depending on how confident you are in your work, now would be the time to bench test it.  a simple way is to get a pair of jumper cables and connect the red power lead to the electric lug on the starter, connect the ground to the battery and lastly touch the black negative cable to the starter. make sure you are holding the housing from moving around because it has a lot of torque and will want to spin away from you. The starter should spin quickly and smoothly. do not run it this way without a load for more than 10 or 15 seconds. If this checks out ok, you are just about done.

The last thing you should check and or replace is the o-ring seal on the end of the starter, my suggestion would be to either order one from the dealer or hit up your local hardware\auto parts store to try and match it as closely as possible. you can be a bit small on this but the actual thickness is critical for not having an oil leak. once this is done, bolt that puppy back onto your bike, putting some grease on the aformentioned o-ring, slide it back in carefully as to not damage the seal, run the 2 fastening bolts back in, connect your battery, refill with fresh oil and you are done.

Well, that is about it, my starter came out great, went back together like a charm and fired up on the first crank. I hope this guide works just as well for you.



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