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Old 14th October 2013, 11:48   #1
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Default Removing Electric Start?

Hi,
I own the previous generation Thunderbird (2012). A few weeks ago, the relay in electric start stopped working (less than 7k on odo). I had to disconnect the starter motor from the battery to prevent it from continuously trying to start the bike and draining the battery.

Since then the motor remains disconnected. I don't mind kick-starting the bike. Quite used to that than ES due to the Yezdi and CD100SS I have. Also, removing ES will result in lesser weight and less noise; not to mention better reliability. If not anything, this would be a good experience to learn (not a complete novice, but not an expert as well).

Can anyone share documents/posts which detail howto and pros/cons? There is some info on web about how to do it on CI engines (which is a quite involved mod) but nothing for UCE.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 14th October 2013, 16:06   #2
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Default Re: Removing Electric Start?

I guess its a Uce so get all the starter gears, sprag, motor, relay with wiring
(& the clutch switch if you like) removed and replace the hump like drive cover from a Std Uce. As you said its rather easy in comparison to Ci engines where getting hold of a correct replacement inner clutch case (to lose the starter hump) is the difficult part, took me 4 months on order that too from a friendly Asc.
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Old 14th October 2013, 18:13   #3
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Default Re: Removing Electric Start?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AmitFromPune View Post
Hi,
I own the previous generation Thunderbird (2012). A few weeks ago, the relay in electric start stopped working (less than 7k on odo). I had to disconnect the starter motor from the battery to prevent it from continuously trying to start the bike and draining the battery.

Since then the motor remains disconnected. I don't mind kick-starting the bike. Quite used to that than ES due to the Yezdi and CD100SS I have. Also, removing ES will result in lesser weight and less noise; not to mention better reliability. If not anything, this would be a good experience to learn (not a complete novice, but not an expert as well).

Can anyone share documents/posts which detail howto and pros/cons? There is some info on web about how to do it on CI engines (which is a quite involved mod) but nothing for UCE.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Hi Amit

I personally would not suggest doing away with the electric start system in your bike. UCE breed of enfields have a very reliable electric start system and it's an additional functionality which can come into use in certain conditions even for people who don't use it on regular basis.

Initially there was this issue of sprag clutch breaking in the UCE bikes which led to failure of self start system but it has been corrected now with a very high quality sprag clutch which works flawlessly and I have not heard of a single incidence of it's failure. If your bike was manufactured in 2012 then it has the new sprag clutch but you can anyways get it confirmed with RE service center in your city.

The problem you faced is probably due to a faulty relay(as you have also said) which is quite inexpensive to replace and is not known as a repeatedly failing part. If by some chance you have the old design sprag clutch and it has broken you can get it replaced by RE under warranty conditions.

Also, I do not think that self start system adds to any extra noise from the bike(other than when we use the self start system to start the bike).

Only thing we need ensure with use of self start is health of battery of the bike. Battery terminals should be covered with some protective compound, charged upto recommended voltage and properly filled with distilled water.

Cheers!
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Old 14th October 2013, 18:17   #4
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Default Re: Removing Electric Start?

I recently got a 350 Electra pre-owned and very sparingly used. Was in non use fr a bit as a result of which the starter had to be changed. Was advised by many many RE owners that it will eventually die down and i should not waste money on the starter but just kick start it. Though i didnt listen to them and did pay around 3.5k for a new one, it is working fine though a bit quirky. I wonder if this is a problem with all Bullets which have this system? If it is the company should do something about ot.
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Old 14th October 2013, 18:34   #5
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Default Re: Removing Electric Start?

I own a 2012 Model TBTS too! The ES on the TBTS 350 is one of the best I have ever used. In fact I have never used the kick starter at all except to lubricate and keep it in shape. I'd suggest you to repair the ES and start using it again.

I don't think you can achieve significant wait loss by the removal of starter motor assembly.

If you still wanna go ahead and remove the ES, here's a pic of the the Starter motor assembly location:

Removing Electric Start?-capture.png

Part No 34 circled in Red is the starter motor.

Source: http://images.royalspares.com/part_m...E-Thunderbird/

Last edited by Warwithwheels : 14th October 2013 at 18:38.
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Old 14th October 2013, 20:51   #6
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Default Re: Removing Electric Start?

Quote:
Originally Posted by V-16 View Post
I recently got a 350 Electra pre-owned and very sparingly used. Was in non use fr a bit as a result of which the starter had to be changed. Was advised by many many RE owners that it will eventually die down and i should not waste money on the starter but just kick start it. Though i didnt listen to them and did pay around 3.5k for a new one, it is working fine though a bit quirky. I wonder if this is a problem with all Bullets which have this system? If it is the company should do something about ot.
Here's a workaround that can be elegant while also allowing you to reuse the electric starter whenever required/during resale. Just remove the starter gear (the one that meshes with the starter assembly) and replace it with the one on the non-ES version of the Electra. Basically, the Non-ES gear won't mesh with the starter mechanism. So, kick backs and the resultant damage to the sprag won't arise at all.

After this mod, even if you thumb the electric starter, the starter motor will spin but it won't fire the mechanism. In this way, you'll be assured that the sprag clutch doesn't engage when your engine kicks back (the kick back caused usually due to a battery that doesn't have sufficient juice to fire the starter up/incorrect timing is what damages the sprag).

Additionally, you could disconnect the starter switch (located in the pannier box) so that no current is used up even if you accidentally thumb the starter out of habit. Do ensure that you retain the starter gear so that you can refit it as and when you require operation of the electric starter.

Cheers,

Jay
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Old 15th October 2013, 02:46   #7
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Default Re: Removing Electric Start?

Amit:
The problem is with the starter solenoid, an inexpensive part that is very easy to change for a new one.

This electrical relay uses low amperage current from the start switch to activate it.
When it is energized, it closes the heavy duty electrical contacts that carry the large amount of power needed by the starter motor to start the bike.
You probably already knew this but I figured I'd mention it for those readers who are not familiar with the way these things work.

As for eliminating the system, the motor and the drive gears are all in the left hand sidecase of the engine. It is all pretty simple if you leave the sprag clutch in place and as was mentioned, the sprag clutch on the new RE, UCE engines is strong enough that it won't cause future problems if just left in the engine.
I don't know of any case for a UCE engine that does not have provisions for a starter motor so figuring out how to plug the hole where the starter motor was located is going to be a problem. This is especially true because the engine oil that is in the left sidecase lubricates all of the starter drive gears so that pad always has oil splashing around in it. Something would have to be made to seal it.

Yes, you will reduce the weight of the motorcycle but I believe the savings will only amount to a bit over 1 percent total gain.

If it were mine I would just replace the solenoid and be done with it.

Last edited by ArizonaJim : 15th October 2013 at 02:50.
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Old 15th October 2013, 17:24   #8
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Default Re: Removing Electric Start?

Quote:
Originally Posted by iron.head View Post
I personally would not suggest doing away with the electric start system in your bike. UCE breed of enfields have a very reliable electric start system and it's an additional functionality which can come into use in certain conditions even for people who don't use it on regular basis.

The problem you faced is probably due to a faulty relay(as you have also said) which is quite inexpensive to replace and is not known as a repeatedly failing part. If by some chance you have the old design sprag clutch and it has broken you can get it replaced by RE under warranty conditions.

Also, I do not think that self start system adds to any extra noise from the bike(other than when we use the self start system to start the bike).
Quote:
Originally Posted by Warwithwheels View Post
I don't think you can achieve significant wait loss by the removal of starter motor assembly.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ArizonaJim View Post
Yes, you will reduce the weight of the motorcycle but I believe the savings will only amount to a bit over 1 percent total gain.

If it were mine I would just replace the solenoid and be done with it.
I agree that the benefits argument is a bit thin. The weight would reduce by only couple of kgs. The 'less noise' probably applies more to AVL and not UCE.

I realise now that this is more of an academic and fun activity than anything else.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Warwithwheels View Post

If you still wanna go ahead and remove the ES, here's a pic of the the Starter motor assembly location:

Attachment 1152661

Part No 34 circled in Red is the starter motor.

Source: http://images.royalspares.com/part_m...E-Thunderbird/
Thanks a lot! This is brilliant. I am surprised this didn't show up in my searches for Enfield manuals.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArizonaJim View Post
The problem is with the starter solenoid, an inexpensive part that is very easy to change for a new one.

This electrical relay uses low amperage current from the start switch to activate it.
When it is energized, it closes the heavy duty electrical contacts that carry the large amount of power needed by the starter motor to start the bike.
You probably already knew this but I figured I'd mention it for those readers who are not familiar with the way these things work.
Any knowledge sharing is most welcome

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArizonaJim View Post

I don't know of any case for a UCE engine that does not have provisions for a starter motor so figuring out how to plug the hole where the starter motor was located is going to be a problem.
Standard 350 UCE doesn't have electric start. The photos on the web show an enclosed "hump". I haven't seen one in person, so planning to visit a showroom/SS to have a look.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArizonaJim View Post
This is especially true because the engine oil that is in the left sidecase lubricates all of the starter drive gears so that pad always has oil splashing around in it. Something would have to be made to seal it.
Ah, this brings another question. Do I have to drain the oil before I undertake anything?

Thank you all for your help and suggestions.
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Old 16th October 2013, 03:41   #9
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Default Re: Removing Electric Start?

You would be working exclusively inside the left hand side cover which has some oil in it to lubricate the primary drive chain, the clutch and the electric starter gears and sprag clutch and this oil would be lost.
Following the removal of the parts, adding a similar quantity of oil to the engine would be required.

The UCE starter drive housing (30) could be removed and replaced with a simple flat aluminum plate that duplicates the bolt hole size and pattern.

The factory parts manual has a good drawing of the left side of the engine where you would be working.
Attached Thumbnails
Removing Electric Start?-startergears.jpg  

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Old 16th October 2013, 11:58   #10
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Default Re: Removing Electric Start?

Don't know how relevant these are to the new gen UCE Engine. Please check out this link for few more manuals.
http://images.royalspares.com/part_m...hop_manual-II/

Removing Electric Start?-037.jpg

Removing Electric Start?-038.jpg
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Old 17th October 2013, 03:14   #11
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Default Re: Removing Electric Start?

The manual shown is for the AVL which is quite a bit different than a UCE.

Many thanks for the link to the manuals. Good descriptions of how to repair the AVL's that people in the USA own are rather rare in my country.
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