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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, first time posting. Have a 2019 bike (no ABS) that's always had some issues starting. Mechanic refused to check it out or even run diagnostics earlier on, so... now it's become a problem (like I thought it would) and pretty much on my own here. I was having issues but was starting up after a couple tries, then I got covid and was bedridden for four weeks. Now my bike won't start at all, no matter what. I don't want to have to tow it to the mechanic's so... trying to solve this myself (though I know little about mechanics)

So: Key into ignition, turn on kill switch, hit the start button. Usually there's a whirring sound when I turn on the kill switch, but occasionally there is not. (Not sure why this is inconsistent?) When I hit the start button, nothing. Occasionally it clicks.

My research indicated that it might be the starter relay, and I went in to my bike and can't find anything that looks like it? Battery is fine, I uninstalled and it's charging just in case but so far there's no indication there's any issue with the battery.

I took a pic of the inside after removing the battery, saw some electrical looking things? but they don't look like the starter relays I saw online? And also linked vid to me trying to start my poor bike (please forgive the dirtiness, it's an outdoor bike on a dusty street :( no garage)

...

I'm not technical at all but trying to learn more about my bike and I follow along well with clear instruction. So if anyone has knowledge about (where the starter relay even is? how to get to it?) and what I can do about it, I would be very grateful.

Video: Pictures of Inside? Is this related to the starter?:
https://imgur.com/Go8ppAX
 

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Hard to tell with you video as I have never seen so many toggles switched, keys turned, buttons pushed in a random sequence within 10 seconds.

What actually happens when you turn the key onto the on position, wait 5 seconds for the power on sequence to finish, and then hold down the starter for for 2 seconds? This is the way to start the motorcycle not the "finger jujutsu" you are doing in the video.
 

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Never assume the battery is OK. Almost always, a no-start/no-crank problem... is a bad battery or a bad connection coming off the battery/starter relay/starter leads. Fully charge the battery and have a technician or parts person "load test" the battery to see if it holds or breaks down.
 

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Yeah, don't understand the finger ju-jitsu is either? :LOL:
1.) You say it isn't the battery, how do you know? The battery could have enough juice to light up the dash, but not turn the bike over. Since you don't have tools to test the battery "under load" I'd recommend a new battery for starters.
2.) I always leave the kill switch on, 'n start the bike w/ the key.
3.) You might be able to bump start it? Google bump starting a motorcycle for reference. (What could go wrong? :ROFLMAO: )
4.) Hard to believe the starter relay's bad, but HERE
Good luck with that. (y)
 

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2019 Ninja 400 ABS, Pearl Storm Gray
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If the starter motor doesn't turn and the dash lights don't dim (and you don't hear the starter relay clatter) while you press the starter button, some things to check include the starter motor interlocks (that prevent the starter motor from turning when it might be dangerous):
  • is the side stand down? try raising the side stand or pulling the clutch lever in?
  • is the bike in neutral (it is not -- this seems like a/the problem!!!)? try putting the bike in neutral or pulling the clutch lever in?
There is no need to ever flip the engine stop switch to "stop" in my opinion -- just leave it on "run" all the time. (The bike has a "vehicle down sensor" which will automatically kill the engine in the case of a tip-over -- this works by killing spark -- the starter motor would still turn in this case if you were to try to start the bike, but the engine will not start -- for lack of spark -- until the bike is up-righted and the ignition switch is cycled off and then on again.)

-- Rich
 

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Looking at your dash the gear indicator is blinking a " -- " , this means the bike is lost in the gearbox, rock the bike forward and see if it finds the gear, if it is in gear switch to neutral and try again. I am pretty sure this is the problem!
 

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Looking at your dash the gear indicator is blinking a " -- " , this means the bike is lost in the gearbox, rock the bike forward and see if it finds the gear, if it is in gear switch to neutral and try again. I am pretty sure this is the problem!
^Yeah what he said. The bike isn't in neutral...or at least the bike doesn't think it is since the green neutral light isn't on and the gear indicator is flashing.
 

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You don't have to pull the clutch lever in if the bike is in neutral, but in his case, the bike is not in neutral -- so that'd definitely part or all of his problem.
 

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Took my trailer to a friend’s house ten miles away to take his bike to the shop for him. He was flummoxed. He said he could not get the bike to crank over; he replaced the battery with a brand new one, and still nothing. I get to his house, go over to the bike and click the starter, he was right, nothing. I then put the bike in neutral and put the side stand up, hit the button and the bike fired right up….. Got a slightly used battery out of the deal though…..
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hey y'all, sorry for late response! It turns out it was just the battery. I had my old battery recharged and it appeared fine, but then power would not go to the bike at all. I tried the suggestions, made sure bike was in neutral, tried with clutch pulled in, without side stand down etc. But didn't have to get it towed thankfully --- also learned a lot from the responses here. Got a new battery and starts like a charm.

And yeah, it does look like finger jiu jitsu! 😂 By the time I decided to make a video and post about it was very frustrated, lol. Glad to see it wasn't really a big issue at all! And had no clue you didn't actually need to **** with the kill engine switch to turn the bike on --- that's just how I'd always done it. Thanks guys for all the input.
 

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If it makes you feel any better my son and I went through nearly the identical experience with our 2009 Ninja 500 last weekend. We had never had any issue starting the bike in the year we had owned it, all the sudden it would periodically fail to start, clicking sounds when starter hit, nothing more. Sometimes instrument lights would dim, sometimes not. Thirty seconds later it would start. We had a Haynes manual that covered models up to 2008, tried troubleshooting tips it suggested, also had trouble identifying relays etc. because parts were different on different models. Thought we had it a couple times after reseating connectors and having it start regularly for awhile only to have it start failing again. We contacted the previous owner, nice guy, seems very knowledgeable. He said don't rule out battery. I had already charged battery, seemed to be charging, checked voltage with leads unhooked, read 12.7 so I assumed it was good. Finally out of frustration took a 12v marine battery I use for trolling motor and hooked it up to bike with the other battery out (I'm sure this is probably a horrible idea but I was getting desperate). Bike started every time. Went to dealer, bought and installed new battery, problem solved.
 

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If it makes you feel any better my son and I went through nearly the identical experience with our 2009 Ninja 500 last weekend. We had never had any issue starting the bike in the year we had owned it, all the sudden it would periodically fail to start, clicking sounds when starter hit, nothing more. Sometimes instrument lights would dim, sometimes not. Thirty seconds later it would start. We had a Haynes manual that covered models up to 2008, tried troubleshooting tips it suggested, also had trouble identifying relays etc. because parts were different on different models. Thought we had it a couple times after reseating connectors and having it start regularly for awhile only to have it start failing again. We contacted the previous owner, nice guy, seems very knowledgeable. He said don't rule out battery. I had already charged battery, seemed to be charging, checked voltage with leads unhooked, read 12.7 so I assumed it was good. Finally out of frustration took a 12v marine battery I use for trolling motor and hooked it up to bike with the other battery out (I'm sure this is probably a horrible idea but I was getting desperate). Bike started every time. Went to dealer, bought and installed new battery, problem solved.
I had exactly the same issue as you described, dealer told me to get a battery tender, since then the problem vanished. I have the bike on the tender all the time, get in the garage and first thing i do is hook it up to the tender.
 

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I had exactly the same issue as you described, dealer told me to get a battery tender, since then the problem vanished. I have the bike on the tender all the time, get in the garage and first thing i do is hook it up to the tender.
Thanks for the info, will have to try that , sounds cheaper than replacing batteries any sooner than necessary.
 

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I had the same issue today. Installed a new battery a month ago and made sure to charge it every 2/3 days with a smart charger as I dont ride alot lately. Key set to on postion, netural, and no nothing, no spark, nothing spinning. A few times like that and it worked when I pulled the clutch in. Could it be something else than the battery? fuse?
 

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That's baffling, but we're definitely seeing a pattern here -- you are not alone... Are you sure your battery connections are tight? Was your green "neutral" light lit on the dash?
 

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. . . A few times like that and it worked when I pulled the clutch in. Could it be something else than the battery? fuse?
You said "it worked when I pulled the clutch in". Yes, the clutch lever mUST be pulled in to start the motorcycle when the bike is in gear./ MAYBE the clutch lever has to be pulled in even when the bike is in neutral?

I know I ALWAYS pull the clutch lever in, regardless of whether a bike is in gear or in neutral.

IF you have been able to start the engine BEFORE with the clutch lever NOT pulled in, perhaps:

1. The clutch lever sensor is failing intermitttently, OR

2. You have done the clutch lever sensor bypass discussed many times on this forum, and the jumper you installed has corroded now or otherwise failed or become intermittent?

Jim G
 

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You said "it worked when I pulled the clutch in". Yes, the clutch lever mUST be pulled in to start the motorcycle when the bike is in gear./ MAYBE the clutch lever has to be pulled in even when the bike is in neutral?

I know I ALWAYS pull the clutch lever in, regardless of whether a bike is in gear or in neutral.

IF you have been able to start the engine BEFORE with the clutch lever NOT pulled in, perhaps:

1. The clutch lever sensor is failing intermitttently, OR

2. You have done the clutch lever sensor bypass discussed many times on this forum, and the jumper you installed has corroded now or otherwise failed or become intermittent?

Jim G
The bike was in netural, you can always start the bike when in neutral without the clutch pulled...

@Rich T yeah all tight and was in neutral, 100%
 
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