I have been fighting a strange and frustrating starter problem on a 1987 FLHT thats got me stumped. On a recent trip the starter started to be labored but still worked, being five hundred miles from home it gave up the ghost and ran free at a gas stop while attempting to start. I pulled the right side cover and took the negative off the battery to stop the free running starter, had it flatbedded to a dealership and did an overnight in a flea infested hotel (little woman not impressed but brilliantly silent).
Next day back on road with new solenoid all is well, not quite, starter labored again. Stop at different dealership and buy new battery, back on road all is good for the day then battery seems low, starter labored. Heading home bike left running while fueling and such. One overnight stop and bike barely starts in morning with devine intervention, make non-stop for home never turning off motor for anything.
Now at home I have changed the starter, the starter shaft, the shifter arm, the pinion gear, starter relay, main breaker and put in another new solenoid. Now when I hit the button the solenoid energizes and the pinion gear seems to not be exactly in sync with the ring gear and doesn't mesh thus causing the starter motor to never energize form the solenoid switch. I noticed on the old starter shaft someone repaired some gauling on the shaft by emory cloth so its had a history, which is why I sprung for the new parts. The primary case needle bearing looks to be good so I haven't messed with it. I have had this apart about twenty times trying to fugure out whats up and still the same out come of things not quite right. The pinion just is not engaging the ring gear. The little woman broke her silence and said "So why don't you just buy a new bike", I like the way she thinks but this has become personal. Any similar experiances and or solutions?