Motorcycle Starter Switch Repair (also works for the horn button on some bikes)

On my bike, 1991 Kawasaki EN500, both buttons are identical and come apart for cleaning.
If you can take it apart then you can probably fix it.
If it’s a sealed unit, then sometimes you can only replace it.

Categories: Motorcycle


  1. CarryonSkyrim
    CarryonSkyrim 18 January, 2016, 19:50

    Hi, nice informative video. I'm fixing a friends er 500 at the moment. He has disassembled the switch previously and stated he has lots the spring, anyway i replace that but the button itself (the part you actually press) has no metal back to it to make contact with the switch. It just has a plastic nobble. Now i don't know if he has lost a metal contact that's supposed to be there, or if it comes like that originally. Would it come as iv'e described? thanks.

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  2. Dramier
    Dramier 18 January, 2016, 19:50

    Thanks for taking the time to share this video.   About to do this exact same process on my '97 VN800's horn switch, and it was nice to see what I was getting into before trying it.   Ride safe!

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  3. Van Gardner
    Van Gardner 18 January, 2016, 19:50

    I have a 85 Yamaha fj1100 that doesn't start by the starter switch, it use to work but stop and plus my on and off switch doesn't work either can you tell me the problem thanks and like the video. 

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  4. eric videoguru
    eric videoguru 18 January, 2016, 19:50

    Believe it or not but my first motorcycle is a non running bike. I'm doing everything myself. This video is a huge help. Thank you so much. 

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  5. Josh Lewis
    Josh Lewis 18 January, 2016, 19:50

    Oh thank you sir for humbly gearing me out. I did not mean any offense so thank you again for being so receptive. Y'know there are attachments that you can make to help stabilize your camera. You can make a steady cam by taking to pipes welding one pipe horizontally to the bottom of a vertically orientated pipe. You let a few weights rest on the pipes. Now on the top of the vertical pipe you fit an attachment that lets you screw the base off your camera into it. Now the camera will be securely fastened to your "steady cam" when you move the camera about it will make your video very smooth looking when you move about. As if the camera were on a track. This is a makeshift "jib" of sorts so those sweeping shots or shots when filming something moving won't be jumpy they will look very stable!!! Hope that helps I know it's a long comment. 

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  6. Josh Lewis
    Josh Lewis 18 January, 2016, 19:50

    When you set the camera down, even though you are removing things, obviously you won't be able to give very detailed instruction because of the inability to view EVERYTHING. I would say you could re-cut the video and be sure to show literally every little or seemingly little thing. It's tough to hold a camera and work but maybe you could have someone assist you?

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  7. jessed96
    jessed96 18 January, 2016, 19:50

    Thanks man! I would honestly never thought the contacts were corroded! got some sand paper sanded down the contacts and works!

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  8. Bo Jay
    Bo Jay 18 January, 2016, 19:50

    I cleaned the item for the horn with no success… what do you suggest?

    However, it did work for my starter switch… running like a champ!


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  9. Ron Beatty D.V.M.
    Ron Beatty D.V.M. 18 January, 2016, 19:50

    I have to take my Honda Shadow Spirit starter switch apart this weekend. The button sticks when it is depressed so it doesn't disengage the starter. After doing some reading online in the Honda Forums, I found that this is a common problem. Dirt, corrosion and moisture interfere with electrical contacts.  It has to be taken apart, cleaned and lubruicated–but it MUST be done with the correct product. NEVER use something like WD-40, oils or greases that will draw dirt and dust in the near future.  I found this highly rated product on Amazon called Dexoit Contact Cleaner Spray: Using the product with a Scotch pad to gently clean, but not scratch is also important. It's safe on contacts and plastics. Never use anything abrasive like sandpaper or a knife blade. I found a nice link on the web showing pics of the starter switch with labelled diagrams:
    I hope you don't mind me adding more info here. Best regards! 

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    BIGKAMIDY1 18 January, 2016, 19:50

    hello The Mayor I have a CEV horn switch that's missing its button, do you have any ideas about how these things work. Looks like it has three contacts in there . how can I fabricate something to get it working ? link bellow
    thanks in advance

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  11. Andrew Wilson
    Andrew Wilson 18 January, 2016, 19:50

    Hi The Mayor. I have a 1997 Vulcan1500 classic. Sometimes when I presss the starter there is nothing. My lights are on and all the electrics seem fine. I grab the handlebars and move the headstock from side to side then press the starter and she fires into life. It runs rough and backfires abit. A friend says it could be a broken starter switch cable or a damaged kill switch cable. Could this be the problem? Thanks in advance.

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  12. Andrew Early
    Andrew Early 18 January, 2016, 19:50

    It worked great for the starter button on my Kawasaki Vulcan Mean Steak.  WAY cheaper than a trip to the shop.  Thanks!

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  13. roadrash
    roadrash 18 January, 2016, 19:50

    cheers great video.
    The screws in back of the housing on my Zxr250a are rounded
    will drill out, clean lint from housing and replace with new screws :)

    Reply this comment
  14. Curtis Means
    Curtis Means 18 January, 2016, 19:50

    Thanks mate… solved the problem on my 2000 Vulcan 800.. they wanted to charge me 280 fix it . it took me 10 minutes and just a pencil eraser to clean the contacts.

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  15. knightingalesaid
    knightingalesaid 18 January, 2016, 19:50

    Thanks! I'll check and see.

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  16. knightingalesaid
    knightingalesaid 18 January, 2016, 19:50

    I have a 1500 classic Vulcan-1998. When I put it in neutral and turn the ignition to on. Everything lights up. When I press the starter button sometimes it cranks and sometimes it doesn't. If I hold the clutch lever in and press the starter switch it cranks every time. The battery is at full charge.  Any ideas on this problems? Thanks, Gary

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  17. Richard Spencer
    Richard Spencer 18 January, 2016, 19:50

    Thanks that was a big help my gsx 1400 now starts no problem her in not so sunny Essex England, best regards Richard

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  18. Ho mer
    Ho mer 18 January, 2016, 19:50

    how about the horn itself, is it ok and good to spear some wd40 oil inside of it?

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  19. suburbanryder - The Mayor -
    suburbanryder - The Mayor - 18 January, 2016, 19:50

    If you hook them up to the power side of the horn switch they will be always on. Try switching to the other lead which is the switch side.

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  20. evilweevil1962egypt
    evilweevil1962egypt 18 January, 2016, 19:50

    Hi mate,i don't know if you can help, i have the same bike as you, in fact its the same year,it's called an EN 500 rather than a vulcan 500 in the uk.I've just got a pair of new horns ,but when i put them on they blast as soon as i turn the ignition on, i know the horn switch is ok as it works with the old horns.Any ideas on what the problem might be i would be greatful.

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  21. suburbanryder - The Mayor -
    suburbanryder - The Mayor - 18 January, 2016, 19:50

    When my switch stops working well and I don't have time to clean it I pop the side case and short the solenoid terminals to crank it over. Have you tried that?
    Also, the solenoid can sometimes get carbon scoring and not work good just like the switch. Unfortunately it cannot be taken apart and cleaned.

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  22. Chuck Baldonado
    Chuck Baldonado 18 January, 2016, 19:50

    Thanks for posting this video. I have been having trouble with my Vulcan 1500 which has the same switch. Your video does a good job of covering this issue. But in my case it didn't solve this problem. I've clean switch but my bike still starts only intermittently. I'm stumped.

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  23. suburbanryder - The Mayor -
    suburbanryder - The Mayor - 18 January, 2016, 19:50

    Mine is always hidden inside my helmet behind the visor. 🙂

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  24. suburbanryder - The Mayor -
    suburbanryder - The Mayor - 18 January, 2016, 19:50

    It's a Vado HD camera so I always have a camera for vlogging with me at all times.

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  25. MrPolymers
    MrPolymers 18 January, 2016, 19:50

    You need a helmet cam. Good job Mr. Goodwrench…

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  26. Vloggertainments
    Vloggertainments 18 January, 2016, 19:50

    can i be nosey and ask whats in your belt pouch?

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  27. suburbanryder - The Mayor -
    suburbanryder - The Mayor - 18 January, 2016, 19:50

    Thank you my friend. I am rather cheap so if I can pull it apart and clean it then I am money ahead.

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  28. WheelsNotHeels
    WheelsNotHeels 18 January, 2016, 19:50

    Gotta respect you guys who have such knowledge about bikes & their maintenance. I'm very lucky that my hb does all that work since he's worked on bikes since forever! Nice how-to!

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  29. suburbanryder - The Mayor -
    suburbanryder - The Mayor - 18 January, 2016, 19:50

    I am fortunate only two screws remove the entire electric housing. For some bikes that could be an hour job just getting to the switch.

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