81-83 Virag Starter 

Description The ugly of it all
Author P.O.L. Mafia Date Thu Jul 27, 2006 12:52 pm Type Type 1
Category Tech Tips
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The 81 through 83 Virago’s have an issue with the starter that is, and can be, very aggravating. The Virago starter has all the same parts as a car starter except for the one way clutch. The Virago does not have a on way clutch. The few problems with the Virago starter are as follows
1. Battery cable post needs re-soldered (inside the starter case)
2. The bendix gear needs re-cut
3. Grease needs to be removed from the armature area
4. Internal gear reduction ring spins in case
Some parts that should never be removed.
1. Return spring in front of the bendix gear
2. 2 drag clips, one on the starter gear, one on the bendix gear
What these parts do.
1. Return spring.
One of the fixes on the net is to remove the return spring between the bendix gear and case. This is a band-aid on the symptom and can cause more expensive problems in the long run. This spring is the primary unit to push the bendix back away from the flywheel once the bike is started. If it is removed you will be relying on centrifugal force alone to sling the gear away from the flywheel. Not only that, you will have removed half of the mechanism that keeps the bendix gear away from the flywheel while the engine is running. If the bendix does not disengage from the flywheel, there is not a one way clutch to save the starter from being slung apart as there is on a car starter.
2. Drag clips.
The drag clips are there for a reason. The one on the bendix is primarily used during the engaging process of the starter. With out the drag clip on the bendix, the bendix would not be forced out to the flywheel. The drag it creates forces the worm gear that the bendix rides on to push the bendix out away from the motor and engage the flywheel. The clips drag also helps the spring push the bendix gear back into its resting position away from the flywheel. The drag clip on the starter gear is only needed during the disengagement process. It quickly brings the starter to a stop which makes the worm gear that the bendix rides on work in reverse and try to suck the gear back to it resting position.
As you can see, removal of these parts may help one part of the starting process but it greatly reduces the effectiveness of the other.
The fix’s

1. Starter Cable Post
One of the things I’ve found over the years is that the starter cable post needs to be cleaned and re-soldered. If care is not taken to keep the post from turning during the removal and replacement of the battery cable, it will compromise, loosen and possibly break one if not both of the connection’s to the armature. Any grease that has got into the armature area should be cleaned out as it will suck power and cause starter drag.
2. Bendix Gear Re-cut
After months of use you will notice that the starter starts making a growling noise and starts to get harder to start. Nothing seams to help alleviate the problem. The cause of this problem is that the tooth facing on the bendix gear becomes flat from repeated engagement with the flywheel. There is nothing that can be done to stop this from happening. When you hear the growling start it is time to re-cut the teeth. This can be done very easily with a Dremel or (like I use) a chop saw. What you need to do is put a point back on the gear. The engagement face should be at a 45 degree angle. You should get 3 to 4 cuttings before you need a new gear. You don’t have to take a lot of meat off, just enough to bring the face back to a point (not razor sharp) instead of a flat surface.
The engagement face of the #2 idle gear needs to be pointed to allow for the #2 and the flywheel to mesh together. If the flywheel is battered to then use a file to smooth the gear as best you can. Re-cutting the teeth will not stop the growling for good. It will do it again. This is the only thing I have found that will work for any length of time over one or two starts.

3. Grease in the starter case
Grease in the case where the armature is will cause current drain, starter drag and premature armature failure. Be sure to clean the grease out with carb cleaner or equivalent.
4. Internal gear reduction ring spins in case
During rebuild of the starter housing, there is a small pin in the shape of a T that holds the outer ring in the gear reduction system in place so it does not spin. If this pin is left out (common when someone does not know what they are doing) or becomes bent or distorted beyond repair, the outer ring must be staked in place. This can be done in a few different ways.
A.if you have access to a welder you can put a small bead in all four corners to keep the ring in place. DO NOT WELD ALL THE WAY AROUND! You run the risk of distorting the case and heat stress fractures in the ring gear causing premature failure.
B.Get a new pin. If the hole is not damaged you can merely go to Yamaha and get a new pin.
C.The way that I would recommend, clean the gear and its mating surface with carb cleaner, ether (starting fluid) or equivalent. Use a heavy grit sand paper to scuff the outer part of the ring and the case where it sets. Mix up some high strength epoxy and epoxy it in place.

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