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Starter Motors and Solenoids

Starter Motors and Solenoids

Electric starters on Harleys

Good inventions often take a while to catch on. Even though the first serial use of the electric starter (on Dodge, Model 30-35) dates back to the 1910s, it took 50 years before such electric helpers became part of Harley-Davidson motorcycles. From 1964 in the Servi-Car, from 1965 in the 1200cc engines of the Electra Glide and finally in 1967 in the Sportster models. The wishes of commercial and government Harley users ultimately tipped the scales. And let's be honest: If you have to deliver bread rolls or catch a traffic offender, you shouldn't spend a lot of time on a kicker pedal ... With the 8:1 compression ratio of an FLH, you quickly reach the limits of your physical capabilities.

Starter motor and magnetic switch

It may also have been a space issue that made Harley-Davidson hesitate with the introduction of electric starters. The move from the Duo Glide to the Electra Glide in 1965 brought with it a new frame, a new oil tank, a very large battery (very, very large!) and 12 V generator complete with matching regulator. The starter motor came in a generous size appropriate for the displacement, plus a solenoid switch so the starter didn't have to be engaged and disengaged by hand. If electric, then user-friendly and durable. That's why, after a test run in the Servi-Car with purely mechanical engagement of the starter gear, the additional starter relay and the electrical engagement aid in the form of the magnetic switch were added. With correct adjustment and appropriate battery maintenance in any case a reliable system.

Electric starter for Panheads or 750 sidevalves

Not only when the knees have arthritis and refuse the strain involved with kickstarting, an electric starter is a cool thing to have. With the 12 V power from a modern battery, the crankshaft simply turns faster and more often than by kicker shaft and pinion, and the carburetor also has an easier time with the mixture formation with several revolutions of the crankshaft in succession. This is an undeniable fact. With the technically sophisticated conversion kits from Samwel and Cannonball, you can lay the groundwork for this. A 12 V generator and a suitable regulator often are already there, just because you see better at night with 12 V bulbs. These starter conversion kits, by the way, easily circumnavigate the space issue that gave Harley-Davidson problems in the 1960s, by using modern technology.

How do I find the right starter motor for my Harley? How do I find the right spare part for my starter motor?

If the motorcycle is original, that's no problem: identify part by model or original spare part number from the parts manual and surf there in the store using the search function. If the Harley is not 100% original, our pictures can help. We don't get our photos from anywhere, but make them all ourselves, so you can see exactly what's in the box before you buy.

Have any questions?

Our service team will be glad to help out: Mondays - Thursdays 08:00-17:00 CET, Fridays 08:00-16:00 CET, Phone: +49 / 931 250 61 16, eMail: service@wwag.com