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Starter goes Whiz, Bang, Clunk......
If you've ever experienced it, it's a disheartening feeling. And here's the culprit. It's generally referred to as a "one way" clutch. (also called an over-running clutch) It allows for rotation in one direction and not the other. Hence the name. (I was tops in my class) Honda uses a "ramp and roller" style in our 1200's.

[Image: clutch02.jpg]

When the starter is engaged, it drives a chain connected to the starter driven gear. The driven gear is supported on the alternator shaft by roller bearings. During normal operation, with the engine running, the gear does not spin, neither does the drive chain. The one way clutch is bolted on the forward side of the rotor and rolls freely on the driven gear.
With the engine at rest, and the starter motor engaged, the driven gear (with the help of spring tension in the one way clutch) causes the rollers to move up the ramp. They "wedge" between the gear and the one way clutch housing, effectively "locking" the starter motor to the alternator shaft. The engine spins, and if everything else is correct, it actually starts and runs!
Unfortunately, things wear out. Some wear out prematurely due to bad maintenance, some just wear out on their own. The clutch on the silver Interstate got so bad, it would only engage one out of eight times. Very annoying and somewhat embarrasing. Anyone know a good mechanic? :roll:
We recently switched to full synthetic oil. (Oh, God! Not that again!) That's when the problem reared it's ugly head. Believe me, I know about ugly heads. :lol:
It wasn't the oil's fault. Synthetic oils have greater cleaning qualities than the dino oils. I'm sure the clutch was bad prior to that, and cleaning the oil sludge and gunk off the over-running clutch caused complete failure.

[Image: clutch01.jpg]

Unfortunately the starter clutch is located in the back of the motor and requires engine removal for repair. It's more work than replacing the stator. But it sure is fun! Confusedhock:
Upon disassembly, I found the problem. I also found that I didn't buy enough parts to repair it! I ordered a clutch repair kit, complete with springs, pins, and rollers. Those were cheap by comparison.
Here's what happens.
The rollers have a tendancy to "dig" into the machined surfaces. They leave small indents that are refered to as "brinelling". They look like little railroad tracks on the machined surfaces of the driven gear and the clutch housing. The rollers stop in these brinelled areas and don't completely lock the one way clutch. WHIZ, BANG, CLUNK. Mine weren't little dents. They were craters.

[Image: clutch03.jpg]

Replacing the driven gear, and the one way clutch housing, adds another $180.00 to the repair. Fortunately, I had two other engines to rob parts off of and came up with "useable" components that allowed me to reassemble the motor and get it back into the frame.

[Image: clutch04.jpg]

BTW, we're doing headgaskets and stem seals too. And since we had the back off, what the heck, we replaced all the clutch discs.

If your starter clutch fails, buy ALL the parts. 'Cause if you love external alternators, I can guarantee you, you'll HATE over-running clutches. 8)
#1 02-22-2009, 01:45 PM,
Good one GL, it's nice to be able to understand the 1200 in more detail.
The only stupid questions are the one's that are not asked.

#2 02-22-2009, 02:27 PM,
Darn, I need to get me a heated garage... Just looking at your project makes me want to start turning wrenches on mine...
Ed Zogg
#3 02-22-2009, 02:48 PM,
Ed Z Wrote:Darn, I need to get me a heated garage...

Darn, so do I.........the only way I kept warm was to "turn and burn".
I'd rather be riding.......
#4 02-22-2009, 02:56 PM,
Well, she's back together. Road tested and back in the garage. The starter no longer goes whiz, bang, clunk. Now we can stop hanging our head in shame when we push the little red button. :oops:
Hey Walter....done with yours yet? :lol:
#5 03-01-2009, 05:01 PM,
Now now Gl!! It's not nice picking on the handicapped!!! :mrgreen:
1985 Limited Edition
#6 03-01-2009, 05:23 PM,
Whiz, Bang, Clunk
Well isn't that the story of my rebuild. I put the seat on this afternoon and decided to get the engine warm enough to check for radiator leaks, the alternator was putting out 14 plus volts and the mere fact it was so nice out and I couldn't wait to circle the driveway a couple times.. Runs GREAT, shifted fine, and after getting the engine warmed up. I shut it off to admire my work. Well, imagine the surprise I got when I hit the starter button and heard Whiz, Bang, Clunk.... I just read the post and I'm trying to figure out how many hours I could have saved when I had the heads and carb assembly off this winter, and just torn it the rest of the way down to check the starter. So much for my long awaited riding season...
I guess I tear it apart and figure out what I'm going to need to replace.....
Thanks for the reality check gl....
#7 03-17-2010, 07:00 PM,
Well detailed as usual gl, thank you.
Ed (Vic) Belanger - 1954-2015
Founder of

#8 03-18-2010, 01:39 PM,
Since I failed to include the parts needed in the original post #-O
Here they are.
You'll find them in generator section of the parts fiche. I didn't take the time to cross reference all the numbers for interchangeability, so order based on application.
Note: The rollers, pins, and springs in the "box" will require three (3) of each.
You can sometimes find kits, but they will not include the gear or housing.

[Image: e16.bmp.jpg]
#9 03-20-2010, 10:17 AM,
And I thought Walter was a procrastinator?? Confusedhock: I know where he get's it from now!! :mrgreen:
1985 Limited Edition
#10 03-20-2010, 10:59 AM,
:YMSIGH: What I found today...
I'm going to order the parts today as suggested in "glhonda's" post. Can I polish up the inside face of the flywheel housing and be ok? :?: You can see some wear marks. Regarding ordering of parts, I see that "" looks like they have what I need? Any recommendations?

Inside of flywheel
[Image: pic.php?mode=largel&pic_id=94]

outside face of gear
[Image: pic.php?mode=large&pic_id=93]

[Image: pic.php?mode=large&pic_id=91]

#11 03-21-2010, 08:39 AM,
I wouldn't worry too much about the marks on the rotor. Most likely caused by the rollers "twisting" during engagement. The new gear and housing should eliminate that from happening.
#12 03-22-2010, 07:36 PM,
I would not worry about the marks either but if you do decide to polish the surfaces make certain that you use a form of sanding block or else you'll be looking for problems. The dips and hollows created by fingers and sandpaper can cause poor performance.
Ed (Vic) Belanger - 1954-2015
Founder of

#13 03-23-2010, 02:26 AM,
Thanks guys for your insight and Vic's advice relative to smoothing out the marks on the flywheel. The marks don't appear too deep.
My local Honda dealer confirmed this afternoon that sprocket and starter clutch not available from mother Honda.

All the rollers, springs, and caps are still available. I found a dealer in Greensburo NC that "may" have a clutch in his warehouse, and said he would get back to me.

I've seen a couple on ebay and other dismantlers, but I hate buying something used when I can't pick it up and see first hand. I understand there is a salvage yard not too far away not to take a day and go look. If you guys have any suggestions where to look for a "like new" used sprocket, let me know.
Thanks again gentlemen, as always, your guidance is sincerely appreciated! ^Smile^ ^Smile^
#14 03-23-2010, 03:05 PM,
Searching for a new starter clutch and sprocket has been quite a challenge. Found a used parts salvage place which had a couple 1200 engines for parts. Owner disassembled rear cover on one of them for me. I found that the gear wasn't any better than mine. I got the impression that the owner of the salvage place wasn't convinced I knew what I was talking about, and said the gear was fine to him. He wasn't about to allow me to check the 2nd engine :YMSIGH: .

Luckly, SRS Motorsports in Greensboro, NC actually found a starter clutch for me in their warehouse!! :YMAPPLAUSE: :YMAPPLAUSE:

So back to e bay, I was able to find a "potential" replacement sprocket. Not really knowing the condition of the sprocket, I figure I will try the machine shop fix on which ever one of them is worse if the one I bought online isn't sufficient:?: That way if it can't be repaired, I'll at least have something that will work. Thanks to "neoracer" for helping me find options.. :YMAPPLAUSE:
#15 03-28-2010, 06:51 PM,

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