Starter? starter? ... what starter?

  • Thread starter Thread starter Anonymous
  • Start date Start date
Not open for further replies.


Hi all,
I just finished making and installing Dynodave's very slick starter circuit upgrade wire set, and I went to connect the last wire from the solenoid to the starter. I couldn't locate the terminal that my book shows as being on top of the starter ... very odd.

I removed the starter and LO :( the starter is mounted upside down, with a hole where the terminal should be :?

After opening it up, more surprises :x the entire armature is gone, and a piece of foil is hose clamped to the inside of the comutator cover :evil:

So does anybody have some spare parts? ... or know some options other than buying a complete new starter?

I guess I could go without (as the last owner did), but I don't want to!
Mk3 starter motor


Look for one at the Clubman's on Saturday. If you don't see one talk to Ken Armann.

I have the 1/4 british pipe thread tap in my bag, see you there.
Have you checked inside your primary cover? Do you have all the gears and the infamous sprag clutch to run the starter? The starter motor is only a small part of the mess that Norton made to install an electric leg. Most people who would go to the trouble to remove the guts from the starter would have stripped the extra gears from the primary as well.

Ron L.
There's a real opportunity here for someone with the ability to take a more common and possibly more technologically improved starter and adapt it to the Norton. I've heard that there are some HD Sportster starters that are similar as well as some snowmobile starters that can work. I suppose a good machinist could put something together with an adapter or modified pinion gear. The first one would be difficult but after that it should be easy and I'm sure there is a market for this out there. A lot of us old guys are getting too arthritic to kick these things over. :(
BTW what does the new Norton America use for a starter?
My buddy and I have looked at the setup on Dreer's early 880's. It appears to be based on a late Harley Sportster. The cradle is modified for clearance and the inner primary is machined with a loop welded to cover the bendix. A ring gear is built into his clutch basket for the belt drive. We have toyed with the idea of fitting the Sportster ring to a Norton clutch basket. It looks like it can be made to work.

Ron L
dynodave, you're a crackup :lol: :lol:

In the early 70's, I was cruising around Gloucester and the North Shore on one of my two Honda 750 dressers.

Did you ever go to the Moto Guzzi (?) shop to meet the "Retreads" and the "Cape Ann Random Riders" for their Wednesday night rides? The average age was deceased.
Thanks guys for all the replies. I'm not sure what I'll do for my starter. Maybe I'll see if I can snag a good used one for before I start a re-engineering project sure to delay my riding. I'll also check my gears and clutch for wear.
I don't know if you are aware that a blanking plug is made that can be installed in place of the starter. This allows you to have a rideable bike while you service/source a starter.
Ron makes a good point about the primary. Have you been in it yet?
If the sprag and reduction gears aren't there, you'll spend hundred$ chasing all this down along with the starter. When you are all done, at best you'll have a moderate starter that is inconsistent.
I have new brushes, upgraded cables and higher amp battery. I run 20/50 oil and live in So Cal, and it is not to be trusted.
Now I have two more options, change out the battery tray, go to a Gold Wing / Harley size battery (very heavy) or go to a 4 brush conversion. All this requires more and more dollar$.
I share this with you because when I first got my Mark III, I immediately blanked off the starter to focus on other areas. It is only recently I have started dealing with the starter. I am also asking myself why, a properly tuned Commando should be maximum 3 kicks. If it isn't, fix it.
Thanks Mike,

You do make a good argument. I certainly don't want to be wasting my resources right now. Three kicks max is fine with me.

Besides, when I pull up to the HD mutual admirations groups around here, they'll all be wishing they could have a kicker just to look more macho 8)
Mk3 starter


Again you have a great opportunity to talk to Gar Jorgenson at the Clubman's tomorrow. His Mk3 roadster turns over with no problems. The secret is good wires and a closed cell gel battery from Frank Recoder. Frank is another club member that owns a battery supply company in the east bay. Both gentlemen will be at the show.
Thanks David

Arrrgggghhhhh ... I just bought a battery this week.
Commando Mk3 Starter Motor

A Mercury marine outboard starter motor fits straight in and is 4 brush and operates very successfully. Check at your Mercury dealer or Marine out board motor wrecker. Beware of voltage drop problems using Boyer ignition with Mk 3 electric start. I reverted to the original points ignition.
Aha! I knew that some Mercury outboards used a similar Prestolite starter, but could never confirm that the armature gear was the same. Do you know if there are specific models or are they all the same? This is worth pursuing because I have a half dozen starters with armatures that are so worn or pitted they are worthless.
Ron L
Re: Commando Mk3 Starter Motor

Ivon said:
A Mercury marine outboard starter motor fits straight in and is 4 brush and operates very successfully. Check at your Mercury dealer or Marine out board motor wrecker. Beware of voltage drop problems using Boyer ignition with Mk 3 electric start. I reverted to the original points ignition.
Am I missing something?

Any chance of getting the prestolite PN ?

I have a copy of the complete prestolite MGD-4000 series parts lists and seen no other reference to the MGD-2044 armature being originally used in anything other than the MGD-4111(norton) starter.

The MGD-2044 armature would have the special gear machined into it for the norton. is there another that will work?
Not open for further replies.