Virago starter change

Before we change the starter, be sure it is the starter you need to change. The older Virago's have a strange starting system. The starter itself does not have a bendix, so if you hit the start button and your starter turns but does not engage, it's not your starter that needs fixing. These Virago's have friction clips that cause a gear to be thrown out on a spline to engage the flywheel.

First let's address the friction clip issue. You will have to remove the left engine cover. (You would have to do this to change the starter as well.) Be very careful to mark where each bolt goes, as they are different lengths. When you get your hex bolts removed, carefully pull the cover off. Part of the gear shaft for your starting gear is in a seat in the cover. You will have to remember the order of the gears and spring on the shaft to put it back together. On the throwout gear is a friction clip. Over time and use they loose their resilience. Carefully remove the clip. What I did since I couldn't find a new one to buy (even ebay didn't have them) was carefully squeeze the end of the clip to tighten it again. The only way to test if you have it tight enough is to reassemble the whole system and try it.

Now let's do the starter change.
First, disconnect your main power from the battery, then disconnect the power cable from the starter. Remove the hex bolts from the back side of the starter, but do not pull the starter out. Next you will have to remove the left engine cover. Make sure you mark the bolts and placements as they are different lengths. I use a sharpie and number them as I pull them out. Carefully remove the engine cover as the starting gears are on a shaft that rests in a seat in the cover. You will be able to see the starter motors head gear and sticking off of it is a friction clip. Remove the friction clip and then you can pull the starter out of the socket. To install the new starter, put a small amount of motor oil on the rubber ring that is on the neck of the starter and push the starter into the socket until it is snug and the rear bolt holes line up with the threaded holes in the engine block. Reinstall the bolts that hold the starter in place. Reinstall the friction clip on the starter head gear, making sure that the long end of the clip is in the slide groove. Reinstall your left engine cover. Reconnect the power cable to the starter. Reconnect your main power cable to the battery.

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