TrailMaster 150 XRX Solenoid Clicks but Won’t Start

So I’m fixing this go kart; it wouldn’t start so I replaced the battery and put a new carburetor on it. It ran perfectly for the first few days, then it started to just click sometimes when trying crank it but after a few tries it would crank. Now all it does is jut click at the solenoid and won’t crank. I tested the solenoid by putting a screwdriver in-between the bolts and it turns over so I think the solenoid works. I took the starter out and connected it straight to the battery, and it spins, so according to some guy on YouTube, it works as well. I really have no idea what is wrong with it. Some sketchy website said to connect the negative battery cable to the starter motor bolt. I tried that and nothing would even turn on or light up. I’m a beginner at working on this stuff so I’m at a loss at this point. Any help is appreciated, thx!

I’ve had a similar issue before, I know you replaced the battery, have you recharged it since you replaced it? The starters suck a lot of energy and some motors don’t have a return to keep the battery charged while in use. I’ve had the Same issue, would click but no start, sometimes the bendix would spin but not with enough energy to turn the engine on, put the battery on a charger overnight and fired up first time!

I tried that the first time it stopped and then it was working again, but now it stopped again and I have charged it and reconditioned it, but to no avail.

Hmm, sounds to me like your doing everything right. I’m not familiar with the Dune buggy style kart that is the XRX, hopefully someone can chime in and help solve it.

Does it start with ignition on and the screwdriver across the solenoid?

One way to verify if it is a bad starter motor is, while turning the key (or whatever) to crank it and simultaneously tapping on the side of the starter with a hammer or large wrench. You want to hit it hard enough to shock the interior, but not so hard you dent the exterior. If it starts spinning up after a few taps, you have a bad starter motor. Replace it.

1 Like

With the ignition on, it just turns over, but it doesn’t start. It just acts like an old car trying to cold start or something. Am I supposed to turn the key while doing that?

Since you tried grounding the starter, now check both the positive cable from the battery to the starter. Sounds like a bad connection or cable. Just make sure not to short it…

Wdym by check the positive cable from the battery to the starter? Are you saying to just check for damage to the cable?

I can’t really get to it with a hammer but I used a ratchet extension and hammered the end of that and still didn’t notice anything happening.

So the engine is turning over? or the starter just spins and the engine remains stopped? I can help with mechanical stuff, but I need to understand the symptoms to know were to lead you to go for testing components.

If the starter spins while mounted to the engine and the engine is not turning over, you have an issue with the bendix. (the gear that extends out to meet the flywheel gear and turn the engine over) You can usually replace a bendix without having to replace the whole starter.

If you mean while out of the engine the starter spun fine, but in the engine it just makes a click from the solenoid then check to see if you can manually turn the engine over at the crankshaft (should have a nut or keyed shaft under the side engine cover that you can put a wrench/socket on to see if the engine rotates. avoid pliers.)

If the crankshaft turns somewhat freely and it turns over with the starter, then check for the three things needed for combustion: spark, fuel and compression. This is a whole other path of diagnosis.

If the crankshaft turns somewhat freely, but not using the starter you likely have a bad starter. Windings could be weak, bearings/bushing could be worn, who knows. You can take a starter to an automotive electrical shop and they can bench test it for you for a fee and maybe even fix it for a fee. Or you can just buy a replacement from the manufacturer.

The devil is in the details.

So the starter doesn’t turn when I turn the key. However it does turn when I put a screwdriver between the bolts on the solenoid.

First off, I do not know your level of “wrenching ability” and by you posting on this site I am going to assume its not that strong or that you realize what topics are generally discussed here. That’s okay. We are a helpful bunch. BTW - We are mostly about racing karts (sprint racing), but sometimes we stray and go on about smoking meats or art so who am I to fault. With that said, I am trying to help you and if I am talking over your head or sound belittling, that is not my intention. I explain this kind of stuff to customers for a living.

I am going to assume the starter is in the kart. Does the engine turn too? if so, then you need to start looking at electronics. By putting a screw driver across the contacts on the back of the starter solenoid, you are bypassing the trigger mechanism. Starters are wired differently than most other electrical devices. Due to the huge amp draw a starter places on the battery there is usually a relay or micro-switch responsible for triggering the solenoid on the starter itself. Not knowing your specific design as it is essentially a “yard kart” and not a “racing kart” you will have to do some investigating and report back. The purpose of this is to send a low amp signal to the solenoid, which then triggers direct/high amp powering of the starter motor directly from the battery. Otherwise you would have to run larger gauge wire, longer distances and risk shorting hazards were you don’t want them.

1st - follow the wires out of back of the key switch and see what they are connected to. It should ultimately go to a relay (small square/rectangular cube with four or more metal prongs that plug into a base) or at micro-switch (flat, plastic and metal tabbed plate with several metal prongs on one end and usually a single larger metal tab across from it possibly under the cover of an electronics box).

2nd - Look at the wire connections on the back of the starter. The starter housing is usually the ground. There should be 2 other wires connected to the solenoid on the starter that are positively charged when active. A thick one (connected directly to the battery/always charged) and a thin one (leading back to your relay/micro-switch charged when triggered by the key switch). Follow the thin one back to its connection. It should end up at the same location your key switch wire ended or there abouts.

3rd - Using a test light or multi-meter (better option) see if you have voltage when the key is turned at the key switch. Connect one end of light/MM to a good ground and other to each wire out of key switch. One will always be hot (show power) the other will only be hot when key is turned. Check if you have voltage at the small wire on the starter solenoid when the key is turned. If both are yes, you have a bad starter, if yes at the switch and no at the solenoid you have a bad relay/micro-switch.

Back in my day, you still had to pull the rip-cord to start your yard kart. My…things have progressed. :rofl: Back in its Hay-Day they had to lift the rear wheels off the ground and run with the kart, then drop it to roll start the engines in Sprint Karting. We are all happy about electronic starting.

Anyway, let me know what you find.

1 Like