Yamaha Golf Cart Starter Generator Problems

The Yamaha gas golf cart is one of the most preferred options among golfers. It offers great maneuverability and handling. The gasoline engine is very reliable and dependable. The golf cart allows the golfer to easily navigate the golf course without the need to carry a heavy golf bag on their back. The Yamaha gas golf cart uses a 4 stroke, gasoline, OHV single cylinder engine that is forced air cooled and produces 8.5kw (11.4 hp) of power and this allows the engine to do 3500rpm. The gasoline engine however has one significant problem, which is the inability to self-start. There is need to use a starter generator that draws energy from the lead-acid battery to run and supply the engine with the kinetic energy it needs to start. As such the starter generator is a crucial part of the Yamaha gasoline powered engine.

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Starter Generator Operating Principle

The Yamaha gas golf cart uses a combustion engine to generate the kinetic energy needed to rotate the wheels, however to start the engine a starter generator is needed. The starter generator is coupled to the engine crankshaft via a drive belt. When the operator of the Yamaha golf cart engages the starter ignition key, the contactor closes and current is drawn from the battery to power the stater generator/motor. The stater generator then rotates and forces the engine crankshaft to rotate with it. This kick-starts the combustion process while also sending power to the spark plug to ignite the gasoline. Once the engine starts running the starter stops functioning as a motor and starts operating as a generator converting the kinetic energy from the engine to electrical energy used to recharge the batteries.   The starter generator is any electrical motor hence it contains winding, armatures, stator and brushes. The armature is used to create a field coil that helps produce a magnetic field. The generator portion of the starter uses the initial burst of electricity from the battery to produce a consistent flow of electricity and that helps manage the golf cart operation. The starter generator can develop problems that hinder its performance as such they will be discussed below.

1. Insufficient Armature Voltage

The Yamaha golf cart starter may develop problems and fail to turn the engine on until the accelerator pedal has been held for several seconds. If there is a hum from the Yamaha starter generator while you press down the accelerator pedal, this usually indicates a problem with the armature voltage. To solve this problem, check the voltage using a voltmeter set to direct current, DC voltage measurement. Connect the voltmeter to the F2 and A1 terminals which are the positive and negative terminals respectively, and check the voltage reading on the voltmeter when the accelerator pedal is pressed down. The voltmeter reading should be 12 V. If the voltmeter reading is not 12V there might be a problem, meaning there might be a dead spot on the armature. In this case The Yamaha golf cart starter generator armature may need to be replaced.

2. Damaged Or Frayed Cables

Another problem that may affect the Yamaha golf cart starter generator are frayed or damaged cables on the generator. Usually, this problem is solved by replacing these cables. It is recommended to therefore regularly inspect the Yamaha golf cart starter generator for frayed or damaged cables before they cause bigger problems. Also check the winding insulation for any damages and replace if any are found.

3. Wear And Tear

Overtime the Yamaha golf cart starter generator may develop problems due to wear and tear from usage. This may be experienced by ticking sounds in the controller box. The ticking may also be caused by multiple components, such as bearings that have gone loose. Whenever one encounters this problem with the Yamaha golf cart it’s advisable to seek a qualified professional who will look into the problem and offer a solution. Opening and removing the starter generator can be challenging especially for the first time. Care is needed to label the starter generator wires before removing them to avoid confusion when putting them back. Removing the bolts that hold the generator needs a wrench and care is also needed when removing the belt hence it may be advisable to seek professional help. Care is also needed when putting in a new generator, ensure to properly secure the belt and adjust the belt tension to keep it taut.

4. Cumbersome Starter Generator Testing

Whenever one is bench testing a new or old starter generator it needs to be off the vehicle. This then needs one to be able to properly dismount and remount the Yamaha golf cart starter motor every time it is tested. Typically, one also needs battery jumper cables, 10-gauge jumper wires, a working battery and a vice to hold the starter generator to ensure it doesn’t get out of control while it is running. To solve this problem therefore it advisable to seek professional help to ensure the testing process is done properly and no further problems arise with the Yamaha golf cart starter generator.

5. Starter Generator Brushes Malfunction

The Yamaha golf cart starter generator brushes are important as they help to keep the generator running smoothly, however they are usually the first to develop problems and malfunction. It is therefore important to understand how to remove them if the starter generator stops functioning properly. Once the brushes have been removed one also needs to inspect each brush to make sure it is not broken. It is also necessary to clean the brushes or replace them if they are no longer useful. Use a proper wrench if working with the starter generator to prevent damaging the bolts. There is also need for a face mask and proper ventilation to break apart any dust particles that appeared from changing or replacing the brushes. The Yamaha golf cart starter generator may also need wiring and re-wiring if the original wires are defective.


In conclusion the starter generator is a crucial component of the Yamaha golf cart and without it the golf cart can’t start nor operate properly. Regular maintenance is a must to ensure the generator is operating as intended and there are no problems developing with it, as these problems may hinder the performance of the Yamaha golf cart or even create bigger problems that may be costly to address later on.