Nightmare work by previous owner


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Nightmare work by previous owner

Postby WingAdmin » Mon May 19, 2014 10:19 am



I just read this in the GL1000 forum:

KenoshaGoldwing wrote:Speaking of brakes... Looking at my girl and looking at other motorcycles of similar vintage, I have come to realize that my front wheel differs quite substantially. A PO removed the original front wheel and replaced it with one with only one brake rotor. The other brake line has been snipped and plugged with a bolt. Wow.


I replied with this story:

I once had a look at an old car that a friend had just bought. He said the brakes weren't working very well, and asked if I could have look at it for him. I pulled the front wheels off. One brake looked fine. The other had a caliper that had obviously been leaking for some time. The previous owner had "fixed" the leaking brake problem by cutting the brake line, bending it over and crimping it shut with a pair of vice-grips, then duct-taping the vice grips to the suspension arm. Job well done!

This also reminds me of some nightmare work done by previous owners that I've found in "new to me" bikes. In fact, I don't think I've EVER bought a "new to me" bike where the previous owner hadn't done some absolutely reprehensible repair or addition work.

For whatever reason, it seems like the electrical system is the most common target of horrible previous owner abuse. On my GL1100, I ripped out a fair amount of aftermarket lighting wiring that had been done with speaker wire, connected by twisting the wire ends together and wrapping with electrical tape.

My GL1500 had a huge amount of terrible wiring done to it - including remnants of wiring that had been cut and abandoned. I found a nest of mystery wire up near the triple tree. Wondering what it was connected to, I started pulling and trying to untangle it, only to find that it was connected to...nothing! The whole lot just came right out.

A year later I thought I had removed all of the previous owner "work" from my GL1500, but when installing a trailer light isolator, I found that some of the harnesses and connectors started falling apart in my hands as I disconnected them! I found plenty of examples like this:

Image

This is a good example of the quality of wiring work I found. In this case, the previous owner wanted to splice into the green wire. He yanked on the wire until the terminal's locking tab inside the 6P connector broke, and the whole thing came out. He then pried open the crimp on the terminal, stuffed a second wire in it, tried to re-close the crimp, and shoved the whole mess back into the nylon 6P connector. When I disconnected it, the terminal fell out of the connector, and then fell off the wire that had been stuffed in there.

I found another one where the added wiring had just been done by stripping some of the end of the wire and shoving it into the 6P connector next to the terminal, hoping it would stay in place and keep some sort of contact.

In the end, I had to rip out every piece of "modified" electrical work and replace it all.

I know of several people who have found that previous owners "fixed" a failed water pump, which identifies itself by leaking coolant out the "weep" (or "telltale") hole, by screwing a screw into the hole. There, fixed!

So...let's hear your stories. What nightmare work have you found performed by previous owners?



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BigDee
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Re: Nightmare work by previous owner

Postby BigDee » Tue May 20, 2014 1:04 am

Too hard to replace the return throttle cable... The PO just snipped it off and prayed!
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spiderjack
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Re: Nightmare work by previous owner

Postby spiderjack » Tue May 20, 2014 9:07 am

I once had an old Honda that I bought cheap because the owner had intermittent electrical problems that he wasn't able to fix. He said he had found some chafed wires and fixed them, but it didn't fix the problem.

Once I opened it up, I found that someone had routed the main harness incorrectly, causing it to be rubbed against the triple tree every time the steering was moved. It had worn through the insulation of several wires, causing multiple shorts. Fortunately the previous owner had made some repairs. Unfortunately, he didn't repair ALL of the wires, I still found quite a few that looked like this:

Worn insulation
Worn insulation


And much worse, the repairs he DID make looked like this:

Wire nuts and bare connections
Wire nuts and bare connections


Note some of the connections made using household wire nuts, others made by soldering (but not insulating!) wires. I couldn't believe what I saw when I opened it up, which is why I had to take these pictures.

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Re: Nightmare work by previous owner

Postby harvey01 » Tue May 20, 2014 4:53 pm

You guys are offering a wonderful tutorial on why dealerships do not want to work on bikes more than 10 years old. You have got to have knowledge, patience and time to solve this type of problems and a tech just does not.
harvey
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Re: Nightmare work by previous owner

Postby thrasherg » Tue May 20, 2014 5:09 pm

It also takes a long time to find & fix these faults and people just cannot justify that kind of expense on a 10 year old bike!! The attitude of most people is that the bike isn't worth much, so the repairs shouldn't cost much, but it just doesn't work that way!!

Gary

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Re: Nightmare work by previous owner

Postby Uncle Fester » Wed May 21, 2014 9:54 am

thrasherg wrote:It also takes a long time to find & fix these faults and people just cannot justify that kind of expense on a 10 year old bike!!
Gary


Here in Oklahoma, we only have one DEALER who will work on 10 year old plus bike at all, Shawnee Honda, we also have Wing Enterprises in Okc. . . Just incase anyone is traveling through and needs some help.

As for WTH work done on a bike, the '96 1500 I recently got had a issue before I ever got it with a bad connector killing the battery in a day, and later on I found a more or less correct addition of saddle bag lights conversion done with VERY short and thin wire, clamped with wrong size butt connector . 18ga wire with 14 ga blue butt connector. Also found same issue on my Ring of Fire. . .

Got to love buying a used bike, huh ? I hope one day to be able to afford a brand new bike. . . Some day.
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Re: Nightmare work by previous owner

Postby WingAdmin » Fri May 30, 2014 10:37 pm

I just remembered this tonight - when I first got my GL1500, the rear crash bars had been replaced with a wrap-around bumper. I noticed the right side of the bumper was a bit loose, and I could tell that where it was bolted to the frame in place of the original crash bar, the bolt had obviously come loose. I marked it down on my list of things to fix.

A month or so later, I got things in that area taken apart, and I was absolutely astounded at what I found.

The bumper was in fact affixed to the frame where the original crash bar mounts. The trailer hitch that had been installed also used this same mount point.

The bolt that fastened these two very important things to the frame of the motorcycle, well, it wasn't there. You see, the trailer hitch mounting bracket didn't line up 100% correctly with the threaded hole in the frame, so the previous owner obviously couldn't get the bolt in there to secure it. So he didn't bother.

Instead, both the bumper AND the trailer hitch on my bike were held in place with a single nylon wire tie that was threaded through the frame bolt hole. I kid you not.

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Re: Nightmare work by previous owner

Postby bustedwing » Sat May 31, 2014 8:54 am

When I bought my current Gold Wing trike the air shocks did not work. Since this was my first trike I thought maybe for some reason the air shocks were changed during the conversion. A month later I rode across a set of railroad tracks that were pretty rough and the rear end dropped right down on the tires. I was only 2 blocks from home so got into my garage and found that whoever first removed the air shocks, installed cheap hydraulic ones, but welded new bottom brackets on and both sides were crooked. Even if I put new shocks on they would not last very long with crooked brackets. So bought new shocks , made new bottom mounts, had them welded in, I now have what the bike was supposed to have to begin with. Talked to po he said a dealer did that and charged him a lot of money to do it.
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Re: Nightmare work by previous owner

Postby jakebaldwin30 » Sun Jun 01, 2014 7:41 am

I am the proud owner of a 1983 1100i 30k. Beautiful. When I purchased the bike it was very clean, brand new Metzler tires, it only needed some carb work to get going. Bike wanted to jerk the rear end when throttled but only at first through every gear shift. Went through everything i could possibly find. Was told I had a sloppy drive train and the slack was giving that jerk. All done first long ride. Stop to get air 42 miles from home and the valve stem literally falls off in my hand. New tires but 1983 stems rooted and shot. Got the bike home, went to remove toe for repair and I could not believe what I saw. The three bolts that attach the shaft housing to the diff housing. Were not secured. Not one nut on any of them and the studs were beat past the threads. All better now and she tracks a whole lot. Better too!

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Re: Nightmare work by previous owner

Postby David R » Sun Jun 01, 2014 9:31 am

I purchased a 1980 interstate and when I bought a Clarion radio to replace the one on top of fairing I found all the connectors on the harness were cut off and most of the wires were going nowhere. I think the reason was to install two light bars on the back of the bike. The rectifier was also hard wired and not the right rectifier. I have been trying to find a new wiring harness but with no success

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Re: Nightmare work by previous owner

Postby offcenter » Sun Jun 01, 2014 9:55 am

My 76 GL came with a leaking water pump, which I knew going in. When I took it apart to replace it, I found
that someone had smeared the outside bottom of the engine with epoxy to stop the gasket on the front engine cover from leaking!
Quite a BIT of epoxy! It took a lot of work to scrape it all off the engine case and the front cover that houses
the water pump!
But, there's more!
The bike has a Windjammer fairing. I found that someone had WELDED the Windjammer mounting frame to the
frame of the bike! Furthermore, the mount is welded too high, causing the front forks to contact the Windjammer
frame when the fork is turned all the way left or right. In fact, the steering can't be turned to full lock in either
direction because of the Windjammer mount!! Damn.
And of course, the wiring going to the Windjammer's lights looks like hell. Typical crap wiring job.
George in Jersey.
99 Goldwing GL-1500 SE
76 Goldwing Gl-1000
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Re: Nightmare work by previous owner

Postby Missourimike » Sun Jun 01, 2014 10:28 am

A fellow once brought to me a '75 GL1000 to be worked on and get running. He had spent many $ getting it repainted, bags, trunk and all. It was a good looking bike. I pulled the carbs and found every single one of them broken inside, loose bowls, stripped screws galore. This was just the beginning. I worked on that bike for over a year, when the new owner could afford to buy more parts. To list what all was wrong with it, would take too much of mine and yours time. The PO was a one-armed alcoholic who spent most of his time doing maintenance in the tavern parking lot. Yes, he had a missing right arm, and a device on the throttle to operate it with a hook for a hand. I spent so much time on that bike, that when it went away, I told the new owner that I never wanted to see that bike again. It was truly what I refer to as "The Wing From Hell".

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Re: Nightmare work by previous owner

Postby WingAdmin » Sun Jun 01, 2014 10:59 am

I just remembered another one. When I put new tires on my GL1100, I suddenly acquired a rather dangerous weave above 35 mph or so. I had done a lot of other work on the bike at the same time as replacing the tires, so of course I went over my work first to ensure it wasn't something I had done.

I did eventually figure out what it was. A previous owner had taken the swingarm off at some point. When he reinstalled it, he put the pivot pins in backward - left on the right side, right on the left side. This left quite a bit of lateral free play in the swingarm.

With the old, rather worn tires, the contact patch was wide enough to keep the swingarm tracking without weaving. However, with a brand new rear tire with its rounded profile, this "drag" on the swingarm no longer existed - so it started to "swing" left and right at speed!

I removed the pivot pins, reinstalled and torqued the properly, and the bike rode like new again.

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Re: Nightmare work by previous owner

Postby leonhardtd » Sun Jun 01, 2014 11:19 am

I just bought a GL1500 that looked great. After riding it for about a week, I noticed that the turn signal indicators glowed when I applied the brakes, either front or rear. I started searching sites to see if there was any advice about what the problem might be. Almost all stated that the problem was a poor ground connection. So I began looking for a bad ground connection. After taking the bike almost completely apart and putting Dielectric grease on every connector I could find, I came to the White 20+ pin connector that I had trouble pulling apart. I noticed that one of the pin slots looked dark like it had gotten hot, but did not check which circuit it was part of. I kept on pulling things apart and greasing, but could not get the problem to go away. After 4 days of checking, I went back to the connector that had the burned contact and checked to see what circuit it was in. It was the Ground Wire circuit for the entire rear of the bike. The PO had added on every conceivable light that could be put on the back of a GL1500 and the amount of current that was being drawn through that one pin was way too high. I added several grounds to the back of the bike and the problem went away!!
I could have fixed the problem sooner if I had recognized the burned pin and checked the circuit, but at least I got to check out the entire bike, finding other installation 'problems' and fixing them too.
It really was a grounding problem, but not what I expected.
Darrell

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Re: Nightmare work by previous owner

Postby ankgrays » Sun Jun 01, 2014 11:42 am

Bought an 81 1100i. I was doing routine things too it from a few years of neglect, when i decided to pull the old Kraco CB out of it...you know the old "everything in

the mic" kind. Removed with no probs. Few days later, i was doing some more stuff to the bike and got digging around in the fairing and found 4...not 2 coax cables

still strung in the fairing...two without end connectors on them...just stripped back with bare wire and shielding sticking out.

OK...I know from being a ham radio op for the last 37 years that one is for the CB antenna and one is for the am-fm radio antenna...the other two...I got no idea.

Sooooo...digging further required more digging etc., so decided to leave the wires "hang" and work on it the next day.

Next day I started the bike to charge the battery, just cause it hadn't been started in a while.

I brushed the hanging wires and..... they sparked!! That means they have electricity in them!!!

Long story short...traced them back to the fuse box...previous owner had used the coax for electrical connections for some old accessories that were

long gone and removed cause he didn't have the correct wire to use. Removed accessories...just not the (live)wires.
I don't tolerate voluntary stupidity very well, and it seems to be rampant now-a-days.

"One of the problems about quotes from the internet, is that one cannot confirm their validity." - Abraham Lincoln

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Re: Nightmare work by previous owner

Postby WingAdmin » Sun Jun 01, 2014 12:50 pm

ankgrays wrote:Bought an 81 1100i. I was doing routine things too it from a few years of neglect, when i decided to pull the old Kraco CB out of it...you know the old "everything in

the mic" kind. Removed with no probs. Few days later, i was doing some more stuff to the bike and got digging around in the fairing and found 4...not 2 coax cables

still strung in the fairing...two without end connectors on them...just stripped back with bare wire and shielding sticking out.

OK...I know from being a ham radio op for the last 37 years that one is for the CB antenna and one is for the am-fm radio antenna...the other two...I got no idea.

Sooooo...digging further required more digging etc., so decided to leave the wires "hang" and work on it the next day.

Next day I started the bike to charge the battery, just cause it hadn't been started in a while.

I brushed the hanging wires and..... they sparked!! That means they have electricity in them!!!

Long story short...traced them back to the fuse box...previous owner had used the coax for electrical connections for some old accessories that were

long gone and removed cause he didn't have the correct wire to use. Removed accessories...just not the (live)wires.


I'm shaking my head and laughing at this one. Sorry. :)

spanorky
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Re: Nightmare work by previous owner

Postby spanorky » Sun Jun 01, 2014 7:12 pm

When I bought my '83 GL1100, in 2006, I noticed a dimmer than normal Low Beam Headlight and my High Beam indicator faintly lit. I searched, on and off, for about six years for the solution. I started with a new bulb. Then I re-wired the Headlight switch to an alternate location... No change. I checked and re-checked time and time. Finally a friend and I were going over the list of possible causes, and decided to take the pins out of the connector and start from scratch. Low and Behold, it was a replacement aftermarket plug, with the connectors put in wrong. Now I have fantastic light for my riding pleasure (and safety).

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Re: Nightmare work by previous owner

Postby oldcomputech » Sun Jun 01, 2014 9:59 pm

Well in performing routine brake fluid change out on my new to me 87 GL1200 I discovered that the "supposed" Honda dealership that performed a final drive replacement for the PO had lost the spacer from the axle and had decided to replace the thing with a bunch of washers. This caused the bike to track funny. No other issue was found but it sure was weird.

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Re: Nightmare work by previous owner

Postby HeWolf » Mon Jun 02, 2014 3:07 pm

Morning coffee and reading this post. I got to thinking, Last fall I fell into what I thought to be a deal. 1978 gl1000 next to nothing. Garage kept and has not been cranked in 3 years. Knowing from my hot rodding days never rush into cranking it up. So slowly I been taking it down. Just got the gas tank and carbs off this week...! So here is a few things I found along the way. (Now I know nothing about bikes) But was raised if it's broke I can't hurt it. I would really like to ride it one day. But undecided if it's just a ride or is it worth fully restoring it for show. Any thoughts welcome. and extra parts...LOL



:shock: :o

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dgould
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Re: Nightmare work by previous owner

Postby dgould » Mon Jun 02, 2014 10:05 pm

Just bought my first '81 Interstate, going in with the knowledge that it was going to be a bit of a fixer-upper. Indeed, I have found some pretty interesting solutions to problems.

My personal favorite was the oil leak on the lefthand valve cover. It appeared that there was some RTV and silicone smeared around the two rear bolts. Got everything ready to adjust the valves and such, and in the process found out the the PO had snapped off three (3!!) of the four valve cover bolts. Apparently one bolt was adequate if enough sealant was applied! After extracting the three bolt tips we were back in business.

Oh, and the other handy one he left me with... The rear brake master cylinder being in pieces when I took it out for a test ride. Apparently it broke and he decided not to fix it (since obviously everyone knows that the front brake is more that enough... :roll: ). Fortunately I didn't go for too long of a test ride on any high speed roads! I'm certain there are going to be more as I get further into it. My consolation comes from reading other peoples' experiences! It makes me feel a little better about it.

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DWags
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Re: Nightmare work by previous owner

Postby DWags » Tue Jun 03, 2014 10:06 am

I've had my GL1100I for almost 8 years now; bought in August of 06 from a Yamaha dealer in a far-west Milwaukee suburb, who said the PO had traded it for a new Stratoliner. I removed a garsh-awful boombox mounted to the handlebars (!), along with some other non-original illegal lighting and auxiliary speakers, then located the original speaker wires inside the fairing and reconnected them--and the OEM Clarion still worked! (sadly it no longer does). When I was inside the fairing I found some damage from an obvious tip-over that wasn't visible from the outside. But my biggest surprise was similar to Jakes...
By October I had ridden the bike for about 6 weeks including a day-ride of about 300 miles. Finally my best bud since childhood (who rides an HD) got free enough to schedule a Saturday day-ride with me. Friday night I gave the new girl a bath--she was lookin' really nice. When I was wiping down the front rim my finger swiped along the side of the valve stem: "PSSSSS". How had I missed THAT before? So I called my buddy and told him I had to get a new valve stem before we could ride. I took off the front wheel and Saturday morning took it to the dealer, who replaced the stem no problem. When I got home, I could NOT get the axle studs to thread back up into the fork. Upon closer inspection I discovered that 2 of the 4 were stripped almost smooth. I wonder how long that bike had been driven with only two of four studs holding the wheel on!? Of course I didn't ride on Saturday. When I checked with my local Honda dealer for parts, I discovered that the studs for an '82 were obsolete. But they put out a request on the national Critical Parts listing, and after about a week found exactly two at a dealer in Cincinnati. I picked up my precious parts, said a prayer and carefully threaded them into the fork, torqued them down and re-installed the wheel. Never had done anything beyond changing spark plugs before. I eventually had new E3's installed, and she's been riding like a dream ever since.
But I coulda been singin' "You picked a fine time to leave me loose wheel...!"

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Re: Nightmare work by previous owner

Postby bustedwing » Wed Jun 04, 2014 6:02 am

Hey Wags, at least you can laugh about it now, and darn lucky you found it before you took that ride. It's unbelievable that someone would take their safety and throw it away like that. I just can't imagine traveling at hiway speeds, hitting a bump and loose the front tire! There is no way you can save it from that point on.
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bustedwing
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Re: Nightmare work by previous owner

Postby bustedwing » Wed Jun 04, 2014 6:08 am

Hewolf, I hope you have lots of time to straighten that wiring out. It's lucky that it didn't catch fire.
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DWags
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Re: Nightmare work by previous owner

Postby DWags » Wed Jun 04, 2014 11:34 am

Yeah Busted,
It's tricky to laugh, roll your eyes, wipe your brow, and shake your head at the same time, but it IS possible.
In my keyboarding haste, I actually described the previous PO's screw-up somewhat incorrectly. Those older fork studs are threaded on each end. The upper threads going into the forks were fine. It was the lower threads where the axle cradle is fastened on with hex nuts that were stripped.
The kicker is I'll bet the PO had no idea he stripped those threads--whenever that was... Or maybe he had a death wish! At any rate I never felt the first wobble or indication of a problem in those first 600 miles or so before I discovered it quite by accident. Stud failure, should it have occurred, most certainly would have been instantaneous--you're right, would have been no way to save it at that point. Just tuck and roll and pray that I'd stay in my own lane!
Thank God above for an irritating cracked valve stem that postponed a day trip and led to this discovery! A genuine blessing in disguise!

bustedwing
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Re: Nightmare work by previous owner

Postby bustedwing » Thu Jun 05, 2014 8:34 am

That is FOR SURE. I bet at the time you found the leaking valve stem you were grumbling a little, I know that I would have. But when you found the stripped studs and you think about it, man, that leaky valve stem might have saved your life! Sometimes there is a reason for s#'/ happening.


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