Ground Mantainence


Technical information and Q&A applicable to all years and models of Goldwings
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tom84std
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Ground Mantainence

Postby tom84std » Thu Jan 15, 2015 1:10 am



Not lawn mowing
I've been riding a VTX 1800 since last summer. There was a grounding issue in which virtually all VTX bikes had faulty grounding points. Mine had the problem and I didn't know it until I researched and learned about it. It seems that Honda did not properly prepare the grounds and at least one of them was painted. Years of corrosion exacerbated it. My engine was popping a lot. Just riding on level roadways, a neutral throttle and it would pop....pop....pop. Just a fraction of an ohm resistance between the wire and it's intended ground can cause many different types of problems. I had a crazy problem on a 1974 automobile one time, in which the headlamps would trip the breaker, the breaker reset itself, and it would trip again. Over and over.... This condition just showed itself one night after years of owning the car. Turned out to be a bad engine-to-body ground wire.
I called the guy I sold my Goldwing to and told him about it. Suggested he may want to clean and apply some type of grease to the grounds during the winter down time. By the way, after cleaning and properly preparing the grounds and applying a weatherproofing, my engine runs smoothly with no more popping at all.
We'll be mowing a lot in a couple of months.



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Re: Ground Mantainence

Postby WingAdmin » Thu Jan 15, 2015 10:20 am

A good point. Keep in mind that contrary to popular belief, electrical (dielectric) grease is NOT conductive. It is an insulator (in fact that's what "dielectric" means). So I would not smear it on the body ground point and then install the ground strap - because that's creating the same situation where your paint was causing a bad ground.

Dielectric grease is intended to stop corrosion by preventing oxygen getting to the connection. So to properly install the ground, sand the metal contact point on the frame until it is shiny. Do the same to the connector. Fasten the connector tightly to the frame. Once it is tightly connected, THEN cover the whole area in dielectric grease. This ensures you have an excellent electrical connection, and that no oxygen can get to it to cause corrosion and a bad ground.

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tom84std
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Re: Ground Mantainence

Postby tom84std » Thu Jan 15, 2015 12:58 pm

I have another thing I like to do. I always install a stainless steel star washer between the ground terminal and the grounding surface. That's sure to penetrate anything and dig into both surfaces. I have an aircraft background and have always taken a lot of the wiring techniques over to my projects. Flexible braided bonding wires are really good for things like this.

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Re: Ground Mantainence

Postby Dogsled » Fri Jan 30, 2015 11:09 pm

I just had my van serviced and the mechanic put the grease in between the contacts. I thought of this post and told him to get that stuff off.... I had a low charging problem out of nowhere when I was young and it turned out to be exactly that......I got home and it wouldn't start. I called him and he said the battery was prolly shot.....I pulled the terminals, saw the grease and cleaned them....no new battery needed....I never though about that til reading this article. great tip though, little things make such a big difference
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Re: Ground Mantainence

Postby tom84std » Tue Feb 03, 2015 6:05 am

In my younger days, I put myself through electronics school by installing car stereos at a large stereo retailer. That's where I learned about a ground loop. I learned the hard way one night how a failed engine-to-frame ground on an automobile would behave with some really crazy symptoms. Not long after that I was working at GD building F-16 fighters. They install "Bonding Wires" all over that thing. Even the moving control surfaces have flexible braided cables between the moving surface and the aircraft frame. They're everywhere on any aircraft. I use a lot of the techniques we used on the aircraft on my motorcycles because they operate in a similar environment.

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Re: Ground Mantainence

Postby WingAdmin » Tue Feb 03, 2015 1:06 pm

tom84std wrote:In my younger days, I put myself through electronics school by installing car stereos at a large stereo retailer. That's where I learned about a ground loop. I learned the hard way one night how a failed engine-to-frame ground on an automobile would behave with some really crazy symptoms. Not long after that I was working at GD building F-16 fighters. They install "Bonding Wires" all over that thing. Even the moving control surfaces have flexible braided cables between the moving surface and the aircraft frame. They're everywhere on any aircraft. I use a lot of the techniques we used on the aircraft on my motorcycles because they operate in a similar environment.


All aircraft, particularly aircraft that fly at high speeds, build up a massive static charge from the friction of the air. That's why you see the little static wicks (little wires) hanging off the trailing edge of wings and other flight surfaces on airplanes - to help dissipate this charge.

Control surfaces that move typically have bushings on the hinges which are either nonconductive, or less conductive than the metal they are attached to. As the static builds up on the control surface, it gets to the point where it will "jump" the nonconductive gap. This spark can both cause damage to the hinge, bushing, or electronics inside the airplane. The solution is to bond the pieces together with bonding cables, to keep everything at the same electrical state.

The more consistent and equal the grounding all over the vehicle (or in your house, or in any electrical device), the better it will operate.

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tom84std
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Re: Ground Mantainence

Postby tom84std » Fri Feb 06, 2015 6:58 am

I remember one time in the Air Force a kid went to plug in the ground to the nose of the jet but he touched the airframe before plugging in the ground. He got a serious zap. Cold dry air always seemed to be worse than warm humid air.
Grounding through a bearing is always a concern. I always make sure the fronts of my bikes have a good ground between swiveling forks and frame.

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Re: Ground Mantainence

Postby vtxcandyred » Sat Feb 07, 2015 7:01 am

I had an 02 VTX Retro. I moved the main ground to the other side of the bike opposite where the cable comes out. Thats the main ground. The coils I took off and cleaned the connections REALLY good then reinstalled. You'll want to take the shifter side board off and take the pivot arm and the linkage apart and Moly coat the pivot and keep it lubed. Mine broke at the weld and I had to replace the entire floorboard. Theres a LOT of info here too. http://www.vtxoa.com/forums/index.php

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Re: Ground Mantainence

Postby PastoT » Thu Feb 12, 2015 5:19 pm

When reworking ground points its all good to sand, clean and star washer to contact areas but also note the bolts (on the 1800 at least) are set with Locktite that needs to be removed from the threads. I ran the a tap down the holes all but one so far and replaced the bolts with new, clean ones and made sure I had a functioning lock washer on each. Kind of hard to keep a ground between the paint and Locktite; my ground loop isolator didn't help as all the ground points were fouled to begin with.
Tom, in Mountain Home, Idaho
2002 GL1800 (Illusion Red) Non-ABS, 108k miles
Retired Air Force

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Re: Ground Mantainence

Postby WingAdmin » Thu Feb 12, 2015 10:15 pm

Yes, Honda inexplicably used Loctite on all the threaded fasteners comprising ground points on the GL1800, and they are a common source of grounding problems.




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