79 GL1000 Help Please! hard start and 2 cylinders


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greganderson
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79 GL1000 Help Please! hard start and 2 cylinders

Postby greganderson » Fri Sep 27, 2013 5:41 am



Please help me get going in the right direction.
My goldwing was running really well, but has taken a dive.
Sometimes she starts right up but more oftenly takes about 20-30 seconds of starter whining to slowly roll the engine over.
Worse yet is that when it fires up, only the 3-4 cylinders are running. I replaced the plugs Saturday, fuel filter, oil changed, cleaned air filter, adjust idle screw.....I realized it was running on 2 cylinders when i was full-throttle at 40 mph/5K rpm in 2nd gear and stalled out pulling up to a stop. I checked the plugs in 1-2 and shining and new. I pull the wires away to check for spark...3-4 cylinders have spark, 1-2 have none.
I am wondering about the ignition coil but hard to reach with Vetter fairing.
Please, if anyone can help me, in laymans terms and instruction for checking with multimeter or ? I am not a mechanic, just a motorcycle enthusiast who is asking for help.
Thank you


Greg Anderson

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Re: 79 GL1000 Help Please! hard start and 2 cylinders

Postby greganderson » Fri Sep 27, 2013 5:46 am

I have been researching posts on this forum. I can try rebuilding the starter, removing and redo carbs, etc. I just don't want to chase and replace everything willy-nilly, I am asking for help from all of you who have more knowledge.
thanks again.
Greg Anderson

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Re: 79 GL1000 Help Please! hard start and 2 cylinders

Postby greganderson » Fri Sep 27, 2013 11:06 am

i just talked to the mechanic the previous owner used. He rebuilt the carbs and did a synch. The mechanic also told the PO that the tank was rusty and needed to be pulled and acid bath and sandblasted. The PO declined and said he would do it himself. Now, no one told me about this when I purchased the bike 3 months ago. The mechanic said the carbs are probably plugged due to the rust and the only way this bike will run again is to dump $800 into tank and another $400 into carb rebuild. I asked his opinion and he said to cut my losses and part it out or sell it to someone who likes to tinker.
I will cut my losses and try to move the bike. The BS part about the whole thing, is I still have $200 left to pay the seller. I feel frustrated and lost faith in the guy who sold this mess to me. :cry:
Oh well, live and learn.
Ride on my friends! Be safe!
Greg Anderson

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Re: 79 GL1000 Help Please! hard start and 2 cylinders

Postby virgilmobile » Fri Sep 27, 2013 11:54 am

I would gladly charge those prices too....However,what your talking about is mostly labor costs...

If your inclined to do it yourself...I'm certain that enough information can be provided for even a novice with some basic tools and a clear head to bring this bike back to a great bike.

As long as it has decent compression,the tank rust,carb issues and ignition can be serviced with just a few chemicals,testing,adjustments,etc.

It sounds like a bike that needs a good going over to make it dependable again....There's lot's of little tricks to make the restore easier....
Iffin I had to take a wild guess....
Tank rust...less than $20
Carbs...about $10 in chemicals.$5 fuel filter
Ignition..(if there points and there bad) $35
Timing belts....a "must replace item" $40
**Oil change...$15 plus a can of Sea Foam before the oil change...Helps clear up the spinning starter but not cranking....It's not the starter but a good clean and lube wouldn't hurt anyways..

All of these things take time to get right...Interested.???

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Re: 79 GL1000 Help Please! hard start and 2 cylinders

Postby virgilmobile » Fri Sep 27, 2013 12:09 pm

By the way...I rode my 78 all over Ne....Scottsbluff to Lincoln, North side and Devil's tower to the Bad Lands.All the way from Alliance to Oregon,Washington then across the top and back down...It was great...the bike never failed in the 5 years I rode it there...30k miles plus...
I went through a rear tire on one trip alone....Cheap Chenching tire anyways.. :lol:

Lots of work on the bike for all of that...I spent a couple hundred...I needed tires and brakes too...
It took me 2 months of part time fiddling to get everything spot on....I eventually switched to electronic ignition and a electric fuel pump...That made the bike much easier to start....The point system really needs a super battery to get it to spark while cranking....

Back then,I paid $1500 for the bike...I rode it for near 17 years on and off...probably over 100k miles.With proper tinkering it NEVER left me stranded...I sold it over 5 years ago for $1000.

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Re: 79 GL1000 Help Please! hard start and 2 cylinders

Postby wjnfirearms » Fri Sep 27, 2013 12:47 pm

TIME OUT!! HOLD THE BUS!!!

I don't see where the starter is part of the problem, by your description. It sounds like the starter is working. The bike just doesn't fire up or run right.

I do completely agree with virgil. You need to do some investigating before you start dropping $$. And I wouldn't be so quick to dump the bike at what will likely be a loss. I really don't think that you are in that bad shape overall.

As to the tank rust, this is a common issue with older bikes. There are commercially available do it yourself kits to fix it and permanently. Kreem is one of oldest and best kits out there. The entire kit costs under $40 and can be bought online and at most bike shops. Take the petcock off and clean it out. You can take it apart or just try spraying carb cleaner through it to see if that's enough to make sure that there are no obstructions in it. If the rust has traveled, replace the fuel lines as a precaution. Only increases the cost a couple bucks.

If the carbs are gummed up, this is something that you may want to farm out if you have no real experience with these. Just make sure that whomever you take them to is versed with these specific carbs. They can be tricky to the uninitiated. And I'm not sold yet that they need rebuilt. I shall explain.

The lack of spark can easily be one of the ignition coils has pooped the bed. Easy fix to replace them and aftermarket replacements aren't expensive. I'd replace both. An easy way to see if this is the culprit is to switch the coils and see if the opposite cylinders now don't fire.

Just buck up a bit and start playing detective. I understand your frustration and discouragement, but things are very far from hopeless, or seemingly that expensive. You don't need to be a mechanic to do all of this. Just have a few basic tools and some dexterity and a willingness to get the bike back on the road. It will feel real good to do it yourself and keep the $$ in your pocket in the meantime. And we will be there all the way.
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Re: 79 GL1000 Help Please! hard start and 2 cylinders

Postby greganderson » Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:34 pm

wow....thank you very much for the words of encouragement guys! This bike is in great physical condition IE:paint, chrome, no body damage, and is worth the repairs. I am going to research the rust-remover products. I intended on Randack carb-kit during the winter. I guess talking to the mechanic sent me into a tail-spin of despair. Reading these responses restored my confidence, I do not want to get rid of this bike, it is a classic and I love the way it rides.

I figure I will have to remove the fairing to get to the coils?

It has electric ignition, all connections to it seem/look clean. I changed the oil and plug and fuel filter Saturday.The old fuel filter looked relatively clean. Two other mechanics checked my gas tank before for lacquer build-up and rust and they both thought it looked good. I am not sure how this mechanic, i talked to today, is certain about rust, considering that the majority of the tank is un-visible by looking through down into it.
I also used SeaFoam, fed into the fuel pump via tubing. I added MMO during oil change and use a couple shots in tank fill-ups.
I will keep checking back to see any added responses. I can't thank you guys enough, I know you all know what your talking about and trust your input, that is why i come here daily to see what is going on. I am trying to learn everything I can about this and I appreciate YOUR patience.
Nebraska is a great place to ride, alot of open road, (although not always the best conditioned roads) and my wife and son love the rides.
Winter is coming soon enough, I guess its time to get focused on the 2014 riding season by getting these problems worked out now.
You guys rock!
Greg Anderson

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Re: 79 GL1000 Help Please! hard start and 2 cylinders

Postby greganderson » Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:39 pm

oh yeh, I also went to a hotter plug, NGK D7EA, as recommended by my auto mechanic, because he thought the #1 plug was pretty fouled, when it was running poorly last week. He is not a motorcycle guy, and if anyone suggest differently, please let me know.
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Re: 79 GL1000 Help Please! hard start and 2 cylinders

Postby virgilmobile » Fri Sep 27, 2013 7:40 pm

My recommendations.Keep the OEM plugs.
A hotter plug will only mask a problem.
Don't go by the "snake oil" fix for anything.Either it runs right or not.
The upgrade to electronic ignition is a plus tho.It really helps fire the plugs while cranking.
If your gonna service the bike,might as well touch everything.
Plenty of wrenching,prodding,adjusting to do.
Work your way round the bike one step at a time.There really just more time consuming than expensive.
The " Dealer/mechanic" estimated $2000 to do the carbs and brakes on my 1500..
I completed everything for less than $60.
Yea it took 2 months too.And a half box of Bandaids. :lol:
There are "home brew" methods to de-rust the tank too.
Sorry but I never found much more that the bowl "O" rings needed in any carb service.The brass jets just never seemed to wear out,just gum up.

Before you go off the deep end,check the spark.Lets be sure first before you rip into the carbs.
If I remember,you can get to the coils by remove in the shelter only.

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Re: 79 GL1000 Help Please! hard start and 2 cylinders

Postby Fred Camper » Fri Sep 27, 2013 10:03 pm

Keep us updated, sounds like we have convinced you of the great value you have on your hands. When you do it yourself you also learn, so the cost goes into education and the bike is free in the end. Well worth the effort for most all of us who crave these old rides.

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Re: 79 GL1000 Help Please! hard start and 2 cylinders

Postby greganderson » Sat Sep 28, 2013 5:47 am

thanks for your support!
I have the weekend off so, here we go......
I will keep you posted
thanks again and I hope to see you on the road!
Greg Anderson

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Re: 79 GL1000 Help Please! hard start and 2 cylinders

Postby wjnfirearms » Sat Sep 28, 2013 7:23 am

Go for it, Greg!!

If the Windjammer is in the way, removing it isn't a big task. Unplug the harness from the fairing and remove the retaining bolts from the mount. It's off. The coils should be accessible under the tank. It might have to come off, but again, no big deal. The nice thing is that most of the wiring to check is more easily accessible than on many other bikes. If I had similar problems with my Harley, I'd have to take off most of the stuff like the tank and seat just to visualize most of it.

I also agree not to go with a hotter plug. Stay with what Honda called for. All substituting one will do is mask a problem, if there's one that needs significant work already. Find the real issue. Don't go for a mickey mouse fix.

Just take your time and go step by step.
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Re: 79 GL1000 Help Please! hard start and 2 cylinders

Postby greganderson » Sun Sep 29, 2013 4:22 pm

Pulled the coils out, yellow and blue/yellow wires. To switch/swap the coils, to check for other cylinder spark, should I swap these two wires-yellow and blue: yellow is coil 1-2 cylinders and blue is 3-4 cylinders.
I hesistantly ask because it seems the obvious way, however, sometimes the obvious way results in shorting something else out, in my humble experience. (I do have the battery disconnected now and when i do the switch, I'm just saying that I have had negative experience in the past with swapping wires to test things.)


FYI-The coils is most easily accessed with the fairing off. Airbox must slide back to allow wiggle room.

thanks in advance for any replies
Greg Anderson

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Re: 79 GL1000 Help Please! hard start and 2 cylinders

Postby wjnfirearms » Mon Sep 30, 2013 5:29 am

When swapping coils to test, do a mirror image of each other. In other words, wire left as it is right and vice versa.
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Re: 79 GL1000 Help Please! hard start and 2 cylinders

Postby virgilmobile » Mon Sep 30, 2013 7:50 am

Swap as you indicated.Do not try to start the bike.This is only to test the spark.

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Re: 79 GL1000 Help Please! hard start and 2 cylinders

Postby greganderson » Mon Sep 30, 2013 11:38 am

i have a blue to blue-white spark on all 4 plugs. I am assuming spark is getting to the plug on all 4 cylinders.
Greg Anderson

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Re: 79 GL1000 Help Please! hard start and 2 cylinders

Postby virgilmobile » Mon Sep 30, 2013 11:45 am

You indicated in your first post that you did not have spark on 2 plugs,now you do...How did you fix it..?

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Re: 79 GL1000 Help Please! hard start and 2 cylinders

Postby greganderson » Mon Sep 30, 2013 2:00 pm

I am an inexperienced troubleshooter and even worse mechanic.
When i checked for spark the first time, I did it by lifting the boot up from the plugs, one at a time, listening for the zzzzzzz sound. Three and Four cylinder buzzed, One and Two did not buzz. Being a fool, I assumed that meant no spark. This time when I checked for spark, I did it with all the boots, one at a time, with the plug in the boot and grounded and physically watched for a spark. All four sparked.
My apologies for my inexperience. This is why I felt that it was only getting spark to the 3 and 4 cylinders and not the 1 and 2 cylinders.
The fact that I was only reaching 45 mph at 4500K wide open is what convinced me that it was only running on 2 cylinders as well.

If you all want to give me the 'what for' go ahead, I have it coming. If you wish to continue helping me, I greatly appreciate it.

I tried to start it, wanted to fire up the first 3-4 times, with new plugs, but would never completely turn over.
Now it just does a rolling 'whump-whump-whump-whump" quietly while the starter spins. A couple backfires but not starting. I have exhausted the battery , it is now on the charger.

Have a great rest of the day people and I apologize for inconvenience.
Greg Anderson

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Re: 79 GL1000 Help Please! hard start and 2 cylinders

Postby virgilmobile » Mon Sep 30, 2013 4:25 pm

No harm,no foul.
Now that you verified there is spark...assuming that each plug wire is in the proper place.....

there are only a few things left....

Compression and valve adjustments..if there is any way these can be checked...you need at a minimum 110 psi to fire a cylinder.I usually like seeing above 140 psi with no more than 5 psi difference between cylinders.

the last is fuel..if there's spark,a good plug,good compression...about alls that's left is the carbs...

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Re: 79 GL1000 Help Please! hard start and 2 cylinders

Postby greganderson » Tue Oct 01, 2013 1:57 pm

I am going to ask my boss (auto mechanic) for a guage to test compression.

I did get it started and ran, by pumping a little seafoam in through the fuel pump.

I noticed when I switched the tank petcock to 'on' the fuel filter empties, does not refill, as if the gas was turned off. When I switch to reserve, it fills half-way up and runs. Does not idle well, but runs. A lot of white smoke due to seafoam, as expected.

Now, this is a new fuel filter, cheap off of Ebay...only filling 1/2 way....is that normal or should it be mostly full of gas during running time?
PO mechanic said rust in tank, is the tube from tank to / or petcock plugged? i am thinking maybe it is

STILL, when I drop it into 1st gear, the engine gets muffled sounding and loses power, barely moving the weight of me and the bike up the driveway....this is why I felt it was only running on 2 cyclinders...very little power.

I have to go back to work....drive for the Postal System...let me tell you, that was not an enjoyable morning either.

Back at the bike this evening.
Greg Anderson

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Re: 79 GL1000 Help Please! hard start and 2 cylinders

Postby virgilmobile » Tue Oct 01, 2013 2:11 pm

Only seeing a half filled filter is ok.The petcock or micro screen filter in the tank might be plugged.
When it ran,did you find out which cylinder(s) we're dead?
Light tap on each header after 6 seconds of idling should tell.
Also.if the engine is fuel starved it can run,just badly.
If the compression checks out ok,look into the fuel supply problem.
Leave the carbs till last.

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Re: 79 GL1000 Help Please! hard start and 2 cylinders

Postby greganderson » Tue Oct 01, 2013 5:58 pm

OK, i will tap on the headers.

I also forgot to mention concerning dead heads is that 1 and 2 exhaust pipe are only warm, I can touch them with me hand after running, while the 3 and 4 exhaust are extremely hot.

I appreciate you hangin with me Virgilmobile....this is probably an easy fix for you guys, humbling for me.
Greg Anderson

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Re: 79 GL1000 Help Please! hard start and 2 cylinders

Postby greganderson » Tue Oct 01, 2013 6:30 pm

The bike has been sitting since 2pm. Three hours later, bike started, not first try but 2nd or 3rd try. I let it idle slow for bit then throttled. A couple hiccups and cough, ran well at high rpms (on center stand not ridden)
I let it run for a while, it sounded like before when it ran well, a couple puddles of fluid under front exhaust pipe heads. I killed it with the power switch. Tried to start it up again and no go, but puffs of seafoam, so I will let it sit a bit and try again.

Otherwise its off to my painting job and back tomorrow
Greg Anderson

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Re: 79 GL1000 Help Please! hard start and 2 cylinders

Postby virgilmobile » Tue Oct 01, 2013 8:42 pm

Now just to be sure, when you get it started again,put a spare plug on the suspected dead cylinder and verify it has spark.

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Re: 79 GL1000 Help Please! hard start and 2 cylinders

Postby greganderson » Fri Mar 14, 2014 9:12 am

after this never ending winter in Nebraska, i am back.

Trying to diagnose the fuel delivery system, I pulled the pre-fuel pump line and replaced it with a line into a alternate gas supply (coffee can) to see if the pump was pulling gas into it. No luck. At this point I figured it is a faulty fuel pump.
I then placed the coffee can line directly into the carb fuel line, still not sucking up fuel. I suspected that would work as a gravity feed. ?? It did not work either.

Interestingly enough, the last time I ran this bike, during a warm day in Jan., I watched the tachometer suddenly quit working. I pulled the fuel pump off, and can turn the cable by hand, although it is tough to turn. I am curious if it just needs to be oiled, replaced, or if it is not working because the #1 and #3 cylinders are not running right?
I am curious, also, what actually turns the camshaft that operates the tach and fuel pump?

A friend said that it is definitely the carbs and need to be cleaned. I am determined to learn how to wrench on my own bike so i am prepared to remove the carb and clean them.

Anyone have advice at this point? Fuel pump or carburetors? (I have two new plugs in 1 and 3, after idling, still clean as a whistle, cold cylinder head, minimal exhaust.)

I hope everyone survived the winter of snow. I know I am anxious to get this gem running and back on the street again.


Greg Anderson


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