1976 GL1000 headlight very dim


Information and questions on GL1000 Goldwings (1975-1979)
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bike rider guy
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Motorcycle: 1976 GL1000 goldwing

1976 GL1000 headlight very dim

Postby bike rider guy » Sun Sep 29, 2013 6:27 pm



Hi, could someone please help me learn how to fix my dim headlight? This problem has been intermittent. It is constant now. My headlight is very dim, I can see the bulb has some light barely visible. The turn signals are lit up, the turn signal indicators on handlebars and bright light indicator are lit too. When I push the turn signal switch, it just lights, doesn't blink. I thought maybe bad ground, I changed the bulb socket, didn't help. I bought another bulb, but don't think that is the problem. I'll try changing it in the morning. I would appreciate any advice.



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Placerville
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Re: 1976 GL1000 headlight very dim

Postby Placerville » Mon Sep 30, 2013 2:29 am

With electrical, always start with the most logical and work to the more complex (as it's usually something simple). Starting by replacing the bulb socket was not necessary unless it was obviously defective (broken) or it was corroded to the extent that it could not be restored. The first logical thing to look at would have been the bulb. Bulbs are inexpensive and simple to change so, do that first. You could test your existing bulb with a multimeter but, putting in a new one is fine.

A comment: You say you're running a 'bulb' instead of a sealed beam so, I'm assuming that you (or a PO) has swapped out the headlight because they/you wanted to bump up the wattage of the original factory 40W/50 sealed beam to something higher. Unless you've installed a headlight relay (which pulls the increased current load directly from the battery), you're overtaxing your factory starter switch. The current for your headlight travels through your starter switch and then to your headlight. Swapping out the original headlight to a e.g., 90W/100, will cause your starter switch to overheat, corrode and fail, leading to several issues including no headlight, no starter spin, starter won't stop spinning and other issues. Keep this issue in mind when pursuing this repair.

Because you said you have both an almost non-existent headlight beam AND no flashing action of the blinkers, I'm inclined to think that you've got a poor connection or grounding issue. As mentioned above, start with the replacement bulb. If that doesn't resolve the headlight problem (and I don't think it will), move on to the blinkers. You said they're not flashing when you turn them on. Sometimes, a low battery will not allow the signals to flash so, start your engine and see if the signals operate normally with the engine running. If not, the next (and least expensive) thing to do would be to replace the flasher to take that out of the list of possibilities.

If the problem still exists, I'd then pursue two different theories: As I mentioned above, you probably have a corrosion, poor contact or poor grounding problem. Work backwards through your headlight and blinker wiring and look for loose connecters. Don't ignore the rear wiring and bulbs. Clean and tighten everything. Inspect your fuse box and it's termination points and replace any fuse associated with lighting. If you still don't find anything, the last thing I can suggest is that you open your right handlebar assembly and examine your starter switch.

To do this, remove the two screws from the bottom of the assembly and pull off the top. Then, loosen your throttle cables, remove them from the throttle tube and pull the tube off. You'll now have direct access to the starter switch. A single screw holds the switch in place. Lift the switch out and examine it. If it's cracked, burnt looking or you see anything abnormal, you need to disassemble it. To do this, carefully remove the metal plate from the bottom and get ready for some small parts to fall out including a tiny ball bearing, a spring and a little plate. Clean, burnish and lubricate the contact points inside. Apply some Di-electric grease to the parts and contact points and re-assemble. Tip: If the plastic housing is broken, it can be repaired by gluing it together with super glue and then brushing on a coat of two-part epoxy. That will reinforce the case and it will be as good as new. If, when you open the assembly, you find the starter button case shattered, you'll need to replace the switch with a Radio Shack button (#275-1549) or replace the entire handlebar assembly, which is still available from Honda.

Your description above, SNIP... "The turn signals are lit up, the turn signal indicators on handlebars and bright light indicator are lit too", is the most confusing part. The front turn signal running lights are supposed to be on when the key is on so, that's OK. But, (both?) the turn signal dash indicators should not be on and the blue 'bright light' or high beam dash indicator should not be on unless your high-beam switch is on. Because of your description above, I'm suspecting that the problem lies in your wiring so, focus your attention there. BTW, I do not believe that this issue is due to a faulty RLU for two reasons: One, they rarely fail and, two, the RLU doesn't impact your turn signals.
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wjnfirearms
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Re: 1976 GL1000 headlight very dim

Postby wjnfirearms » Mon Sep 30, 2013 5:26 am

Dude!! Most excellent tutorial. Couldn't have done better myself!

I'm leaning toward grounding problem. On an older bike, couldn't hurt checking everything in the circuit while you're at it to be proactive even after the culprit is found.
Member, Patriot Guard Riders, Blue Knights LEMC, PA VII

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dingdong
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Re: 1976 GL1000 headlight very dim

Postby dingdong » Mon Sep 30, 2013 9:17 am

Start with the main ground cable from the battery where it bolts the engine and frame at the triangular mounting bracket just in front of the battery. Clean corrosion from all surfaces there.
Tom

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portugeezer
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Re: 1976 GL1000 headlight very dim

Postby portugeezer » Mon Sep 30, 2013 9:11 pm

Fred has a trick to fix this using two relays and some wire. It's easy and it works. I've done it. I live 50 mins south of Milwaukee. I will help if you really get into a jam on this.

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Fred Camper
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Re: 1976 GL1000 headlight very dim

Postby Fred Camper » Tue Oct 15, 2013 8:03 pm

If you decide you want the light a bit brighter than stock, consider the relay option shown below. Takes some load off the ignition and handlebar switch as well.

bike rider guy
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Re: 1976 GL1000 headlight very dim

Postby bike rider guy » Sun Nov 03, 2013 8:54 am

Hi. thank you everyone for the helpful advice! I did manage to locate the problem, it was a bad ground. I followed the circuit and found open ground. I just held another wire from ground on bulb to battery and it worked. Now I have working running lights too. I also grounded the radio as well, nice.

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portugeezer
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1982 Gl500
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Re: 1976 GL1000 headlight very dim

Postby portugeezer » Mon Nov 04, 2013 5:04 pm

Bring it over if you need help. You're 15 minutes away!




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