Starter not stopping-replace solenoids


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Krussty76
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Starter not stopping-replace solenoids

Postby Krussty76 » Tue Oct 20, 2015 10:36 pm



This is my first post here and I'll start with a little bit of my background...
I'm a novice mechanic, I've always done my own motorcycle work but it has been some engine things and minor electrical work (stator replacement).

I found a 1976 GL1000 on craigslist for a decent price from a custom bike shop. The guy said this GL was the low man on the totem pole of projects. It was not running (but supposedly had been 3 months prior), but turned over and had all the parts. I thought it'd be a perfect start. The one issue the previous owner was able to show me was that when he put cables directly on the battery (because battery wouldn't hold a charge) to crank the bike normally, the starter motor could not turn the speed it should (maybe due to faulty wiring??).

So I got the bike and the starter motor was (or rather, I thought) fried. I bought a new one for 60 bucks along with a new battery and installed. Try to crank it and the starter did not stop spinning, I had to pull the lead off the battery, which scared the crap outta me!

Next I found the previous owner had chopped some wires of the right hand controls to fit a different model start button, so I found a dirt cheap used one on ebay and installed. My thoughts: a bad wire on the old one must've kept the switch opened. Tried again, same result. I'm starting to get really on edge every time I try to touch this bike. Pulling leads off batteries when the starter is cranking hard is scary.

In the midst of all this I should mention that I purchased 2 starter solenoids, one a cheap $8 one and another a recommended OEM replacement. Same results. At one point I did experience the slow starter motor issue the PO mentioned. It was the weirdest thing, but I was able to hit the start button without getting the starter hung up and it just cranked slowly. Then I tried once more and had to pull the lead off the battery.

Now I've stripped the bike down to just the engine left on it. I thought to myself I wanted to go through it and make sure everything is there as well as give it a pretty good cleaning. I guess my concern is there was not a smoking gun that needed to be corrected. I did spend the money on a Dyna ignition system + coils for 1) incase it is faulty and 2) I've read a lot of positive performance results with them. I went through the wiring as well as I could and checked for continuity with a Fluke meter. I'm currently working on putting it back together and hoping things have changed, but i'm not confident they will have.

I guess what I'm looking for is that I'm doing the right things and if not, what should I be doing for troubleshooting? Has anyone ever heard of something like this before? This may sound strange, but because of my run ins with the starter not stopping, I've grown to be really nervous when working on this bike.

tl;dr My bike's starter won't stop, replaced multiple items including starter solenoid - no help. Ended up tearing down the bike, currently replacing ignition with Dyna and then rebuilding.

What could cause a starter to constantly spin like this even after two starter solenoids? As sappy as it is, I definitely could use a few words of encouragement as this point that I'm not going to kill myself from electricity and that I'm heading the right direction.

Thanks for reading.



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Maz
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Re: Starter not stopping-replace solenoids

Postby Maz » Wed Oct 21, 2015 4:34 am

Hi and welcome!

The first thing I would say is that I understand where you're coming from regarding feeling nervous around things when something electrical/electronic does something unexpected. I've been an electronics engineer for 35 years and I still get the jitters when something doesn't quite do what you expect!
With regard to your starter problem, firstly I would suggest disconnecting the two thin wires to the solenoid. It's these two wires that operate the solenoid to switch battery volts to the starter motor. Now turn the ignition on - the starter should not spin, even if the start button is pressed. Now (and here's the slightly scary bit), using a screw driver, short out the two large terminals on top of the solenoid. There WILL be a few sparks, but don't worry! The starter should spin at full speed, because what you are doing by shorting these terminals is exactly what is going on inside the solenoid when you press the starter button. When you remove the screwdriver, the starter should stop spinning. If this all checks out, you have a problem with the wires to/from the starter button. Probably one of them is shorting to ground, maybe due to the insulation being worn away or possibly a wire is trapped under a nut or bolt.
Try this for starters (sorry, couldn't resist) and let us know the results.
Good luck,

Maz
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Re: Starter not stopping-replace solenoids

Postby WingAdmin » Wed Oct 21, 2015 10:01 am

Incidentally, the starter solenoid is connected to the battery regardless of whether or not the ignition is turned on. So shorting the terminals on top will spin the starter even if the ignition is turned off.

We can use this fact to our advantage: If the starter spins uncontrollably as soon as the ignition is on, but STOPS when you turn the ignition off, then there is nothing wrong with your solenoid: the problem is with either the starter button, or the wiring between the solenoid and the starter button.

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Re: Starter not stopping-replace solenoids

Postby Krussty76 » Wed Oct 21, 2015 12:00 pm

Thank you for the replies Maz and Wingadmin.

Maz,
I'm an Industrial Engineer myself so I know some basics, but boy does it scare the mess out of me when things start sparking and melting, such as my battery contacts :shock: . I will disconnect those two wires as you suggested and bridge the solenoid once I get it all back together. I will say that I've bridged the solenoid with them connected in the past and the starter will stop/start freely.

WingAdmin,
When the starter is spinning uncontrollably and I turn the ignition off, it does not stop spinning until I pull the leads.

It does seem that the solenoid gets stuck open. When I go to put the lead back on the battery after having to emergency pull it off, it will start sparking like it's already trying to pull power from it. I can usually hit the solenoid, or remove it and in doing so, it seems to close itself until it is forced open again by the starter button.

Literally as soon as I plugged both of these new solenoids up and hit the starter button, the issue occurred. The VERY first solenoid seemed completely bad as it would not even allow the starter to spin, that's why I started with the first replacement solenoid.

The current ground wire seems to be slightly spliced in but I checked continuity and it is fine for every wire to ground I checked.

If I had the option of completely replacing the electrical system I would for peace of mind, but most of the used wiring harnesses available appear worse off than my current.

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Re: Starter not stopping-replace solenoids

Postby Maz » Wed Oct 21, 2015 12:19 pm

Krussty,

if you have it all in bits, the solenoid can be tested easily off the bike. All you need to do is feed it with 12v to the terminals where the thin wires plug in and you should hear a definite loud click as the contacts close. Likewise, when you disconnect, you should hear them click out. While you're at it, check continuity between the two thick contacts when it clicks in and that there is no continuity when it clicks out.
As a check of the thin wires from the start button, plug them in to the solenoid but remove the two thick wires (ie the one from battery +ve and the one to the starter motor). When you press the start button you should again hear the click in and click out when you release the button. Carry out continuity checks again as I suggested above.

Unless the wiring is in a visibly bad state, it can be saved - So long as all of the bullet and spade connections are checked, cleaned and greased with dielectric grease or even vaseline. Try and look at as much of the loom as you can whilst the bike is in bits, checking very carefully for rubbed insulation, bare wires and burnt connections (especially in the headlamp and where the wires come out of the 'bars).

If you haven't downloaded a colour wiring diagram yet, do it soon and have a good look. It looks daunting at first but, once you've identified all of the items on your bike and checked the wiring colours, it's really not that bad.

Looking forward to your updates.

Maz
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Re: Starter not stopping-replace solenoids

Postby WingAdmin » Wed Oct 21, 2015 12:52 pm

Was the replacement solenoid a new one, or used?

What you're describing is a classic symptom of a bad solenoid. The contacts inside wear over time, and eventually they get to the point that when they engage, the spark from the current actually welds the contacts together, sticking it on. Sometimes giving the solenoid a whack can break them free, and the starter stops.

Basically, if the solenoid is doing this, it needs to be replaced.

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Re: Starter not stopping-replace solenoids

Postby Krussty76 » Wed Oct 21, 2015 1:08 pm

WingAdmin,

Both were brand new and even came with 'tested OK' stickers on them. The 8 dollar one seemed like plastic, but then I purchased a 30 dollar one which was metal and nearly identical to the stock solenoid, only smaller in size.

I agree with you, sounds like a classic symptom of a bad solenoid. But two in a row? I must have some bad luck... explains why I lost 55 bucks in Vegas recently!

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Re: Starter not stopping-replace solenoids

Postby WingAdmin » Wed Oct 21, 2015 1:46 pm

I wonder if the starter is drawing too much current, exceeding the limits of the solenoids?

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Re: Starter not stopping-replace solenoids

Postby maintainer » Wed Oct 21, 2015 1:49 pm

If you own a volt/ohm meter remove the solenoid leads from the poles/posts. Set meter to ohms touch one lead to each post. You should get absolutely no reading whatsoever. If the analog needle jumps or swings over then you have continuance, the solenoid is bad. On an digital meter the reading would zero out that means the same thing. If neither type meter reads anything or the needle doesn't move, the solenoid is good.

A solenoid in it's simplest definition is a switching device where a primary switched input voltage source causes an secondary opened circuit close momentarily. When operating properly and the primary switched input voltage is release or opened that also opens the secondary circuit simultaneously.
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Re: Starter not stopping-replace solenoids

Postby virgilmobile » Wed Oct 21, 2015 6:09 pm

You can also remove the cable feeding the starter for testing...operate the start button several times while watching the cable volts...If it hangs up...Do not touch anything...Use your volt meter and probe the 2 small wires feeding the solenoid...Normal operation should show no voltage across the solenoid coil wires....
I do deal with electrical switching that uses high power to activate the connection and to prevent overheating, a "hold voltage" is left to keep it energized...
The 2 wires should have near 12 volts to make it click on and go to no volts when the button is released...any residual voltage can keep it energized.
If there's no coil volts and it's still hung,lightly tap the solenoid...if it releases,replace it.

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Re: Starter not stopping-replace solenoids

Postby Krussty76 » Wed Oct 21, 2015 9:10 pm

Thanks again for the suggestions everyone.

I'll start with basically what Virgilmobile suggested. Remove my starter and just listen for the clicks/test the voltage to ensure it is not working as intended. Everything I've read here sort of points to that. If this 2nd solenoid is truly bad, I guess I'll purchase another. Before, I found it unbelievable to have 2 bad in a row, I felt like the rest of the electricals had to cause it stick or something.

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Re: Starter not stopping-replace solenoids

Postby virgilmobile » Thu Oct 22, 2015 6:37 am

Do keep in mind that if the solenoid tests fine,your cables and starter are suspect.A dragging starter can draw excess power and cause overheating on the cables and a weld sticking of the contacts.
A starter should never be operated for any continuous time...
You know...crank,crank,crank.
Maybe 5 seconds on 30 seconds off to prevent overheating.
The solenoids also are not continuous duty.They will get hot if held energized for a long time too.

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Re: Starter not stopping-replace solenoids

Postby Krussty76 » Sat Oct 24, 2015 10:46 pm

A small update....

I tested the solenoid tonight by hooking up the battery straight to the small cables. It clicked open once power was supplied and clicked once more once power removed. I did this a few times and even held it for 15 seconds or so before removing and never did it hesitate to close.

I'm currently working on reassembling the bike. Once I get everything together in a few weeks, I will test the starter button without the starter attached and i will just watch the voltage.

I will open up the wire harness to see if there are any obvious defects.

Thanks guys, let me know if there are any further suggestions and I'll update with findings.

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Re: Starter not stopping-replace solenoids

Postby Krussty76 » Tue Oct 27, 2015 8:01 pm

Opened the harness. Nothing too crazy going on. Found no burnt wires and nothing that really seemed out of the ordinary. Tested continuity on all of the wires relevant to my issue and a few extras. Can't find a single issue. Also check continuity on the starter button. When open I get continuity on blk and blk/red then button pressed, blk and yellow/red.

Everything seems normal. Only thing really out of the norm is I have a double bullet connector spliced on that blk wire on harness that connects to the starter button and I can't find a second blk to go into it.

Also quick question to bypass the resistor for new coils do I just connect my blk and blk/brown connectors on the harness?

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Re: Starter not stopping-replace solenoids

Postby maintainer » Wed Oct 28, 2015 6:38 am

Also quick question to bypass the resistor for new coils do I just connect my blk and blk/brown connectors on the harness?[/quote]

To eliminate the ballast resistor, unplug it's wiring at the main harness and plug those two connectors into each other.
1982 GL 1100 Interstate SOLD
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Re: Starter not stopping-replace solenoids

Postby Krussty76 » Sun Nov 01, 2015 8:22 pm

Well quick update from my weekend. My apologies if it seems I am reviving a dead thread, trying to give updating info incase anyone else has a similar issue.

I just hooked everything back up and the starter solenoid clicks open and closes without issue through the wiring harness. Checked voltage during my test as well, got 12V open an dwas seeing like 0.0011 closed. I didn't test it before tear down without the starter and I still haven't retested with the starter since the rest of the bike is still in bits.

What I did thus far that could have fixed the issue. Replaced coils/plugs, installed new ignition, removed/cleaned the wire harness, put dielectric grease on every connection, and followed every wire to its correct location (I feel like this likely could have been the cause). I'm going to continue to assemble the bike before I put it through the final test with the starter.

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Re: Starter not stopping-replace solenoids

Postby Maz » Mon Nov 02, 2015 6:43 am

Fingers crossed for you, Krussty. Sounds like your thorough work may be all that was needed. Looking forward to the post from you that says it starts and rides perfectly. Stick with it.....you'll love it!

Maz


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