won't start, help!


Information and questions on GL1100 Goldwings (1980-1983)
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moritz1100
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won't start, help!

Postby moritz1100 » Fri Mar 09, 2012 10:35 am



Hi, New to the forum and to Goldwings, just got a GL1100 1980. Have been trying for the last 2 days to get her started but no joy. She will turn over when i remove all the plugs, but only for a couple of seconds and then stops, like the battery is dying (Battery is definitely good), when i put the plugs back in she makes an attempt to crank but doesn't, the starter seems to engage but it's like it doesn't have the power to crank it. I've opened up the starter and the copper strip running from the front to the back doesn't have any insulation on it, would this cause the problem? The brushes have plenty of life left in them and it's reasonably clean inside.
Thanks in advance!



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D2D
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Re: won't start, help!

Postby D2D » Fri Mar 09, 2012 11:56 am

How do you know your battery is good? What are you getting for voltage at the starter when you try to start the bike?

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virgilmobile
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Re: won't start, help!

Postby virgilmobile » Fri Mar 09, 2012 12:14 pm

Yes,please make no assumptions.Another bought a "new" battery and charged it for a week.Still wouldn't crank his bike.
A voltage measurement directly across the battery posts during cranking will tell all.It should stay above 10-11 volts.If it drops to,say 8 volts,get the battery charged and load tested.

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virgilmobile
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Re: won't start, help!

Postby virgilmobile » Fri Mar 09, 2012 12:49 pm

One other note.In the starter,a wire can be coated with enamel as a insulator and still look like bare wire.

moritz1100
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Re: won't start, help!

Postby moritz1100 » Sat Mar 10, 2012 4:12 am

OK, just tested the battery while trying to crank and the voltage drops from 12.5v to 10.5v, no problems there.. Taking the starter motor out (again) for closer inspection. I tested the starter housing while trying to crank and got 2.5v, that shouldn't be, should it?

moritz1100
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Re: won't start, help!

Postby moritz1100 » Sat Mar 10, 2012 7:56 am

Could it be as simple as a bad lead from the battery? I get 12.5v at the battery, 12.5v at the battery post on the solenoid when off and 0v at the motor post. When I try to turn it over the voltage at both posts drops to 8v but testing the voltage across the battery at the same time gives 10.5v. It only gets 8v down to the starter motor, somewhere it must be losing the voltage?

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Re: won't start, help!

Postby D2D » Sat Mar 10, 2012 8:19 am

Sounds like a bad solenoid. Try by-passing it altogether by using a set of jumper cables from your battery, directly to your starter and see if you have enough juice from the battery to turn the starter over. If she spins, replace the solenoid, if it doesn't, try jumping it off your car/truck/battery charger and see what happens.

moritz1100
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Re: won't start, help!

Postby moritz1100 » Sat Mar 10, 2012 11:05 am

Jumped it off my friends car, got the same results. 12.5v at the battery and only 5v at the starter. Strangest of all when I jumped it directly to the starter it gave the same readings. Is it time for a new starter motor?

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D2D
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Re: won't start, help!

Postby D2D » Sat Mar 10, 2012 12:13 pm

Pull the starter and bench test it yourself or take it to your local auto parts store where they will do it for free. If it's no good or you/they discover a problem with it you may save yourself some bucks and not have to purchase anything new.

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virgilmobile
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Re: won't start, help!

Postby virgilmobile » Sat Mar 10, 2012 12:15 pm

Ok,if you jumped direct to the starter,I assume the cable was attached to the battery ground.Now hook the cable to the engine block and the other to the starter post. This will bypass the whole bike.Your voltage indicates a corroded ground lug on the engine.It can be verified by attaching the jumper cable to the negative post and to the block.

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virgilmobile
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Re: won't start, help!

Postby virgilmobile » Sat Mar 10, 2012 12:30 pm

Yea,absolutely the battery ground is corroded.It's behind the motor mount on the left side.If you can't get the bolt out,make up another ground wire and use another bolt

moritz1100
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Re: won't start, help!

Postby moritz1100 » Sat Mar 10, 2012 2:05 pm

Brought the starter to an auto-repair shop,opened it up,cleaned everything and he said it's perfect.Spun like mad on the bench, that rules that out i suppose. I cleaned the battery ground at the frame and tested for continuity all over the engine and frame, all good.One thing though, i got continuity for earth at the post on the starter, and continuity between the post and the starter housing, is that normal?
Tried jumping direct to the starter positive and put the earth onto the block and onto the starter housing but still had the same results and the same voltage drop.

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Re: won't start, help!

Postby moritz1100 » Sun Mar 11, 2012 7:02 am

I re-installed the starter last night,it was getting dark so i was hurrying,when i put it in the gear shaft didn't go into the sprocket for the chain,it just pushed it out of the way,didn't realise until i had it all back together and tried to crank it over, the starter spun really fast but obviously didn't do anything. That rules out a bad earth or bad cables i'm thinking. could it be that one of the windings is gone inside the starter causing it to not work under load but still letting it spin when its not under load?

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Re: won't start, help!

Postby D2D » Sun Mar 11, 2012 8:00 am

Glad to hear the starter is okay; but by what you are describing it sounds like the sprag clutch is all gunked up from sitting and the starter isn't your issue. First thing to do would be to re-install your starter. Make sure your bike is on the side stand and either reach in with a coat hanger or use a large magnet on the case to get the chain back in position. It will take a little time; but can be done ( experience ). Then remove your plugs and then remove the alternator cover cap just above the clutch cover. Use a 17mm offset wrench or socket to get to it. Then use a 12mm socket to turn the alternator rotor CLOCKWISE ONLY to free up that sprag clutch mechanism. Once you have things moving freely, add some mystery oil or Seafoam to your oil and manually try to circulate the oil and then let it sit over night. If it is cold in your area you may have to heat up your oil a bit with a light bulb placed under the bike ( use a heat lamp type ). Make sure your battery is fully charged then try hitting the starter button again. If it still won't turn over go back to that alternator bolt and keep turning it over and over til it turns freely with minimum effort. I went through this on my 79 that had been so neglected the oil was like molasses and so dirty it took 4 oil changes before all the gunk was gone and things were moving freely.

moritz1100
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Re: won't start, help!

Postby moritz1100 » Sun Mar 11, 2012 8:28 am

Starter is re-installed,it's an outfit so have to tilt the chair up all the way and get underneath it to get at the starter.While there i tested the chain to the sprag clutch,it rotates freely in one direction and locks in the other direction like it should?
The engine turns over freely via the alternator, i changed the oil, the stuff that came out was filthy,has settled into 4 or 5 different layers of crud in the pan. did that a couple of days ago and have turned it over by hand a few times since to get it to circulate.It's been quite warm for the last few days aswell..
Really starting to think it could only be a faulty starter motor that wont turn it under load, it's an expensive part though and i'd hate to buy one and still have the same problem..
I'll go out again and just spend half an hour or so turning the motor by hand to completely rule out the sprag clutch..

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D2D
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Re: won't start, help!

Postby D2D » Sun Mar 11, 2012 8:44 am

One last thing; have you checked your valve clearances to make sure they are set right ?

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binder49
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Re: won't start, help!

Postby binder49 » Sun Mar 11, 2012 8:57 am

I had the same trouble with my wing. Replaced the starter, and it turned over like a dream

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virgilmobile
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Re: won't start, help!

Postby virgilmobile » Sun Mar 11, 2012 10:02 am

moritz1100 wrote:Jumped it off my friends car, got the same results. 12.5v at the battery and only 5v at the starter. Strangest of all when I jumped it directly to the starter it gave the same readings. Is it time for a new starter motor?


The starter is series wound,a break anywhere would result it a dead starter.
Yes it can spin fast with no load and badly when trying to crank.Usually related to a broken electrical connection on the post or bad brushes.
***This is assuming that there is 10-11 volts minimum on the starter while cranking*****
The clutch action is correct,one way free,one way locks.
You HAVE to get 12 volts on the starter post and the case as ground.Just like when it was off the bike.
5 volts will not crank the motor.

moritz1100
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Re: won't start, help!

Postby moritz1100 » Sun Mar 11, 2012 11:47 am

So I went to get something like seafoam, added it to the oil and started cranking it over by hand. While I was out I picked up new leads for the battery, changed them out and gave it a whirr without plugs in, it turned over just as fast as you'd expect, a step in the right direction! I put my finger over one of the spark plug holes and that was enough pressure to slow the starter and then stop it. Left it for 5 minutes and came back to it, cranked it over again without plugs in and it seemed to turn over faster and smoother, suppose the seafoam's doing it's job. Trying to not get excited here but do you guys think that if the starter clutch was all gunged up i'd have these symptoms? the bike was parked up for around a year before i bought it so it's definitely possible..
Having a coffee while the seafoam does its magic..fingers crossed..

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binder49
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Re: won't start, help!

Postby binder49 » Sun Mar 11, 2012 1:15 pm

I'm still leaning toward a starter replacement. Mine had the exact same symptoms. new starter took care of if. I bought one on Ebay for around $89.00

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virgilmobile
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Re: won't start, help!

Postby virgilmobile » Sun Mar 11, 2012 1:39 pm

When you crank it under the different conditions,does the voltage stay above 10 volts,measured at the starter case and the starter post.? or does it drop again?
This is the one thing that bothers me.You said that it dropped to 5 volts before.
With no load(plugs removed)low voltage or low current can spin the engine.

With that said,I make the assumption that when it doesn't crank,that the starter is also NOT spinning.True?
If the starter is spinning but not turning the motor over then the starter clutch is at fault and the Sea Foam will help.

moritz1100
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Re: won't start, help!

Postby moritz1100 » Sun Mar 11, 2012 3:21 pm

SHE'S ALIVE!! :D Went back to the car parts shop and got another battery lead to go from the solenoid to the starter. Flushed the oil and refilled. Lots of crap in the oil, probably have to do another oil change soon but $100 is enough to spend on oil in one week. She needs a new air filter and i'll have to set the valve clearances tomorrow as she's a little bit knocky, but she's firing on all four cylinders.Suppose we'll never know if it was the starter clutch being seized up or just bad cables or a combination..
Thanks very much for the help guys, great forum.

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Re: won't start, help!

Postby sperryunivac » Sun Mar 11, 2012 4:12 pm

That's great to hear that it is starting. With all the wacky voltage readings, my bet is on bad connections somewhere in the starter circuit.
Now that you have it running, you can see previous posts on cleaning the engine out with Seafoam. So it's also a good time to change your oil filter and oil again.

robocopf7
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Re: won't start, help!

Postby robocopf7 » Sat Mar 17, 2012 11:52 am

My 82 Goldwing is doing something similar to this. Except mine won't crank over at all. I traced the issue to the starter, which clicks and sounds like it's trying to turn the engine over. After reading the previous posts, do you guys recommend I manual crank over the engine with a socket? Would that free it up enough to crank over? What about removing the spark plugs and trying to roll the engine over by pushing it (while in gear)? I have 12.5 volts at the battery, 12.5 volts at the solenoid on both sides. It drops to 3 volts when I hit the start button. This leads me to believe that the engine won't roll over. It ran perfect all last year, and had regular oil and filter changes. She was put away lovingly in the fall with drained carbs and put in a semi heated garage. I guess I never had an issue with a bike engine being locked in the spring. Any thoughts?

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virgilmobile
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Re: won't start, help!

Postby virgilmobile » Sat Mar 17, 2012 12:02 pm

Where are you measuring the volts when it drops to 3 volts?
You have to have at least 10 volts ON the starter when you push the button.




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