won't start...


Information and questions on GL1100 Goldwings (1980-1983)
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gase07
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Sep 24, 2010 7:25 am
Location: Tucson, Arizona
Motorcycle: 1981 GL1100

won't start...

Postby gase07 » Sat May 19, 2012 8:13 pm



First, this forum has been a wonderful help to me so far, even if I haven't been able to solve my problem. Thanks for all the time you've put into it.

I'm having trouble getting my 1981 Goldwing started. I've had the bike for a year and half. Everything seemed fine until one day I was out running errands. I made a couple stops then I got on my bike to head home temporarily. The starter didn't seem to be able to get the engine turned over as easily as it once had. A second try barely got it going. I stopped at home for half an hour then tried to start it again but with no luck. The first time I tried, it seemed as if the battery didn't have enough juice to get the starter running the way it should. The starter would engage and start turning the engine but not enough to get the bike going. A second time, it turned even less. By the fourth time I was only hearing the click of the starter relay.

The next day I tried again and the bike started up with no problem on the very first try.

This same sort of problem continued, where if I wasn't able to get it started on the first turn, I was going to be out of luck. Then, one day, I couldn't even get it to start on the first try.

Since the battery seemed to miraculously recharge after sitting patiently for several hours, I figured the battery wasn't the problem. My multimeter had it reading appropriately. I took it to the autoparts store for a testing. They said it was good.

I cleaned the ends of all wires leading from the batter, from the starter relay and to the starter. Still no luck.

Then I pulled out the starter, took it apart and cleaned it. Still no luck. I took it to a starter place to be tested and they said it was fine. I connected the starter directly to the battery with jumper cables and it seems to run fine and the multimeter shows that an electrical current travels successfully through all the wires.

I purchased and installed a new starter relay. Still no luck.

The other day, with some help, I push started the bike then took it for a 100 mile ride with a container of seafoam in with the oil. When I got home I tried starting the bike again, immediately after parking. It didn't work. I changed the oil and filter, then tried starting it up again. It started with no problem for the first time in more than a month.

Now the bike is back to where it was just after this started happening. If I can get it started on the first try after it's sat for more than a few hours then I'm in luck, but, after that, all bets are off.

It seems like I've addressed all electrical issues. I'd think that there is something adding more resistance to the alternator then there should be, but I don't think that would explain the why after sitting for a while, the bike will start again.

The only thing I can figure to do is pull out the engine. What do you guys think?



User avatar
virgilmobile
Posts: 7656
Joined: Sun Sep 19, 2010 5:39 pm
Location: Denham Springs,La.
Motorcycle: 1988 GL1500 I
Previously owned
78 GL1000
81 GL1100
82 GL1100 I
83 GL1100 I
83 GL1100 standard
84 GL 1200 I

Re: won't start...

Postby virgilmobile » Sat May 19, 2012 9:57 pm

Yes I understand it's frustrating but you may be misinformed about a couple of things.
On every slow cranking when hot I've ever done has been related to at least 2 items you have had "tested"
First the starter....I can assume it was taken off the bike to be tested.
Well a static,unloaded,cold test on a borderline starter will never prove anything.
It must be tested under actual operating conditions.

Second.the battery.I've seen "good"batteries fail under a load test.

Your first test....Get the bike to a "wont crank but the relay clicks" condition.
At this time you need to measure the DC volts directly at the starter case and the post.
And I do mean at the starter,not the battery or frame or engine...Right on the starter case and the electrical stud.
For that thing to to spin the motor it needs to have at least 10.5 volts on it while cranking.

If the volts are ok,the starter needs rebuilding,usually it's the gear drive or end bushings that bind up.

If the volts drop below 9.8 volts move the meter wires directly to each battery post and retest.
If the volts are real low there too,replace the battery,If the volts are higher than when measured on the starter,you have a voltage loss in the wiring.Possibly corroded connectors or ground lug at the frame.

gase07
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Sep 24, 2010 7:25 am
Location: Tucson, Arizona
Motorcycle: 1981 GL1100

Re: won't start...

Postby gase07 » Mon May 21, 2012 8:43 pm

Ok, thanks for the help. Here are the results.

Battery before start. I had used the battery quite a bit without a recharge and after a push start and ride, probably hadn't been completely recharged. Usually it's higher.
12.27
Starter during start. The motorcycle started. The voltage was continuing to go up at this point. I probably didn't arrive at a maximum reading.
9.5
Battery after first start.
12.15
Starter during second start. The motorcycle started again.
8.0
Battery after second successful starting.
12.08
Starter during third start. The motorcycle failed to start.
2.4
Battery after third start.
11.6
Starter during fourth start. The motorcycle failed to start.
1.9
Battery after fourth start.
10.6

I'm not sure what this means. I'm not even going to guess at this point, but, for what it's worth, I live in Tucson, AZ. I'm not sure how old the battery is, but I had the bike here for all of last year where the daytime highs were regularly above 100 degrees.

What do you think? Change the battery? Check the end bushings? Buy a new starter?

User avatar
virgilmobile
Posts: 7656
Joined: Sun Sep 19, 2010 5:39 pm
Location: Denham Springs,La.
Motorcycle: 1988 GL1500 I
Previously owned
78 GL1000
81 GL1100
82 GL1100 I
83 GL1100 I
83 GL1100 standard
84 GL 1200 I

Re: won't start...

Postby virgilmobile » Mon May 21, 2012 10:10 pm

If I can assume these were consecutive starts,like within a few minutes,the battery is poor.
Check the acid (water)level first.
If it's low,add DISTILLED water only and trickle charge it for 24 hours and re-test.
If the level is OK,remove it and have your Wal Mart or autozone LOAD test it.
I'll bet 48 cents that if you have it load tested it will fail.
Also,because of chemical reactions,a lead acid battery will regain some current capability from a rest cycle.Possibly even enough for another crank.
After the first start,the battery should have had plenty of volts and amps left to crank it again without dropping the volts to 8.0.

Generally with a good battery,you'll see 12.8 volts and dropping to maybe 11.5 during the first crank.
The volts usually don't drop below 10 volts until after several 5-6 second attempts at a failed start.

If all this is just too much,...get it to the no-start condition and use a set of jumper cables to jump start the bike.You know,just like a car...battery to battery.Don't worry,the bike doesn't care what size battery you jump it with or what it's hooked to.
Obviously if the bike will crank right up,you've got a bad battery.They don't last forever.

gase07
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Sep 24, 2010 7:25 am
Location: Tucson, Arizona
Motorcycle: 1981 GL1100

Re: won't start...

Postby gase07 » Tue Jun 26, 2012 4:30 pm

it's been a month since your helpful post. sorry to have not gotten back to you sooner, i've been too busy riding :D

i went out and bought a new battery and haven't had any problems since.

thanks again!




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