Broken piece in alternator?


Information and questions on GL1100 Goldwings (1980-1983)
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idjit
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Location: Rusagonis, N.B.
Motorcycle: 1980 GL1100 Interstate

Broken piece in alternator?

Postby idjit » Sun May 20, 2012 8:31 pm



So I took off the stator cap to turn the engine over so I could check my valves. When I finished I noticed the cover had snapped off leaving the tread behind. The treaded part was coming out very nicely when I heard a piece drop. I've pieced the threaded part to the cap in this pic. You can see what's missing. It wasn't like this before. There I've just admitted that I'm the one who over tightened it.



I could not find the missing chunk on the ground or on the exhaust, etc, but with mirror and light I can't see it in the alternator hole either. Trust me I got a clear view from all angles and it just isn't there. The edge by the treaded hole, is there a gap there? I used a wire tie to feel around and it seems tight. There seems to be a hole at the top, maybe, but thinks don't tend to fall upward. It doesn't look like there's any way it could have escaped the stator at the far end. I just don't think it could have gone in there and found a place to hide, but I can't find it on the ground. I'm not talking concrete floor here. It's gravel, but I spend a good 2 hours looking.

So, from what I can tell the stator is tight against the rear engine cover. I was able to clearly see that it was not in the hole, and the surface, being attached to the cover, doesn't rotate. It just doesn't look like there is any way it could have made it's way out of sight.

The only way I feel comfortable starting this bike, short of removing the engine to take it apart, is to either find the missing bit on the ground of have one of you nice people who have had hands on in the alternator area confim that it could not have slipped down some mystery crack and that with a mirror an light I should have been able to have seen it there if it went in. As you can see in the picture, it's a fairly big chunk. So do you think it could have dropped out of sight in there?

Thanks in advance -Bob



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patbrandon1
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Re: Broken piece in alternator?

Postby patbrandon1 » Sun May 20, 2012 11:15 pm

Wow, that is a sticky situation you have there. If it were me...I would go to my local Honda dealer and see what they would tell me. Then I would, if they had no real helpful solution at the Honda dealer, go to the alternator rebuild shop that isn't too far away from me, and ask what they would do. Then...I don't know what. Keep us posted okay?

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dingdong
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Re: Broken piece in alternator?

Postby dingdong » Mon May 21, 2012 8:49 am

Please explain what you mean by the stator being tight against the rear engine cover. ??? Need to make sure I am interpreting that correctly before I comment.
Tom

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virgilmobile
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Re: Broken piece in alternator?

Postby virgilmobile » Mon May 21, 2012 10:48 am

I;m not sure of the gap,however the stator is not tight to the rear case.It has to be spaced into the magnet area.The piece could be between the stator and the case or have fallen further into the stator and dropped into the gap between the poles.
Here's a pix that might help decide your next step.
Attachments

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thrasherg
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Re: Broken piece in alternator?

Postby thrasherg » Mon May 21, 2012 11:41 am

Do remember the missing piece is made of very soft aluminum, and is not magnetic, therefore it will not do any harm to the flywheel, it will not try to stick to anything magnetic, it will just fall to the lowest point and probably sit there doing no harm for years to come. Assuming the flywheel was not removed (which must be the case, because if you could remove it you would be able to see inside all of the alternator) then the piece cannot be inside the alternator windings, in all likelyhood it is not going to do any harm leaving it in there. I certainly would not remove the engine from the frame to open it up and look for that little piece.. Buy a new cap (Don't tighten it too much :) ) and ride.. If the part makes it into the inside of the engine, it will probably get caught by the filter before it can do any harm..

Ultimately it's your choice, but if it was my bike and I was in your position, I would just ride it and forget about it. If I ever have the engine apart, then I would look for it, but I would NOT take the engine out now if it was just to look for that part, there is plenty of room around the alternator and flywheel for a small soft part like that to drop into and not do any harm..

Gary

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Re: Broken piece in alternator?

Postby WingAdmin » Mon May 21, 2012 12:15 pm

That's true. There are a few places it could do damage, were it to block oil flow or so on, but even if it did get caught somewhere, rather than break a moving part, it would just get squished, being much softer than the steel pistons/gears moving around in the engine.

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patbrandon1
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Re: Broken piece in alternator?

Postby patbrandon1 » Mon May 21, 2012 12:17 pm

Gary makes a very good point. I too would run it. But one thing did come to mind. I have a pretty powerful shop vac, and before I ran it, I would rig the vac to fit nice and tight in the hole and try to see if it would suck it out, and once in a while turn the stator with a wrench a bit, in case the piece was hung up. I don't think there is anything in there that could be damaged by the vacuuming. Just a thought.

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virgilmobile
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Re: Broken piece in alternator?

Postby virgilmobile » Mon May 21, 2012 1:02 pm

Well at the worst ,when it goes CLUNK ,you'll know for sure what it was.

idjit
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Re: Broken piece in alternator?

Postby idjit » Mon May 21, 2012 8:27 pm

Gary, what is this flyweeel you refer to that might not be there? Could this include a stationary part about 2 inches diameter within the stator that might extend enough front to rear that I would not feel a gap at either end? All I see in there is a black metal (not shiny like the picture) cylinder front to back with the alternator bolts within it extending toward me. At the rearmost area (between 1 and 2 o'clock) toward the wires where they exit there is a gap and I can see what I assume are the lathe marks on the inside of the stator. Is this it? If so, is that what you said would keep it from getting to the windings? The alian substance is clearly not within this cylinder. Maybe this would confirm it could not have gone in and did hit the ground. This bike is a 1980, BTW.

Thanks to all of you for the assurance. In any case I'll be driving her and hoping it doesn't "clunk".

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Re: Broken piece in alternator?

Postby thrasherg » Tue May 22, 2012 1:20 am

Hi Bob,

Usually the flywheel (The outer rotating part of the alternator) sits on the end of the crankshaft and prevents anything from dropping inside the alternator when the covers are removed, however looking at the goldwing manual I see that it is reversed on the wing :oops: , meaning the windings in the alternator are exposed to the cover openings. So your broken piece could have fallen into the windings, but as its not made of iron, it will have no effect on the windings and it will not be attracted to the magnets mounted in the rotating outer flywheel :idea: , so I still think there is no risk in riding it. Worst case the broken part dropped into the windings and it will either stay there or drop out and continue to the bottom of the alternator housing. Either way it is not going to do any harm to anything.. Just ride and enjoy yourself.. :D

Gary

idjit
Posts: 63
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Motorcycle: 1980 GL1100 Interstate

Re: Broken piece in alternator?

Postby idjit » Tue May 22, 2012 4:47 am

OK, that makes sense. My only concern is that the flywheel is spinning pretty fast. If it hasn't made it to the bottom yet (below the flywheel) I hope it finds its way there gracefully. Thanks again! -Bob




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