did I break it? speedo cable


Information and questions on GL1100 Goldwings (1980-1983)
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jp98226
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Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2012 6:01 pm
Location: Bellingham, Wa.
Motorcycle: 1983 Gl1100 Interstate

did I break it? speedo cable

Postby jp98226 » Fri Oct 05, 2012 6:54 pm



So while I was trying to isolate a very slight screeching noise coming from the front of my bike, I disconnected my speedometer cable at the front wheel hub to see if the cable/speedo dial was causing the problem. For the record, no, the light screeching continued. The sound just appeared after my carburetor/intake assembly rebuild, only begins at 65 mph (not related to engine rpms), and is possibly a weird aerodynamic side-effect (light, flat, whistling sound) . . . maybe there’s a new gap in the housing shields, mystery to be solved later.

In any case, after my test ride I carefully re-inserted the speedo cable back into the front wheel speed-hub unit and cinched it down via the phillips head screw, and took a ride around the block . . . but the speedo does not work now, at all. After removing the cable again (at the wheel) to examine the speed-hub I see that the male spade on the speed-hub looks fine although, oddly, it will freely rotate 270 degrees (clockwise & counter-clockwise) before it stops, but it does stop in its rotation. As I look deeply down into the narrow opening of the receiving/mating end of the speedo cable housing itself I can’t see a female notch which would mate up with the speed-hub spade. So here’s my question, did I unknowingly drop a tiny mating part from inside the speedo cable when I originally disconnected it from the speed-hub, and that’s why it would not work upon reassembly? Or did I break it in some other fashion? It certainly would not be the first time I broke one part while trying to fix another . :-/

Just to insure future aggravation, I ordered new OEM speedo and tach cables this afternoon . . . not that I’m anticipating a failure in the tach cable, but the bike is 29 years old, and I may find a way to break it too!

Please advise.



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dingdong
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Re: did I break it? speedo cable

Postby dingdong » Sat Oct 06, 2012 7:34 am

There is no other part. Probably didn't get the notch mated with the spade. Just reach in and pull the internal cable out and check it. The upper end should be square. Nothing you can damage. Even without trying.
Tom

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RoadRogue
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Re: did I break it? speedo cable

Postby RoadRogue » Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:28 am

so whats the word? did you get it fixed up? 8-)
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jp98226
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Motorcycle: 1983 Gl1100 Interstate

Re: did I break it? speedo cable

Postby jp98226 » Fri Oct 12, 2012 10:42 am

Yes and no.

Yes, I did figure out that I had unknowingly lost the speed cable from the housing on my "noise run" as I had duct taped the speedo cable off to the side (so as not to interfere with the spinning wheel), but I did not realize how easily the cable would slide out of the open-ended cable housing [duh] once under way. So naturally, during the test ride the cable dropped out onto the road and is lying somewhere along side Interstate 5 [head slap]. So now I await a new replacement speedo cable in the mail.

No on the noise issue, however, as I decided to pull and check the speedo gearbox on the front axle thinking it might be the source of the front end noise; wheel bearings are in great shape and only one year old, so I ruled them out as a noise maker. While the speedo gearbox was a bit dry/light on lube, the metal and plastic parts were intact and working fine, so I greased it up, reinstalled it, but the 65 mph noise continues unchanged.

I am now thinking that the mystery sound is a ground-speed dependent "whistling" from a gap between some plastic fairing bit and another bike part. My new plan is to systematically apply blue painter's tape along selected gaps, repeatedly run down the highway at 65 mph, and eventually isolate the offending sound-generator. I can just picture the front of the bike completely wrapped in blue tape by the time I'm done . . . at which point I'm sure my wife would say something like "why didn't you just wear your ear plugs?" Where upon I might say, "oh well, you know me, once I get an idea I am like a dog with a bone . . . " And I might also add, that after the great carb rebuild done by Pistol Pete in Tennessee, the GW is truly running "better than new" and absolutely purrs down the road, and therefore the instrusion of an errant "whistle" is completely intolerable - to me anyway.

wish me luck.

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eklimek
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Re: did I break it? speedo cable

Postby eklimek » Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:41 pm

Pete and Moose did mine - 81 gl1100 - with same great results. You can always begrudge someone the price, but in this case you cant fault the service.

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Re: did I break it? speedo cable

Postby Johnyy Smoke » Fri Oct 12, 2012 2:16 pm

Could it be the tensioners for the timing belts making the noise? Regards,Johnyy

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Re: did I break it? speedo cable

Postby WingAdmin » Fri Oct 12, 2012 2:36 pm

Johnyy Smoke wrote:Could it be the tensioners for the timing belts making the noise? Regards,Johnyy


There's an easy way to tell that - pull the clutch in at highway speed and let the engine drop to idle, and see if the noise goes away. Or, easier, in the garage, in neutral, run the engine up to speed and see if you can hear the noise.

jp98226
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Re: did I break it? speedo cable

Postby jp98226 » Fri Oct 12, 2012 6:09 pm

WingAdmin wrote:
Johnyy Smoke wrote:Could it be the tensioners for the timing belts making the noise? Regards,Johnyy


There's an easy way to tell that - pull the clutch in at highway speed and let the engine drop to idle, and see if the noise goes away. Or, easier, in the garage, in neutral, run the engine up to speed and see if you can hear the noise.


===================================
Good ideas. I did replace the timing belts and tensioners last year (with OEM parts), and did not notice the sound since then though. And while I only get the noise at or above 65 mph (I believe at 3500 rpm in fifth gear), I did try to recreate it at 3500 rpm in fourth and third gears, but no noise appeared at that same rpm and lower road speeds.

At my next opportunity I will try the 65-70 mph (and slower) clutch-in technique, that would definitely isolate any engine effects; also the stationary 3500 rpm dry run. I have methodically tried to work the brakes (front only, foot only), note/eliminate suspension movements, steering head angles, leaned my head/ear close into the instrument pod (listening for speedo and tach gear sounds), vent adjustments in and outside of the fairing, I even fussed with my accessory highway pegs to see if their position was making the apparent flat-whistle sound. No culprits yet.

Oh, I just remembered another clue. The sound appeared once at a slightly slower ground speed (55-60 mph) when I was riding into a head-wind! Sounds like an aerodynamic effect, huh?

It is a very minor sound, a new owner might not even notice it, but I've owned the bike for . . . 16+ years, so I hear it right away, and very easily.

thanks for the feedback guys!

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redbug
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Re: did I break it? speedo cable

Postby redbug » Fri Nov 22, 2013 10:24 am

JD..while doing a search under whistle here you are..I have the same whistle or tv test pattern tone even at the same rpm as you. Did you come up with anything after your extensive research? Thank you...
" Ridin on Tulsa Time "

jp98226
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Motorcycle: 1983 Gl1100 Interstate

Re: did I break it? speedo cable

Postby jp98226 » Fri Nov 29, 2013 4:41 pm

Redbug,
Yes, I finally did solve the whistle problem, and the source of the noise was so simple stupid that I’m embarassed it took so long to sort out; maybe 6 months, over lots of short individual rides.

So here’s the recap. Along with removing/remounting the intake manifold and carb assembly for a rebuild, I also had my mechanic replace the 30 year old rubber brake lines with steel braided units, and generally rebuild the brakes/master cylinder. So through the course of this repair job, there were lots of body panels removed and reinstalled (by myself and the mechanic), and that’s why I thought something must have gone back onto the bike in some misaligned fashion, to account for the new mystery whistle sound; which was dependent ONLY upon ground speed, vs engine speed, transmission speed/gear, speedo/tach pxs, clutch engagement, wheel/hub issues, etc., etc..

Anyway, over a period of months, I became convinced that the noise had an aerodynamic source so I applied layer-after-layer of blue painter’s tape to every crevice, seam, or other possible noise culprit I could find on the front of the bike; fairing, brake calipers, radiator edges, removed the mirrors . . . I even found a stretch of I-5 freeway which had two rest stops roughly aligned on either side of the interstate (on the North and South bound lanes) that allowed me to ride 2 miles North (check for noise changes after the last tape application, stop and reapply), and then turnaround and head 2 miles South (check again for noise changes after the last tape application, stop and reapply). Over and over and over again. And let me tell you, when you revisit the same rest stops that frequently over a sustained period of time, you began to see that rest stops (and the frequent comings and goings of various visitors/characters) have a secret life all their own!

So after one particularly long afternoon of rest-stop riding, I was nearly ready to give up, when I found myself on my knees staring at the front of the bike (left side, wheel area), and my gaze fell upon the a little black plastic fastener or coupler (3/8” wide by 1 1/4” long) which holds the speedo cable and front brake line (a new steel braided line in my case). The stock fastener/coupler holds the noted speedo/brake lines apart, at about the same vertical height (from the ground) as the left horn mounted on the upper radiator framing. Looking carefully at the cable fastener I could see that the coupler was designed to be loose enough that it allowed the lines to wiggle or rotate in their front to back positioning. In fact, with minimal twisting effort, the lines could be turned or positioned so has to be aligned front-to-back, or in a “cross” (like an X) one in front of the other; which is how I found them, crossed. And in that long moment, like a simple-minded monkey discovering that a stick could be used as a tool, it slowly dawned on me that the speedo cable and the new brake line made a kind of overlapping wind-instrument which might produce a whistling sound . . . but only at a certain speed, slower if there was a head wind, and notably more pronounced when making left turns or whenever the wheel was turned into North by Northwest head winds. Oh my, in that moment, the heavens opened, the light streamed down, and my kind took an evolutionary step forward.

And the reason that this problem just cropped-up after owning the bike for about 17 years, is that the brake line had just been replaced with a slightly longer (and possibly smaller diameter) version which (upon installation) must have twisted or rotated the speedo/brake coupler enough to form a whistling cross, of cables. My crude hypothesis was if I re-align the cables front to back (parallel), on the same plane (as say) the wheel, then (perhaps) no micro-wind turbulence would be created, and no whistle would result. An immediate rest-stop test drive confirmed the hypothesis and the fix and, remarkably, I HAVE NOT had an unintended repeat of the twisted coupler whistle; the reverse also proved to be true, if I twist the coupler to form a cross, the sound returns. Ah the sweet sound of my non-whistling GW and has been recaptured. But I can assure you, this simple monkey throws a glance at those cables before every ride.

I hope this helps, Redbug, to either confirm or rule-out your whistling problem. Take care and good luck.

jp




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