GL1100 starter solenoid


Information and questions on GL1100 Goldwings (1980-1983)
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lpburke86
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GL1100 starter solenoid

Postby lpburke86 » Wed Nov 07, 2012 8:23 pm



2 weeks ago, I replaced the starter solenoid in my 81 gl1100. Annoyingly, I was in San Antonio on vacation when it went out. I was having to start it with a pocket knife jumping the solenoid posts. Needless to say, my wife hasnt let me hear the end of it. Almost ruined her vacation.:wink:

Anyway... Yesterday I was on a cruise going... actually, I still don't know where... and I stopped at a pawnshop, came back out and the bike wouldn't start. I finally traced it back to the solenoid AGAIN! After a call to the previous owner, I found out he put in 4 in 1000 miles...

The first time, I blamed it on a cheap $15 solenoid installed by the previous owner, but the only option I had in San Antonio was to go to Honda nad get the OEM part for $125.

SOOOOOO heres the question....


What would cause the solenoid to go out so often?



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virgilmobile
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Re: GL1100 starter solenoid

Postby virgilmobile » Wed Nov 07, 2012 9:29 pm

can we assume that it still clicks but won't crank?....the contacts are burnt or corroded.
Personally,I've replaced only one solenoid out of 6 bikes over 15 years.No bike younger than 25 years.
The only that failed was badly corroded.
A solenoid should last many years IF...
It's kept clean and dry....
Has the capability to handle the current draw through the contacts( no cheap knockoff) or one made for a moped.
The battery is of good quality and all connections are cleaned,including the ground.
The start switch is actually providing enough volts to the relay coil to fully engage it.....and the ground circuit is actually properly grounding.
Even tho the solenoid clicks,If the coil volts are very low ,the starter contacts may not be engaged fully and firmly,causing arcing.Do that enough times and it's shot.
Unhooking the cable that feeds the starter and measure the coil volts directly on the 2wires.Do not use the battery for the meter ground.You can have a ground problem or a feed problem.The volts across The coil should be no less than 0.5 volt less than the battery volts.
example...coil measures 12.2 battery 12.7

I hope this helps....check it out and let us know what you find.We all want to know what's wrong.

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lpburke86
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Re: GL1100 starter solenoid

Postby lpburke86 » Wed Nov 07, 2012 10:19 pm

Contacts are good, starts up just fine by jumping the posts with a screwdriver. But when I push the button it just clicks.

Do I still need to check the coil volts? How and where do I do that?

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virgilmobile
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Re: GL1100 starter solenoid

Postby virgilmobile » Wed Nov 07, 2012 10:31 pm

just to be sure,use a DVM and probe the battery posts and push the start button.Measure the volts.Then probe the 2 small wires on the solenoid.Push the start button and read the volts.
It should be no less than 0.5 volts less than the battery.

It is unusual to have a solenoid to fail that quick.

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Re: GL1100 starter solenoid

Postby WingAdmin » Thu Nov 08, 2012 9:07 am

If the starter is for some reason drawing an unusually large amount of current, it could cause the contacts to wear out faster. Remember, the circuit between the battery, solenoid and starter is UNFUSED. I guess Honda depends on the solenoid burning out in case of a short circuit? In any case, the starter could have a fault that causes it to be under significant load, meaning it draws far too much current, or it has an electrical fault that again means it draws far too much current.

There's a few ways to test this:

- Use a high-current ammeter to measure the current across the solenoid terminals (this will crank the starter)
- Use an ohmmeter to measure the resistance across the starter, between its input terminal and ground (starter must not be cranked while this is being done)
- Use a voltmeter to measure the voltage at the battery when the starter is engaged

For the first two, you'll have to first find someone with a properly-operating 1100 to do similar measurements to find out what is "normal".

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virgilmobile
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Re: GL1100 starter solenoid

Postby virgilmobile » Thu Nov 08, 2012 9:45 am

Yes indeed....this is step 2....

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lpburke86
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Re: GL1100 starter solenoid

Postby lpburke86 » Thu Nov 08, 2012 11:41 pm

Ok. So I pulled the starter, took it apart, and the copper plates where to brushes contact were all corroded. I cleaned them with a 200 grit sand paper, the smoothed it with 600 grit. Then did the same to the brushes. I also pulled the planetary gears and cleaned them and re greased them with Lubriplate 1200 grease.... I used to have to do all of that in the window motors of my old ford.

Then I put the new solenoid in, and she fired right up.

But after ten stops today, I am started to have issues again with it not wanting to start. I checked a power circuit and it only have 11.8v running trough it.

Could it be the rectifier and stater shorting out the starter circuit?

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littlebeaver
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Re: GL1100 starter solenoid

Postby littlebeaver » Fri Nov 09, 2012 12:35 am

Man I'm in San Antonio, i wish I could have helped you out, I have a extra ford solenoid I would have given you, did you check the ground wire at the frame and take that bolt loose and clean up under it? Did you check the plastic plugin above the solenoid, Whats it look like, is anything melted..Might be your starter buttons dirty... These guys are the best here so follow what they advise...We have a place in Aransas Pass...My Brother John lived there but he went died.. :cry: PM me if you want...

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virgilmobile
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Re: GL1100 starter solenoid

Postby virgilmobile » Fri Nov 09, 2012 12:40 pm

lpburke86 wrote:I checked a power circuit and it only have 11.8v running trough it.
Could it be the rectifier and stater shorting out the starter circuit?


Obviously 11.8 volts indicates a failing charging system.
What is wrong should be easy to diagnose.
The entire system is comprised of just 2 seperate parts and usually fails at the connections to them.
Ocasionally the stator is bad and I've seen a few cooked regulators.
If your bike still has the plug next to the battery with 3 yellow wires in it......bypass it.
Do test the stator before you solder the wires direct tho.
The regulator plug is subject to corrosion also and it's plug can be bypassed as well.
Here's a couple of posts all about that....
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=12522
viewtopic.php?f=4&t=12051
viewtopic.php?f=4&t=18

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Re: GL1100 starter solenoid

Postby WingAdmin » Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:47 am

Are you measuring this 11.8 volts at the battery, or somewhere else? Is the ignition turned on when you do this (i.e. headlight on)?

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lpburke86
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Re: GL1100 starter solenoid

Postby lpburke86 » Mon Nov 12, 2012 12:08 pm

11.8 is measure at the battery, everything off.

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Re: GL1100 starter solenoid

Postby lpburke86 » Mon Nov 12, 2012 12:11 pm

I am also beginning at this point to think I need someone to give me some tips on how to pull the engine out.

I tried jumping the starter straight from my truck to bypass the entire electrical system of the bike and the engine got about half a turn. Im thinking maybe the starter clutch is out or the chain jumped or something of the sort.

Im a 26 year old bar/restaurant manager who doesn't have several open days to work on it, so if anyone has some tips on it, that'd be awesome. As far as tools, I have a complete mechanic shop at my disposal, so that isn't an issue.

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virgilmobile
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Re: GL1100 starter solenoid

Postby virgilmobile » Mon Nov 12, 2012 1:01 pm

lpburke86 wrote: the engine got about half a turn.


If it got a half turn and then everything stopped,I'd pull all 4 plugs out and crank it again.
It may have hydrolocked.
DO KILL THE IGNITION BEFORE CRANKING.....if it shoots gas 15' out of one cylinder you don't want to ignite it and make a spectacular flame thrower.

My 1100 shot gas across the driveway so do this outside...

Also,just to be sure,take your meter and read the volts on your car/truck battery.
Not running,expect 12.8 volts and around 14.2 running.
The bike should be very close to the same.

The only reason to yank the motor would be to replace a cooked stator.Test it first.
I have had a starter clutch slip but never had a problem with the chain or sprocket.
I have heard of a shear pin breaking in the starter's planetary gear outer gear ring.The starter would spin but not crank the engine.

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Re: GL1100 starter solenoid

Postby littlebeaver » Mon Nov 12, 2012 2:08 pm

When he cranks it should he have the kill switch on or off? Might be best to be off as the spark from the coils will not ignite, Gasoline and spark ain't good outside in the open air :shock: ... :lol: Move the spark caps out of the way so gasoline don't get on them or cover them, because when the gas comes blasting out of there it could get messy, it does sound like hydro locked though.. Sometimes the fuel shut off at the petcock is left on and fuel gets into the cylinders creating this problem...I think I got that right? :shock: Be sure to shut the petcock valve off when not in use..Also it could be a bad float needle valve in the carbs that's letting gas by and into the cylinder...Sometimes just rapping the float bodies with the back of a screwdriver will resets the needle if it's not closing all the way in it's spot..I kinda hope this is all that's wrong because it's not too bad an issue..Man I just don't want you to get blown the hell up like I did.. :lol:

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lpburke86
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Re: GL1100 starter solenoid

Postby lpburke86 » Wed Nov 14, 2012 2:43 am

So, I have been working 18 hour days for the last few days.... No... I did not blow myself up. Yet.

I plan on pulling the plugs and checking that stuff first thing in the morning, and I'll be sure to let yall know how it went.

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littlebeaver
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Re: GL1100 starter solenoid

Postby littlebeaver » Wed Nov 14, 2012 3:22 am

Virgil knows his stuff now, you'll be fine, gas will shoot out and the starter will spin again I'm sure, once you get it started, and it's at idle, put you're multimeter leads on the battery posts in their proper colored locations and read the volts at idle, should be up in the 13's at idle then rev the engine at a higher rpm and hold it watch the multimeter...At a higher rpm it should go much higher into the 14's but it should never go above 15 volts..If it reads like that you're charging system is ok I do believe......I know Virgil said to KILL the ignition, but I just want to make darn sure you didn't end up like me :shock: , I'm still trying to get the kinks out of my hair because I got blown the hell up... :shock: :lol: Naw...

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lpburke86
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Re: GL1100 starter solenoid

Postby lpburke86 » Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:49 pm

So apparently, it was a combination of things...

One, the starter was bad. The conductor between the magnets inside had shorted out.
Two, the planetary gears inside the starter body were worn all the way down to almost razor sharp.
And three, It was hydrolocked, but with water, not gas. Apparently the previous owner leaving out in the rain all the time and one heavy downpour it got caught in while I was at work added up to the engine saying "**** you."

Thank y'all for your help... glad to have my scooter back.

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Re: GL1100 starter solenoid

Postby eklimek » Mon Dec 03, 2012 2:35 am

Hydrolocked with rainwater?

You must share how exactly. Evidentally water intake to left bank while on sidestand?

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lpburke86
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Re: GL1100 starter solenoid

Postby lpburke86 » Mon Dec 03, 2012 4:03 am

On how... your guess is as good as mine... my explanation was based on the fact that I have good compression, and no coolant leaks.




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