Ignition sparks plugs only once


Information and questions on GL1100 Goldwings (1980-1983)
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1982ratwing
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Motorcycle: 1982 GL1100 Interstate

Ignition sparks plugs only once

Postby 1982ratwing » Mon Jun 17, 2013 6:53 pm



Hi,I have an ignition problem that seems unique compared to the many other ignition problems that I've read about on the forums.Here's some background 1982 GL 1100 Goldwing Interstate:ALL NEW PARTS:new Dodge neon coil pack,exact replacement copper plug wires and NGK suppressor caps,NGK DPR8EA spark plugs,Electrosport ESR290 regulator/rectifier.All of the following checks out to spec from the Honda Service Manual:stator,pulse generator,ignition/stop switch and all fuses.I also checked the OEM igniters(I have three sets) mounted on the bike tested according to the service manual for voltage drop.The voltage is supposed to drop from around 12volts to less than 2volts when you ground a corresponding wire for each from the pulse generator wiring connector.All three sets when mounted tested 12volts>3.5volts(aprx.).Not within spec,but still produced a strong spark to all four plugs ONCE each time I hit the ignition switch and not continuously.Then I purchased a new aftermarket set of ignitors and when installed they produced NO spark at all.Sent for a second set and received the same results,NO spark.What I can't figure out is why the weak oem igniters will spark it only once each time the starter button is depressed and I assume both new replacement sets are defective.Also to note,I had the same results with the stock regulator/rectifier mounted.I am anxious to hear from anyone who has had the same experience or has a solution.Thanks in advance for your interest.



bustedwing
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Re: Ignition sparks plugs only once

Postby bustedwing » Mon Jun 17, 2013 7:21 pm

Wow, to say you have been into the depths of this bike is an understatement. Is your battery supply above 11 volts? I know it's probably something you already checked, but the ignition system is very finiky when it comes to low voltage. If your battery drops while cranking the ignition stops. That is the only idea I can come up with right now, but maybe someone else can chime in with an idea.
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1982ratwing
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2011 12:31 am
Location: Tarentum,Pa.
Motorcycle: 1982 GL1100 Interstate

Re: Ignition sparks plugs only once

Postby 1982ratwing » Mon Jun 17, 2013 9:23 pm

I have two almost new batteries(one I got with a parts bike purchase) and they do check out above 12 volts and of course I've tested with both.I didn't even mention the carb rebuilds,new timing belts,re-worked valvetrain,clutch discs,water pump and flushed radiator and fuel tank,but hey It's been fun until the sparky problem.

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Re: Ignition sparks plugs only once

Postby bustedwing » Tue Jun 18, 2013 9:26 am

Good Lord, I worked on a '72 Italian made Harley that almost did the same thing. Never did figure it out,iit's a lawn ornament now. I would be down to chasing bad wiring by now, but let some other guys like Wing see if maybe he can think of something. He is very good at electronic troubleshooting so might have a trick up hi sleeve. How about it Wing, I am curious to see what you think about this one?
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1982ratwing
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Location: Tarentum,Pa.
Motorcycle: 1982 GL1100 Interstate

Re: Ignition sparks plugs only once

Postby 1982ratwing » Tue Jun 18, 2013 2:24 pm

I took this bike down to the bare frame and started putting some life into it from there.Checked continuity to every wire in the harness and all was good.I visually inspected the pulse generator and checked it's vacuum diaphram with a vacuum gauge while I had the rear cover off to install the new clutch discs.Duh! Right now my "thinker" hurts!

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virgilmobile
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Re: Ignition sparks plugs only once

Postby virgilmobile » Tue Jun 18, 2013 3:20 pm

The entire ignition system is comprised of just 3 things (doubled)
the pulse coil
the ignition module
the ignition coil.
Beyond the obvious,the coil and ignition module must have 12 volts and the ignition module must have a good ground.
The spark occurs when a interruption of the magnetic field occurs in the pulse coil producing a change in bias voltage(provided by the ignition module).This pulse is conditioned by the ignition module and is "dumped" into the coil.
This pulse occurs when the little piece of metal is rotated past the pickup coil end plate....sooooo
If the rotating part of the ignition system has a sheared or missing the alignment pin,it may only spark just once..

Here's a post on how to test the signal from the pulse coil to tell if it actually is working.
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=11800
Here's another post on the basics....just 3 parts,a battery and a piece of metal to "pulse"the pickup coil.
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=17049
Your looking for pulses as the engine it cranking..When unhooked from the harness,the pulse coil will develop a very small voltage when cranking the bike....Very small,like just a few tenths and can bee seen with a analog meter only...You can just see the needle jumping on a 2 volt dc scale.
If there there,the coil may be overloading the ignition module...Does it have the same primary resistance as the original???Within just a few tenths of a ohm???

1982ratwing
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Re: Ignition sparks plugs only once

Postby 1982ratwing » Tue Jun 18, 2013 4:46 pm

Hey Virgilmobile,Thanks for the great response.It's obvious that you know more than just a little about these electronic ignitions. So much helpful information for me to check out later today as I get the time.Before I decided to jump into the Dodge Neon coil swap I checked the old original coils mounted to the bike.This is when I found that with the original coils,ballast resistor,igniters and regulator/rectifier in place it would only spark the front two cylinders(1&3)once each time I hit the starter button.It was a weak spark and there was no spark at the rear cylinders(2&4). I swapped around the coils and got the same results.If you've been reading this post then it's obvious that I have lots of spare parts and so I switched out to another set of coils, tested and flipped them then checked again all with the same results.I didn't get into switching the brand new wires around because they all checked out good for continuity.At least now with the Neon coil pack I get a nice fat spark at all four cylinders.The Neon coil pack is supposed to operate at much higher ohms(5 to 7, I think) and the instructions were that the external ballast is not needed.I ordered another set of igniters from a different aftermarket supplier/manufacturer to arrive tomorrow.I know the original igniters tested as weak and the two sets from the first supplier tested as bad.

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virgilmobile
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Re: Ignition sparks plugs only once

Postby virgilmobile » Tue Jun 18, 2013 7:54 pm

Do you have a analog volt meter like I showed?
In the wait,you could unplug the pulse coil and verify it does "pulse" many times as the engine is cranked.
You can even see it change resistance readings too as its cranked.

1982ratwing
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Re: Ignition sparks plugs only once

Postby 1982ratwing » Thu Jun 20, 2013 11:12 pm

I took my "el cheapo" analog meter and ran the test as you suggested and I couldn't detect any movement of the pointer so then I hooked up the digital meter and did an ohms test while cranking it over.The ohms fluctuated up and down about 10 ohms on each side(not very much in my opinion) so I think that's where I'm going to find my problem.So,I started tearing it down this evening and will inspect the pulse generator for a solution,but not this weekend.I have an older Harley too and both of my brothers are bikers and we're gonna go have some fun this weekend at the "Thunder in the Valley" motorcycle rally in Johnstown,Pa.So I'll let you all know what I find when I get back at it.

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virgilmobile
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Re: Ignition sparks plugs only once

Postby virgilmobile » Fri Jun 21, 2013 6:52 am

I'll try to find the video of just testing the pulse coils and post it.

1982ratwing
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Re: Ignition sparks plugs only once

Postby 1982ratwing » Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:35 pm

Well,I broke it down to remove the swingarm and get to the pulse generator on Sunday evening and found that the generator shaft was spinning but not engaging the advance assembly.So I pulled the unit and gave it a look.No broken parts,no sheared pin,it was just that the advance assembly groove was not seated in over the pin on the pulser shaft.That's when I recalled that only one of the four mounting bolts had a retaining washer on it when I inspected the engine before installing it in the bike..Even though this was the first GL1100 engine I had been in to I knew this didn't look right,so I checked the parts manual and installed the other retaining washers as shown.Unfortunately when I did a visual inspection of the pulse generator lack of experience with this brand of engine caused me not to notice that the advance assembly wasn't fully seated.Well now it's spinning like a top and all four spark plugs are sparking "like the fourth of July". Thanks to bustedwing for your advice and support and a big shout-out of thanks to virgilmobile for sharing your knowledge of electronic ignitions with the pictures and text.I hope to get the kickstand up and start riding this old wing real soon.THANKS !

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virgilmobile
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Re: Ignition sparks plugs only once

Postby virgilmobile » Tue Jun 25, 2013 3:05 pm

Glad you found the cause....now get back to work. :lol: :P :P

Quit fooling around with the sparkies and lets hear that thing run....Take pictures too..we all like pictures....

Holler if you have ANY other snags...we just love poking our collective noses into your business. :D

1982ratwing
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Re: Ignition sparks plugs only once

Postby 1982ratwing » Tue Jun 25, 2013 5:08 pm

I'll be heading out to the garage in five minutes(as soon as I shut this computer off). I'm going to rig up a temporary fuel tank and make sure it's running well and sync the carbs,look for leaks,etc BEFORE I put it back together.I think everything will be fine though.If you like pictures of shiny old wings draped with pretty doodads you'll be disappointed,though.You notice that my tag is"1982ratwing".Yep,it's a rat bike,a project I've been wanting to do for a couple of years.When I found this 82 Goldwing Interstate it had sat under a plastic tarp in front of the guys garage for several years,neglected.I gathered up a couple more parts bikes.One had the 47k miles engine that I thoroughly went through(way too many things to mention). So it looks like a P O S ratbike but mechanically it's excellent.New tires,brakes,cables,component rebuilds,etc.I hope to have a lot of fun and laughs with it. Life is too important to take seriously! I will try to post some pictures when it's done.

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Re: Ignition sparks plugs only once

Postby bustedwing » Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:21 am

I love those types of bikes and proud to be able to help you solve your problem. I think once you get the bugs worked out that bike will become a dependable ride that you will be proud to show off. The good part of all this is you learned a lot about you bike and it's workings so it's not so intimidating anymore. Enjoy.


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