Starter Motor Diagnosis

Information and questions on GL1100 Goldwings (1980-1983)
  • Sponsored Links
Post Reply
User avatar
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Jun 19, 2013 3:37 pm
Location: Richmond, Virginia
Motorcycle: 1980 GL1100A

Starter Motor Diagnosis

Post by tmackillop » Thu Jul 11, 2013 9:36 am

Hey folks,

With the help of my brother, we rebuilt the starter motor. Before we fixed it, you had to tap the starter with a mallet to get it to engage. After the rebuild, the bike started up fine. Went on some good rides, keeping the bike running, and everything fresh.

After awhile the starter started doing the same thing again. Not every time though. If it's been raining and the bike has sat a couple days, it gets grumpy. If I ride it around every day like I try to, it starts up great, ready to go.

The scenario is, step by step:
Turn the key.
Switch the bike on.
Press the starter switch, and... just a click. When I tap the starter once or twice the thing starts right up. After running for a bit, there's no issue. It will start right up later.

What do you think it could be? I'm all ears.



User avatar
Posts: 903
Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2012 1:47 pm
Location: Sussex, Wisconsin (West of Milwaukee)
Motorcycle: 2002 GL1800 - Pearl Orange
1996 GL1500 Aspencade - Pearl Blue
1992 GL1500 Aspencade -Candy Red
1983 Suzuki GS850GL - Blue & Black

Re: Starter Motor Diagnosis

Post by Wingsconsin » Thu Jul 11, 2013 10:34 am

Did you try this cleaning rebuild tutorial..?


It solved a lot of starter troubles for the '80 GL1100 I I have...
Postings are my opinions based on experience and acquired knowledge.
Your results may vary. Universal disclaimers apply.

Motorcycle Adventure Storys writen by me

User avatar
Posts: 3088
Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2010 7:57 am
Motorcycle: 98 SE GL 1500
had every year from 75 to 83

Re: Starter Motor Diagnosis

Post by RBGERSON » Fri Jul 12, 2013 8:10 am

"dead" spot on your commutator..heat helps it..when yoiu rebuilt your starter did you polish the copper and clean out the slots between them???


User avatar
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Jun 19, 2013 3:37 pm
Location: Richmond, Virginia
Motorcycle: 1980 GL1100A

Re: Starter Motor Diagnosis

Post by tmackillop » Fri Jul 12, 2013 8:20 am

@RBGERSON I'll have to try that. Thanks for the advice folks!

User avatar
Posts: 8311
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: Starter Motor Diagnosis

Post by virgilmobile » Fri Jul 12, 2013 8:51 am

Inspect the electrical post where the windings are bound to it.
Twisting the post while removing or connecting the cable can break the wires loose.
Always use a back up 10mm wrench on the nut to ensure the post dosen't turn.

User avatar
Posts: 52
Joined: Sun May 01, 2011 9:48 pm
Location: Foxborough,ma
Motorcycle: 82 standard w/vetter & kg bags
77gl1000 standard

Re: Starter Motor Diagnosis

Post by plumbermullins » Sat Jul 13, 2013 9:19 am

What I have found in the past on the same scenario a freshly rebuilt starter is the brush plate does not ground properly to the body of the starter. clean the plate and body and coat with never seize that has copper or nickel in it. in the past I have put a piece of stranded wire between the plate and body. hope this helps.

Post Reply