How can I tell if my carbs need cleaning?

Information and questions on GL1100 Goldwings (1980-1983)
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Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2012 11:01 pm
Location: Livonia, Michigan
Motorcycle: 1982 GL1100

How can I tell if my carbs need cleaning?

Post by jezreel » Sat Apr 12, 2014 3:45 pm

Hey everyone! I don't have much mechanical knowledge so I figured id ask here. I've had my 81 gl1100 for about 2 years now and I haven't had any problems. But it is an older bike with 30000 miles and I don't know if the previous owner had the carbs cleaned. So before I take it to a shop, how can I tell if it the carbs even need cleaning?

I do have to use the choke and let it idle for a few minutes when I first start it up in the day but I assumed that was normal. I also live in Michigan so it sits for a few months during the winter, I don't know if that would have any effect on it.

Thanks for any advice!

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Re: How can I tell if my carbs need cleaning?

Post by virgilmobile » Sat Apr 12, 2014 4:29 pm

Probably the best way to determine if your carbs have "problems" is to look at the spark plugs.Theres a "how to read your plugs"post all about them.
The second is overall performance and gas mileage.
If it accelerates well to 5 grand and can average above 32 MPG,I wouldn't worry about it.
Once a year run a dose of sea foam through it and try not to leave gas in it for more than a few months.
Don't forget to turn off the gas after the days ride if its gonna set for more than a day or so.

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Re: How can I tell if my carbs need cleaning?

Post by eklimek » Sun Apr 13, 2014 5:55 am

Virgile is as usual on target. The 1100 has sufficient power and you can live with faulty carbs on 1/2 throttle 90% of the time. 30,000 miles is not much. The age and lack of maintenance is more important.

I can only tell you why I had my 1981 carbs redone. Idled OK when warm at 1,000 rpm. But it will idle on 2 or 3 cylinders. Acceleration at 3/4 throttle lacking. The last bit of throttle twist gave me zero. Up hill 5th gear was a waste of time. Want to pass a truck at 60 mph? Think again. More like a Honda rebel 250 at speed.

Now its faster than I ever care to go and it would be easy to lose your drivers license unless you check your speed.

Still needs choke to start in cold. Its Canada. Close doors, Zip up, don gloves and helmut and no choke needed. After a 20 mile run down the highway it's just a bit of tappet and whirring noise and very smooth steady idle. Haven't tried but I suspect one could idle down to several hundred rpm.

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