Need help with electrical gremlins


Information and questions on GL1100 Goldwings (1980-1983)
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noelcassidy
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Need help with electrical gremlins

Postby noelcassidy » Sat May 22, 2010 5:23 am



I have a 1983 goldwing which I purchased for $150.00. It sat for 10 years. I got it running and decided to go through it and pretty it up. I now have completed the pretty up phase and have it all back together. My problem is, the headlight is very dim, the front blinkers don't blink like they should, actually when the blinkers, left or right, are engaged, both blinkers and the headlight blink dimly. The amp gauge does not register. The stator is putting out 14.5 with the engine running, so it is working as it should. I had an auto mechanic look at it and he thought it was a ground problem. I ran a direct ground from the battery, negative side to the ground wire at the fairing plug and nothing changed. Also the clock works with the key off, it doesn't work with the key on. The bike runs great even though all this stuff is going on. The tail light and blinkers work fine, so it is something in the fairing that is causing the problem. Just wondering if anyone here can come up with a solution.



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tfdeputydawg
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Re: Need help with electrical gremlins

Postby tfdeputydawg » Sat May 22, 2010 6:42 am

I'm sure this is a stupid question but, have you checked the battery with a load tester????
Also another dumb one, have you checked the ground wire in the fairing harness. Running a new wire to it and nothing changing makes me wonder about the fairing harness itself!

Jeeper
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Re: Need help with electrical gremlins

Postby Jeeper » Sat May 22, 2010 7:42 am

I too would look into the fairing harness itself. My bike sat for only a year and a half and the mice had a nice home built in the fairing. They chewed some of the wiring while they were in there.

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WingAdmin
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Re: Need help with electrical gremlins

Postby WingAdmin » Sat May 22, 2010 11:52 am

I agree with your mechanic: every symptom you describe smacks of a broken ground somewhere. You just haven't hit the right one yet.

noelcassidy
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Re: Need help with electrical gremlins

Postby noelcassidy » Sat May 22, 2010 1:40 pm

The ground from the battery to the frame is good and tight. I do not know where the ground for the fairing harness is. It looks like it collects under the 3 pound weight attached to the forks, but again I am not sure. I did run a direct ground from the negative battery terminal to the fairing harness on both sides of it and it did not fix the problem. I have to wonder if the directional flashing unit could cause weird things to happen.

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thrasherg
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Re: Need help with electrical gremlins

Postby thrasherg » Sat May 22, 2010 10:18 pm

The directional flasher unit can not effect the headlight. Your symptoms sound exactly like a bad earth.. I think your mechanic is right but you need to play a bit more, if you connect a wire from the erath on the headlight bulb (make sure you get a good connection) and run the wire directly to the battery negative terminal, do the lights get brighter? It could also be a problem with the positive feed, so my next suggestion would be if the wire to the negative terminal made no difference, try finding which of the two live wires to the headlight bulb is live (you need a voltmeter) and then run a wire from the battery Positive terminal directly to the live wire on the headlight bulb. If the first suggestion (wire to negative) makes the headlight go bright, then your mechanic is right (bad earth), if the second suggestion makes the headlight go bright, then you have a bad connection on the live side. For the live side, you will need a voltmeter and will have to trace the voltage from the battery to the ignition switch, to the handlebar headlight switch to the headlight bulb and find at what point the volts are dropping. Could be a bed fuse connection, broken wire or corroded connection somewhere.

Regards Gary

noelcassidy
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Re: Need help with electrical gremlins

Postby noelcassidy » Sun May 23, 2010 5:59 am

I did hook a ground from the battery directly to the ground in the fairing and it made no difference. I then pulled the headlight out and hooked it to a battery charger, nice and bright. It does almost seem to be a drop in voltage somewhere. The rear lights are fine and work normal. Guess I will print out an electrical diagram and start probing where the problem is. Guess I will pull the fairing again so i can get at the mass of wires inside the front weight to see if there is something amiss there. I thought these problems only happened to English bikes.

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Re: Need help with electrical gremlins

Postby WingAdmin » Mon May 24, 2010 12:52 pm

The ground for the headlights and both turn signals is shared, so I'm 99.9% certain now that you have a bad ground. The ground line goes from the regulator, a) through an 8 pin connector to the clutch switch, b) and splits off at that point to go to the fairing, c) where it goes through a one-pin connector, d) and splits off in two directions. One direction goes to the left front turn signal, the other direction goes to the headlight and right front turn signal.

If both turn signals are making the headlight flash, then the problem is somewhere before the point where it splits off at d). Here's what I would do: Take a wire from the negative terminal on the battery, and connect it directly to the green wire (green is always ground) coming from either turn signal (much easier to get to than the headlight). Unscrew one of the turn signals, pop it out of the fairing, and connect that wire to the green wire. Then see if the problem is fixed - I suspect it will be. That will identify that this is in fact what the problem is.

noelcassidy
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Re: Need help with electrical gremlins

Postby noelcassidy » Tue May 25, 2010 6:10 am

I removed the fairing and checked all the wiring in behind the fork weight. Everything looked fine in there, put dielectric grease in all the connectors. Hooked a ground line to the fairing plug and attached a battery charger to the line, then started testing all the other connections in the plug. Nothing worked except the dash light for the clock. The amp gauge and clock circuits were okay. Come to find out, the green ground wire inside the fairing either was broken or a connector came apart that was not able to be seen. I attached a wire from the ground circuit of the left blinker back to the green ground wire off the fairing plug and low and behold all the circuits seem to be working as they should. Headlight was nice and bright. Haven't put it all back together yet but am in hopes the gremlin is gone. Thanks for all your help.

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Re: Need help with electrical gremlins

Postby WingAdmin » Tue May 25, 2010 10:07 am

That's exactly what I figured was going to happen. So yes, you've got a bad ground somewhere between that point and where it connects to the clutch switch - probably behind that weight on the front forks.

You can go after it and try to figure out where it is - or, you can just wire a new ground to that left turn signal and leave it at that - that's a much simpler way of fixing it, and is probably what I would do. :) In fact, I have done just that - I had a connector for my horns go bad somewhere between the switch and the horns, and I'm pretty sure it's one of the connectors behind that weight. Rather than spend hours searching for a bad connection, I just cut it out and ran a new wire in its place. Problem fixed. :)

noelcassidy
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Re: Need help with electrical gremlins

Postby noelcassidy » Tue May 25, 2010 7:02 pm

Got it back together and all works well. Put dielectric grease on all the connectors, ran a new ground wire off the turn signal ground wire and back fed it through the system. Now I have to figure out why the bike runs in the red zone on the temp gauge.
My thoughts is the thermostat is frozen from sitting for 10 years. The fan works as it should. Noticed the level in the overflow bottle did not go down, so it is either the thermostat or the water pump.

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Re: Need help with electrical gremlins

Postby WingAdmin » Wed May 26, 2010 1:40 pm

Is the fuel gauge also reading full regardless of the level of fuel? If so, it could be your 7 volt regulator.

If the fuel gauge works correctly, you could have a thermostat problem, blocked radiator, or air bubble in the coolant.

noelcassidy
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Re: Need help with electrical gremlins

Postby noelcassidy » Wed May 26, 2010 3:50 pm

fuel gauge seems to work fine. As I said the bike sat for ten years so at this point it could be anything. I did remove the radiator in the rebuild process so an air bubble could be the culprit. How would one check for such a thing. When I put it back together all I did was fill the radiator and brought the overflow up to level. I have a new thermostat coming and also was wondering about the fan switch. Any help appreciated here. Thanks.

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Re: Need help with electrical gremlins

Postby WingAdmin » Thu May 27, 2010 3:04 pm

Have a look at this page, in particular step 15. You need to run it for quite a while until it is at operating temperature, and no more bubbles show at the filler neck. It's possible you're running without enough coolant in the engine.

noelcassidy
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Re: Need help with electrical gremlins

Postby noelcassidy » Thu May 27, 2010 9:36 pm

Opened the radiator cap and let the bike run until the fluid started to flow through the system.
Sure enough there was an air bubble in the cooling system.
The gremlins are worked out and the wing is running great. Thanks for all
your help, you guys are great.

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Re: Need help with electrical gremlins

Postby WingAdmin » Fri May 28, 2010 11:59 am

Glad to hear it worked out for you!

noelcassidy
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Re: Need help with electrical gremlins

Postby noelcassidy » Tue Jun 01, 2010 7:40 pm

Looks like the gremlin has moved to a new spot. Everything was working as it should, I then noticed the headlight was not working. Checked the fuses and there was a blown fuse. Put a new one in and it blew as soon as the key was turned on. Any suggestions as to where I should look?

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Re: Need help with electrical gremlins

Postby WingAdmin » Tue Jun 01, 2010 7:54 pm

Which fuse is it that's blowing?

noelcassidy
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Re: Need help with electrical gremlins

Postby noelcassidy » Wed Jun 02, 2010 5:44 am

the fuse on the far left of the fuse box under the false tank. It says "head" on the fuse cover.

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Re: Need help with electrical gremlins

Postby WingAdmin » Wed Jun 02, 2010 9:19 pm

OK, the ONLY thing that is run by that fuse is the headlight, so that narrows it down a bit.

From that fuse runs a black/red wire to the starter switch, and from there to the headlight high/low beam switch as a white/blue wire. The starter switch interrupts the connection between the black/red and the white/blue wire when pressed, to turn the headlight off when starting (to give the starter extra power).

From the headlight high/low beam switch two wires run to the headlight - what looks like grey and blue.

A simple test: Does the fuse blow if the headlight is on low beam AND when it is on high beam? If so, then the short is either:

- between the fuse and the high/low beam switch
- between the high/low beam switch and the headlight, but BOTH wires are shorted (not likely)

If the fuse blows either when in low beam OR high beam (but not both) then the short is in between the high/low switch and the headlight.

noelcassidy
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Re: Need help with electrical gremlins

Postby noelcassidy » Thu Jun 03, 2010 5:59 am

Thanks for the help on this. I have to get some fuses in order to test if the short happens on high or low beam or both. Probably a good idea to have some extra fuses on board. Will keep you posted on what i find out.




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