Ignition Problem


Information and questions on GL1100 Goldwings (1980-1983)
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Brasco18
Posts: 14
Joined: Sat Jul 07, 2012 7:54 am
Location: Duluth
Motorcycle: 1983 Honda golding interstate

Ignition Problem

Postby Brasco18 » Tue Jul 22, 2014 9:34 pm



1983 GL1100i. For a while now, when I start my bike, it seems to be running on less than four cylinders. after it warms up a bit, the other cylinders kit in. I know this because I can hear it. It ran just fine once it was warmed up. Lately, on occasion, the bike would seem to miss or lose spark briefly. It's hard to explain. It seemed like it would just lose power for a split second. It only happened a couple of times. Yesterday morning, I started up the bike and let it idle for a bit. The other cylinders started kicking in. I usually go back in the house while the bike warms up. I came back out and noticed it was running a bit hard. I revved it and it died. I tried starting it again but there was nothing when I pressed the start button. No starter. No lights. No neutral light. Nothing. It was like there wasn't a battery even connected. I turned the key off for a bit then turned it back on. Lights came on. I turned it over and it started right up. However, every time I revved it it would die. After it would die, there would be no lights or electricity at all, until I would turn off the key for a bit. Doing a little research, I thought it might be a bad coil. I have the service manual for my bike. It says the primary resistance should be around 0.4 ohms. both of my coils read around 2 ohms. This is confusing because why would they both read the same? There is some resistance in my multimeter, but I subtracted that out. Am I testing my coils wrong? How exactly do you test them? Does this sound like a coil problem?



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WingAdmin
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Motorcycle: 2000 GL1500 SE
1982 GL1100A Aspencade (sold)
1989 PC800 (wife's!)
1998 XV250 Virago (sold)
2007 Aspen Sentry Trailer

Re: Ignition Problem

Postby WingAdmin » Wed Jul 23, 2014 8:02 am

Pull open your starter relay cover and remove the master (dogbone) fuse. I am willing to bet that it will crumble into dust when you do. This is a known, common problem with these old fuses, and it seems quite a few people lately are having this issue. I strongly suspect this is the same problem you are experiencing.

This is on a GL1200, but it's essentially the same:

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=22693&p=125393#p125393

Brasco18
Posts: 14
Joined: Sat Jul 07, 2012 7:54 am
Location: Duluth
Motorcycle: 1983 Honda golding interstate

Re: Ignition Problem

Postby Brasco18 » Wed Jul 23, 2014 9:10 am

I will see about checking that. I saw this post viewtopic.php?f=4&t=23062 has similar issues as me. But would this cause the bike to start on only two cylinders?

Brasco18
Posts: 14
Joined: Sat Jul 07, 2012 7:54 am
Location: Duluth
Motorcycle: 1983 Honda golding interstate

Re: Ignition Problem

Postby Brasco18 » Wed Jul 23, 2014 9:06 pm

I pulled the main fuse. I have never seen a "dog bone" fuse before. Here is a picture. Is this what it's supposed to look like?
Main Fuse
Main Fuse

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WingAdmin
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Posts: 17047
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Location: Strongsville, OH
Motorcycle: 2000 GL1500 SE
1982 GL1100A Aspencade (sold)
1989 PC800 (wife's!)
1998 XV250 Virago (sold)
2007 Aspen Sentry Trailer

Re: Ignition Problem

Postby WingAdmin » Wed Jul 23, 2014 10:15 pm

Brasco18 wrote:I pulled the main fuse. I have never seen a "dog bone" fuse before. Here is a picture. Is this what it's supposed to look like?
Fuse.jpg


That's it, but I don't know what that piece of plastic is on there. It should look just like this one (although not quite so filthy):

Image

Brasco18
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Joined: Sat Jul 07, 2012 7:54 am
Location: Duluth
Motorcycle: 1983 Honda golding interstate

Re: Ignition Problem

Postby Brasco18 » Wed Jul 23, 2014 11:05 pm

It appears to be some kind of copper piece. I am thinking at a previous owner had a broken fuse and, instead of replacing it, clamped a piece of copper on it to bridge the gap. There is no spare. I will be picking up a new fuse holder tomorrow.

Brasco18
Posts: 14
Joined: Sat Jul 07, 2012 7:54 am
Location: Duluth
Motorcycle: 1983 Honda golding interstate

Re: Ignition Problem

Postby Brasco18 » Thu Jul 24, 2014 9:06 pm

I replaced the main fuse with a new fuse holder and modern fuse. I also changed the spark plugs. It started up but the same problem exists. It's running super hard and whenever I gave it gas it would start to die. Now there seems to be a new symptom. It seems the thermostat isn't opening. Last year, my water pump failed, causing oil to get in my coolant. I replace the pump and cleaned out the radiator as best i could. This year, the bike has been running a bit hot. I noticed the reservoir was dry and had gunk it it. I open the radiator and there was some dirty coolant float at the top. I figured there was still some oil in the system. So I decided to also drain and clean the radiator. I drained it and filled it back up. I was going to then let the bike run for a bit to get the thermostat to open so I could fill it the rest of the way. I let the bike run (it ran rough) but the thermostat never opened and the fan never came on. Water boiled out of the radiator. I'm not sure what is wrong. Any ideas?

Brasco18
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Location: Duluth
Motorcycle: 1983 Honda golding interstate

Re: Ignition Problem

Postby Brasco18 » Thu Jul 24, 2014 10:26 pm

If there was an air pocket in the radiator somewhere, would that cause the thermostat to not open? Would it cause the bike to cavitate? That what it seems like it's doing when I give it gas; it's like the bike is running at super low rpms and is lugging out. But it's not running at low rpms. In fact, the rpms are trying to go up, but the engine won't go. The lights flicker too.

novanoon
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Location: Eugene, Oregon
Motorcycle: 1982 gl1100 interstate

Re: Ignition Problem

Postby novanoon » Sat Jul 26, 2014 1:55 am

Brasco18 wrote:If there was an air pocket in the radiator somewhere, would that cause the thermostat to not open? Would it cause the bike to cavitate? That what it seems like it's doing when I give it gas; it's like the bike is running at super low rpms and is lugging out. But it's not running at low rpms. In fact, the rpms are trying to go up, but the engine won't go. The lights flicker too.


The water pump forces coolant up through the engine, out the heads and into a manifold below the carburetors. The heat sensing portion of the thermostat is on the engine side of the thermostats valve, and so is the temperature sending unit. If the temperature guage works, then there must be coolant in the manifold which would heat the thermostat element and normally cause it to open.

Also, thermostat valves have a small hole punched near the edge of the disc to allow air to purge out of the system when it is refilled. The hole is supposed to be positioned at the top I believe, to let the air out even with the valve closed. If your temperature guage seems to work normally and the bike overheats, I'd say its pretty likely that the valve isn't opening.

Finally, Cooling system malfunctions seem unlikely to cause the electrical symptoms you describe. I think I'd test the alternator output leads to make sure it present correct resistance, and check connectors to eliminate the possibility of bad connections in the power generating circuit from the alternator to the battery.

novanoon
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Motorcycle: 1982 gl1100 interstate

Re: Ignition Problem

Postby novanoon » Sat Jul 26, 2014 2:14 am

Brasco18 wrote:1983 GL1100i. I came back out and noticed it was running a bit hard. I revved it and it died. I tried starting it again but there was nothing when I pressed the start button. No starter. No lights. No neutral light. Nothing. It was like there wasn't a battery even connected. I turned the key off for a bit then turned it back on. Lights came on. I turned it over and it started right up. However, every time I revved it it would die. After it would die, there would be no lights or electricity at all, until I would turn off the key for a bit.


The coil may not be to spec, but the symptom of losing all other electronics until moving the ignition switch sounds more like bad contacts in the ignition switch itself. My bike died a couple times while riding, requiring me to wiggle the key, until I performed the arduous task of removing, cleaning, and lubricating the switch assembly on the bottom of the ignition key/lock cylinder on the handlebars. Its possible that the contacts are making slight intermittent contact which prevents full power operation. If power is restored/interrupted in response to ignition key movement, then that has to be the problem.

Some thoughts: Sounds like you may have multiple degraded systems, (fuel, ignition, cooling) remember that all symptoms may not be caused by a single problem. And, that the bike may run fine with one or two out of spec items which are only discovered later when the bike finally gives in to something major, hiding the real culprit. The coil and thermostat may be completely co incidental to the primary issue.

Focus on duplicating the symptoms somehow to help isolate the cause. If it isn't the ignition switch, it could be a bad contact in a connector, bad fuze or fuze holder, or bad connection at the battery. Fun!

Good luck. wish I could come see the bike and get a multimeter on it

Brasco18
Posts: 14
Joined: Sat Jul 07, 2012 7:54 am
Location: Duluth
Motorcycle: 1983 Honda golding interstate

Re: Ignition Problem

Postby Brasco18 » Tue Jul 29, 2014 8:23 am

I put a spark tester on it. All the cylinders seem to have good spark. I did notice that when I disconnect a plug on the left side the bike would die. But when I disconnect a plug on the right side it would only slow down a bit and keep running. Does that mean anything? I feel like the problem is either carburation or compression.

As for the thermostat valve, is there a way to check it?

Brasco18
Posts: 14
Joined: Sat Jul 07, 2012 7:54 am
Location: Duluth
Motorcycle: 1983 Honda golding interstate

Re: Ignition Problem

Postby Brasco18 » Wed Jul 30, 2014 8:37 pm

I also noticed the bike is idling at around 700 rpms. That would explain the flickering lights. Would a bad head gasket cause low rpms?

f1xrupr
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Location: Triplet Va
Motorcycle: 1980 gl 1100 Std. Vetter

Re: Ignition Problem

Postby f1xrupr » Fri Aug 01, 2014 12:11 pm

Well said novanoon!
Head gaskets can leak pressure into the cooling system and sometimes only on heavy exelleration, thereby not showing up on a compression test, or mixing fluids. When it does this, it puts a air (gas) pocket in the cooling system, and does over heat! My guess is cavatation, but I'm not sure about that. The head should be resurfaced with new head gaskets, and a piece of thick plate glass and a piece of sand paper works great!
My exercise bike is a goldwing.

Brasco18
Posts: 14
Joined: Sat Jul 07, 2012 7:54 am
Location: Duluth
Motorcycle: 1983 Honda golding interstate

Re: Ignition Problem

Postby Brasco18 » Mon Aug 04, 2014 12:39 pm

I am going to do a leak down test. I was going to do a compression test but I bought the wrong adapter. I am in the process of moving into a new house so it may be a bit before I can do the test.




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