Information and questions on GL1100 Goldwings (1980-1983)
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Post by moneypit » Thu Nov 13, 2014 9:21 pm

Sometimes the starter on my 1100 doesn't engage .When its done spinning it will then engage is it time for a new starter or maybe some service . ?

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Re: Starter

Post by virgilmobile » Thu Nov 13, 2014 10:01 pm

Bunch of posts about starter not engaging or just spinning.Its not the starter.
There is gunk sticking parts in the starter clutch in the engine.
The most common helpful thing is a treatment of "sea foam" in the engine oil.
There is a more aggressive route but it involves drilling into the engine case to gain access directly to the problem area to flush it clean then plugging the hole.

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Re: Starter

Post by 702scottc » Thu Nov 13, 2014 10:09 pm

The starter motor is likely ok. Typically, the sprags in the overrun clutch for the starter will stick and not release to engage. My 81,1100 used to do this from time to time, usually in colder weather. A weak battery will cause this as well. I'm not sure what weight of oil you use but I always used 15-40 Delo and it seemed to minimize this problem. The only way to repair this is to remove the engine and rear engine cover. Look in your repair manual for the procedure, big job.

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Re: Starter

Post by moneypit » Fri Nov 14, 2014 10:06 am

I like the idea of Seafoam .I truly believe in Seafoam I use it in the tank every time I fill up . As far as the oil I use 20 w 50 Val. syn . I switched to that from Mobil 1 10 w 40 . The heavier oil quieted down a little noisy engine 80k noise . Now that I think of it after changing to the Val. the starter problem did increase and it was getting colder out at the same time ... Well we now have snow on the ground and the Moneypit is put up for the winter I will get on the problem 1st thing in the spring .... Wow that seems like light years away...

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Re: Starter

Post by HawkeyeGL1200 » Fri Nov 14, 2014 11:46 am

I had the same condition, probably to a lesser extent on both of my Goldwings. I changed the oil and filter several times, far sooner than I normally would, right after buying the bikes and clean oil seems to have helped them a lot.

I did a little researching into the methods of removing "varnish" from the inside of an engine, without taking it apart. I expect varnishing is the culprit of why these starters seem to struggle at times (the GUNK-ing up of internal parts) to work as they should. Sea-foam is one recommended method to remove unwanted build up inside an engine/crankcase. There are a few others that I looked into.

Disclaimer here is that I have NO IDEA if use of any of these products, including Sea-Foam can or will damage your engine... so use at your own risk if you choose to try any of the things mentioned here...

One product that appears to be highly thought of is called AUTO-RX. It works through the use of "esthers" in the product that slowly remove the build up over time. When used in acordance with the manufacturer's instructions, there does not appear to be ANY negative feedback (other than it works S L O W L Y) and it also appears to be safe in "wet clutch" applications.

Sea-Foam ? Marvel Mystery Oil (also called MMO) appear to be next on the list of preferred methods of internal engine GUNK removal. Both appear to be used in about the same way... sump some in the crankcase, drive around a while and drain the oil, replace filter and refill with oil.

Third option I've read about (ONLY) is a product called KREEM.. and not the tank lining stuff. Brought to you by the same folks who make Kroil penetrating oil (my persona favorite penetrating oil product) is a solvent that can be added to crankcase or into fuel system(s) to clean up unwanted residue and varnish. I called the manufacturer of this product, and apparently it isn't sold "over the counter" anywhere I could find. I guess it is some pretty concentrated stuff, and you have to buy it direct, which means you either must have a business or you must tell them you do (lie?) in order to buy the stuff... I think it is about 30$ for a gallon and if I recall correctly, they instruct you to use 3 ounces per quart of crankcase capacity... you don't have to allow for it oil-wise... you dump it in, ride around a while and drain the crankcase, same as with Sea-Foam, except I "hear" this stuff is FAST acting... again, haven't tried it yet, but will in the summer next year, I think.

Another option that I can't really seem to nail down the "right" product for is, use synthetic motor oil. Synthetic (and I'm sure there are probably some conventional oils that do as well) contain esthers similar to the "stuff" in Auto-RX and therefore, if a person pics the right oil (and NO ONE IS telling what they put in their oil to make the choice easier) and runs a synthetic oil with the right esthers in it... you clean the engine while riding...

Several years ago, I used "Castrol Syntec" in everything I rode or drove, as it cleaned internal engine parts and surfaces better than anything I had ever seen before. Castrol, as companies often will do, CHANGED the product and renamed it Castrol Edge, "With Syntec Technology"... whatever that means... what it meant for me was, it dodn't work how I wanted it to work anymore, and I stopped buying their oil.

Last oil change on my GL1100, I substituted a quart of NAPA brand 15-50 Synthetic for one quart od the Delvac 15-40 oil I put in the crankcase. I cannot tell you if it has really made any difference. I added it because I recently found and stopped (I think) every oil leak on the engine, and I wanted to attempt to clean up the insides a little before making the valve adjustment it needs so much... also did the same thing with the GL1200.. and it does appear to be a little "quieter" than it was, but I can't say for certain. If the oil, with synthetic, stays in the engine(s), I may switch over to full synthetic, especially if it appears to clean things up. I do not know who puts oil the the bottles for NAPA, so it could easily be AMSOIL, Mobil-1 or any number of other oil seller...

I do like the idea of a clean engine on the inside, I figure oil goes where we want it better, starters on our old bikes work better, clutches should work better, and there is less chance of a piece of trash becoming dislodged and plugging an oil gallery or damaging some other important part inside the engine if the engine is squeaky clean on the inside...

Just some random thoughts on a Friday.
I am wrong as often as I am right concerning what is wrong with someone else' motorcycle without having seen the machine in person. Guessing with limited information, as to the source of the trouble, is sketchy at best.

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Re: Starter

Post by eklimek » Mon Nov 17, 2014 7:06 pm

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Re: Starter

Post by RBGERSON » Tue Nov 18, 2014 11:48 am

wow that's extreme!! another method to clean the start clutch

Lots of info here and down away-s a drill a hole option. ... ch#p486994


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Re: Starter

Post by LittleGoldy » Sat Aug 01, 2015 7:12 pm

I have heard mention on other sites that using Rotella T ( a diesel motor oil with loads of detergents for cleaning up inside engines) either regular or synthetic formulas both work effectively. I HAVE NOT tried this yet. Purchased the Rotella-T regular as its a lot cheaper and I dont intend on leaving it in for long. 3000 miles racks up fast enough. Will evaluate afterwards and advise. :|
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Re: Starter

Post by Blindin1i » Thu Jan 26, 2017 8:33 pm

I'm a newbie here and this seems to be an old thread but I thought I'd chip in my 2 cents and share an experience I had with a 1980 gl1100 that I recently bought. I bought the bike from a guy who told me that when he tried to start it, it made a loud bang and then all you could hear was the starter spinning when the start button was pushed. He said he thought that maybe the starter drive chain had broken. He didn't want to mess with trying to fix the bike because he didn't feel comfortable getting that deep into repairs. (That's never stopped me before. LOL) After removing the starter, it was apparent that the chain was intact. I was hoping that I wouldn't have to pull the engine and open it up to find the problem. I then focused my attention on the starter itself because my intentions were to overhaul it while it was off the engine anyway. When I opened up the starter, I found the problem. One of the two gears for the gear reduction had disintegrated and the other had about half the teeth left on it. That explained the symptoms he described. When he sold me the bike, he had BOXES of spare parts that was included. Fortunately for me, I found 2 extra used starters in the boxes. Since I already knew the motor was good in the starter I removed from the bike, I took the necessary parts from one of the other starters then lubed the gears (after cleaning everything out real good first) and put it back together and installed it. The bike fired right up. I have never ever seen anything like that happen to a starter before.

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Re: Starter

Post by RoadRogue » Thu Jan 26, 2017 11:46 pm

I have found that with thicker oils, when it starts to get cold the sprag clutch tends to slip more. If it restarts just fine after warming up then by changing to a lighter oil say from 20w50 to 15w40 or if its getting really cold down to 10w30 usually fixes the problem of the slipping starter. Thick cold oil doesnt allow the sprags to grip the flywheel. 8-)

Ride safe, Todd
Over night campers welcome

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