GL1100 cranking very sluggishly! (It's not the battery)


Information and questions on GL1100 Goldwings (1980-1983)
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Swally80
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Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Motorcycle: 1983 GL 1100
1978 Shovelhead
2008 KLR 650
1976 KZ 750 (project)

GL1100 cranking very sluggishly! (It's not the battery)

Postby Swally80 » Fri Apr 03, 2015 11:08 am



Morning all!
After 4 hours on it yesterday evening this is what I have:

1983 GL1100, my main bike, not starting. last weekend when I went to fire it up first time since Sept (did not add stabilizer, my bad!) it was just doing the very slow "raaau ...raaau ...raaau". You know what I mean, like a tired dog half-assed barking.
OK, great, dead battery.
So I tried 3 others ( I have lots of bikes). With one other one I would do the same slow turns, the other two it would just give me a *click* then nothing.
Lights on the dash very weak etc etc.
OK, great, I have 4 weak batteries now thought.
Fast forward to yesterday. I pick up oil and stuff and a new battery for it.
Plug it in. Same thing. Progressively slower "raaau ...raaau ...raaau"'s.
A friend had cautioned me about fuel in the engine causing resistance.
I was told to pull the spark plugs, switch the On/Off to Off and stand back and watch for flying fuel from the plug holes.
Nothing.
ALTHOUGH I did notice it was turning over waaay easier and faster now. Sounded much stronger. :D :shock:

Plugs went back in, and I tried again. Still the same slow cranks. Bugger! :?
Ok, well I'm no mechanic, so staying within my realm of things, I painstakingly drained all the float bowls from old gas and went and got a bunch of new fuel from a local gas station.

New fuel in, fuel switched back on, all good to go. And nothing.
Plugs back out to try the flying fuel trick again. Nope, nothing came squirting out of the hole. Plugs didn't look wet either.

Spent a good amount of time on my cell trying to google these symptoms last night before I finally gave up and went home. (bikes at a friends).

Best I could come up with is that there may be some extra load or resistance somewhere?
Like, a rusty connection, I think I read somewhere that someone said the negative off the starter or something?
Could this be a worn starter that can turn it under (paraphrasing what some guy said on google) "light load" plugs out, but not "heavy load" plugs in.

Help! lol

Thx in advance,

Swally.
Alberta, Canada

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CMReynolds1
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Re: GL1100 cranking very sluggishly! (It's not the battery)

Postby CMReynolds1 » Fri Apr 03, 2015 11:43 am

Did you happen to do a full charge (slow trickle) on the new battery? They are not fully charged when you buy them, if they charge them for you it is a quick charge and the assume once you start it, you will ride and that should finish a proper charge. However, you can't. I would hook up a charger and set for 2 Amps if you have that feature and let slow charge and then try firing it up.
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virgilmobile
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Re: GL1100 cranking very sluggishly! (It's not the battery)

Postby virgilmobile » Fri Apr 03, 2015 11:56 am

Its common for the stater to need service.It is over 30 years old.A good clean and new grease usually gets the groan out.You might think hard about slipping I a new set of timing belts while your there,and by all means,remove the ground cable from the frame and scrape all the corrosion off it.Same for the battery connections.

Swally80
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Re: GL1100 cranking very sluggishly! (It's not the battery)

Postby Swally80 » Fri Apr 03, 2015 12:13 pm

virgilmobile wrote:Its common for the stater to need service.It is over 30 years old.A good clean and new grease usually gets the groan out.You might think hard about slipping I a new set of timing belts while your there,and by all means,remove the ground cable from the frame and scrape all the corrosion off it.Same for the battery connections.


Yeah timing belt is on the to-do this spring.
How easy are the starters to rebuild?
At what point do I need to look at a new starter?
Could this have anything to do with the solinoid?

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virgilmobile
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Re: GL1100 cranking very sluggishly! (It's not the battery)

Postby virgilmobile » Fri Apr 03, 2015 12:31 pm

I'm cheap.Ill always at least tear something apart to see if its repairable.Sometimes it just needs cleaning.Pay attention to the brush holder plate where it makes contact with the case.Theres usually a buildup of corrosion there.It must be scraped clean.Others need brushes.Even a repair shop usually can handle it with less cost than a Korean knock off starter.
It's not likley the solenoid.They usually go dead or intermittent,not low power.
To be sure,it could be replaced too.Parts don't last forever ya know.Even if you just have a spare one on hand.I keep relays,fuses and external parts at home for spare.The last starter I serviced for my 1100 was gummed up with carbon dust and dried grease.I did replace the brushed just in case,but the original ones were still in usable condition.It mostly just needed cleaning and new grease on the bushings and in the planitairy gear head.

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littlebeaver
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Re: GL1100 cranking very sluggishly! (It's not the battery)

Postby littlebeaver » Fri Apr 03, 2015 1:41 pm

Welcome to the site....here's a Starter How too...viewtopic.php?f=11&t=259

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tom84std
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Re: GL1100 cranking very sluggishly! (It's not the battery)

Postby tom84std » Fri Apr 03, 2015 5:45 pm

This sounds very much like a condition I found mine in a few years ago. I found that the brush plate was not being held firmly between the starter tube and head. There are three small tabs on the plate spaced at 120 degrees. Bent, these tabs provide ground for the grounded brushes. Mine had become fatigued and no longer made proper contact. I cleaned the areas like Virgil said, plus I added preload to them to replace the preload that thirty years had taken away. Just a pair of needle nosed pliers and a few added degrees of bend was enough to really bring that old starter back to life. That was about four years ago and it's still working perfectly.

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Re: GL1100 cranking very sluggishly! (It's not the battery)

Postby f1xrupr » Sat Apr 04, 2015 6:25 am

Great information above!!! I would like to add-it takes a TREMENDOUS amount of cranking amps to turn a goldwing over, esp when the temp is cold! A cheap battery may not work.
My exercise bike is a goldwing.

Swally80
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Re: GL1100 cranking very sluggishly! (It's not the battery)

Postby Swally80 » Sun Apr 05, 2015 1:43 pm

Update.
So with multimeter in hand, I did some more work yesterday.
Battery is pretty strong, came in at 12.5ish on the meter.
I tried to jump from the battery straight to the starter and it turned just as slowly as before.
Starter came out and I opened it up and well it was pretty black inside. (see pic)
As I kept opening it up a small metal tab thing rattled out from the innards.
(Second pic). I found where it belonged and kind of wedged it back in place with some pliers.
Thinking this rogue little whatever it is being the cause of the issue i put the starter back on the bike.
Now this is interesting, in a bad way.
AS I go to turn the bike on, I notice the key is already on, but I have no lights. Did I short something? I checked fuses under the flap on the tank and they all looked intact. Any other places I should look?
Anyways, I tried to jump the starter again, but this time I got nothing. Not even a turn.
Multimeter checks:
Battery is good at 12.5ish
Starter is good at 12.5ish
Solinoid in is good at 12.5ish
Solinoid out is good at 12.5ish
Solinoid 4 prongs ...only 9.something.... :?:

Tired and hungry I called it a day.

I'm leaning towards starter, what with is being so black and dry (needs a greasin' at least!) And I must have done something to kill the power to the bike too.
Any thoughts or next course of action? :mrgreen:
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littlebeaver
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Re: GL1100 cranking very sluggishly! (It's not the battery)

Postby littlebeaver » Sun Apr 05, 2015 2:40 pm

Oh my, you blew the main 30 amp fuse, it's by the solenoid... The dogbone fuse as it's called, look right behind the battery....I'm sure you knew that... :D May be a spare in there.. Many times guys change out to a auto type 30 blade type fuse, by doing this I believe it is attached to the two screws in place of the dogbone fuse..

Swally80
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Re: GL1100 cranking very sluggishly! (It's not the battery)

Postby Swally80 » Sun Apr 05, 2015 3:01 pm

It's not the dog-bone shaped thing that sits on the front of the solinoid, is it?
Cus that thing looked ok still...I can double check it again...
Last edited by Swally80 on Sun Apr 05, 2015 4:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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littlebeaver
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Re: GL1100 cranking very sluggishly! (It's not the battery)

Postby littlebeaver » Sun Apr 05, 2015 4:14 pm

Yes that the main 30 amp fuse... Check the red wires coming off of that to the plug and see if it's burnt up at the plug....Mine was all melted and such..surprised the bike even started.. :lol:

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redial
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Re: GL1100 cranking very sluggishly! (It's not the battery)

Postby redial » Sun Apr 05, 2015 9:40 pm

Those doggone dog bone fuses are a pain. Make sure that all of the connections are bright and shiny, then when you put it back together, test again. Make sure the voltages are fine when you have finished with the dog bones. Otherwise it will be "ruff".
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Re: GL1100 cranking very sluggishly! (It's not the battery)

Postby Mh434 » Mon Apr 06, 2015 1:32 pm

I had this problem on my GL1100. Trying to jump-start from my truck was enough to kill the truck battery! Pulled the starter, and it turned out to be the starter brushes (one was worn down to almost nothing, other was at about 30% remaining). Replaced 'em (local dealer had them in stock!! Cheap, too!), bike spun over like new.

Swally80
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Re: GL1100 cranking very sluggishly! (It's not the battery)

Postby Swally80 » Thu Apr 09, 2015 2:58 pm

Update.
Replaced main (dogbone) 30 amp fuse, didn't help. Still no power to the bike.
Starter also is not moving, so I pulled it again and took it home to clean.
A local goldwing guy said he stopped cleaning starters 25 years ago. Says when they start acting up just get a new one.
He usually has one on a shelf for 200 bucks so I think I'll try that next week. In the meantime, I took the starter home to clean. Couldn't hurt.
In the meantime, any ideas why the bike is dead?
Lol This season is not off to a very good start...

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Re: GL1100 cranking very sluggishly! (It's not the battery)

Postby f1xrupr » Thu Apr 09, 2015 3:11 pm

I smell a rat :? ..........
My exercise bike is a goldwing.

Swally80
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Re: GL1100 cranking very sluggishly! (It's not the battery)

Postby Swally80 » Thu Apr 09, 2015 3:32 pm

f1xrupr wrote:I smell a rat :? ..........

....could you maybe point to it? lol I must have done something cus it starter ok prior to me "fixing it" har-har.

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Re: GL1100 cranking very sluggishly! (It's not the battery)

Postby f1xrupr » Thu Apr 09, 2015 3:46 pm

Maybe I'm paranoid, but....25 years ago, these bikes were 10 years old. For a goldwing, that's still new, including the starter! I just can't see a whole lotta starter cleaning going on then. And now, a goldwing man that can't clean a starter, is like a truck driver that can't drive a stick. A new starter on ebay is $78.00
My exercise bike is a goldwing.

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Re: GL1100 cranking very sluggishly! (It's not the battery)

Postby seelyark1 » Sun Apr 12, 2015 11:21 pm

It sure looks like another look at the brushes is in order. I still can't see what you were talking about that fell out. What you are holding is the brush holder.
Ride safe, and smart. Asphalt is like #1 grit sandpaper. Dave

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Re: GL1100 cranking very sluggishly! (It's not the battery)

Postby Mh434 » Mon Apr 13, 2015 12:35 am

I agree! Brushes would appear to be an issue, from the photos...

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Re: GL1100 cranking very sluggishly! (It's not the battery)

Postby dingdong » Mon Apr 13, 2015 7:21 am

Swally80 wrote:Update.

A local goldwing guy said he stopped cleaning starters 25 years ago. Says when they start acting up just get a new one.
He usually has one on a shelf for 200 bucks so I think I'll try that next week.


Local gouger guy if you ask me. That starter, more than likely, will be fine with some TLC.
Tom

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Re: GL1100 cranking very sluggishly! (It's not the battery)

Postby seelyark1 » Mon Apr 13, 2015 7:25 am

Swally80 wrote:
f1xrupr wrote:I smell a rat :? ..........

....could you maybe point to it? lol I must have done something cus it starter ok prior to me "fixing it" har-har.

The rat is the guy willing to sell you the starter for $200 :shock: Now try pointing to the part that fell out. :) My VT500 had exactly the same problem. Turning down the armature and a set of brushes made it work like new. :) It cost me $10, and that was at an auto electric shop. I just took him the armature and brush holder.
BTW all that black dust is the old brushes, or what is left of them. :(
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Re: GL1100 cranking very sluggishly! (It's not the battery)

Postby tom84std » Mon Apr 13, 2015 8:35 am

The condition that starter is in is pretty typical for one it's age. You can buy a new one which is fine but the old one can be rebuilt for much less money. It really depends on how comfortable you are doing the work. It's really not that involved. New wear parts, a good cleanup and some grease on the bushings and gears. Here's a link, I found several.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Starter-REPAIR- ... 5669b7d161
Again, the brush plate must be firmly and cleanly grounded to the starter body. When you posted that after reassembly the starter did nothing, it's the first thing I thought of. The kits do come with a new plate, but your old parts could be dirty or worn where the connections are located. Clean the areas and make sure they are firmly connected. This is a possible source of failure and it's easy to overlook.




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