Lights only work with clutch engaged


Information and questions on GL1100 Goldwings (1980-1983)
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WeldingJay
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Feb 11, 2016 8:18 pm
Location: Dudley, MA
Motorcycle: 1983 GL1100 Aspencade

Lights only work with clutch engaged

Postby WeldingJay » Thu Feb 11, 2016 8:44 pm



Hey, I'm new here and am having a problem with my '83 GL1100A. My headlight and dash lights only work when I pull the clutch lever. I've had the bike for three years now and I love it. This has me baffled however. Anyone else encounter this?



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virgilmobile
Posts: 7663
Joined: Sun Sep 19, 2010 5:39 pm
Location: Denham Springs,La.
Motorcycle: 1988 GL1500 I
Previously owned
78 GL1000
81 GL1100
82 GL1100 I
83 GL1100 I
83 GL1100 standard
84 GL 1200 I

Re: Lights only work with clutch engaged

Postby virgilmobile » Thu Feb 11, 2016 9:20 pm

Never heard of this before.....
I love a challenge. . :ugeek:
I hope you have a simple test light or volt meter on hand....Here's the steps.
connect the test probe to the frame for a ground...not the battery.
get to the fuse block.Verify that the head and tail fuses have volts with the key on...not on the fuse but on the connector,they do corrode.
If there's good power there,remove the headlight and leave it plugged in.Turn on the key and probe each of the 3 wires.Only one should have power.If there volts on the green wire,all your problems are a bad ground.If there's volts on any green wire,locate and repair the ground points or augment it with a new ground.
I'm leaning toward a bad ground because there really isn't a common connection between the back light and headlight circuit other than the ignition switch,fuse block and it sounds like the bike is running.

WeldingJay
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Feb 11, 2016 8:18 pm
Location: Dudley, MA
Motorcycle: 1983 GL1100 Aspencade

Re: Lights only work with clutch engaged

Postby WeldingJay » Thu Feb 11, 2016 10:36 pm

Yep, the bike runs. I have all the fairings stripped off right now. Will check grounds. Just weird that it's connected to the clutch lever. I thought it might be the neutral safety switch going bad but, that seems to work fine. Will check green wires tomorrow.

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virgilmobile
Posts: 7663
Joined: Sun Sep 19, 2010 5:39 pm
Location: Denham Springs,La.
Motorcycle: 1988 GL1500 I
Previously owned
78 GL1000
81 GL1100
82 GL1100 I
83 GL1100 I
83 GL1100 standard
84 GL 1200 I

Re: Lights only work with clutch engaged

Postby virgilmobile » Mon Feb 15, 2016 8:45 am

It is strange but remember that when you pull the clutch lever,you actually improve the ground(mechanically) from the handle bars/forks to the engine through the clutch cable point of contacts.With it pulled in,the inner cable can provide a ground path from the front end to the engine,bypassing a bad electrical ground.
I had a old car that would smoke the choke cable every time I tried to crank it...The engine ground strap was disconnected.

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WingAdmin
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Motorcycle: 2000 GL1500 SE
1982 GL1100A Aspencade (sold)
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1998 XV250 Virago (sold)
2007 Aspen Sentry Trailer

Re: Lights only work with clutch engaged

Postby WingAdmin » Tue Feb 16, 2016 5:33 pm

WeldingJay wrote:Hey, I'm new here and am having a problem with my '83 GL1100A. My headlight and dash lights only work when I pull the clutch lever. I've had the bike for three years now and I love it. This has me baffled however. Anyone else encounter this?


This indicates a bad ground. When you pull in the clutch, it provides a ground path through the clutch switch, through the neutral switch diode, and into the neutral switch, which is grounded. This isn't great, because the diode and neutral switch aren't rated to carry anywhere near that amount of current.

You can either find and fix the bad ground (which might take forever), or, easiest, run a new ground directly from the battery negative terminal to the green wire coming off of the headlight. This should fix your problem.

WeldingJay
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Feb 11, 2016 8:18 pm
Location: Dudley, MA
Motorcycle: 1983 GL1100 Aspencade

Re: Lights only work with clutch engaged

Postby WeldingJay » Sat Feb 27, 2016 12:20 pm

Got it working! Of all things it was a wire to the clutch switch. It looked connected and felt connected but the only thing holding it there was the plastic on the connector.




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