spark unit


Information and questions on GL1100 Goldwings (1980-1983)
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crowesnest3
Posts: 27
Joined: Tue Aug 10, 2010 9:28 am
Location: harvard,ill
Motorcycle: 1980 gl1100 standard w/vetter fairing

spark unit

Postby crowesnest3 » Mon Aug 16, 2010 1:39 pm



ok guys, finding out that the spark unit(s) for the 1100 have been discontinued! Does this mean only source is going to be bike salvage? Ebay is showing one available at $120 ea! or a used set with melted out back for $6, thats when they go bad with the melted out core. My 80 1100 standard with vetter has been running great til yesterday when started to miss and run rough sometimes smoothing out but definitely not running on all cylinders. Pulled plugs this am and noticed that #2 was slightly wet and carboned up, then noticed the drippy goo on the radiator hose directly above .... spark units located there. They went out on me once before so kinda recognize the goo, still have the old ones that are still sticky! Anyway seems to make sense that misfiring is coming from bad spark unit(s). Will be stripping down fairing and gas pod later today for visual on units but know I'm going to find them melted down. What do you do to replace? Can anybody comment on the stories I've heard about melting out rest of "tar" and refilling with epoxy to revitalize unit or hope for the best searching out "scap" parts or huge price on units left in old stock? Apparently, since this would be my second set in 20000 miles they don't last very long ..... is there some other electrical prob that might be melting unit out. Don't want to think that this is the end of my "wing's" road! Help!



crowesnest3
Posts: 27
Joined: Tue Aug 10, 2010 9:28 am
Location: harvard,ill
Motorcycle: 1980 gl1100 standard w/vetter fairing

Re: spark unit

Postby crowesnest3 » Tue Aug 17, 2010 5:08 pm

hey, good news, removed fairing and gas pod to deal with what I fully expected to find, melted spark units and whoopee they weren't suspisious goo was from the set that did melt! These are fine! Now just to figure a new reason for the rough running. May as well flush the cooling system since its been opened up and clean all electrical connections! Thanks for everybodies info. Did find that the spark units are available thru salvage pretty readilly; however cost runs from $89 - $175 each!

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RBGERSON
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Location: SCOTTSDALE, AZ
Motorcycle: 98 SE GL 1500
had every year from 75 to 83

Re: spark unit

Postby RBGERSON » Thu Aug 19, 2010 7:46 am

If you watch eBay they can be had much cheaper and refilling with epoxy or potting material is easy and cheap..
HAD LOTS OF GOLDWING 75-83
NOW INTO 1500'S..RIDING A 1998 SE

FAIR WINDS,
RB

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MSGT-R
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Location: Utah
Motorcycle: 13 F6B
81 GL1100 (gone)

Re: spark unit

Postby MSGT-R » Fri Aug 20, 2010 12:49 pm

Don't try to "melt" the old tar out of the back side or you'll do damage to the wires imbedded there. I took some time, a pick and a small jewelers screwdriver and picked the tar out, followed it with spray brake cleaner, then filled with epoxy.

Note on the epoxy: 5 minute epoxy becomes 1 minute epoxy in an 80 degree garage. :lol:
Do it where the temps are cool so you have time to mix and pour without the cure beginning to get hot. I mixed sand (clean sand, not beach sand) in with my epoxy, because that's what Mitsubishi electonics used to conduct heat away from the electronics better back in the 90s.

The first one or two trips will produce a smell from your repair, but it's nothing to worry about.
Don't spook the road sheep.

crowesnest3
Posts: 27
Joined: Tue Aug 10, 2010 9:28 am
Location: harvard,ill
Motorcycle: 1980 gl1100 standard w/vetter fairing

Re: spark unit

Postby crowesnest3 » Sat Aug 21, 2010 9:56 am

maybe just for the sake of conversation and learning something new ...... first of all, luckily, my feared issue of melted spark units turned out to be a false alarm; however looking to learn something in the process. I have had/have an old set that were still working but they were at least 50% drained out. So figured I'd try to melt out old "filler" .... what is that stuff? ..... So turned on the heat gun, this gun claims up to @ 500*, really didnt melt out anything just a little where it was really thin on metal casing> So I thought look they were still working how about just refilling without melting out the old, so I filled them back up with an epoxy leaving the original. Haven't taken the time to test them out on the bike, rather ride bike than test out theories. To the point, anybody got a comment as to merely refilling on top of original goo and whether this would salvage/protect the electronics and save the spark units?

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MSGT-R
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Location: Utah
Motorcycle: 13 F6B
81 GL1100 (gone)

Re: spark unit

Postby MSGT-R » Fri Aug 27, 2010 9:17 am

Replacing the melting tar with epoxy on that backside cavity keeps moisture out of the area and gives it a heat sink (that won't melt again). The first generation electronics were large and ran VERY HOT You could burn your fingers if you touched them after a long ride. The location they were put in doesn't help the heat dissapation much, especially if you ride an interstate; no air flow in that area at all.
Don't spook the road sheep.

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WingAdmin
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1982 GL1100A Aspencade (sold)
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Re: spark unit

Postby WingAdmin » Fri Aug 27, 2010 11:53 am

With that in mind, perhaps you could replace some of the tar with epoxy, then embed some copper metal "fins" in it and fill it up the rest of the way with epoxy, so that the copper fins extend out like a heat sink. Heat is the enemy of electronics!

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MSGT-R
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Re: spark unit

Postby MSGT-R » Fri Aug 27, 2010 12:16 pm

Mitsubishi Electronics (in cars), used to mix their epoxy with sand to accomplish this in their computer boxes (in the 1990s). I took some clean sand and mixed it in with my epoxy before adding the catalyst and dribbling it in place. The problem with copper fins is that the copper is conductive. If there is any break in those small wires back there, it could cause new problems. The sand won't do that.
Don't spook the road sheep.

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BRIANINMAINE
Posts: 87
Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2009 1:40 am
Location: United States
Motorcycle: 1980 GL1100 standard with Honda fairing, Vetter bags and trunk

Re: spark unit

Postby BRIANINMAINE » Wed Sep 01, 2010 1:11 am

I wonder if it is worth moving the units to a spot with better airflow, or making an aluminum mounting plate with thermal paste or something? The first set did last for a long, long time...

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MSGT-R
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Location: Utah
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81 GL1100 (gone)

Re: spark unit

Postby MSGT-R » Mon Sep 06, 2010 9:55 am

If you do this, everyone will expect pictures.. ;)
Don't spook the road sheep.

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littlebeaver
Posts: 4420
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Location: Kansas City, Kansas
Motorcycle: 1981 gl 1100 I , 79 Yamaha XS11
Special, 82 Kawa 750 CSR, 82 Kawa 750 LTD, 03 Kawa Nomad 1500, 99 Kawa Voyager 1200

Re: spark unit

Postby littlebeaver » Tue Sep 14, 2010 4:57 am

I have a question, have you looked at the spark plug wires at the coil where they go into the nail looking thing, the reason I ask is when I got my bike[used] mine looked bad almost burnt I just cut off about 1/2" off the wire with my snips and plugged them back in , made a difference...I don't know if this is your problem but I wanted to run that by you. I'm no sparky but I'm thinking that if they aren't making good contact it might affect the unit, I'm not sure...Let us know when you pin it down please...
Last edited by littlebeaver on Fri Sep 17, 2010 2:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

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littlebeaver
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Re: spark unit

Postby littlebeaver » Tue Sep 14, 2010 5:54 am

I don't think these units are supposed to get that hot are they, if so we would all be having the same problem. Check your ground connection at the frame, clean it up real good and make sure the bolt is tight. Usually when something burns up it's a bad ground in this case it melted...bummer...later littlebeaver

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MSGT-R
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81 GL1100 (gone)

Re: spark unit

Postby MSGT-R » Thu Sep 16, 2010 9:58 am

The "nail" in the coil tower is supposed to extend into the butt-end of the plug wire to make contact. Any arcing there will burn both the wire and the tip of the nail. shove those wires in tight before screwing the cap down.

Yes, the spark units run hot. Electronics always have heat that has to be disappated, and these are the old style (1st generation) inefficient ones. They run hot; don't touch them right after shut down, you'll burn your fingers. They all run like that, and the melting tar on the back side is a common problem with the early wings. The melting tar doesn't make them go bad, the moisture that gets in after that and the extended hot running over the decades does it.
Don't spook the road sheep.

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littlebeaver
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Re: spark unit

Postby littlebeaver » Thu Sep 16, 2010 4:31 pm

Ok thanks, I better keep an eye out for black goo if this is common, I have 52.000 miles on mine and I hope it doesn't melt...I wonder if JB Weld will work to fill the back of these units, I tried it on my after market fan switch to fill the plastic casing in after putting two male posts in there, it worked fine..I also used it to seal the oil site hole because it was broken and it worked for that...Just wondering here if anyone out there has tried filling these units with that yet..Thanks for filling us in on these units because I had no clue as I'm a new guy to Goldwings..Lot's of learning for me at this site..Hey Admin. dude, your site is the best..later Littlebeaver

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MSGT-R
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Motorcycle: 13 F6B
81 GL1100 (gone)

Re: spark unit

Postby MSGT-R » Thu Sep 16, 2010 5:28 pm

Sure, it will work; JB Weld is epoxy with a thickening agent (so it isn't runny).


Don't spook the road sheep.


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