No spark on the right side - '83 Interstate


Information and questions on GL1100 Goldwings (1980-1983)
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dvcruz
Posts: 93
Joined: Sun Aug 15, 2010 1:49 am
Location: San Jose, Ca
Motorcycle: 1993 GL1500 Aspencade
1983 GL1100 Interstate

No spark on the right side - '83 Interstate

Postby dvcruz » Fri Apr 15, 2011 4:05 pm



Up until about 5 days ago my '83 was starting and running fine. One night I tried to start it and it refused to start. Since then, I have check the battery (new), cleaned the starter, cleaned the carbs after finding a EMGO filter had fallen apart (didn't realized I had and EMGO which I replaced with a NAPA 3011) and checked wires, fuses and connectors. I finally figured out that the #1 and #3 cylinders are not getting any spark.
Using a timing gun that clips onto the spark plug wire, I see continous flashing from the gun on both the #2 and #4 spark plug wires. I am not seeing anything from the #1 and #3 wires.
I know that there are two coils on the bike and one coil controls the #1 and #2 spark plugs and the other controls the output to the #3 and #4 plugs. So, the thought might be that this is an impossible condition. One of the reasons it took me so long to realize I was not getting spark to the right side was because I was testing the coils by looking for spark only on the left side.
So, before someone tells me this cannot be, believe me, it is. I have spark on left, none on the right side. Is there a separate ground for the left and right side that's I'm missing. Wouldn't think so. Is it possible that both right side spark plug wires went bad at the exact same moment? I suppose so. Maybe.
The engine just cranks and cranks but except for an occassional backfire, it will not start. I would think it could start and run on two cylinders, because I know at one point the bike ran on only 3 cylinders (clogged carb). I have fuel at all the float bowls and the fuel lines are all clear. I really think this is a elect problem, but I don't know where else to check.
Help please.
dvc


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dvcruz
Posts: 93
Joined: Sun Aug 15, 2010 1:49 am
Location: San Jose, Ca
Motorcycle: 1993 GL1500 Aspencade
1983 GL1100 Interstate

Re: No spark on the right side - '83 Interstate - Update

Postby dvcruz » Fri Apr 15, 2011 11:54 pm

Since my initial posting, I have replaced the Ignition coils, spark plug wires, spark units, and voltage regulator rectifier from a parts bike that was running well about a month ago (it became a parts bike due to oil leaking problems). I still am not getting spark to the numbers 1 and 3 cylinders. I did a coil resistance test on the pulse generator and got readings of 544 ohms (book specs are 530 + or - 50 oms).
This is crazy! What controls the sparking to the right side that is not working here? Would timing have any effect? I checked it earlier this week and it was spot on for both halves but I will check it again. The only reason I am doing this (again) is because I am getting an occasional backfire but the bike will not run on just the two cylinders (which I think it should).
Still looking for suggestions.
Thanks.
Back in the San Diego area!

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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: No spark on the right side - '83 Interstate

Postby WingAdmin » Sat Apr 16, 2011 11:44 am

OK, let me first say something: You can NOT have spark on 2 & 4 and NOT have spark on 1 & 3, because the 1100 uses a wasted spark system - the circuit goes from ground, through plug 1, to the coil, to plug 2, to ground. If you disconnect the wire on plug 1, you physically can not get a spark on plug one or two, because there is not a complete circuit. Same thing goes for plug 3 and 4.

So this means one of two things:

- 1 and 3 ARE actually firing, but you're not detecting it correctly

- Someone along the way has got the plug wires mixed up - this would account for backfiring for sure!

The fact that the bike is not running at all on two cylinders (and yes you're right - it should, poorly, but it should run) says to me that perhaps the plug wires are mixed up.

If you pull the plug wires off of #1 and #3, then crank it, and are STILL seeing spark on #2 and 4, then you know 100% that the plugs are wired incorrectly.

dvcruz
Posts: 93
Joined: Sun Aug 15, 2010 1:49 am
Location: San Jose, Ca
Motorcycle: 1993 GL1500 Aspencade
1983 GL1100 Interstate

Re: No spark on the right side - '83 Interstate

Postby dvcruz » Sat Apr 16, 2011 12:35 pm

I understand what a wasted spark system is and how it operates on a 1100. I probably learned that when I bought the bike new in 1983. Thank you. Regardless of theory of the wasted spark system, the reality is, I have no spark going to the right side spark plugs.

I am using a brand new timing light to check for spark on the left side and I see light flashing from the timing light on both the number 2 and 4 spark plug wires. When I move the timing light to the right hand plug wires, I see no flashing lights. Perhaps the timing light is incapable of detecting electrical pulses when it's moved over about 12 inches??

The bike was running fine about 8 hours earlier. I'm pretty sure that no one tip-toed into my back yard and switch the plug wire positions when I wasn't looking. In 68K miles of riding, the bike has never had the spark plug wire or coils replaced.

I believe you are trying to be helpful, but telling me something can't happen when me and my brother have been witnessing it for the last several days make me look kind of dumb.

I will continue to work on the issue and will let this forum know when and how I fix the problem.
Back in the San Diego area!

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WingAdmin
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Posts: 17046
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 4:16 pm
Location: Strongsville, OH
Motorcycle: 2000 GL1500 SE
1982 GL1100A Aspencade (sold)
1989 PC800 (wife's!)
1998 XV250 Virago (sold)
2007 Aspen Sentry Trailer

Re: No spark on the right side - '83 Interstate

Postby WingAdmin » Sat Apr 16, 2011 8:04 pm

I'm just saying that based on the circuitry used to generate the sparks, if the wires are hooked up correctly, it is physically impossible for cylinder 2 to spark and cylinder 1 to not spark. (same for 3 and 4).

Is the timing light the induction pickup type, or does it connect directly (in between) the wire and the plug? If it's the induction type, it's possible that it's not picking up the spark on 1 and 3 because the current is moving the opposite direction on those plugs than on a normal car/motorcycle?

I'd pull the 1 & 3 plugs out, put the wires on them, ground the plugs to the block, and crank the engine, to physically identify whether there is a spark there or not, instead of trusting a timing light.

actionpack
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Re: No spark on the right side - '83 Interstate

Postby actionpack » Sat Apr 16, 2011 9:40 pm

you said you changed wires and coil , could it be 1 of theses were bad and when you replaced the wires back words , or did'nt get a good conection , or by some strange chance you got a bad coil thinking it was good


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