Starter clutch????


Information and questions on GL1100 Goldwings (1980-1983)
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rirons0625
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Starter clutch????

Postby rirons0625 » Sun Aug 07, 2011 12:14 pm



I have an 81 Interstate, new to me this year. Yesterday I had to stop for a bit due to rain on my way home from work and parked under my bank's drive thru to keep dry. When I started the bike, I felt a vibration in the engine that was not there previous. Not something that would rattle you back teeth, but something noticeable. Later that evening I stopped to gas up, and the bike wouldn't engage the starter, just spin. I figured it was just the starter not popping out to engage like a car starter and removed the starter to clean it up as described here. I couldn't remove the three long screws that hold it all together, and figured my best bet would be to contact one of the local shops and check on perhaps a used one. The guy I spoke to said it is the starter clutch that is my issue, not the starter. Then he described where that is deep in the engine and now I'm nervous as to how big of a job this is to replace the starter clutch. Something a person with moderate abilities should attempt, or is this best left to the professionals? Does it involve a complete tear down or (hopefully) something less invasive? Any ideas on costs? I appreciate any and all help - Thanks!



rirons0625
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Re: Starter clutch????

Postby rirons0625 » Sun Aug 07, 2011 6:58 pm

After doing a search here, I tried a quart of Sea Foam in my oil in the hopes it would clear the sludge out of the starter clutch. After push starting it I rode for 50 miles. Tried to start with no success, still spins freely...

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virgilmobile
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Re: Starter clutch????

Postby virgilmobile » Mon Aug 08, 2011 7:23 am

I've seen the planetary gear locking pin bad/broken in the starter.It would spin the shaft on the bench but not turn under a load.It's more likely the starter is at fault rather than the sprag clutch at this point of your testing.You can easily test the clutch by pulling the starter,remove the drive sprocket,and hook the chain.It should move one direction free and lock to the engine the other way.Test this first to determine which part has the problem before you jerk the motor out only to find the planetary ring in the starter is at fault.

rirons0625
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Re: Starter clutch????

Postby rirons0625 » Mon Aug 08, 2011 9:10 pm

Virginmobile, thanks for your reply. I removed the starter again tonight and pulled the chain as you suggested. It moves very freely in one direction, and in the other direction it moves with a small amount of resistance but does not "lock" as you had indicated. I thought I might drain the oil tomorrow and refill with a pint of Marvel Mystery Oil mixed in and go for another ride to see by chance it might free the clutch up. Or do you think I'm wasting my time and just need to suck it up and have someone tear into my engine? I just can't stand the thought of having to go there...

rirons0625
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Re: Starter clutch????

Postby rirons0625 » Mon Aug 08, 2011 9:12 pm

Hehehe! I see you are VIRGILmobile, not Virginmobile as I called you. Sorry, honest mistake with tired eyes! (But kinda funny! :lol: )

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gordonv
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Re: Starter clutch????

Postby gordonv » Mon Aug 08, 2011 9:24 pm

I had a guy tell me to run the MMO through the engine at city speeds (slow/fast) for 100 miles (I figure a tank of gas), and that this is what is needed to free up the sproket.

I would still try rebuilding/serving your starter first, even if it is not the cause of the problem. It still probably needs it anyways. But like mentioned, check that front drive, just in case it's faulty sometimes.

If you still have to remove the engine to try to fix the sproket, at leaset you have tried the easier fix first.

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virgilmobile
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Re: Starter clutch????

Postby virgilmobile » Tue Aug 09, 2011 12:55 pm

If the chain does not lock one direction,the spring loaded bearings are not gripping the shaft.Yes,run MMO,Sea Foam for a 100 miles.It sounds like stuck bearings in the Sprag clutch

rirons0625
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Re: Starter clutch????

Postby rirons0625 » Thu Aug 11, 2011 10:02 am

So here's a thought... does it make sense to perhaps overfill the oil a bit when running the Seafoam or MMO to help ensure that its actually getting up to the starter clutch when attempting to free it up? Not talking about two quarts more, but perhaps a half quart or so???

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Re: Starter clutch????

Postby virgilmobile » Thu Aug 11, 2011 10:11 am

Probably not a good idea to run the motor overfilled ,The excess oil level may also submerse areas that might be annoyed by it.
The clutch assembly sets high in the case and doesn't get a copious amount of oil normally.
I suppose you could flood the engine,get the front end way up and let it soak for a day or two,drain the excess and then run it.

rirons0625
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Re: Starter clutch????

Postby rirons0625 » Wed Aug 17, 2011 8:24 am

Unfortunately, I have come to the conclusion that I have to dig into the engine and get after the starter clutch. I added Seafoam and rode for 100 miles, then did an oil change with MMO added for another 100 mile ride last night. No luck with the starter clutch, but my bike is not charging either. Now I have four questions... 1) Are you able to simply clean up the starter clutch in most cases or do I need to be prepared with a different one? 2) Should I just replace the stator while I'm there or is there a way to test it while out of the bike? 3) Should I take advantage of the engine being out and take care of anything else while I'm there? 4) What else will I need to wrap this up (gaskets, tools, parts, etc)? I have a friend who is better at this stuff than I am who is going to help tear into this. Thank you again for all your help!

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virgilmobile
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Re: Starter clutch????

Postby virgilmobile » Wed Aug 17, 2011 12:30 pm

Don't get nervous just yet.You know that the starting mechanism needs attending to,but look at the new charging problem first to determine EXACTLY what has failed.Don't just arbitrarily replace anything before it's tested.

Check the charging system first to determine whats wrong.Many times it's only burnt connections on the 3 yellow stator wires or regulator causing the 'not charging' problem.

Also,given the time that will take,will allow the MMO and sea foam to work.Don't give up on it yet.Pull the engine as a last resort.It will be a 'tear it apart to see what it needs' affair.

If the sprag clutch is really gummed up,it may take a while to free it up.

Has it improved at all???
And yes,as you hook and pull on one side of the starter chain it should lock and roll the engine over.It does need all 3 bearings to work for it to shaft lock properly.Here's a pix.
Attachments

sperryunivac
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Re: Starter clutch????

Postby sperryunivac » Wed Aug 17, 2011 9:28 pm

Determining why the starter spins freely and the engine does not turn over is a difficult problem because you can't see what is spinning.
Being a novice to the GL1100, I too went the route of replacing the sprag clutch parts because the previous owner said he had the starter replaced by a motorcycle repair shop and the new starter motor did not cure his problem. I tested the sprag clutch by turning the chain by hand and it spun in both directions.
That meant reading the manual, removing the engine, making some special tools, buying parts and to make a long story short, the starter motor was defective. With the engine out and the rear cover removed, I could watch the starter system in action. Yes, the starter motor was spinning, but the starter gear and the clutch chain were not moving an inch. When I removed the gear head portion of the starter motor it was evident that the starter was defective. In hindsight it would have been quicker and easier to purchase a starter motor on ebay and install it. That way if it was not a defective starter motor, I would have a spare or could sell it later.
Since you have the starter motor out, perhaps you can have it tested with a load to simulate that of turning an engine?
If you do pull the engine, you may be introducing more problems than you had wished for.
Well that is my two cents worth on this topic.

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virgilmobile
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Re: Starter clutch????

Postby virgilmobile » Thu Aug 18, 2011 7:13 am

sperryunivac posted "With the engine out and the rear cover removed, I could watch the starter system in action. Yes, the starter motor was spinning, but the starter gear and the clutch chain were not moving an inch."

Yes.as mentioned in a previous post..."

by virgilmobile » Mon Aug 08, 2011 7:23 am
I've seen the planetary gear locking pin bad/broken in the starter.It would spin the shaft on the bench but not turn under a load.It's more likely the starter is at fault rather than the sprag clutch*** at this point ***of your testing.You can easily test the clutch by pulling the starter,remove the drive sprocket,and hook the chain.It should move one direction free and lock to the engine the other way.Test this first to determine which part has the problem before you jerk the motor out only to find the planetary ring in the starter is at fault.

Yes ,do test each part before pulling the motor.Your results are the reason I suggested this diagnostic procedure,step by step,process of elimination,easy to test stuff first.

Also in this case,he has a charging problem.It's best to find the fault before the engine is pulled to avoid arbitrarily replacing parts in the hope it magically works.

rirons0625
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Re: Starter clutch????

Postby rirons0625 » Mon Aug 22, 2011 11:06 pm

With my friend's help, we pulled the engine and removed the rear cover. I've attached a picture to show what we found. Not sure if it is unusual or not but the alternator shaft was broken off! I haven't yet started the search for one, and don't know if I can get just the shaft or if its a complete assembly. If anyone has a line on one, please let me know. I will pull the starter clutch apart and clean it well before reinstalling it, and I had already ordered a new stator to replace mine. Even though its most likely good, I feel I should replace it while I'm there. Thanks again for everyone's input and assistance!


rirons0625
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Re: Starter clutch????

Postby rirons0625 » Mon Aug 22, 2011 11:08 pm

Actually just did an Ebay search and found quite a few alternator shafts and they are a complete assembly. At least getting a replacement is easy enough!

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virgilmobile
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Re: Starter clutch????

Postby virgilmobile » Wed Aug 24, 2011 1:59 pm

Good Lord man...What in the world could have sheared that off.I can visualize that it is the weakest point between the engine and alternator/starter/bearing assembly,but something would have to have suddenly seized on that end to shear that kind of shaft off.
Look over the bearing,stator mounting,drag marks on the magnets,sprag clutch.
Triple check all of it on re-assembly for any binding.

Really look for the cause so it doesn't happen again.

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Re: Starter clutch????

Postby WingAdmin » Thu Aug 25, 2011 5:32 pm

rirons0625 wrote:With my friend's help, we pulled the engine and removed the rear cover. I've attached a picture to show what we found. Not sure if it is unusual or not but the alternator shaft was broken off! I haven't yet started the search for one, and don't know if I can get just the shaft or if its a complete assembly. If anyone has a line on one, please let me know. I will pull the starter clutch apart and clean it well before reinstalling it, and I had already ordered a new stator to replace mine. Even though its most likely good, I feel I should replace it while I'm there. Thanks again for everyone's input and assistance!


As soon as you mentioned that your bike also wasn't charging, I suspected this was what was going to be your problem. :( Let us know how you make out!

rirons0625
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Re: Starter clutch????

Postby rirons0625 » Mon Aug 29, 2011 7:58 pm

Ok, so I've replaced the alternator shaft and am in the process of piecing everything back together. I also replaced the stator with one that is epoxy covered and is supposed to produce 20% more juice. My trouble though is that the rear cover does not seem to go on easily and seems to be hanging up in the stator/starter clutch area. We get it within 1/8 of an inch or so but it does not want to go the rest of the way. I've even tried "pressing" it on working the cover bolts a little at a time all the way around the cover but it just gets tight there without closing up. Is this a common issue and does anyone have any insight or thoughts? Thanks again for your help!

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Re: Starter clutch????

Postby sperryunivac » Mon Aug 29, 2011 10:40 pm

I did one not long ago but as far as I remember, the rear cover should go on and seat fully with only a little bit of wiggle. After that all 11 bolts can be screwed in easily by hand. There is no need to try and force the cover down, so you will need to determine what is causing the obstruction. Perhaps the sprag clutch is not fully seated or the permanent magnet that the generator coils sit in. Will the motor turn freely when turned by hand?

rirons0625
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Re: Starter clutch????

Postby rirons0625 » Tue Aug 30, 2011 9:35 am

That was it Sperry! I ended up with the engine resting on its side with the rear pointing upward and started taking pieces back off until we found what was holding us up. Ended up while turning the engine by hand the starter clutch eventually seated itself farther down where it needed to go. A dry fit confirmed that were back in business! Decided to stop there at midnight and will be back at it tonight. Hopefully at least getting the engine buttoned back up and in the frame... Learning a bunch!

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Re: Starter clutch????

Postby jcruzan » Wed Aug 31, 2011 11:21 am

Well I have a similar problem with my '80 GL1100.

I have just purchased the bike a few weeks ago a and it has been starting and running fine until one day it just made that spinning sound. I removed the starter and found the starter chain all rolled up at the bottom. It has apparently broken.

I also found that the previous owner had put way too much oil in the crank case, I think that may have been the cause of the problem but I'm not sure.

I haven't been brave enough to remove the engine yet, I'm still reading posts like this one and others comments to gain as much knowledge as possible. I was hoping to find a way to replace the chain without removing the entire engine but I'm realizing that I will have to bite the bullet and tear it down. Is there anything to be wary of to prevent further damage to the engine?


Many Thanks, John

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Re: Starter clutch????

Postby sperryunivac » Wed Aug 31, 2011 1:44 pm

Rirons0625, it's good to see that you can get the cover back on again. Just a thought, did you hold the three sprag clutch rollers back using tiewraps or paperclips before you put it back into it's proper place?

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Re: Starter clutch????

Postby sperryunivac » Wed Aug 31, 2011 2:04 pm

jcruzan wrote:Well I have a similar problem with my '80 GL1100.

I have just purchased the bike a few weeks ago a and it has been starting and running fine until one day it just made that spinning sound. I removed the starter and found the starter chain all rolled up at the bottom. It has apparently broken.

I also found that the previous owner had put way too much oil in the crank case, I think that may have been the cause of the problem but I'm not sure.

I haven't been brave enough to remove the engine yet, I'm still reading posts like this one and others comments to gain as much knowledge as possible. I was hoping to find a way to replace the chain without removing the entire engine but I'm realizing that I will have to bite the bullet and tear it down. Is there anything to be wary of to prevent further damage to the engine?

HI cruzan. Can you actually remove the chain from the engine case? Hopefully there is no other damage that caused the chain to break.
Well you will need to remove the engine in order to replace the chain so since you will be taking things apart and you have a service manual to work with, get the digital camera out and take plenty of pictures and make notes as you go along. I don't have a photographic memory so the camera helped alot during reassembly. Some of the gaskets may be brittle and may break during disassembly so be prepared. I could not get the rear cover and pulser generator cover gaskets indivdually in Canada so I had to order the complete set. You will need to remove the clutch assembly and a special tool will have to be purchased or fabricated. Have fun and luck!

Many Thanks, John

rirons0625
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Re: Starter clutch????

Postby rirons0625 » Mon Sep 05, 2011 6:07 pm

GOT IT!!! Finally got it all put back together and running this weekend! I would never have even attempted it by myself, but with my buddy's help and prodding we got 'er done. I found the complete alternator shaft assembly on Ebay for less than $30 shipped and was surprised to see about 8 of them available. While we were in there I replaced the stator with a new one that is supposed to put out about 20% more power (also on Ebay for $89), the friction discs in the clutch, the thermostat, and the timing belts. Also cleaned the oil screen (not much gunk there!) and readjusted the valves. Fired right up and sounds pretty good! Tested my voltage at the battery and have 14v at 2000 rpms. Need to sync the carbs now and I should be all set. I have discovered that my radiator fan isn't running, but I'm not overly concerned with that this time of year...I'll get to it when I can. Thanks again to everyone here for all of your help and suggestions!

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Re: Starter clutch????

Postby jcruzan » Thu Sep 08, 2011 12:13 pm

I finally got the time and took apart my engine to inspect the starting chain. removing and taking apart the engine was much easier than I had expected. Thanks for the advice to take pictures,that helps a lot. Also helps to have a good shop manual at your side. Everything inside was in remarkable good condition, with the exception of a broken starter chain.

Now my next mission is to find a replacement chain. I would rather have a new chain than to install a used one.
Anyone know where to purchase a new one or even how to get a new one made?




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