Electrical Issue


Information and questions on GL1100 Goldwings (1980-1983)
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Sodapop
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Motorcycle: 1983 GL1100A

Electrical Issue

Postby Sodapop » Tue Jan 05, 2010 1:25 am



Ok I am a new owner of a 1983 GL1100A. I bought her as a project and knew I had work ahead of me so I am not surprised by anything I find. I know that there will be lots to do as far as timing belts, syncing carbs, changing fluids, etc. But I am working on the little "ticks" first. The 2 things that are on my first to do list are trying to figure out the radio issue as I am not sure just sending it is the answer because there seems to be a lot of cut wires and things disconnected. That is one of those "tinkering" things to work on for convenience of having tunes. However, Since getting the bike home she seems to have a charging issue.

She has what the previous owner said was a new battery and I must say it appears new compared to everything else the was no dirt, dust, etc on it at all. After she sat for about an hour I tried to start and she was dead. I put the charger she came with on her and when it showed charged I started her up and she rode fine. Parked her in the garage and while I did mess around checking lights without starting engine and had acc on for about 5 minutes total it did not seem like anywhere near enough time to drain battery. This morning she was dead again. Put charger on her and left for about 3 hours. Came home and she started right up, rode about 10 minutes and she was fine. Parked and worked on checking radio fuses etc for awhile and then an hour later, dead. I get headlights, Neutral light, etc but not enough just to turn over. Charger goes back on her.

So anyone have any suggestions where to start looking? Should I be suspecting a starter issue since headlights and all work but she won't turn over? But if it were a starter why would she turn right over and start right up after being on charger for a few hours? I guess I will pull battery tomorrow and take it to have it tested and then go from there. I do not know these bikes at all so I thought I would toss the scenario out and see if there is a know problem I should look for that this is indicative of.



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Re: Electrical Issue

Postby WingAdmin » Tue Jan 05, 2010 7:29 am

You might want to check the three yellow wires, and if they haven't been done yet, do them. They can affect the charging of the battery.

However if you said your radio is a mess of cut wires and so on, I'd check that, too. The radio is the only thing on the bike that draws power when the key is off. Pull the fuse for the radio and see if it still goes dead overnight. In fact, you might want to pull all of the fuses and put them back in one by one, to see which one of them causes it to go dead overnight. If you pull them ALL, and it still goes dead, then I'd try pulling the master fuse (dogbone fuse, near the solenoid). If even with THAT one pulled it still goes dead, then I'd suspect the battery (which may already be weak from repeated complete discharges - they don't like that).

Sodapop
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Re: Electrical Issue

Postby Sodapop » Tue Jan 05, 2010 11:26 am

Thanks for the tips. The radio was not working until late yesterday due to 2 blown fuses which I replaced so I think that narrows that out. I had seen the info on the 3 yellow wires and it has not been done so I intend to do that today and see what happens next.

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Re: Electrical Issue

Postby Sodapop » Wed Jan 06, 2010 12:29 am

Ok so the new update is.......................She was dead this morning inspite of being on charge overnight. I did the 3 yellow wire fix and yes the plug was a mess. Tried starting after and nothing still. Left for a few hours and had it on charge. Returned and it started immediately when I hit the starter button. Washed her and got some of the grime off engine and tried to start, fired right up. Let her idle in driveway about 10 minutes and she purred right along. Turned her off and spent some time scrubbing seat (no water involved just spray cleaner, scrub, wipe with towel). About 30 minutes later went to start and pull into garage, nothing. WTH it is like she was totally dead but headlights are nice and bright. Put her on charge about 5 minutes and tried again and she fired up immediately when I pressed starter button. Pulled into garage and put on center stand. Waited about 5 minutes and tried again, nothing. Starter wont turn just a click but lights are bright. Put her on Charge and waited 10 minutes to try again, nothing again. This went on about 2 hours. Went out a few minutes ago to put radio back after taking it all apart and cleaning with QD Electric cleaner. Tried to start, still nothing but charger shows a green charged light. I put in radio and tested to see if it worked and still no changing channels so I guess changing buttons is next for that. After tinkering with radio with acc on about 5 minutes I switched on and tried starter button and she fired right up.

I think that battery may be fine given it's new and the symptoms of strong lights but not turning starter. I am thinking starter now (which scares me more). Is there anything else anyone recommends before I dive into the DIY starter rebuild? I am not extremely mechanical when it comes to rebuilding starter so if it could be anything else I prefer to try first and fall back to starter last.

Jeff

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Re: Electrical Issue

Postby WingAdmin » Wed Jan 06, 2010 1:22 am

You know, the first thing I'd try is having a look at the main 30 amp (dogbone) fuse. It's made of metal, and is right next to the solenoid. They tend to crack as they get old, and when they do crack, they can cause flaky operation like this. Most people replace them with a waterproof fuse holder like this one:



That way you can just plug a regular car "blade" 30 amp fuse into it and not worry about it ever again.

Sodapop
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Re: Electrical Issue

Postby Sodapop » Wed Jan 06, 2010 1:29 am

I looked at that today but I will give it a better inspection. I just glanced at it expecting if it were bad that it would be obvious. Actually opened cover on one of those "whats in here" moments......lol

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Re: Electrical Issue

Postby Sodapop » Wed Jan 06, 2010 9:55 pm

Dog bone fuse looks fine. Had the battery checked with volt meter and it was fine. With bike running volt meter showed 14v charging so I think I may be narrowing it down.

Would not start this morning even though it had charged all night. tried again an hour later, did nothing different and it started right up. Went to auto parts store and she restarted fine. Went to a shop in the next town and she started fine. Parked at home for 2 hours and she would not start. Put on charge 10 minutes even though I don't think thats the issue and she started right up. Pulled in Garage and parked. 15 minutes later would not turn over again.

I found someone with a rebuild kit for starter for $20 and he has a starter off a GL1100 that he no longer has that he is going to give me. this way I can rebuild it and not worry about messing up on the only one I have. Once it is done then I can just swap them out. Hopefully that will solve the problem.

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Re: Electrical Issue

Postby Sodapop » Thu Jan 07, 2010 10:37 pm

need some brain power help. Riding around this evening and no turn sIgnals. Get home and realize no turns, no brake (but tail is ok) and no horn. Headlight, tail light, front running lights and bag mounted lights all ok. Checked all main fuses and they were fine. Tried turn again and they worked for about a minute and then nothing. thought a fuse but now thinking connection someplace maybe. Any thoughts?

Also today same issues starting but I got pissed waiting and put jumper cables on from my other bike and it started right up. leads me back to thinking bad battery no. Guess I need a battery test from cycle shop where they can put it under load and test it.

Aggravating thats for sure.

~Soda~

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Re: Electrical Issue

Postby WingAdmin » Fri Jan 08, 2010 11:30 am

Sodapop wrote:need some brain power help. Riding around this evening and no turn sIgnals. Get home and realize no turns, no brake (but tail is ok) and no horn. Headlight, tail light, front running lights and bag mounted lights all ok. Checked all main fuses and they were fine. Tried turn again and they worked for about a minute and then nothing. thought a fuse but now thinking connection someplace maybe. Any thoughts?

Also today same issues starting but I got pissed waiting and put jumper cables on from my other bike and it started right up. leads me back to thinking bad battery no. Guess I need a battery test from cycle shop where they can put it under load and test it.

Aggravating thats for sure.

~Soda~


You're in luck - I had a look at the 83 schematic, and the horn, turn signals and brake all have a single point of failure: The turn signal relay. If that relay fails, you will lose all of the above. Check the relay, and possibly the socket it's plugged into. The relay is fastened with a rubber ring on the left side of the bike, underneath the false tank, just in front of the regulator.

As for the starting issues - where did you jump it to - the battery, or directly to the solenoid or starter?

I suppose it could also be the battery cables. Next time it refuses to start, give a wiggle to the large-gauge cables from the battery to ground, from the battery to the solenoid, and from the solenoid to the starter and see if it makes any difference.

Sodapop
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Re: Electrical Issue

Postby Sodapop » Fri Jan 08, 2010 4:27 pm

Thanks for the tip on the turns. I will have a look at the relay connections today. When I jumped it I went to battery and she started without any trouble. And when she does start it is immediate. I mean within 2 - 3 seconds of pressing starter button she is running. Since battery was only tested with a volt meter and it was right after she had started and run for a bit I think I am going to buy a new battery and see how that effects things. Unless I find a loose cable but the checks I have made so far they all seem tight. I have had battery out so I know when I put it back I tightened up the connections at the battery.

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Re: Electrical Issue

Postby WingAdmin » Fri Jan 08, 2010 4:49 pm

It could be the cables themselves - not just the connections. The cables internally (where they connect to the spade lugs, especially) can corrode and come loose. They will pass enough current to light the lights, but not enough to turn the starter. Wiggling them (or letting them heat or cool, which moves them enough to make full contact again) can "fix" the problem, until next time. That's why I recommended the next time it "dies", you wiggle all the wires and try again. If you can, hold down the starter button WHILE you wiggle them, then you will know if what you have done has targeted the problem, because it will cause the starter to suddenly engage.

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Re: Electrical Issue

Postby Sodapop » Fri Jan 08, 2010 4:51 pm

Awesome. I will do that next time it fails which is generally everyday.

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Re: Electrical Issue

Postby Sodapop » Sun Jan 10, 2010 7:47 pm

Ok I tried moving wires while pressing starter and nothing changed however this gave me a new vantage point from which to observe details.

1. When the starter is pressed the battery makes a noise almost like a boiling sound.
2. The only other sound is a hard click that comes from right around the dog bone fuse.
3. Using a battery tester I tested battery and got;
a) 30.5 mA with everything off.
b) 9.3 mA while pressing Starter
c) 8.3 mA with pos on Starter and neg on battery
d) 29.3 retest on battery with everything off

Now all this is fairly greek to me but common sense tends to tell me that the amount of juice at the starter is way to little. Then again I don't know if I am even testing this right so I am hoping to hear from the pros out there. I also thought the boiling sound from the battery was a bit alarming to me.

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Re: Electrical Issue

Postby WingAdmin » Mon Jan 11, 2010 7:46 am

Sodapop wrote:Ok I tried moving wires while pressing starter and nothing changed however this gave me a new vantage point from which to observe details.

1. When the starter is pressed the battery makes a noise almost like a boiling sound.
2. The only other sound is a hard click that comes from right around the dog bone fuse.
3. Using a battery tester I tested battery and got;
a) 30.5 mA with everything off.
b) 9.3 mA while pressing Starter
c) 8.3 mA with pos on Starter and neg on battery
d) 29.3 retest on battery with everything off

Now all this is fairly greek to me but common sense tends to tell me that the amount of juice at the starter is way to little. Then again I don't know if I am even testing this right so I am hoping to hear from the pros out there. I also thought the boiling sound from the battery was a bit alarming to me.


Something is very wrong here. Two things make a battery boil: fast charging, or fast discharging. So when you press the starter, a whole lot of current is being sucked from the battery, very quickly.

The hard click from next to the dog bone fuse is the solenoid. So we know the solenoid is working. One of a few things is happening:

- Solenoid is faulty, and is somehow shorting directly to ground when engaged
- Wire from solenoid to starter is faulty, and is intermittently shorting directly to ground
- Starter is faulty, and is intermittently either stalled or shorting directly to ground

At this point I'm going to point my finger in the direction of the starter. Can you measure the voltage present at the external terminal of the starter while the starter button is pushed? If you've got voltage there while pressing the starter, then the problem is most likely the starter itself.

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Re: Electrical Issue

Postby Sodapop » Thu Jan 14, 2010 12:25 am

Boy this thing is really starting to frustrate me. Had to just walk away today as I am getting to upset with it. She has been on Trickle charge for 2 days and started immediately when I went out today. I took her on a 15 mile ride to pick up my glasses, shut her off when I went in and she started right up about 15 minutes later. Driving to P/u a starter I was getting to rebuild and part way there made a left turn and part way around signal cancelled and then no signals, horn or brake lights. I reached in to the unit and tried to feel and it seems connected tight still. I took her home without getting starter. As I got home I stall while trying to activate garage opener in my pocket, pressed starter and she started right up. Pulled into garage and turned off key. Turned it on again 20 seconds later to move a little more forward, she was dead again. WTF only difference in the 2 minutes was after stall key was not turned off and when it was turned off and back on she would not start. She does have a replacement ignition so I am wondering if something there could be bad but I would think that is pretty much either all or noting why would it only effect starting.

And for the turns and brakes I am not sure how to check the sender that they all route through to be sure it is good. I have a little multi meter in the garage but not really sure how to use it or what to check the unit for.

This is all very frustrating and I feel like maybe one issue may be effecting everything since it seems that electrical is my big trouble. when she starts she seems to run great. I have never been on another Goldwing to compare but she runs smooth and such. Does not have the pickup of my Suzuki but I figured that might just be the difference in gearing. I am trying to remain positive about her but it is getting tougher.

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Re: Electrical Issue

Postby WingAdmin » Thu Jan 14, 2010 11:29 am

Sodapop wrote:Dog bone fuse looks fine. Had the battery checked with volt meter and it was fine. With bike running volt meter showed 14v charging so I think I may be narrowing it down.


You said the "dog bone fuse looks fine" ... mine looked fine too, but it still caused regular outages where the bike would just "die" randomly. It wasn't until I actually replaced it with the blade fuse like I mentioned earlier that the outages went away. I'd still strongly recommend trying that - it's a pretty cheap fix (less than $5).

As for the turn signal relay - have you tried actually changing it, or just checking contacts? It's also a cheap fix, $10-$15 at most, and would rule out one more thing. I suspect you are battling more than one electrical problem, but I'm pretty sure the horn/turn signal/brake light problem is going to be centered on the turn signal relay.

And as I mentioned earlier, the fact that the battery is fully charged, the solenoid is clicking, and you are getting the "boiling" (high current draw) noise from the battery when you try to start, all point to a problem with the starter.

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Re: Electrical Issue

Postby Sodapop » Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:42 am

I thought I would update my situation.

1. She has started every time I pressed the starter for the past 3 days even before I made any changes.
2. Turns/Brake Lights and horn went out again 3 days ago. I took off fake tank today and cleaned all connections I could get at under there and reconnected. The turns/brake/horn worked again. Buttoned it all up and rechecked, still working. Went for a ride to auto parts store and 3 blocks away they all stopped working.
3. I was going to parts store for 10 & 15 amp fuses as I thought the ones in main box looked old and I would replace them and have a few spares. Upon getting home I replaced all the fuses and voila turns/brake/horn work again. Took on a 4 mile test ride and they worked all the way albeit self cancel did not work but at east I have light. My conclusion being maybe I had a problem fuse and vibration of driving was causing the items to not work but when I was in garage they would work again, at least I hope it was that easy.
4. In the process of things I also replaced dog bone with an updated plug type fuse and cleaned the battery cable ends with a wire brush and electric parts cleaner. When reassembling I made sure everything was tightened up good and tight.

Even though she has been starting up I am going to pick up the starter and rebuild kit from a local guy. $20 is not much and I can rebuild it and then just install when I am done so it will be a quick swap out assuming the gears are the same. I have seen some posts indicating on some replacements that changing out gearing from your old one may be needed.

I also need to get buttons for radio, I recall seeing a link here so I will research that again as radio works but will not change stations. I ordered a replacement cup for front master cylinder and as soon as that comes in I will change it and bleed all the brakes with the poor mans bleeder (spray bottle nozzle and tubing). Syncing the carbs and timing belts are on the soon to be done list as well but wife says I need to plug the hole in the bank account for awhile first. No friends local with vacuum gauges so until I can buy some I need to wait. (good thing she does not see all my eBay activity....lol). Probably need to add radiator flush and rear end fluid change out as well. These should be inexpensive some maybe I can get to them in the next few weeks. When I do the radiator I will look into why the fan runs all the time. My guess is someone may have hard wired it either because the sensor is bad or they wanted constant cooling in the hot California summers we have here. Either way I want to get it back on a working sensor but may consider a toggle switch override as well to give me the option to kick it on early. Paint will have to wait and I am so vain it kills me being on something that looks so bad. At this point even all primer from a rattle can would be an improvement and as I have body parts off I may even light sand them and prime the. Some areas were worn so bad that when I was scrubbing the grime off I actually got down to metal so it need to be protected anyway.

Overall she needs some work and some TLC but thankfully although some things are frustrating they are not huge issues and for $700 I still feel like I got a steal on the bike.

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Britanicus
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Re: Electrical Issue

Postby Britanicus » Sun May 22, 2011 7:05 am

Just curious, did this eventually get sorted?




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