What would cause #2 clylinder not to fire?

Information and questions on GL1200 Goldwings (1984-1987)
  • Sponsored Links
Post Reply
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2015 11:52 am
Location: Bakersfield, CA
Motorcycle: 1986 GL1200I

What would cause #2 clylinder not to fire?

Post by rickstir » Mon Mar 02, 2015 5:53 pm

I just got my 1986 GL1200 engine into the bike. It's been sitting with out engine for about a year. I installed a new clutch, new seals, new stater etc.
Started it up and its running fine on 3 cylinders, :o # 2 cylinder nothing :o , you can hold your hand on the pipe and nothing, stays cool. The other three pipes get to 250° F within a couple minutes, number two cylinder stays at 90° till radiant heat takes over. So, obviously number two piston is not firing.
I checked for compression. Yes.
I checked for spark. Yes.
I checked for fuel. Yes. I can see it’s getting wet in the cylinder. I also confirmed fuel is flowing from the bowl.
I checked for timing. Yes, it’s correct.
However, this leads me to another story…But let’s stick to the first question, Why would a cylinder refuse to run?
While the carbs were off I tightened the 8 Philips screws inside the air box, removed and cleaned all the bowls and slides.
While the engine was running. I could feel vacuum at the little screw at the base of the intake.
Baffled why a cylinder will run when it’s got all the elements.

User avatar
Site Admin
Posts: 18878
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: What would cause #2 clylinder not to fire?

Post by WingAdmin » Tue Mar 03, 2015 11:34 am

So you know you've got air, compression, spark and fuel. There are two variables remaining:

- Do you have enough spark? Is the plug in good shape, gapped correctly, showing good healthy spark? Is it sparking when actually installed in the cylinder? (use an inductive spark tester to verify this)

- Do you have the correct air/fuel mixture? This is the big one. If the mixture is too lean, due to clogged jets or other reason, it will not ignite in the cylinder.

Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2015 11:52 am
Location: Bakersfield, CA
Motorcycle: 1986 GL1200I

Re: What would cause #2 clylinder not to fire?

Post by rickstir » Tue Mar 03, 2015 4:18 pm

Thanks for getting back to me. Good questions. :D
I compared the spark to the others, my scientific eyes say they looks similar :geek: , (all new plugs and gapped) I need to get an inductive spark tester…
I am thinking it was the carburetor, at one point while starting from cold, I measured the temp on that pipe and it came up real quick but then dropped back down, could have been the fuel running out of the carb and not able to keep up, but that would be a float problem, fuel pumps fine, but the #2 cylinder carb is the furthest away on the fuel rail, I need to check the fuel lines for clogs…
:shock: BUT NOW I have a bigger problem. :? The right side cam pulley came loose, lost its key, while the engine was running, and the piston slammed against the exhaust and an intake valve. Bent the Valves!!!
Now, apparently exhaust valves have been discontinued. Saber seems to have some. I see a fellow on ebay that rebuilds heads, $390 both heads, wonder if he can straighten valves? Wonder if my rocker arms are bent too.
Anyone ever had this happen?

User avatar
Posts: 210
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2012 11:41 pm
Location: Orange, California
Motorcycle: current 1985 GL1200A previous GL1200A GL1500K GL1100A CB350 GL650I VFR1000 ST1100 GL1200A GL1500I GL1800ABS GL1500CT + many other brands

Re: What would cause #2 clylinder not to fire?

Post by WINGER3 » Tue Mar 03, 2015 9:36 pm

Hi Rickstir, sorry to read what just happened to your bike, I just posted on your overheating problem befor I read this. You should pull the head and make sure the piston is not cracked or has a hole in it, if it looks OK, fix the cam pully and belt, turn the engine by hand and check if the piston comes to the top of the bore at the same level, not lower then the othe 3 pistons and that will tell you if the rod is bent and not to have to tear the engine apart. From what I seen on this site if I remember correctly that Saber cycle is not to be trusted, others can verify if I'm right or not. You can probaly get a good head on E-Bay from one of the salvage sellers, I'v had good luck with everyone I bought from and there lively hood depends on it. Good luck. :mrgreen:

User avatar
Posts: 4452
Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2009 6:11 pm
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: What would cause #2 clylinder not to fire?

Post by littlebeaver » Wed Mar 04, 2015 1:03 am

At first I was going to have some fun about your scientific eyes,,but after reading the post of the cam's key coming out I chose not to :( ,, I am so sorry this happened,, this is not common, first I have ever heard of it on any site....Holy cow...I'd be kinda bumbed out.. Sorry man... I loved the scientific eyes statement though...

Post Reply