87 Aspy with intermittent spark issues


Information and questions on GL1200 Goldwings (1984-1987)
  • Sponsored Links
User avatar
Mav4G
Posts: 71
Joined: Sat Sep 13, 2014 1:38 pm
Location: Tampa, Florida
Motorcycle: 1984 GL1200A Aspencade
1987 GL1200A Aspencade

87 Aspy with intermittent spark issues

Postby Mav4G » Sat Apr 11, 2015 9:31 pm



Hi everyone, Im back again with the black Aspencade. It has been a turd since I bought it and I've got an issue now with it misfiring. Also, recently, I began suffering the loud ping from the fuel pump. The bike starts right up, even after sitting for several days at a time. Awhile back it started acting like it was running on 3 cylinders but did it rather well. In other words, it idles, it runs, but there is substantial loss of power. Last week I put in a new fuel pump hoping it was at the root of my problems, but sadly this didn't solve anything other than it runs quieter. Many of the components are OEM on this bike except the NGK plugs and oil and coolant. I opened up the Clymer and started looking for my culprit. I pulled each plug and checked for a spark (they have just 300 miles on em) thinking it might be a bad plug wire. I took the connectors apart and cleaned the contacts then put it all back. When I was sure my gaps were good and everything looked good I noticed that when I pulled out #3 plug wire the engine would keep running w/o any changes. Put it back on and pulled number one and the engine died. I pulled number 2 and it kept running w/o any changes but it died when I pulled #4. So I pulled out the #3 spark plug and I got to looking closer at the actual spark with the engine running and at first there wasn't one. After a few seconds it started sparking but not a bright healthy spark. I put it back in and pulled #1 and it did the same thing but had a much better cracking sound and brighter spark; altho' the engine died. So I pulled the wires and managed to hook up my meter to both coils and they both tested 3.0 (very good according to the book). Im just a backyard mechanic so Im not good at testing all these different components like the ICU, etc. However, everything is open right now and somewhat easy to get to. If you're able to explain how to test the ICU I would appreciate it. I do not have a vacuum line tester to test the line coming out of it. If there is some other way it would help. I disconnected the line and blew compressed air through it to be sure it wasn't clogged and put it back but that did nothing for me. I've had every single connector on this bike apart and cleaned from prior electrical issues. The carbs are clean and I don't believe this to be a fuel issue, not that I would know for sure. And finally, for no structured reason what so ever (once the bike is under way) it will take right off and run perfectly until I have to stop at a light. When I take off again its back to missing and will stay that way for longer periods. The choke works good and will bog down the carbs if left on. I had to raise the idle to keep it running, but it will over rev when it suddenly starts running on all four. Im on disability and can't afford to take this into the dealer. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks ahead of time.



User avatar
virgilmobile
Posts: 7653
Joined: Sun Sep 19, 2010 5:39 pm
Location: Denham Springs,La.
Motorcycle: 1988 GL1500 I
Previously owned
78 GL1000
81 GL1100
82 GL1100 I
83 GL1100 I
83 GL1100 standard
84 GL 1200 I

Re: 87 Aspy with intermittent spark issues

Postby virgilmobile » Sun Apr 12, 2015 11:13 am

I've kind skimmed your post(s).even your previous ones.Sounds like a spark problem by your last description .
The front cylinders are fired by one coil.The rear by the other coil.One half of each coil is sparking ok(cylinder 1 and 3).
Do you have a Digital volt meter?
You need to measure voltage between 2 points.Positive lead on the black/white at the coils and meter ground at the Ignition module plug green wire.It needs to be above 12 volts while running.
Closely inspect the connections at the ignition mode for corrosion.Remove the ground lug for the module and scrape it clean.I believe its under the module or very near it.

User avatar
Mav4G
Posts: 71
Joined: Sat Sep 13, 2014 1:38 pm
Location: Tampa, Florida
Motorcycle: 1984 GL1200A Aspencade
1987 GL1200A Aspencade

Re: 87 Aspy with intermittent spark issues

Postby Mav4G » Mon Apr 13, 2015 6:40 am

Thank you for your insights virgilmobile! Back a couple months ago I took every connection I could find, including those surrounding the ICU, apart and thoroughly cleaned and reseated them. I am going to double check that and run the voltage test to be sure. If the ICU checks out what then? I have this nagging feeling it would be the pulse generator which you have to pull the back wheel, swing arm, and final drive to get to… right?
Last edited by Mav4G on Mon Apr 13, 2015 7:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
virgilmobile
Posts: 7653
Joined: Sun Sep 19, 2010 5:39 pm
Location: Denham Springs,La.
Motorcycle: 1988 GL1500 I
Previously owned
78 GL1000
81 GL1100
82 GL1100 I
83 GL1100 I
83 GL1100 standard
84 GL 1200 I

Re: 87 Aspy with intermittent spark issues

Postby virgilmobile » Mon Apr 13, 2015 6:57 am

I'm not near a picture that shows the location but keep in mind.The front cylinders are on one coil and the rear on the second coil.You indicate that both have spark problems...
There is a common power and ground to both sides.Check them first.Pulse coils can be measured when cold and hot to see if they are poorly.
The ECM...just find the ground lug that hooks it to the frame .clean it.

User avatar
Mav4G
Posts: 71
Joined: Sat Sep 13, 2014 1:38 pm
Location: Tampa, Florida
Motorcycle: 1984 GL1200A Aspencade
1987 GL1200A Aspencade

Re: 87 Aspy with intermittent spark issues

Postby Mav4G » Mon Apr 13, 2015 7:45 am

Good morning virgilmobile, I feel like such a dolt. I didn't accurately assume the firing order. The fact is, if I pull #3 or #4 the motor keeps running w/no change in rpm. If I pull #1 or #2 it dies. It appears 3 & 4 are on the right side coil, which tested out at 3.0 when it was cold. I didn't realize it might change when it gets hot. But that would explain what's going on as well. I will double check connections from the ECM to the ICU to the coils to the plugs. And then I'll check the coils after it gets hot before I take the next move. We have a lot of rain today and tomorrow so I may not get to this for a couple days. But as soon as I can I'll report back here. My fingers are crossed and thanks again for your help!

User avatar
virgilmobile
Posts: 7653
Joined: Sun Sep 19, 2010 5:39 pm
Location: Denham Springs,La.
Motorcycle: 1988 GL1500 I
Previously owned
78 GL1000
81 GL1100
82 GL1100 I
83 GL1100 I
83 GL1100 standard
84 GL 1200 I

Re: 87 Aspy with intermittent spark issues

Postby virgilmobile » Mon Apr 13, 2015 8:14 am

Good information.The rear cylinders have spark issues...Thats easier to work on...Half the system is working....
This would be my test method...Assuming that at the moment it does not have proper spark and I have no intention of running the engine to see the spark..I'd attach a spare plug to each wire...crank the engine and verify which plugs are not firing well....swap the 2 wires at the coil that go to the ECM.Not the black feed wire.Crank it and see if the problem follows the coil or the ECM...
If it follows the ECM,put the wires back and reverse the pulse coil pair or measure the resistance or measure the volts while running the engine...I think the pulse coil measures about 0.7 volts dc while running..

User avatar
Mav4G
Posts: 71
Joined: Sat Sep 13, 2014 1:38 pm
Location: Tampa, Florida
Motorcycle: 1984 GL1200A Aspencade
1987 GL1200A Aspencade

Re: 87 Aspy with intermittent spark issues

Postby Mav4G » Mon Apr 13, 2015 9:04 am

Thank you again. But I may be a little confused Im not sure. I've attached a picture I took on the first day I got this home and started working on it. It clearly shows the placement of components we can identify. When you say IGU I understand that, but I just want to be sure we are on the same page regarding the ECM. Could you look at the photo and help me be clear so I don't screw this up? I looked all through the Honda manual and can not find a photo of this 'ECM' unit to confirm what Im showing in the picture. Or that Im even calling it the right thing. Thanks.

User avatar
virgilmobile
Posts: 7653
Joined: Sun Sep 19, 2010 5:39 pm
Location: Denham Springs,La.
Motorcycle: 1988 GL1500 I
Previously owned
78 GL1000
81 GL1100
82 GL1100 I
83 GL1100 I
83 GL1100 standard
84 GL 1200 I

Re: 87 Aspy with intermittent spark issues

Postby virgilmobile » Mon Apr 13, 2015 9:13 am

I'm gonna have to look too.We want to get to the ignition control module.
I'm blind right now,just going from memory of ignition systems.My 84 interstate had one module up front with a vacuum line going to it.

User avatar
Mav4G
Posts: 71
Joined: Sat Sep 13, 2014 1:38 pm
Location: Tampa, Florida
Motorcycle: 1984 GL1200A Aspencade
1987 GL1200A Aspencade

Re: 87 Aspy with intermittent spark issues

Postby Mav4G » Mon Apr 13, 2015 11:34 am

I understand which one my IGU is (with vacuum), as pointed out in the picture its on top. But you referenced the ECM and I just want to be sure I have it right (in case you said ECM but meant IGU) and to be sure I have the correct unit should I need to test the ECM. And if it takes you a day to respond its ok. I appreciate your help.

User avatar
virgilmobile
Posts: 7653
Joined: Sun Sep 19, 2010 5:39 pm
Location: Denham Springs,La.
Motorcycle: 1988 GL1500 I
Previously owned
78 GL1000
81 GL1100
82 GL1100 I
83 GL1100 I
83 GL1100 standard
84 GL 1200 I

Re: 87 Aspy with intermittent spark issues

Postby virgilmobile » Mon Apr 13, 2015 11:59 am

I'll try to get my terms correct.ICM,ECM.
Ignition control module.
Electronic control module.
So many terms.Whew.
The magic box that makes the sparkin.

User avatar
virgilmobile
Posts: 7653
Joined: Sun Sep 19, 2010 5:39 pm
Location: Denham Springs,La.
Motorcycle: 1988 GL1500 I
Previously owned
78 GL1000
81 GL1100
82 GL1100 I
83 GL1100 I
83 GL1100 standard
84 GL 1200 I

Re: 87 Aspy with intermittent spark issues

Postby virgilmobile » Mon Apr 13, 2015 12:25 pm

Ok,the manual calls it a ICU.Ignition control unit.Theres 3 parts to the ignition system.2 pulse coils,2 ignition coils and the ICU.
Here's the schematic.

User avatar
Mav4G
Posts: 71
Joined: Sat Sep 13, 2014 1:38 pm
Location: Tampa, Florida
Motorcycle: 1984 GL1200A Aspencade
1987 GL1200A Aspencade

Re: 87 Aspy with intermittent spark issues

Postby Mav4G » Tue Apr 14, 2015 10:20 am

Wow, what an incredible document! Clear cut color coding makes it so much easier to read and understand (mine are itsy bits black and white and slightly blurry. I wish I had that entire document as a whole. Is there any way I can get a pdf of that doc somehow? I'll try to test this out today or tomorrow and get back to you. Thanks again.

User avatar
WingAdmin
Site Admin
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: 87 Aspy with intermittent spark issues

Postby WingAdmin » Thu Apr 16, 2015 9:10 am

Mav4G wrote:Wow, what an incredible document! Clear cut color coding makes it so much easier to read and understand (mine are itsy bits black and white and slightly blurry. I wish I had that entire document as a whole. Is there any way I can get a pdf of that doc somehow? I'll try to test this out today or tomorrow and get back to you. Thanks again.


You can get it here: http://goldwingdocs.com/Manuals.asp?type=GL1200

Look for: Honda Goldwing GL1200 Standard 1984 Color Schematic Diagram

User avatar
Mav4G
Posts: 71
Joined: Sat Sep 13, 2014 1:38 pm
Location: Tampa, Florida
Motorcycle: 1984 GL1200A Aspencade
1987 GL1200A Aspencade

Re: 87 Aspy with intermittent spark issues

Postby Mav4G » Sat Apr 18, 2015 3:12 pm

Hey, I finally took apart the ICU and Coils today for cleaning and testing. I was careful to clean all connections and grounds. The other day when I posted on here my coils were cold and they both tested at 3.0. Today, after warming up the bike (a ride around the neighborhood on 2-3 cylinders) both coils would test at 0.00 ohms. And my meter would not show 0.00 until I had the leads contacting on the coil posts. When I take them off my meter would read nothing and I got the same reading if I reversed the leads. I then tested the ICU as shown in the picture and according to virgilmobile's instructions and I only got a 9.6v - 9.9v reading with the motor idling. So I wanted to check my charging circuit and my battery checked out at 12.35v with the motor idling. It will not fire on all four cylinders anymore. What ever was allowing me intermittent performance has now degraded to a constant miss. I couldn't have the motor idling if it wasn't firing out one of the coils but I'm pretty sure Im getting poor spark from #3 & #4 plugs so I suspect the left hand coil. But with the low voltage on the ICU could it be bad as well?
And thanks again for the schematic wingadmin. Your original download was great, I printed it out in photo mode then plasticized it for permanent use.
[img]
87%20Aspy%20ICU-Coil%20Test.jpg
[/img]
Attachments

User avatar
virgilmobile
Posts: 7653
Joined: Sun Sep 19, 2010 5:39 pm
Location: Denham Springs,La.
Motorcycle: 1988 GL1500 I
Previously owned
78 GL1000
81 GL1100
82 GL1100 I
83 GL1100 I
83 GL1100 standard
84 GL 1200 I

Re: 87 Aspy with intermittent spark issues

Postby virgilmobile » Sat Apr 18, 2015 9:35 pm

Good testing and confirmation that the ignition system does not have the proper voltage between the black/white ( battery 12 volts ) and green (ground).
Next test ...with the bike running again,use your volt meter and probe the black/white wire and the battery negative post.
What's the voltage.?
If it's above 12 volts like the battery,you have a bad ground.
If it's still in the 9 volt range,either the ignition switch,kill switch,dogbone fuse or connections are bad.
that ignition system will not run well on 9 volts..
If the volts are still low,you can confirm its the problem by attaching a fused wire from the battery direct to the black/white wire,effectively bypassing all the switches.
For testing only..the bike will continue to run as long as the wire is hooked up.
As far as what I would do next...
locate the 2 wires that feed the kill switch..right below the switch...
Turn on the key and follow the voltage from the battery post ...into the red wires at the start solenoid then to the black wire going into the kill switch and out of it to the coils and module...you have too much voltage drop...Find it..fix it or bypass it.

User avatar
Mav4G
Posts: 71
Joined: Sat Sep 13, 2014 1:38 pm
Location: Tampa, Florida
Motorcycle: 1984 GL1200A Aspencade
1987 GL1200A Aspencade

Re: 87 Aspy with intermittent spark issues

Postby Mav4G » Sun Apr 19, 2015 12:46 pm

I checked the voltage between the negative battery terminal and the black/white wire from the ICU and it measured 13.65v like the battery. The volts are high as I had the choke on to start and warm the bike a little. Normally it idles around 12.35 - 12.65v. By what you said I have a bad ground somewhere. But I've got to tell you, I've taken every bolt and connector I can find - clean with powered wire brushes or spray cleaner or both and I simply don't know where to look for it. When I had it down to the coils I cleaned the mounting bolts and surfaces for them and the ICU. I know that my throttle/kill switch is all OEM as is the ignition. There is a small burp in the ignition once in awhile. I'll put the key in, turn to run and it will turn off. When I jiggle the key a little it comes back on and stays on till the next time. That is not my reason for my miss as it runs most of the time and is not bothersome right now. It does suggest (to me) the ignition is dirty or worn. I've changed those before but not with a big-ass fairing in the way. As for the kill switch I hate to open that up w/o knowing if Im to lookout for some spring or loose mount issue where something falls out on the ground and I don't know where it goes. If you have some advice its always appreciated. I tried searching the site for this issue where someone has taken photos but haven't found anything yet. Thanks again for hanging in there.

User avatar
Mav4G
Posts: 71
Joined: Sat Sep 13, 2014 1:38 pm
Location: Tampa, Florida
Motorcycle: 1984 GL1200A Aspencade
1987 GL1200A Aspencade

Re: 87 Aspy with intermittent spark issues

Postby Mav4G » Sun Apr 19, 2015 1:06 pm

Also, after studying the schematic I can only find three common ground points for the system in general (noted on the schematic accordingly). One is at the battery negative, one is at the starter, and the other is somewhere in the front fairing area where the headlight/signals all hook up. So much is buried in there I can't find it to clean it. The starter ground was a big pain in the a$$ on my 84 Aspy and the culprit to loosing power out on a road trip once upon a time. So I will double check that on this one. It appears the kill switch, ignition switch, and fuel pump (to mention just a few) all share a common ground at the starter. So I'll do that first. Any other ideas would be a big help. Thanks!

User avatar
virgilmobile
Posts: 7653
Joined: Sun Sep 19, 2010 5:39 pm
Location: Denham Springs,La.
Motorcycle: 1988 GL1500 I
Previously owned
78 GL1000
81 GL1100
82 GL1100 I
83 GL1100 I
83 GL1100 standard
84 GL 1200 I

Re: 87 Aspy with intermittent spark issues

Postby virgilmobile » Sun Apr 19, 2015 6:55 pm

Ok.You measure 13 volts from the black/white to the battery negative AND 9 volts or so between that same black/white and the green ground at the module.
If this is correct,rather that fighting this for hours,simply add a new ground wire.Dont cut that one off,just solder a new wire to it and hook it to a good ground.

User avatar
virgilmobile
Posts: 7653
Joined: Sun Sep 19, 2010 5:39 pm
Location: Denham Springs,La.
Motorcycle: 1988 GL1500 I
Previously owned
78 GL1000
81 GL1100
82 GL1100 I
83 GL1100 I
83 GL1100 standard
84 GL 1200 I

Re: 87 Aspy with intermittent spark issues

Postby virgilmobile » Sun Apr 19, 2015 7:02 pm

One other thing I'll mention.
Remove the battery ground lug.Where it bolts to the frame.Clean it too if you haven't already.

User avatar
Mav4G
Posts: 71
Joined: Sat Sep 13, 2014 1:38 pm
Location: Tampa, Florida
Motorcycle: 1984 GL1200A Aspencade
1987 GL1200A Aspencade

Re: 87 Aspy with intermittent spark issues

Postby Mav4G » Sun Apr 19, 2015 10:20 pm

Thanks so much for your help. I just need to be clear. Im going to solder a new ground wire to the GREEN ground wire for the ICU and hug it to the frame, correct? And then double check that I've cleaned the lug ground from the battery's negative side? I have my fingers crossed and will get on this in the morning. Thanks again.

User avatar
virgilmobile
Posts: 7653
Joined: Sun Sep 19, 2010 5:39 pm
Location: Denham Springs,La.
Motorcycle: 1988 GL1500 I
Previously owned
78 GL1000
81 GL1100
82 GL1100 I
83 GL1100 I
83 GL1100 standard
84 GL 1200 I

Re: 87 Aspy with intermittent spark issues

Postby virgilmobile » Mon Apr 20, 2015 7:30 am

You got it.
The battery lug...Both at the battery and at the frame.
One bike I had,the battery ground cable was secured tight under the engine mount bracket.Badly corroded too.
I didn't see this till I removed the mount and cable.

User avatar
Mav4G
Posts: 71
Joined: Sat Sep 13, 2014 1:38 pm
Location: Tampa, Florida
Motorcycle: 1984 GL1200A Aspencade
1987 GL1200A Aspencade

Re: 87 Aspy with intermittent spark issues

Postby Mav4G » Mon Apr 20, 2015 9:31 pm

I tapped into the GREEN wire from the ICU and soldered in a new ground at the frame. It was then I realized I had never cleaned the primary ground because it meant I had to pull the frame mount where the negative battery lead is located - at the bolt end and not at the nut. This means if the engine slips at all when I pull the rod bolt out I gotta figure on how to get it back together by myself. Anyway, I lucked out when I took it apart, it went right back in after I got everything renewed. I thought, wow, this has got to be the source of my issues. Got it all back together and started it up and... sadly its still missing. Its like I didn't do anything. I gotta think at this point I must have an ICU issue? Or maybe I still have some kind of short somewhere else? I feel like Im chasing a ghost.


User avatar
virgilmobile
Posts: 7653
Joined: Sun Sep 19, 2010 5:39 pm
Location: Denham Springs,La.
Motorcycle: 1988 GL1500 I
Previously owned
78 GL1000
81 GL1100
82 GL1100 I
83 GL1100 I
83 GL1100 standard
84 GL 1200 I

Re: 87 Aspy with intermittent spark issues

Postby virgilmobile » Tue Apr 21, 2015 6:54 am

It is possible.I try to do all the cheap easy things first.I assume that you confirmed that there is now at least 12 volts at the ECM terminals.?
You'll have to refresh my memory.Was the pulse coil eliminated as the possible cause.Either by measuring the resistance or measuring the volts.?
I just hate to throw parts at it and hope.Even if its you paying for it.
Your new ground looks fine too.

User avatar
Mav4G
Posts: 71
Joined: Sat Sep 13, 2014 1:38 pm
Location: Tampa, Florida
Motorcycle: 1984 GL1200A Aspencade
1987 GL1200A Aspencade

Re: 87 Aspy with intermittent spark issues

Postby Mav4G » Tue Apr 21, 2015 8:39 am

Thanks for your reply. Fixing the primary ground helped my overall charging system by quite a bit. It went from 13.3 to 14.7v when at 1500 rpms. I got this reading both at the frame and the neg battery side. Also, the new ICU ground tested at 13v+ at 1200+ rpms (I had the choke on). I have not tested the pulse coils, if this is the set inside the motor. I tested the regular ignition coils at 3.0 for the right one and 2.94 for the left back when we started this blog. The manual shows the connection for the 'pulse' coils to be on the left side by the battery. But I fear the PO cut them out and joined the connection then shrink wrapped it all. When I try to pull that wire cable outward to gain access there's no give so Im not sure how to access it. Im not healthy enough to tear it down by removing the back wheel and swingarm so I may be at a cross roads here.

User avatar
virgilmobile
Posts: 7653
Joined: Sun Sep 19, 2010 5:39 pm
Location: Denham Springs,La.
Motorcycle: 1988 GL1500 I
Previously owned
78 GL1000
81 GL1100
82 GL1100 I
83 GL1100 I
83 GL1100 standard
84 GL 1200 I

Re: 87 Aspy with intermittent spark issues

Postby virgilmobile » Tue Apr 21, 2015 9:18 am

The pulse coils can be checked right at the ECM.




Return to “GL1200 Information & Questions”




Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest