Ignition issue?


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Ignition issue?

Postby bohdan » Tue Nov 12, 2013 3:35 pm



Greetings Fellow Wingers, Allegedly, I am having an issue with MR. Goldwing. Sometimes, the bike will not start but crank. Other times (most times), starts on a nickel. I am pretty sure it is a ignition problem and not a fuel problem. Naturally, it is easier to diagnose a problem that isn't working versus working. To confirm this issue, is there a way when this happens to see if I have spark? Not very convenient to pull the plastic to get the plug and then find out it is sparking after all. Maybe a bad coil? works intermittently? loose connection? weird. Thanks for any advise.



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Re: Ignition issue?

Postby virgilmobile » Tue Nov 12, 2013 4:00 pm

A suspected spark failure....
Hmmm...My first suggestion is when it won't fire right up,operate the "kill" switch a few times...The main power that feeds to the ignition system has to go through it....They do have a tendency to go intermittent...
They also can be disassembled and cleaned back to a shiny copper..

Does this bike still have points or has it been converted to electronic ignition..??

The second trouble spot is at the coils... There are push on connections at the coils..Pull each one (one at a time) inspect,tighten,clean as needed....

Many years has a tendency to compromise these connections.

About the only way to confirm if you are loosing spark is to look for it when it won't start...(a spare plug in your pocket)
A test light could be attached to the coil to see if it's loosing volts,but it's also difficult to get to.

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Re: Ignition issue?

Postby ct1500 » Tue Nov 12, 2013 6:14 pm

You should update your info to include the 15 so there is no confusion, tip off to me was having to remove plastic. :)

Unlikely an ign problem as the 15 has a very reliable one. What is the year and mileage? What has it gotten for maintenance? First check would be charging system and battery health.
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Local and need repair help with your 1500, Valkyrie or ST please PM

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Re: Ignition issue?

Postby virgilmobile » Tue Nov 12, 2013 8:03 pm

Obviously I'm assuming it's a Gl1000 going by the personal.
It's also possible that a gl1000,1100,1200,1500 and 1800 have plastic covering the spark plug area,whether it be original or add on.
I hope the next post will clear this up.
and yes the 1500 does have a very robust ignition system.

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Re: Ignition issue?

Postby bohdan » Wed Nov 13, 2013 8:12 am

Greetings Gents , yes it is a 1993 1500 with 88K. I am the original owner so I know the bike well. It is good to hear that you say the the ignition is "robust" and more than likely not the issue. The times ,as memory recalls , that it doesn't start it has been on the side stand. I have lately been putting the bike on the center stand and making mental notes if fires up the way it should. Thinking may the lean sensor? Maybe stuck in the position that shuts off the gas? But if that was the case, there should be enough fuel in the bowls to at least fire it up shouldn't it? for a couple of ticks?

In order to see if there is spark, the plastic covering the plugs would be cumbersome to remove to just see spark. Is there any other way that this can be determined? The next time "Ole Betsy" doesn't start atleast I could say "it isn't a psark issue" Mighty obliged.

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Re: Ignition issue?

Postby virgilmobile » Wed Nov 13, 2013 8:50 am

Thanks for clearing up what bike you are talking about...

As far as checking for spark,there's no easy way out...You still have to get a cap off and stick on a spare plug...
Here's a video of mine when I first got it.This shows what the spark should look like as the bike cranks...A short delay but then a really good spark...



Still and all,my first post stands as possible....I did have to clean my kill switch.

One other note...the 1500 uses a computer controlled ignition system (been there) and just like any computer,it absolutely must have a minimum of 10.25 volts supplied to it to fire the coils....

I determined this by accident...My battery has a digital volt meter attached to it...when the cranking volts dropped below 10 volts,the engine would not start.....At that moment I measured 9.6 volts directly at the ignition module.
A quick boost of the voltage cured this....

I also have had some problems starting after it's left on the side stand for several days....I've never had a problem if I leave it centerstanded....

Also..even tho it does have a electric fuel pump,it only operates when the engine is cranking..
The ignition system operates the pump AND the vacuum from the right rear intake is the source to operate the fuel shutoff valve....
A small leak in that hose,or cranking with a open throttle can severely restrict the fuel supplied to the carbs....

The "lean sensor" is called the Bank angle sensor...Usually never suspect in your case...They will kill power to the ignition system if the bike falls over or,if defective,when you hit a good bump on the road...

I hope this gives you a few things to ponder. :geek:
Maybe even a solution...Keep us posted please. :)

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Re: Ignition issue?

Postby bohdan » Wed Nov 13, 2013 9:39 am

thanks virgilmobile. You have come to my aid once more. Interesting features. The bike needs that voltage to fire the coils. I don't suspect that because the engine turns over well? I guess you are referring to the engine control unit that needs this voltage. I do have a question though. On your video, I only noticed the spark when the bike fired up (on the other cylinders) Isn't the spark suppose to be there during the cranking time too?

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Re: Ignition issue?

Postby virgilmobile » Wed Nov 13, 2013 10:09 am

Mine cranked fine too.It would not fire right up.There wasn't any spark.
The battery was just a little weak and the volts dropped on the ignition module.
in the video,I couldn't stop it from starting.I only wanted to demonstrate in the video that there is a short delay before the bike generates a spark and what it looks like.

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Re: Ignition issue?

Postby bohdan » Thu Nov 14, 2013 8:58 am

Thanks Virgilmobile. So 10.25 volts is needed. Would it be possible if I measure these volts on the terminals while cranking? What is the norm for the voltage while cranking? Is it possible the volts are on the borderline between "igniting" the module or not? Thanks again.

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Re: Ignition issue?

Postby virgilmobile » Thu Nov 14, 2013 9:53 am

SPECIAL NOTE..:: Mine has never had a problem starting if I run it every day...Battery charged up.
Your bike may not have exactly the same problem...thus the need to "test" the theory....
Process of elimination...Once it's determined why the bike won't fire right up,then it can be fixed.

Measuring is possible only with a DVM attached to the ignition module plug...It's behind the right side coved,below the gas cap area....
!0.25 volts at the battery is what I would consider acceptable during cranking to positively get the ignition to work..
I'm sure there's a "threshold" voltage...I only know for sure that the bike can crank over and if the volts drop much below 10 volts at the battery,the ignition gets iffy...

Also remember there is a slight voltage loss in all the bikes wiring..If I remember,I had 12.4 volts at the battery and measured 11.6 volts at the ignition module contacts...
When I cranked the bike,the battery fell to 9.98 and the ignition dropped to 9.2 volts...It would not spark..I charged the battery for a half hour and it popped right off..

For you,I would suggest a easier approach....If one day,it won't start right up but cranks OK...boost it off...If it fires right up,your battery is a bit low....

I've sense changed mine...because I might let it set for a couple of weeks,I just plug in the battery tender when it's gonna just sit for more than a few days...

I have also made Ignition system modifications that are (what even I would consider) a very questionable design...Essentially a on board automatic ignition voltage booster....
Only because,in my case,I may leave the bike for a week where It can't be plugged in...
Last edited by virgilmobile on Thu Nov 14, 2013 10:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Ignition issue?

Postby virgilmobile » Thu Nov 14, 2013 9:55 am

Keep in mind...I do overthink a problem too...I don't want to get you too far off track chasing a ghost..

One question...On the day your bike didn't start right up..what did you do exactly to get it going.??

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Re: Ignition issue?

Postby Fatwing Chris » Thu Nov 14, 2013 12:25 pm

The 1500 loves a good battery.There have been a million posts on different sites about how most 1500's actually fire up when you let go of the start button.This is because the starter is taking a lot of the available voltage to crank it.When you let go of the start button more voltage is available to the ECU and the coils and this is where it fires.My 89 would do this when the battery was starting to go south.It would still start,but you could tell it was firing after I let off the start button.Replaced the battery with an AGM(50 more CCA than a lead/acid) and you wouldn't believe the difference in start-up.Bike cranked way faster and fired with the start button pressed.
If I'da known it would last this long,I'da taken better care of it.
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Re: Ignition issue?

Postby bohdan » Fri Nov 15, 2013 8:16 am

Yes Fatwing Chris, come to think of it, it would be at the end of the press of the start button. That's interesting, you change a battery and it would start up right away. At Virgilmobile, the times it wouldn't crank, I would turn the ignition off, let it sit a few minutes and crank again. I would do this a few times and if I was lucky, it would fire up at the end of a 5 second crank. Actually, there has never been a case where it hasn't started, but if it does , I would be prepared. Thanks again

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Re: Ignition issue?

Postby virgilmobile » Fri Nov 15, 2013 10:40 am

Lead acid batteries can be funny...Load them,let them "rest recover" and the voltage can actually increase...the cranking amps may be lower....It's a magic chemical reaction in the battery....

If it tries to fire at the moment you release the start button,you are suffering from low voltage to the ECM ignition module....

This can be due to just a weak battery...dirty contacts in the Kill switch,a contact problem in the BAS sensor,etc,etc...

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Re: Ignition issue?

Postby WingAdmin » Fri Nov 15, 2013 3:44 pm

bohdan wrote:Yes Fatwing Chris, come to think of it, it would be at the end of the press of the start button. That's interesting, you change a battery and it would start up right away. At Virgilmobile, the times it wouldn't crank, I would turn the ignition off, let it sit a few minutes and crank again. I would do this a few times and if I was lucky, it would fire up at the end of a 5 second crank. Actually, there has never been a case where it hasn't started, but if it does , I would be prepared. Thanks again


Keep in mind also that the bike's computer won't fire the plugs at ALL until it has seen at least a full revolution of the engine. The reason for this is that the computer doesn't know where in the cycle the engine is. The ignition timing wheel has a missing tooth on it (intentionally). When the computer sees a missing pulse, it knows at what part of the ignition cycle it is, and can then start firing spark.

My 1100 would spring to life the absolute instant I TOUCHED the starter button. My 1500 does that one revolution crank, then comes to life, without having to let go of the starter. That said, I have a Compufire alternator and an AGM battery.

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Re: Ignition issue?

Postby bohdan » Fri Nov 15, 2013 4:10 pm

Thanks guys. AGM battery? IS this the maintenance free battery? or the wet cell? All great information. Come to think of it, my current battery is a few years old and is a wet cell . The one you have to fill up. It appears that from your all comments that the AGM is "crankier". Does anybody know if the battery for a GL1000 is the same for the Gl1500? If so, I may temporarily change them out and see the difference . The GL1000 has a brand new maintenance free battery. Mighty obliged for the advice. Thanks

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Re: Ignition issue?

Postby Fatwing Chris » Sat Nov 16, 2013 9:01 am

WingAdmin wrote:
bohdan wrote:Yes Fatwing Chris, come to think of it, it would be at the end of the press of the start button. That's interesting, you change a battery and it would start up right away. At Virgilmobile, the times it wouldn't crank, I would turn the ignition off, let it sit a few minutes and crank again. I would do this a few times and if I was lucky, it would fire up at the end of a 5 second crank. Actually, there has never been a case where it hasn't started, but if it does , I would be prepared. Thanks again


Keep in mind also that the bike's computer won't fire the plugs at ALL until it has seen at least a full revolution of the engine. The reason for this is that the computer doesn't know where in the cycle the engine is. The ignition timing wheel has a missing tooth on it (intentionally). When the computer sees a missing pulse, it knows at what part of the ignition cycle it is, and can then start firing spark.

My 1100 would spring to life the absolute instant I TOUCHED the starter button. My 1500 does that one revolution crank, then comes to life, without having to let go of the starter. That said, I have a Compufire alternator and an AGM battery.


I never realised how quick my 1500 would start until I got rid of the old lead/acid battery.Even when it was new it wouldn't start as fast as with the AGM.Like you said it would fire almost instantly.
If I'da known it would last this long,I'da taken better care of it.
Chris
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Re: Ignition issue?

Postby bohdan » Mon Nov 18, 2013 8:51 am

Hey Guys, lo and behold the same battery is for the GL1500 and Gl1000. Anyhow, I did pick up a new AGM battery last week and plopped it in the GL1000. For the grins of it, I took it out and plopped it in the GL1500. No difference. Still starts when I release the starter button. It appears that all you guys have luck otherwise. I guess I need to research the forums for more explicit knowledge of how this works.

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Re: Ignition issue?

Postby virgilmobile » Mon Nov 18, 2013 10:57 am

Did you fresh charge the "new" battery before you tested your 1500.?

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Re: Ignition issue?

Postby bohdan » Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:27 pm

Hey Virgilmobile. No I didn't. I will do that today and hook it up. Just maybe....thx

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Re: Ignition issue?

Postby bohdan » Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:42 am

Hey Virgilmobile, Good call! I put the charger on and it was 59% on the indicator of the battery charging. After it reached the 100% mark, sure enough it started without the starter button being removed. The battery was originally in the GL1000. Perhaps that has a charging issue when it got into the 1500 or I didn't ride enough. THe voltage on the battery was 12.61, ignition on 11.94 and at 2k (choke engaged) it was 14.2. Does this sound as it it is recharging?

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Re: Ignition issue?

Postby virgilmobile » Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:11 am

charge sounds fine.You cured your trouble with using the new battery.
keep in mind that if it sets for a month it will do the same thing.
you did confirm that just a little low battery and the bike wont fire off.
it may be a good idea to use a battery tender for a extended rest to keep the battery full charged

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Re: Ignition issue?

Postby bohdan » Tue Nov 19, 2013 12:27 pm

Yeah, I guess it is time to invest in a Battery Tender. Thanks for your help.

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Re: Ignition issue?

Postby virgilmobile » Tue Nov 19, 2013 1:44 pm

This starting problem seems to be inherent in a lot of the 1500's..
Most just either live with it,use the super battery or keep it tethered to a power cord when it sets...

As long as you know why it happens,your better prepared to deal with it....

You could put the old battery back into the other bike....It's not as picky about the voltage...

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Re: Ignition issue?

Postby virgilmobile » Tue Nov 19, 2013 1:50 pm

By the way...do check the volts on the gl1000 to see if it has a charging problem...Having a battery show below 90% charged coming out of a bike it a bit of a concern.




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