Frustrating low voltage problem


Information and questions on GL1500 Goldwings (1988-2000)
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hogfish
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Mar 01, 2011 1:20 pm
Location: Arthurdale,WV
Motorcycle: 1999 GL1500 SE

Frustrating low voltage problem

Postby hogfish » Sun Jul 27, 2014 12:06 pm



Hello everyone. I've been around for a while, but haven't had any problems until now, so this is my first post. I have a '99 Goldwing 1500 SE; just for additional info, last year I had it triked, which is not related to the problem. Here's the situation:

A few days after I got the new trike home, around Memorial Day 2013, it quit running with the wife and me on it. Luckily we were sort of close to home and we were able to PUSH IT home. Problem was the alternator, which I replaced. Over the last year I've gotten a consistent 13+ volts from it. Yesterday we were out on it and I noticed 11.7 volts, so I turned around and headed home. Voltage kept dropping, and was 10.9 when I got home. Got the battery checked: it's good. Checked some wiring and found loose connection of the wire from the alternator to the battery terminal. Cleaned everything, tightened everything, started it up: 13.9 Volts. Hurray, right? :D Wrong.

Began a test ride and got to the end of the driveway(!) and down it goes to 11.7 volts, and it won't come back up. :x Should I just get a Compu Fire system and get on with it? I hate the uncertainty of being out on the road while worrying if I'm going to make it home. Thanks for any advice.

Ed



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Fiberthree
Posts: 447
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2012 4:06 pm
Location: Behind the windshield
Motorcycle: Black 1999 GL1500SE

Re: Frustrating low voltage problem

Postby Fiberthree » Sun Jul 27, 2014 12:25 pm

There are others that have used a different manufacturer because of the cost. You really can't go wrong with the Compufire unit for the peace of mind you'll get. It took three dealers to correctly diagnose the problem on my Wing and under warranty they replaced my 1500's stock alternator. I was back later that day to replace a "weak" battery. That's when I started looking for a good deal on the Compufire. I installed mine in 2005 and have had no problems since.
Ed

WARNING: All posts are subject to influence from an uncontrollable dominant sarcastic gene. Offensive remarks may or may not be intentional.

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Bigbiker0
Posts: 129
Joined: Sat Jul 27, 2013 7:39 pm
Location: Mont-Tremblant
Motorcycle: 1997 gl 1500 se

Re: Frustrating low voltage problem

Postby Bigbiker0 » Sun Jul 27, 2014 12:40 pm

I had that kind of trouble on my trip to Ca. I had my alt. replace at a cost of $735.00. When I came back home I open the old alt. and discover the prob. was the brush were stock and didn't touch enough on the rotor. a shut of WD40 and it work like a new.
Drive safely Heaven do not exist.

wing in atlanta
Posts: 35
Joined: Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:55 pm
Location: fayetteville ga.
Motorcycle: 1996 gl1500a aspencade

Re: Frustrating low voltage problem

Postby wing in atlanta » Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:51 pm

The brushes are known to stick. The first thing I would do is use air and blow it out. The brushes can be replaced along with the rear bearing of the alt. Cyclemax sells the parts.

User avatar
Bigbiker0
Posts: 129
Joined: Sat Jul 27, 2013 7:39 pm
Location: Mont-Tremblant
Motorcycle: 1997 gl 1500 se

Re: Frustrating low voltage problem

Postby Bigbiker0 » Mon Jul 28, 2014 4:54 am

The dealer should tell me that instead to replace the alt. But I was on a trip and no way I can repair .
Drive safely Heaven do not exist.

hogfish
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Mar 01, 2011 1:20 pm
Location: Arthurdale,WV
Motorcycle: 1999 GL1500 SE

Re: Frustrating low voltage problem

Postby hogfish » Mon Jul 28, 2014 7:10 am

Helpful info, guys. I was wondering about those brushes, because I started it up again later in the day. Got 13.8 volts for about one minute, then it dropped suddenly to 11.7, and I thought it could be something mechanical in the alternator. So, it's Compu Fire time. If I can't make an arrangement with the seller of the defective one, I'll take it apart, do what I can with the brushes and bearing, and keep it around as an emergency spare.

The wire from the alternator (blue, and pretty big) goes to a connector under the seat. From there a black wire (smaller) goes through an inline fuse to the battery. After I read up on the Compu Fire installation, I might have a question about increasing the size of that wire.

But for now, thanks a lot everyone.

Ed

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Mh434
Posts: 944
Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2014 10:24 pm
Location: Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Motorcycle: 1997 gl1500 SE
Previous:
1981 GL1100I
1989 Kawasaki Concours

Re: Frustrating low voltage problem

Postby Mh434 » Mon Jul 28, 2014 2:02 pm

FYI, there is an option to the Compufire. I just installed an LActrical 95-amp alternator in my '97 SE. Easy install, lots of juice - essentially the same unit (built on a Saturn car alternator), but a lot cheaper. Excellent reviews on the unit & service from the company. If you're interested, check them out on Amazon.

hogfish
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Mar 01, 2011 1:20 pm
Location: Arthurdale,WV
Motorcycle: 1999 GL1500 SE

Re: Frustrating low voltage problem

Postby hogfish » Mon Jul 28, 2014 2:25 pm

Thanks, mh434. I'll check it out.

Ed

hogfish
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Mar 01, 2011 1:20 pm
Location: Arthurdale,WV
Motorcycle: 1999 GL1500 SE

Re: Frustrating low voltage problem

Postby hogfish » Fri Aug 29, 2014 3:49 pm

Update: Compufire is installed. WOW! 14.2 volts at idle, 14.5 at cruise. That's more like it. One more question though - I have an AGM battery in there, and am just wondering if it will be ok with that kind of voltage going in to it. Same battery I was using with the 40 amp alternator.

And just a note about the 90 amps of the Compufire. It is a trike but I don't have any excessive add-ons at all (yet). While I did put in the extra fuse that came with the Compufire, I didn't beef up the wiring between the alt and battery, because the 40 amp alternator was plenty sufficient.

Thanks for help on this.

Ed

User avatar
Mh434
Posts: 944
Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2014 10:24 pm
Location: Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Motorcycle: 1997 gl1500 SE
Previous:
1981 GL1100I
1989 Kawasaki Concours

Re: Frustrating low voltage problem

Postby Mh434 » Fri Aug 29, 2014 4:35 pm

Your AGM battery is ideal for your new alternator. That's exactly what they need.

BTW, my 95-amp alternator is functioning perfectly with Mother Honda's original fuse & wiring, and I have a fair bit of extra load on the system from lights, heated grips, etc. All wiring seems to stay cold, even with everything on & running, so clearly there's no overloading going on. If the spaghetti starts warming itself up, I'll consider it.

hogfish
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Mar 01, 2011 1:20 pm
Location: Arthurdale,WV
Motorcycle: 1999 GL1500 SE

Re: Frustrating low voltage problem

Postby hogfish » Fri Aug 29, 2014 5:09 pm

Thanks for the info. Time to ride!

Ed




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