Power loss - maybe ignition coils ?


Information and questions on GL1500 Goldwings (1988-2000)
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Kargo Wing 98
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2012 9:24 am
Location: Perth, Ontario, Canada
Motorcycle: 1998 GL1500 Aspencade

Power loss - maybe ignition coils ?

Postby Kargo Wing 98 » Mon Sep 01, 2014 9:06 am



Good morning Doc.
My 1998 Goldwing (1500 GL) seems to be loosing power. While I was nearing the end of a 3 week trip (about 10,000 miles) my bike (for lack of better words) seemed like it lost a cylinder. Bike was still running, just not as powerful. I stopped at a garage and with my description of the problem, they changed the spark plugs. Didn't help. So off I went trying to make the last 12 hour ride home. About 25 or 30 miles down the road it felt like I lost another cylinder. I didn't have enough power left to run the bike and had to trailer it home. At the time when I "lost" the cylinders, I was driving in the rain (but this wasn't the first time for that). I was driving at approximately 70 MPH and all of a sudden I felt a loss of power. Got the same feeling when it happened again (2nd cylinder). After I Iost the 1st cylinder, I would get it back for a few hundred feet, then loose it again. This happened several times. After the plugs were changed, the mechanic added a fuel additive in case I got some bad fuel. Maybe just by coincidence, the bike ran great after about 5 miles. But only for 25 or 30 miles, then it happened again. Not long after that, it was the 2nd cylinder. After googling different parts on the bike, I found that my '98 has 3 coils (1 for 2 cylinders). I'm wondering if at 1st I lost one coil (intermittently) then later on a second coil. I apologize for my description of the problem, I'm by no means a mechanic. Any and all help with my problem would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.



rzaugg
Posts: 88
Joined: Tue Oct 01, 2013 10:04 pm
Location: Cedar Rapids, Ia
Motorcycle: 1984 GL1200 Aspencade
1989 GL1500 Aspencade

Re: Power loss - maybe ignition coils ?

Postby rzaugg » Mon Sep 01, 2014 6:07 pm

A coil would be my first guess. If you can lock it down to which cylinders are dropping out, and they happen to be fed from the same coil, that would narrow it down and make it worth while to dig in that direction. I assume that it has a shake to it, signifying a dead cylinder or two.

Take the lower covers off so that you can physically touch the exhaust headers on both sides. With everything cold, start engine and let idle for only a few seconds (7 or 8) do not rev it up, then shut it off. Touch each individual header pipe. The ones that are colder than the rest are the ones that are not working.

If you haven't run it since the trip, and you find that when you start it, it runs perfectly fine, we may have to go a different route for diagnosis if it returns after running. Coils can fail in a manner that they would be fine until they get hot.

Good Luck

Kargo Wing 98
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2012 9:24 am
Location: Perth, Ontario, Canada
Motorcycle: 1998 GL1500 Aspencade

Re: Power loss - maybe ignition coils ?

Postby Kargo Wing 98 » Mon Sep 01, 2014 7:01 pm

Thanks for the quick reply. I brought the bike home (on a trailer) last night. I unloaded it this morning and it wouldn't start. Same thing before I loaded it. The bike offered, but wouldn't actually start. The battery is turning it over good, but it's not starting. When it was running minus a cylinder or two, I could smell raw gas. As soon as I get a chance, I'll check all plugs for spark and the carbs for fuel.

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ct1500
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Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2010 8:09 pm
Location: Glastonbury,CT
Motorcycle: 1988 GL1500
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Re: Power loss - maybe ignition coils ?

Postby ct1500 » Mon Sep 01, 2014 11:29 pm

Do not jump to the conclusion that a coil is at fault. Most folks could not tell the difference in running quality if it were a coil that cut out, a carb that stopped working or a plugged jet or bad slide. Guessing at what a problem is and replacing parts gets expensive fast.

If a coil were out the engine would still start easily on the other 4 cylinders albeit running rough.

What is the mileage on this bike and when did it have filter changes? Have the drain hoses on the left side been drained regularly?
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dingdong
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Location: Oklahoma City
Motorcycle: 1976 gl1000
1993 gl1500
2004 NRX1800 Rune

Re: Power loss - maybe ignition coils ?

Postby dingdong » Tue Sep 02, 2014 7:26 am

Sounds to me like a fuel (lack of) problem. Fuel pump, vacuum petcock valve, even clogged fuel cap. Easy stuff first.

I love it when you have to take your bike to a "mechanic" and they always blame the problem on the plugs.
Tom

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

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dingdong
Posts: 2864
Joined: Thu Apr 08, 2010 8:35 am
Location: Oklahoma City
Motorcycle: 1976 gl1000
1993 gl1500
2004 NRX1800 Rune

Re: Power loss - maybe ignition coils ?

Postby dingdong » Tue Sep 02, 2014 7:28 am

Double post. Sorry .......


Tom

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.


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