GL1500 Accessory Terminals and Ignition Switch


Information and questions on GL1500 Goldwings (1988-2000)
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raven41951
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GL1500 Accessory Terminals and Ignition Switch

Postby raven41951 » Tue May 26, 2015 4:22 pm



I performed some maintenance and installed some minor upgrades on my 94 GL1500SE. This included Timing Belts, Air, sub-air and cruise filters, Gear shift support upgrade, adding a Battery Tender connector, adding a 12V USB power connector to charge my iPhone and installed a 12V cable for heated grips (did not install grips yet, just ran the wire while all was apart) and new engine guards. Thanks to all the DIY articles on this site everything went relatively smoothly. Being the 3rd owner and it only had 2300 miles on it (not a typo) I thought the timing belts should be changed so I did the rest while I was at it. Good thing as there was hidden cosmetic damage from a PO which was not discovered by the party I bought it from (also the air cleaner was full of steel wool and acorns, a lot more power now!)

Anyway, I finished up on the first really hot spring day here in New England. 90 plus for us it a scorcher even in the summer. I went for my test ride and got stuck beach traffic. After 45 minutes and going less than a mile the temp gauge was pegged and the bike stalled and would not start. Let it set for 45 minutes and it started and I got it back in traffic for another 45 minutes and ditto. During this time one of my HID headlights decided to quit. I noticed the idle was quite low (about 550 rpm) and the fans were running all the time which I believe killed the battery as it was idling too low to charge the battery with the load that was on it (I had the stereo on and the iPhone on the charger too). I have since reset the idle to ~850rpm.

Anyway, it made the trip back to my place in the back of a truck once the traffic started to lighten up at 9PM (started out at noon). I left it on the battery tender and the battery was fine and everything seemed to be working OK. Just today I went to go for a ride (I have a strange work schedule) and the battery charge was too low to start the bike. Put it on the tender until it was full charged (3 hours) and its fine. I disconnected the USB and grip wires from the accessory block to see if that is where the drain is coming from.

All this just to ask if the Accessory Terminals are controlled by the ignition switch or do I need a relay to make sure the circuit is dead when the ignition is off?



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ct1500
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Re: GL1500 Accessory Terminals and Ignition Switch

Postby ct1500 » Tue May 26, 2015 5:50 pm

To overheat it aint good. When engine cold remove RADIATOR cap under right handlebar filler and check that the neck is filled to top. Then check reserve tank under left filler for proper amount, 1/2 way up or so. The too low idle could have contributed to the overheat by not circulating enough coolant. If it is missing coolant find the leaks.

The accessory post screws on top of fuse panel are controlled by ign switch.

You should have battery load tested and check charging system output. At idle of 800RPM with no brake lights or fans on or extra non OEM devices on you should see about 14V +/- at battery measured with an accurate meter.
This is what I do
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Mh434
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Re: GL1500 Accessory Terminals and Ignition Switch

Postby Mh434 » Tue May 26, 2015 8:29 pm

Anything attached at the accessory area on the fuse block should be dead when the ignition is off.

That being said, there have been instances mentioned recently of GL1500 ignitions that weren't actually "off", even when the key was removed (worn switch), contributing to all sorts of mysterious battery issues, not to mention that everything on the accessory panel was still live.

As ct1500 stated, overheating is very, very bad. It can lead to engine seizure, blown head gaskets, etc., so it's something that must be fixed. You say the fans were coming on, so it would seem that: 1) there's insufficient coolant available, 2) the water pump isn't working properly, or 3) the thermostat isn't opening to allow the coolant to circulate through the radiators. The only indicator I know of to check the pump & thermostat operation is to open the radiator cap, warm the engine up, and observe if the coolant can be seen rushing past the filler neck (once the thermostat is open). I'm sure there are other ways, but it will take someone wiser than me to elucidate...

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raven41951
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Re: GL1500 Accessory Terminals and Ignition Switch

Postby raven41951 » Tue May 26, 2015 9:19 pm

After the post I went for a ride. Mostly back roads but there was some traffic, lasted about an hour and a half. Temp gauge never went higher than about 3/4 and when on open road was well below 1/2 way. Fans came on when in traffic but cycled off. I have checked fluid levels and they are fine. No leaks. I have been terrified that I destroyed the engine but after today's run, it is strong and quick. I put a volt meter on it at the end of the ride and at idle it was at 14.1 volts.

I have assumed that the battery had been replaced due to the age and lack of use. Assumption being the mother of all ..... I will inspect it and determine its actual age and go from there. I was confused as the bike had sat all winter and in April the battery was strong and it fired right up, after getting fuel through the lines, then after the upgrades and sitting for less than a week it did not have enough power to start the bike. I left it off the battery tender tonight and will check it tomorrow, or Thursday as tomorrow is a busy day and let you know. The accessory panel is disconnected so there should not be any more drain then previous. Fingers crossed.

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Re: GL1500 Accessory Terminals and Ignition Switch

Postby WingAdmin » Wed May 27, 2015 10:02 am

It's also possible that with the low bus voltage (due to low idle RPM and low battery voltage) that the fans were not running at enough speed to move sufficient air to properly cool the bike.

A simple solution for all of this is an aftermarket alternator. My Compufire keeps my bike bus voltage at 14.6 volts at idle, even with auxiliary driving lights and all my other accessories turned on.

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Re: GL1500 Accessory Terminals and Ignition Switch

Postby Mh434 » Wed May 27, 2015 11:41 am

I'm with WingAdmin. The GL1500's are, electrically speaking, hungry beasts, and the OEM alternators were marginal even when new. Aging, plus almost any electrical accessories, can overwhelm them. Mine was barely able to maintain the battery with NO accessories (particularly ad idle), so I, too, upgraded to an aftermarket alt (and an AGM battery). Shortage of amps is now a thing of the past, and I can have all the power-hungry add-ons I want, knowing I have tons of juice available.

The CompuFire, until recently, was pretty much the only aftermarket alt out there, and it became the standard as a replacement. Now, there are others as well, such as the LACtrical (I got the 95-amp one) and others. AFAIK, they're all slightly-modified car alternators (primarily Saturn car units), and their original design was for vehicles requiring vastly more current than our bikes, so they're just loafing along doing the job we require...which tends to lead to long life.

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raven41951
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Re: GL1500 Accessory Terminals and Ignition Switch

Postby raven41951 » Wed May 27, 2015 2:01 pm

I had been pondering the alternator issue from many of the posts. I am still trying to get my thoughts around it. Why is the Lactrical 90/95A $150 and the Compufire $400? Yes there are manufacturing and quality concerns and you need the AGM battery to complete the compufire system raising the cost. I don't need all the fancies, just want to keep the phone charged and hands warm on those frosty October New England mornings.

Until I am satisfied that I thoroughly understand all the alternatives I have decided to keep the OEM alternator, reinstall the OEM halogen headlights to keep the battery charged. I have the whole riding season (until October) to monitor and learn this latest twist.

You see, the reason I bought a 1500 was that in the fall of 2013 I test rode both an F6B and an Indian Chieftain (new, Polaris version). I could not decide so in 2014 I bought a used 1500 to help me learn and decide as there were no used "new" Indians. I am glad I waited. The 2015 F6B has added cruise and other desirable options, although the Indian has ABS along with all the other options.

My problem is that I still can't decide which new one to go for, so I will continue on with the 1500 until I do. It is a sweet ride and I do not mind minor maintenance issues and learning more about it. Who knows, I may still be deciding next year at this time. I am in no rush now that I have this ride.

Thanks for all your input and advice. I really do appreciate it.

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Re: GL1500 Accessory Terminals and Ignition Switch

Postby Snowmoer » Wed May 27, 2015 2:15 pm

It is not surprising that the bike overheated. Traveling less then a mile in 45 minutes is not good. Even with the fans running, you are not getting enough air through the bike to cool it. You also need air to move over the engine, headers, ect to help cool what the radiators can not. I agree. with the fans running, lights, radio, ect. at a low idle, you drained the battery.

For all the other items you have attached to the Accessory terminal, I would get a separate fuse block and run all the extras off that. Use the accessory terminal to turn on a relay that will then supply power to the fuse block. For your tender, hook that directly up to the battery.

The bike should be running at around 2000 + rpm to get a good charge on the battery. This is what I see on my volt meter that is on the bike. The easy fix is not to ride in beach traffic!

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Re: GL1500 Accessory Terminals and Ignition Switch

Postby WingAdmin » Wed May 27, 2015 2:25 pm

The HID headlights actually draw LESS power than the OEM halogen headlights, so you're probably better off leaving the HID lights in place. The reason one of them shut off is because they require a certain amount of voltage in order to keep the arc struck within the lamp. Where a halogen bulb will just get dim, once the voltage drops to a certain point on a HID bulb, the arc will just shut off, and it won't re-strike a new arc until the power is cycled. Think of it as a "low voltage warning" when your HID bulbs shut themselves off. :)

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raven41951
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Re: GL1500 Accessory Terminals and Ignition Switch

Postby raven41951 » Thu May 28, 2015 4:55 pm

OK, I had a brain fart and rode where I shouldn't have. Next REAL ride will be June 17th to Laconia. I checked with SoCalMotoGear who made the HIDs and they have no replacements bulbs in inventory until mid-June. I need both lights working to get my Mass Inspection Sticker which is due by May 31. Guess I'll be late again.

Thanks WingAdmin. I thought I read that HIDs drew less power, but I have overloaded myself with info and it must have dropped into the bit bucket (anyone remember those?). I will have to change the bulbs to get the sticker then when I go to Laconia, get two new replacement bulbs (one spare) then change them again. I really do like the light they throw, I can see shadows in sunlight with my sunglasses on!

I got (through this store) some relays and will install them with the new add-ons to make sure they are not draining the battery. I will also install one of the voltmeters I got as soon as I find a spot for it. It is amazing how small such a big bike is! I will also follow the Lactrical/Compufire alternators to decide when the best time to install the Compufire alternator is (I can still be persuaded). Then comes progressive springs for the front shocks and who knows what about F6B's and Chieftains. Maybe instead of trading in I will just keep it so that when it is in for maintenance I can ride the new one!

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raven41951
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Re: GL1500 Accessory Terminals and Ignition Switch

Postby raven41951 » Fri Jun 19, 2015 10:04 pm

Final Installment.
OK I have been riding for almost a month now and have drawn this conclusion:

Engine idle RPMs were set too low and the alternator was not charging the battery. Bike did not overheat but came darn close.

All the maintenance items and upgrades check out and the battery is an AGM (installed by the immediate PO) that I cannot find a date code on but seems to be relatively new. No more problem with battery dying or charging when the bike sits idle for a few days to a week.

The fuel mileage seemed to decrease but I went up to bike week at Laconia this week (going back tomorrow) and got 50 mpg avg. Decrease in fuel mileage is due to faster interstate speeds (the commute). I was running at 3,000 rpm (67-68 mph) but traffic is running faster these days (even at 5:30 am) and am now running at 3,250 - 3,500 in traffic which gets ~33 mpg and not the 35+ mpg I was getting.

Thanks to all for your help. Without this forum I would have given up and traded it in. Now its back to being a sweet ride.




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