Bike keeps stalling


Information and questions on GL1500 Goldwings (1988-2000)
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glrider7
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Location: Burnaby, BC, Canada
Motorcycle: 2000 GL1500
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Bike keeps stalling

Post by glrider7 » Mon Oct 16, 2017 12:17 pm



Hi everyone,

Was out on the bike yesterday. I was stopped at a red light. When I went to go on the green light the bike stalled and then it wouldn't start. The battery is less than 6 months old. I have always thought that once a vehicle was running it didn't need the battery anymore as it is only used for the starter. I had my voltmeter with me and the battery measured about 11.6 volts.

With the help of the wife I was able to push the bike up a hill to a place where we could get into a restaurant parking lot that had a downhill. I rolled it down the hill and popped the clutch and got it started. About 3/4 of a mile down the road it stalled again, and once again I had to push start it. We made it home after this, but I am left wondering what the problem is. Alternator? Does a 2000 wing have a stater. I know that was a problem in the past which I actually ran into on a trip just as I entered Calgary. I have heard it is not an issue anymore. Any ideas would be appreciated.



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chrisz
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Motorcycle: Honda GL1100 year 1983
Triumph Tiger 1050 year 2008

Re: Bike keeps stalling

Post by chrisz » Mon Oct 16, 2017 12:31 pm

The bike will still require the battery to be fully functional (charged) even when the bike is already running. The charging system typically works when the RPMs are above a certain level, like say over 2,000, so when you are idling (when stopped at a light) you are discharging the battery. Put the battery on a trickle charger over night, maybe it is a battery issue. Also measure the battery voltage with the bike in neutral at idle and at 3,000 RPM, to see if your charging system is working.

glrider7
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Re: Bike keeps stalling

Post by glrider7 » Mon Oct 16, 2017 12:45 pm

Thanks Chris,

I will do that and see what happens.

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virgilmobile
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Re: Bike keeps stalling

Post by virgilmobile » Mon Oct 16, 2017 2:25 pm

The 2000 wing uses a (somewhat) standard alternator.Attached to the left rear outside of the engine.
The battery serves a couple of functions.
Yes it's needed to provide the large power needed to crank the bike...right after it starts,the alternator kicks in to not only replenish the charge but to maintain the power requirements of the bike and keep the battery fully charged.
So actually the bike runs off the alternator and it's excess is used to charge the battery back full.
Technically once started,the battery is just in standby charge mode and and used for voltage stabilization.
However should the alternator quit charging and providing power for the bike,the battery is taxed with the electrical system load...Usually without being charged,this lasts about an hour before it starts to fail.A 30 minute rest will restore a bit of power...maybe enough for another 15 minutes of running.
As mentioned.Charge the battery..start the bike.. measure the battery volts..Expect it to be up to 14.2 volts at 2k rpm.If it stays low..below 12.5 volts..do have the alternator tested.

glrider7
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Re: Bike keeps stalling

Post by glrider7 » Mon Oct 16, 2017 8:05 pm

Well I have access to two battery chargers, neither of which were where I live so I had to wait till today after work to go get one. I went downstairs to pull out the battery and thought 'what the heck, I'll give it a try'. To my surprise it started. I guess as Virgil says it sat long enough to get it started. I had the choke on so the bike was running at about 2K. The voltage was 1320. I turned the choke off and let it idle. The voltage dropped to about 1232. It seem to continue to drop every 5 seconds until it was at 1130ish. I took the leads off the battery and then put them back on and the voltage now showed at 1320 again. I am going to do another extensive test and see how it measures.

glrider7
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Re: Bike keeps stalling

Post by glrider7 » Mon Oct 16, 2017 11:48 pm

So I did another test.

I started the bike again running at 2K rpm. Voltage seem to stay constant at about 1278.

A few minutes later I turned off the choke and let it idle at about 900RPM. The initial voltage was 1203. After letting it idle for 5 minutes the voltage dropped to 1179. I then turned on the radio and let it idle another 5 minutes and the voltage had dropped to 1161.

I am thinking the original voltage of 1203 is not that great, but that is because the battery probably needs a good charge, either via a battery charge or a good long highway run. Considering the uncertainty of the battery and the fact that we are supposed to have 2 rain storms over the next 3 days, I am thinking the option 1 is the better choice.

All of this did make me wonder though. If the battery starts to lose voltage at low rpms (< 2K), what happens when you get into a long traffic jam. I remember going to Chicago once and got in a huge traffic jam on the interstate. The battery was fine. The heat gauge gave me much more concern.

glrider7
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Re: Bike keeps stalling

Post by glrider7 » Mon Oct 16, 2017 11:55 pm

Reading another post I realized I missed the decimal point between all my numbers in my last post.

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DenverWinger
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Re: Bike keeps stalling

Post by DenverWinger » Tue Oct 17, 2017 12:20 am

Get a good charge in your battery (or a new one) and then see what the voltage looks like. If you see something like 12.6 at idle, that isn't abnormal. But you should see voltage creep up to around 13.5 - 14 volts if you hold the throttle around 2000 RPM.

Stock alternator at best is marginal at idle, might supply enough current to run the bike but nothing left over to keep the battery up. In fact, the battery is probably supplying extra current that the idling alternator cannot produce. If stuck in stop-go traffic, hot outside and cooling fans running, while you are stopped with clutch pulled in, doesn't hurt to rev the engine to 2K just to get the alternator to make more juice.

Aftermarket High Output alternators (Compufire or LActrical) 90 Amp alternators actually put out enough current at idle speed to run the bike with all accessories on, and still have some left to charge the battery....
They say 98% of all Hardleys ever made are still on the road..... The other 2% made it home. :lol:
(I stole this from somebody on another GW site...) :roll:

glrider7
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Re: Bike keeps stalling

Post by glrider7 » Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:02 am

Denver I am still laughing at your tagline. That is hilarious. Already sent it along to a GL riding buddy.

glrider7
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Re: Bike keeps stalling

Post by glrider7 » Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:02 am

I will get the battery charged up and then post back where I am. Thanks all.

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Bluewaterhooker0
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Re: Bike keeps stalling

Post by Bluewaterhooker0 » Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:54 am

glrider7 wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 11:48 pm
So I did another test.

I started the bike again running at 2K rpm. Voltage seem to stay constant at about 1278.

A few minutes later I turned off the choke and let it idle at about 900RPM. The initial voltage was 1203. After letting it idle for 5 minutes the voltage dropped to 1179. I then turned on the radio and let it idle another 5 minutes and the voltage had dropped to 1161.
I would bet your alternator is not functioning.
Maybe dirty stuck brushes. More likely, bad rotor, given the vintage.

glrider7
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Re: Bike keeps stalling

Post by glrider7 » Thu Oct 19, 2017 9:04 pm

I charged the battery up. After taking the charger off I measure and it had more than 14 volts. I installed in the bike and when I had the bike at 2K the volts was pretty constant at 14.31/14.32. At idle I was getting 12.30. Later I tried again with the bike at 2K and the voltage wasn't as high as 14. It was more like 13 something. I think it is time to change the alternator. With the battery being the most important thing I don't want to take a chance getting stuck again, and I use my bike a lot, even in winter so I need it to be reliable. Thanks everyone for your tremendous help. This site is fantastic and would be lost without it.

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chrisz
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Re: Bike keeps stalling

Post by chrisz » Thu Oct 19, 2017 9:34 pm

Before doing anything, have you battery tested by a shop, like PartSourse or similar. I'm not sure I would say your battery charging system is an issue by the numbers you provided last.

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landisr
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Motorcycle: 1976 GL1000
1994 GL1500A

Re: Bike keeps stalling

Post by landisr » Fri Oct 20, 2017 9:19 pm

If the problem ultimately ends up being the alternator, don't 'change it' like you suggested. Just have the brushes replaced. This is a common maintenance issue with the 1500s.

Ron
Beam me up, Scotty. There's no intelligent life down here.

glrider7
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Re: Bike keeps stalling

Post by glrider7 » Sat Oct 21, 2017 4:07 pm

Landisr,

That is an option but I read the following on a different post. I guess it is all personal opinion.


Personally, I don't recommend repairing/rebuilding the stock alternators. Unless your '97 is the Canadian-only version (as far as I can tell, the only ones to still have a Japan-built unit), your alternator was made in China, not Japan. Even when brand new, they're marginal at best. Sure, you could take it to an alternator shop & get it repaired, but for very little extra money you can pick up an aftermarket alternator that's worlds more capable (I bought an LActrical unit out of California - my IDLE voltage is 14.2V, and doesn't go below 13.8V at idle, even running heated grips, lots of extra lights, etc.). All for the princely sum of about $140.

Even if you do get your original repaired, you still have an old, worn, repaired, very marginal alternator, which will be just waiting for the most inopportune possible time to strand you again.

I hate having to do any job more than once, and if it's possible to upgrade at the time to prevent future problems, I do it. Thus, the upgraded alternator.

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landisr
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1994 GL1500A

Re: Bike keeps stalling

Post by landisr » Sat Oct 21, 2017 8:53 pm

Upon re-reading the OP, I have to agree about the 2000 alternators. I also was/am not familiar with the LActrical unit. Sounds interesting.

Ron


Beam me up, Scotty. There's no intelligent life down here.

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