GL1800: 2 low beam bulbs burn out simultaneously


Information and questions on GL1800 Goldwings (2001-Present)
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Paulcf
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GL1800: 2 low beam bulbs burn out simultaneously

Postby Paulcf » Sat Sep 07, 2013 4:21 pm



Hi everyone, I just returned from a trip to Montana/Idaho on my GL1800. One distrubing event is that I may have been riding for an entire day without a headlight working! I only found out at the end of the day. Given that the GL1800 has TWO bulbs for the always on/low beams, I was quite surprised by this event. Fortunately the balance of my day riding was a bit safer with my driving lights on, but not ideal of course.

It sure would have been nice if there was a warning light on the dash to indicate this had happened, since who checks their headlights every time you restart your bike (and please don't tell me if you do!)? I recall older motorcycles I've owned, some had this feature, including a taillight warning light on the dash if your rear taillight was burned out. And of course on older unfairinged bikes you could simply put your hand out front of the headlight to see it shine on your glove! Since there were no traffic lights in rural Montana, there never was a time either to do what I often do, check for my headlight reflection in the vehicle in front of me at a stoplight, including testing hight beam and turn signals reflecting off a rear bumper, tailgate, etc.

So I wanted to ask, has anyone every experienced the loss/burnout of BOTH low headlight bulbs on a GL1800?

Fortunately for me, I was an hours ride away from Rexburg Motorsports in Rexburg, Idaho. I asked people if they knew of any Honda motorcycle dealerships nearby and they mentioned this one in Rexburg. So I rode over and wow, was I ever impressed! A huge facility serving/selling multibrands, including Honda. I explained to Dee Perry at the service desk about my predicament and fear to keep riding without working headlights. He got my bike in and about 3 hours later both bulbs were replaced. A thorough electrical diagnosis was done on the charging system, etc. and it was found to be 100% operational. Both bulbs were burned, the filaments clearly snapped/cut. A high voltage spike would have melted most/all of the filaments they said.

So what caused BOTH bulbs to fail? I can only guess that it may have happened during the 500 mile ride thru Montana when I hit a 6 mile stretch of severe road construction. It was rough (and a huge billboard warning motorcyclists to seek an alternate route)...I know I had several hard 'hits' on the front end and I suspect it may have caused the filaments to be stressed and broke/burned them out. I rode as slowly and as carefully as I could as I could not afford the huge 100+ mile detour either.

I completed my 1,900 mile trip without any further issues with the headlights and they endured fine with a full 2 days of punishing rain, etc.

So in closing, a mystery to me, unless someone else has had this happen to them? And I want to thank the folks at Rexburg Motorsports for helping out a Canadian rider in duress to allow me to continue my tour. I strongly recommend you stop in at their superstore if you find yourself in the West Yellowstone area of Idaho.


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themainviking
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Re: GL1800: 2 low beam bulbs burn out simultaneously

Postby themainviking » Sat Sep 07, 2013 4:34 pm

It is a very unusual occurence for sure. Thank you for the heads up. I do not check my lights every time I start the bike, but I am sure gonna check em more often (even if not every time) :lol:
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Re: GL1800: 2 low beam bulbs burn out simultaneously

Postby artgrantz » Sat Sep 07, 2013 5:36 pm

You did not say when you last checked the headlights before noticing they were both out, Was it days? Weeks? Maybe you were riding with one headlight for a while.
I had the two headlights on my 1800 burn out within 3 months of each other.

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Re: GL1800: 2 low beam bulbs burn out simultaneously

Postby Paulcf » Sat Sep 07, 2013 7:18 pm

Good question Art, I will clarify. I am 100% positive that I had both lights operational 2 days prior to the trip (doing the stopped car in front of me check). I know it was 2 since it was bright and I could see 2 lights, it was near dusk time.
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Re: GL1800: 2 low beam bulbs burn out simultaneously

Postby artgrantz » Sat Sep 07, 2013 9:21 pm

So that means they burned out 2 days apart at the most. Very unusual but not indicative of any problem. If there was a voltage problem your other lights would also be failing and there would be other indications. I think it's just a coincidence and you don't have anything to be concerned about.

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Re: GL1800: 2 low beam bulbs burn out simultaneously

Postby Red Ron » Sun Sep 08, 2013 7:07 am

I have heard several riders comment about how both bulbs burn out within a very short time of each other. Also I sure hope they didn't charge you 3 hours of labor to put them in as it only takes about 10 minutes. Also, next time you can go to any parts store or walmart and change them yourself next time. They are H7 bulbs and I have a set I got on sale for about $15 for both and they are going on 2 years in use now. Just remember to take the adaptor off the end of the old bulb and install on the new one and wear one of those custodian or nurse's thin rubber glove when changing to keep the oil of your hand off it. I keep one of these gloves in the bike in case they need to be changed on the road. Also you are better off changing them in pairs as you discovered.

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Re: GL1800: 2 low beam bulbs burn out simultaneously

Postby Fatwing Chris » Sun Sep 08, 2013 8:34 am

Apparently it's a lot more common than you would think according to the 1800 site.Just blew one myself and being new to the 1800,I did a bit of reading.They do seem to go pretty close to the same time.so change both anyway.They also say to use the cheaper bulbs as well as they actually last longer.
If I'da known it would last this long,I'da taken better care of it.
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Paulcf
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Re: GL1800: 2 low beam bulbs burn out simultaneously

Postby Paulcf » Mon Sep 09, 2013 6:33 pm

Thanks for your posts...Ron how do u replace the bulbs? The dealer only charged me 1.5 hrs and that time included diagnosis to ensure nothing else was at fault and checked my starter button and charging system. I will be happy to do this myself in the future and will buy the bulbs you have recommended. Tks.
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Re: GL1800: 2 low beam bulbs burn out simultaneously

Postby artgrantz » Mon Sep 09, 2013 9:08 pm

Here is how I change the headlights on my GL1800. No tools are needed unless your hands are too large to fit in the opening.
Swing the handlebars out of the way so you can see the lamp electrical connector. Remove the connector by pulling it off, there is no latch to release.
Next, remove the rubber boot.
Next, unlatch the retaining spring by pushing on the C shaped end and moving it down so the bottom part comes out of the slot. The spring can now be swung out of the way.
Remove the old lamp and transfer the connecting adapter from the old lamp to the new lamp. Use latex gloves to keep oil off of the new lamp.
Insert the new lamp into the headlight, orienting the notch at the top.
Latch the retaining spring into it's slot.
Install the rubber boot with the arrow to the top.
Attach the electrical connector and you are done.
The picture shows the lamp with the spring in place and the adapter on the lamp. The connector has the green wire on top.
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Fatwing Chris
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Re: GL1800: 2 low beam bulbs burn out simultaneously

Postby Fatwing Chris » Tue Sep 10, 2013 6:22 pm

Thanks Art
Good description.I haven't done mine yet.
If I'da known it would last this long,I'da taken better care of it.
Chris
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Paulcf
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Re: GL1800: 2 low beam bulbs burn out simultaneously

Postby Paulcf » Sun Sep 15, 2013 3:56 pm

Huh? I can reach and do this? Really? Man I gotta check this out! Sorry for the late reply, I was out of the country for the past week.

Strange how the stupid owners manual doesn't say a thing about how to do this...it's very important of course, shame on Honda.

Perhaps your writeup and photo should be a permanent article in the "How to" section of this website!

Thanks!
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Re: GL1800: 2 low beam bulbs burn out simultaneously

Postby artgrantz » Sun Sep 15, 2013 7:51 pm

It really isn't difficult Paul. The first time I tried I screwed it up. The next time after I took the boot off I studied it for a while to see what I needed to do. I have small hands so getting in there isn't a problem for me. The high beams can be accessed by removing the glove box(es) and reaching in through the opening. I haven't had to do that yet so I don't know how difficult that is.

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Re: GL1800: 2 low beam bulbs burn out simultaneously

Postby Sagebrush » Tue Oct 01, 2013 4:28 pm

I have had headlight bulbs on my 1800 burn out after riding on rough roads and have had both low beams out at the same time. Its a common bulb H7 available at Walmart or any auto parts store and easily changed while on the road if you know how to do it. I have had very poor longevity from the Sylvania bulbs and very good longevity with GE bulbs.

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Re: GL1800: 2 low beam bulbs burn out simultaneously

Postby Paulcf » Tue Oct 01, 2013 4:55 pm

Thanks Sagebrush for your reply and comments/info. Now that I am no longer fearful that my charging system went bonkers and burned out the headlights, I am sleeping well at night. I guess that was stupid to think that, as it would have fried other lights/electronics also!

And now I understand, correct me if I am wrong, that all you have to do is reach up underneath the front of the fairing in front of the fork tubes to grasp the bulb rubber cover and twist/pull to get access to the low beam bulb (either left or right side ones).

I was just suspicious that both would burn out together but I guess it makes sense with the pounding my bike took on that road in Montana.

Thanks again.


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