GL1500 Relays


Technical information and Q&A applicable to all years and models of Goldwings
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am3098
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Jun 17, 2013 5:10 am
Location: Bazetta Twp. OH
Motorcycle: 1994 GL1500 SE

GL1500 Relays

Post by am3098 » Fri Sep 08, 2017 12:28 pm



So I'm on my way to breakfast on Labor Day and I happened to notice that my OD light is out and then I noticed that the Fuel and Temp gages are bottomed out. Something told me to check my reverse, so when I pulled into the parking lot, I checked it and it wasn't working, nor did I get a reverse light on the dash. I figured it was a fuse or relay issue, so after she took my order I turned to Google. Of course the first hit was a GoldwingDocs forum post. Not only did I find out which fuse and relay to check, someone had posted a diagram of the fuse block with the positions highlighted.

Following the advise of this website some time ago, I carry a few spare relays on the bike, and after replacing the #3 relay, I was back in business. This website is an extremely valuable tool for those of us who choose to do as much of our own maintenance as possible. I used to work on C-130 aircraft in the Air Force and we were required to always have our technical data (maintenance manuals) when we were doing a job. Having the right information makes the job so much easier.

My 1500 is 23 years old with 64K on the odometer, as far as I know, some of the relays may still be original. That said, in order to minimize issues on the road (we all know bikes never breakdown in your driveway), I was thinking of replacing all of the relays in hopes that I can minimize the risk of having to change a bad one on the road. Any 1500 gurus out there that an offer any advise?


A.J. Musial
USAF Retired
Bazetta Twp., OH
94 1500SE
02 Bushtec

"A Veteran - is someone who, at one point in their life, wrote a blank check made payable to the U.S.A., in the amount of up to and including their life"

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MikeB
Posts: 2119
Joined: Fri Dec 04, 2009 12:54 pm
Location: Tacoma, WA
Motorcycle: 1998 - GL1500 Aspencade.
2003 - GL1800A

Re: GL1500 Relays

Post by MikeB » Fri Sep 08, 2017 5:33 pm

A.J. I'm a former Comm/Nav guy that used to work C-130's (and others) and then started flying on them as an Airborne Maintenance Tech with the ABCCC EC-130E's out of Keesler. Then became a Flight Engineer on 'em. Love that bird.

Anyway, my advice for you would be to un-bolt the relay panel and pull it away from the frame. Inspect the relay connectors on the back of the panel. That #3 relay conducts a lot of current and a loose contact causes an increase in resistance and can generate a lot of heat from the excess current. Those contacts need to make positive contact with the relays. Remove the relays that show any oxidation or signs of heat in the connectors, clean them up, squeeze them a little tighter so the relay spades slide in tight. You could also put some conductive grease on the contacts to prevent oxidation and corrosion.

A few years ago I inspected the rear of the relay panel on my '98. It had started to deform from the excess heat and I caught it in time to save it. I've got 167,000 miles on mine and it is still it excellent shape. Relay panels are not available by themselves. They came with the wiring harness and as such are no longer manufactured.

By the way, those relays do not fail very frequently. I've had two GL1500's, a '99 and a '98, with over 160,000 miles on them and have never experienced a relay failure. Perhaps I've been lucky but the relays usually are quite bulletproof when installed correctly. Its that loose contact to the relay that usually causes the issues.
MikeB
Tacoma, WA, USA

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am3098
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Jun 17, 2013 5:10 am
Location: Bazetta Twp. OH
Motorcycle: 1994 GL1500 SE

Re: GL1500 Relays

Post by am3098 » Fri Sep 08, 2017 9:35 pm

Thanks for the info Mike. The riding season here in NE Ohio is getting close to the end, so it looks like I have another job to add to the winter list. I did notice some evidence of heat on the old relay when I took it out.

I've seen a lot of Maintainers go the Flight Engineer route and I almost did myself, but a promotion opportunity kept me in Maintenance. I do miss being around those Hercs on the flightline.
A.J. Musial
USAF Retired
Bazetta Twp., OH
94 1500SE
02 Bushtec

"A Veteran - is someone who, at one point in their life, wrote a blank check made payable to the U.S.A., in the amount of up to and including their life"

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WingAdmin
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Location: Strongsville, OH
Motorcycle: 2000 GL1500 SE
1982 GL1100A Aspencade (sold)
1989 PC800 (wife's!)
1998 XV250 Virago (sold)
2007 Aspen Sentry Trailer

Re: GL1500 Relays

Post by WingAdmin » Sun Sep 10, 2017 11:12 am

MikeB wrote:
Fri Sep 08, 2017 5:33 pm
By the way, those relays do not fail very frequently. I've had two GL1500's, a '99 and a '98, with over 160,000 miles on them and have never experienced a relay failure. Perhaps I've been lucky but the relays usually are quite bulletproof when installed correctly. Its that loose contact to the relay that usually causes the issues.
You can't extrapolate from your individual experience, Mike. :) I haven't had a relay failure either, but it's a commonly reported issue here on the site, and given the HUNDREDS and HUNDREDS of relays that I've sold since I started carrying them, many other people have had failures.

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Mh434
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1981 GL1100I
1989 Kawasaki Concours

Re: GL1500 Relays

Post by Mh434 » Sun Sep 10, 2017 12:44 pm

I've had a #3 relay issue, too.

What we need to remember is that these relays are actually mechanical switches, inside. Like any mechanical device, particularly ones with current going across contacts that are continually opening & closing, there will be wear at the pivot points, and there will be arcing at the electrical contact points.

These relays are, IMHO, remarkably reliable...but they will inevitably fail. The infamous #3 doesn't usually fail all at once - instead, it starts producing all sorts of weird, intermittent electrical anomalies for a while first. In my case, it would sometimes give the symptoms listed by the OP...on other occasions, the ignition simply couldn't be completely shut off, for example. As a roadside, extremely temporary fix, rapping on the casing of #3 with the handle of a screwdriver usually knocked some sense into it, and resumed normal function.

My point is that the original relays in GL1500's are all getting rather old (all of them are from 17 to almost 30 years), and even the best of them are rapidly approaching their "best-before:" dates.

Add to this the fact that the original manufacturer no longer provides these relays to the market, and you can see the impending problem.

Thankfully, WingAdmin has done an enormous amount of research, and spent a fair chunk of money, to find us a brand new, reasonable cost, plug-n'-play replacements, and has gone the the trouble of purchasing a whole pile of them so he can provide us GL1500 owners with these invaluable parts. We owe him a deep vote of gratitude for this!!!

My advice to ALL GL1500 owners? Contact WA, purchase several of his relays, and carry them in your bike for the inevitable day when the bike will leave you "in the dark", or suffering some other form of electrical befuddlement.

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MikeB
Posts: 2119
Joined: Fri Dec 04, 2009 12:54 pm
Location: Tacoma, WA
Motorcycle: 1998 - GL1500 Aspencade.
2003 - GL1800A

Re: GL1500 Relays

Post by MikeB » Sun Sep 10, 2017 2:27 pm

WingAdmin wrote:
Sun Sep 10, 2017 11:12 am
MikeB wrote:
Fri Sep 08, 2017 5:33 pm
By the way, those relays do not fail very frequently. I've had two GL1500's, a '99 and a '98, with over 160,000 miles on them and have never experienced a relay failure. Perhaps I've been lucky but the relays usually are quite bulletproof when installed correctly. Its that loose contact to the relay that usually causes the issues.
You can't extrapolate from your individual experience, Mike. :) I haven't had a relay failure either, but it's a commonly reported issue here on the site, and given the HUNDREDS and HUNDREDS of relays that I've sold since I started carrying them, many other people have had failures.
Hey Scott, thank for the input. Yes, you are correct my experience with the relays is not necessarily indicative of how everyone else's systems have or will work down the road, that I completely understand. I guess what I was alluding to without really saying it is lots of people will blame a relay for malfunctioning when it is not necessarily the relay, but the socket it is in.

And yes, thanks a ton for you work at finding the relays out there in the market place. Your efforts on this board towards the motorcycling community is head and shoulders above and beyond the call of duty.
MikeB
Tacoma, WA, USA

User avatar
WingAdmin
Site Admin
Posts: 19311
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 4:16 pm
Location: Strongsville, OH
Motorcycle: 2000 GL1500 SE
1982 GL1100A Aspencade (sold)
1989 PC800 (wife's!)
1998 XV250 Virago (sold)
2007 Aspen Sentry Trailer

Re: GL1500 Relays

Post by WingAdmin » Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:53 pm

MikeB wrote:
Sun Sep 10, 2017 2:27 pm
WingAdmin wrote:
Sun Sep 10, 2017 11:12 am
MikeB wrote:
Fri Sep 08, 2017 5:33 pm
By the way, those relays do not fail very frequently. I've had two GL1500's, a '99 and a '98, with over 160,000 miles on them and have never experienced a relay failure. Perhaps I've been lucky but the relays usually are quite bulletproof when installed correctly. Its that loose contact to the relay that usually causes the issues.
You can't extrapolate from your individual experience, Mike. :) I haven't had a relay failure either, but it's a commonly reported issue here on the site, and given the HUNDREDS and HUNDREDS of relays that I've sold since I started carrying them, many other people have had failures.
Hey Scott, thank for the input. Yes, you are correct my experience with the relays is not necessarily indicative of how everyone else's systems have or will work down the road, that I completely understand. I guess what I was alluding to without really saying it is lots of people will blame a relay for malfunctioning when it is not necessarily the relay, but the socket it is in.

And yes, thanks a ton for you work at finding the relays out there in the market place. Your efforts on this board towards the motorcycling community is head and shoulders above and beyond the call of duty.
hand-clapping-smiley-emoticon.gif
You're 100% right about sockets. The motorcycle is a terrible environment for connectors, and any dirt or grime that works its way into a connector will cause at least some resistance. The more resistance, the more heat. The more heat, the more resistance. And so on, until it starts to generate enough heat that things begin to melt, and then all bets are off. This is precisely the cause of the infamous three-yellow-wire stator connector issue on the four-cylinder Wings.



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