No neutral light?


Information and questions on GL1000 Goldwings (1975-1979)
Post Reply
eightangrybears
Posts: 41
Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2017 12:14 am
Location: New Hampshire, USA
Motorcycle: 1978 GL1000 - "Christine"
Contact:

No neutral light?

Post by eightangrybears »



This was part of a very long post I made so I thought I'd separate this issue out. Just finished putting my 78 gl1000 back together and it has a non-stock set of gauges. The last time I rode the bike 6 years ago it all worked fine. Now though, with the key in ACC or ON, there is no neutral light even though I'm certain it's in neutral and the battery is fully charged. The headlight works and the high beam indicator comes on when switched. I checked the bulbs and it's not that. Checked the fuses. They seem fine although they're getting replaced today because they're not exactly the right sizes for some reason.

I read that you can check if the neutral switch is bad by grounding the wire that goes up the right front frame tube but also if it were bad, the light would be on regardless of gear. So once I replace the fuses and the switch, if it's not either of those, is it most likely a bad connection in the wiring? It's entirely possible since my wiring skills are not professional but I thought I'd ask if there's anything else I could check or might cause this issue. I didn't try to start it since it has no gas in it but I briefly accidentally hit the starter button (1/4 second) and it was about to fire so I think the bike knows it's in neutral since I didn't have to pull the clutch lever in.

Any suggestions? Thanks


1978 GL1000K2 - "Christine" - working on version 3.0 currently
eightangrybears
Posts: 41
Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2017 12:14 am
Location: New Hampshire, USA
Motorcycle: 1978 GL1000 - "Christine"
Contact:

Re: No neutral light?

Post by eightangrybears »

I rooted around to locate the neutral switch and accompanying wire, My wire was routed between the belt case and head, under the intake manifold and up into a wire sleeve containing a second wire (at least) and centered under the tank shelter up against the wall between the radiator and carbs. It's probably not the correct route but it exists nonetheless. I was going to test the switch by means of grounding the wire with the key on but I was wondering am I grounding the wire from the switch or from the wiring harness. As in, if I cut the wire to reroute it (there is no detachable fitting) the correct way, should I test the end connected to the switch or the one that runs up into the tank shelter area?

I was thinking since I am checking the functionality of the switch that for the light to come on, it would have to be attached to something (grounded). If I just test the unplugged wire coming from the switch, then there would't be any info sent to a light anyways since the link would be severed. Am I wrong here?
1978 GL1000K2 - "Christine" - working on version 3.0 currently
User avatar
Maz
Posts: 796
Joined: Tue May 19, 2015 4:43 am
Location: Kent, UK
Motorcycle: 1975 GL1000K1
1976 CB500T
1979 CB750L
1990 Yamaha FJ1200
1993 Suzuki GS500E

Re: No neutral light?

Post by Maz »

The neutral light switch simply grounds the wire when the bike is in neutral. So to test the light, you need to ground the same wire. There should only be one wire connected to the switch with a screw. It's a real pain to get to with the engine still in the frame though.
Maz
Ironically, Common Sense is the LEAST common of all senses!
eightangrybears
Posts: 41
Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2017 12:14 am
Location: New Hampshire, USA
Motorcycle: 1978 GL1000 - "Christine"
Contact:

Re: No neutral light?

Post by eightangrybears »

So I should be testing the wire coming from the light, not from the switch, right?
1978 GL1000K2 - "Christine" - working on version 3.0 currently
User avatar
Maz
Posts: 796
Joined: Tue May 19, 2015 4:43 am
Location: Kent, UK
Motorcycle: 1975 GL1000K1
1976 CB500T
1979 CB750L
1990 Yamaha FJ1200
1993 Suzuki GS500E

Re: No neutral light?

Post by Maz »

yep. Ground that wire and the light should come on. If not, check for 12v on one side of the bulb and continuity of the wire on the other side of the bulb down to the neutral switch.
Maz
Ironically, Common Sense is the LEAST common of all senses!
eightangrybears
Posts: 41
Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2017 12:14 am
Location: New Hampshire, USA
Motorcycle: 1978 GL1000 - "Christine"
Contact:

Re: No neutral light?

Post by eightangrybears »

Maz wrote: Sun Aug 20, 2017 1:13 pm yep. Ground that wire and the light should come on.
If the light comes on, doesn't that mean my switch is bad? And from what I have read, that switch is a real pain to replace. The best case would be if I ground the wire and no light comes on. That way, I know it's a connection somewhere, right?
1978 GL1000K2 - "Christine" - working on version 3.0 currently
User avatar
Maz
Posts: 796
Joined: Tue May 19, 2015 4:43 am
Location: Kent, UK
Motorcycle: 1975 GL1000K1
1976 CB500T
1979 CB750L
1990 Yamaha FJ1200
1993 Suzuki GS500E

Re: No neutral light?

Post by Maz »

eightangrybears wrote: Sun Aug 20, 2017 1:27 pm
Maz wrote: Sun Aug 20, 2017 1:13 pm yep. Ground that wire and the light should come on.
If the light comes on, doesn't that mean my switch is bad? And from what I have read, that switch is a real pain to replace. The best case would be if I ground the wire and no light comes on. That way, I know it's a connection somewhere, right?
Yes. The switch is a bit*h to remove with engine in the frame. There are those who say you can 'gently' pry the frame rail out if the engine mountings are loosened, but I wouldn't personally try it.
Maz
Ironically, Common Sense is the LEAST common of all senses!
eightangrybears
Posts: 41
Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2017 12:14 am
Location: New Hampshire, USA
Motorcycle: 1978 GL1000 - "Christine"
Contact:

Re: No neutral light?

Post by eightangrybears »

I guess I better pray that I was worse at wiring than I even thought and its just a bad connection somewhere...fingers crossed

Also, is there a correct route for that wire? I doubt it is supposed to go between the head and belt case. I heard it is supposed to run up the frame rail but I haven't seen any clips or anything for it and it meets a wire up against the wall between the radiator and the carbs before they both travel up and under the shelter. So it must come back around the horn maybe?
1978 GL1000K2 - "Christine" - working on version 3.0 currently
User avatar
Maz
Posts: 796
Joined: Tue May 19, 2015 4:43 am
Location: Kent, UK
Motorcycle: 1975 GL1000K1
1976 CB500T
1979 CB750L
1990 Yamaha FJ1200
1993 Suzuki GS500E

Re: No neutral light?

Post by Maz »

Mine runs between the head and belt case. I did fit a length of heat shrink tubing to it in this area, when I had the engine out, just as a bit of protection.
Maz
Ironically, Common Sense is the LEAST common of all senses!
eightangrybears
Posts: 41
Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2017 12:14 am
Location: New Hampshire, USA
Motorcycle: 1978 GL1000 - "Christine"
Contact:

Re: No neutral light?

Post by eightangrybears »

Wow. I definitely thought this was done by the PO. Is there a disconnect point? I had planned on cutting it and going around the engine to the frame rail but if it just disconnects somewhere, I will just put it back in the same spot (if the switch is ok). Would the neutral switch not working cause the engine not to start? I haven't technically tried starting it, but I accidentally brushed the start button when I was testing the electrics and it was about to turn over. So, if that's the case, could that be an early indication that the switch might be okay? Or does it just effect the indicator light?
1978 GL1000K2 - "Christine" - working on version 3.0 currently
User avatar
Maz
Posts: 796
Joined: Tue May 19, 2015 4:43 am
Location: Kent, UK
Motorcycle: 1975 GL1000K1
1976 CB500T
1979 CB750L
1990 Yamaha FJ1200
1993 Suzuki GS500E

Re: No neutral light?

Post by Maz »

eightangrybears wrote: Sun Aug 20, 2017 3:46 pm Wow. I definitely thought this was done by the PO. Is there a disconnect point? I had planned on cutting it and going around the engine to the frame rail but if it just disconnects somewhere, I will just put it back in the same spot (if the switch is ok). Would the neutral switch not working cause the engine not to start? I haven't technically tried starting it, but I accidentally brushed the start button when I was testing the electrics and it was about to turn over. So, if that's the case, could that be an early indication that the switch might be okay? Or does it just effect the indicator light?
The engine shouldn't turn over if the bike is in gear (IE the neutral light is off), unless the clutch is pulled in. There are 2 diodes in the wiring to make this happen. The wiring diagram shows the circuit nicely.
Maz
Ironically, Common Sense is the LEAST common of all senses!
eightangrybears
Posts: 41
Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2017 12:14 am
Location: New Hampshire, USA
Motorcycle: 1978 GL1000 - "Christine"
Contact:

Re: No neutral light?

Post by eightangrybears »

Maz wrote: Sun Aug 20, 2017 4:34 pm The engine shouldn't turn over if the bike is in gear (IE the neutral light is off)
What I meant was that since I KNOW the bike is in neutral but the light isn't illuminated. If the switch is broken would it effect the bike starting?

Meaning, since my bike sounded willing to start but the neutral light isn't on and the bike is in neutral, could that be a sign that the switch is okay and it's probably just a connection at the dashboard? I have a host of other lights not working on my non-stock dash so I'm hoping it's just a wiring issue.

Would the bike start if the switch is broken, even if it's in neutral?
1978 GL1000K2 - "Christine" - working on version 3.0 currently
User avatar
Maz
Posts: 796
Joined: Tue May 19, 2015 4:43 am
Location: Kent, UK
Motorcycle: 1975 GL1000K1
1976 CB500T
1979 CB750L
1990 Yamaha FJ1200
1993 Suzuki GS500E

Re: No neutral light?

Post by Maz »

eightangrybears wrote: Sun Aug 20, 2017 4:55 pm
Maz wrote: Sun Aug 20, 2017 4:34 pm The engine shouldn't turn over if the bike is in gear (IE the neutral light is off)
What I meant was that since I KNOW the bike is in neutral but the light isn't illuminated. If the switch is broken would it effect the bike starting?

Meaning, since my bike sounded willing to start but the neutral light isn't on and the bike is in neutral, could that be a sign that the switch is okay and it's probably just a connection at the dashboard? I have a host of other lights not working on my non-stock dash so I'm hoping it's just a wiring issue.

Would the bike start if the switch is broken, even if it's in neutral?
If the switch is broken (open circuit) then the bike wouldn't start.
Maz
Ironically, Common Sense is the LEAST common of all senses!
eightangrybears
Posts: 41
Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2017 12:14 am
Location: New Hampshire, USA
Motorcycle: 1978 GL1000 - "Christine"
Contact:

Re: No neutral light?

Post by eightangrybears »

Maz wrote: Mon Aug 21, 2017 1:56 am If the switch is broken (open circuit) then the bike wouldn't start.
Maz
That's good to know. Gives me the inkling that the switch might be ok. And after seeing exactly where it is in the case, I'd very much like to not have to deal with a broken one. I'm not even sure I have a screwdriver small enough to detach the wire!
1978 GL1000K2 - "Christine" - working on version 3.0 currently
eightangrybears
Posts: 41
Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2017 12:14 am
Location: New Hampshire, USA
Motorcycle: 1978 GL1000 - "Christine"
Contact:

Re: No neutral light?

Post by eightangrybears »

Well, I feel a bit stupid but I got the light to work. After opening up all the wiring in the front end and finding just my gauge lights disconnected, I started worrying that the problem was either in a hidden area of wiring or the switch itself. But then, as I was looking up new bulbs for the gauges (LEDs so it'll be brighter), I found out that the bulbs are actually polar and it DOES matter which direction they are in.

I think what happened was the bike was NOT in neutral before I started removing the bulbs to check them. And when I put that one back in, it must've been backwards. I double checked the bike was now in neutral, turned the bulb around and VOILA! Neutral light...

So now that item is checked off the list. Now hopefully a new electronic flasher relay will fix the turn signals not flashing (staying on solid) and most of my woes will have been fixed.

Thanks all for helping me talk it all out though. Sometimes you just need to write stuff down to really understand all your options...
1978 GL1000K2 - "Christine" - working on version 3.0 currently
User avatar
Fred Camper
Posts: 1339
Joined: Sun Aug 16, 2009 9:15 pm
Location: Metro Detroit, MI
Motorcycle: 1977 GL1000, 1976 LTD GL1000

Re: No neutral light?

Post by Fred Camper »

Ah yes, but does the light go out when you shift the bike into first gear. Not much good about a neutral light that stays lit.
eightangrybears
Posts: 41
Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2017 12:14 am
Location: New Hampshire, USA
Motorcycle: 1978 GL1000 - "Christine"
Contact:

Re: No neutral light?

Post by eightangrybears »

Good question. Didn't try that yet! Funny how easy it is to overlook something seemingly so simple.

Just checked and it sure does go out when in gear. Thanks for the heads up though!


1978 GL1000K2 - "Christine" - working on version 3.0 currently
Post Reply