'78 GL1000 No lights or start


Information and questions on GL1000 Goldwings (1975-1979)
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pmacddd
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Motorcycle: 1978 GL1000 Goldwing

'78 GL1000 No lights or start

Post by pmacddd » Sun Mar 01, 2020 9:12 pm



'78 GL1000 with a Dyna ignition, new coils, new main fuse & holder, replaced alternator connections, and regulator connections. Daily commuter in warm weather. Put Stabil in for the winter, but usually start it every 2 weeks anyway. Took it for a short ride to the VFW and back last month, no problem. When really cold (40's) the first crank would be stiff, but then catch, go, and run. Did this a couple weeks ago, but no catch and go after the first crank. All lights dead.

No lights come on anywhere when in the "on" position. Fan runs (fan runs constantly like this for all summer, but I'm fairly sure the sensor is bad). Replaced the orig Main Fuse and holder, as it was very crusty and questionable.

I get 12.7vdc in the off or acc position.
The voltage drops to 6.5vdc in the on position.
Push the start button and the voltage drops to 4.0-4.5vdc and cuts the fan off.
Pop the fuses for headlight, tail light, neutral, and ACC (I have the Dyna connected here), and there is no voltage drop when the key is in the on position.

I've seen all the posts about the start button and kill switch, but checking with an ohm meter they seem to check good. I've chased all over the bike with my ohm meter and volt meter trying to isolate a bad circuit. Kind of looks like a minor eruption took place. I'm pretty good with a meter and schematics, but this has been a challenge.

Any suggestions would be welcome. Getting warmer where I need to start riding again.



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DenverWinger
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Re: '78 GL1000 No lights or start

Post by DenverWinger » Sun Mar 01, 2020 9:19 pm

With those voltages it sounds like the battery gave up. Try a jump-start from a car with it's engine off.
♫ 99 Little Bugs in the Code, ♪
♪ 99 Bugs in the Code. ♫ :(
♫ Take one down, Patch it around, ♪
♫ 127 Little Bugs in the Code. ♫ ♪ :shock:

~Mark

pmacddd
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Re: '78 GL1000 No lights or start

Post by pmacddd » Mon Mar 02, 2020 7:51 pm

Good idea. I don't have jumper cables, but have a jump starter. Tried it, and the fan was running full out (vs barely running before), but still no lights. Tries to crank, very feebly. Jump starter may not be fully charged. The "no lights" thing concerns me. I'll have to see if local auto parts can check my battery. Could be the problem, though only about a year and a half on this gel cell. Thanks for the suggestion.

pmacddd
Posts: 11
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Re: '78 GL1000 No lights or start

Post by pmacddd » Mon Mar 02, 2020 9:16 pm

So battery checks good at the auto parts store. I was kind of hoping this problem would be over. Back to the drawing board.

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DenverWinger
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1980 GL1100 STD Vetter (2005-)
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1972 CL350 (1980-1988) sold
1978 Suzuki GS550 (1985-2005) sold
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Re: '78 GL1000 No lights or start

Post by DenverWinger » Tue Mar 03, 2020 7:40 am

OK, Next thing to check is the battery cables, make sure both ends are corrosion-free - Especially Neg cable where it attaches to frame.

Make sure Gel Cell has a good charge, since the jump pack added something the gel cell must've been low on charge.

Doesn't hurt to have a set of jumper cables in the trunk of the car, never know when you might need to jumpstart your car, the Goldwing, or your neighbor... I've never trusted those little jumper packs to have enuf juice to do the job on a cold day :D
♫ 99 Little Bugs in the Code, ♪
♪ 99 Bugs in the Code. ♫ :(
♫ Take one down, Patch it around, ♪
♫ 127 Little Bugs in the Code. ♫ ♪ :shock:

~Mark

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SnoBrdr
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Re: '78 GL1000 No lights or start

Post by SnoBrdr » Tue Mar 03, 2020 8:37 am

pmacddd wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 7:51 pm
Good idea. I don't have jumper cables, but have a jump starter. Tried it, and the fan was running full out (vs barely running before), but still no lights. Tries to crank, very feebly. Jump starter may not be fully charged. The "no lights" thing concerns me. I'll have to see if local auto parts can check my battery. Could be the problem, though only about a year and a half on this gel cell. Thanks for the suggestion.
When you hit the starter buttion, the lights are supposed to turn off.

They should be on if the key is on but not if the battery is low.

pmacddd
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Re: '78 GL1000 No lights or start

Post by pmacddd » Tue Mar 03, 2020 10:17 am

Battery has a full charge, but the lights never come on, under any condition. All the fuses check good with a meter. I've tried to chase individual circuits through the harness and plugs using the schematics, and guess I'm not as smart as i might hope.

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SnoBrdr
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Re: '78 GL1000 No lights or start

Post by SnoBrdr » Tue Mar 03, 2020 10:21 am

pmacddd wrote:
Tue Mar 03, 2020 10:17 am
Battery has a full charge, but the lights never come on, under any condition. All the fuses check good with a meter. I've tried to chase individual circuits through the harness and plugs using the schematics, and guess I'm not as smart as i might hope.
I know this might sound simple but you do have a solid main ground?

pmacddd
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Re: '78 GL1000 No lights or start

Post by pmacddd » Tue Mar 03, 2020 10:24 am

Monitoring voltage across the battery terminals, i can't grasp why in the off or acc position, I get 12.xx volts. As soon as I hit the on position, the voltage drops by about half. Something I'm not grasping. If I were measuring somewhere else in the harness to ground I might understand there are components or bad connectors which might change the voltage, but not at the battery. :(

pmacddd
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Re: '78 GL1000 No lights or start

Post by pmacddd » Tue Mar 03, 2020 10:25 am

i pulled the ground off the engine mount and cleaned it. Ohmed out OK.

pmacddd
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Re: '78 GL1000 No lights or start

Post by pmacddd » Tue Mar 03, 2020 10:35 pm

A couple of questions (shows how far in the weeds I am):

The battery connection on the starter should read zero ohms to the case?

When pressing the start button, I should hear the solenoid click?

I love this bike, but I guess it's like any other relationship. Some days it sucks.

pmacddd
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Re: '78 GL1000 No lights or start

Post by pmacddd » Sat Mar 07, 2020 5:06 pm

pmacddd wrote:
Tue Mar 03, 2020 10:35 pm
A couple of questions (shows how far in the weeds I am):

The battery connection on the starter should read zero ohms to the case?

When pressing the start button, I should hear the solenoid click?

I love this bike, but I guess it's like any other relationship. Some days it sucks.
Both stupid questions.

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SnoBrdr
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Re: '78 GL1000 No lights or start

Post by SnoBrdr » Sat Mar 07, 2020 5:15 pm

pmacddd wrote:
Sat Mar 07, 2020 5:06 pm
pmacddd wrote:
Tue Mar 03, 2020 10:35 pm
A couple of questions (shows how far in the weeds I am):

The battery connection on the starter should read zero ohms to the case?

When pressing the start button, I should hear the solenoid click?

I love this bike, but I guess it's like any other relationship. Some days it sucks.
Both stupid questions.
But not as rude as your response.

Saltspringer
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Motorcycle: 1976 GL1000 in Antares Red

Re: '78 GL1000 No lights or start

Post by Saltspringer » Sat Mar 28, 2020 10:32 pm

I guess that this problem has probably been solved, but I would be interested to hear how it turned out.

My guess is a seized starter motor.
1946 Norton Model 18, 500cc single
1946 Harley WL45 Flathead
1960 BMW R60/2
1972 BMW R60/5
1973 Norton Commando
1976 Honda GL1000
1981 Moto Morini 500

1960 Triumph TR3A sports car, in many boxes.....

pmacddd
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Re: '78 GL1000 No lights or start

Post by pmacddd » Sun Mar 29, 2020 3:05 pm

Saltspringer wrote:
Sat Mar 28, 2020 10:32 pm
I guess that this problem has probably been solved, but I would be interested to hear how it turned out.

My guess is a seized starter motor.
Sorry for not posting the "fix". After replacing the main fuse, ignition switch, starter relay (both of which were orig and were questionable anyway), redoing all the splices at the alternator and many other places from previous owner, I finally fixed it.

A previous trip to Oreilly for a battery check, they said it was good. After pulling out the rest of my hair troubleshooting, I talked to a guy at Cycle Gear, and decided to let them test it. Battery was bad! Apparently the guy at Oreilly didn't test it under load, and I didn't ask.

So, all is good now. Running as it should. I feel rather stupid for doing so much chasing for such a simple fix. The upside: I learned a bunch about the wiring and how stuff connects, and got rid of a bunch of questionable splices from previous owner.

I've found working on these 40+ yr old bikes that school can be painful sometimes, though rewarding for next time.

Saltspringer
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Re: '78 GL1000 No lights or start

Post by Saltspringer » Sun Mar 29, 2020 5:03 pm

Thanks for putting up the solution, its always good to hear about a problem and how it was solved.

I finished off my electrical troubleshooting this morning, chasing intermittent front driving lights and flashers. It turned out the turn signals were electrically isolated from ground by the rubber donuts on the headlamp ears. When I ran a new ground from each turn signal, directly back to the green ground in the headlamp shell, then the issues were resolved. This is not the first bike that I have had to run dedicated grounds to the headlamp shell and then back to the loom or frame.

The rest of the wiring looks to be in good shape. I swapped the original loom out with one from the donor bike, it seemed to be in far better shape, with a lot fewer questionable splices from previous owners.
1946 Norton Model 18, 500cc single
1946 Harley WL45 Flathead
1960 BMW R60/2
1972 BMW R60/5
1973 Norton Commando
1976 Honda GL1000
1981 Moto Morini 500

1960 Triumph TR3A sports car, in many boxes.....

billhickson
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Location: Thornhurst, PA
Motorcycle: 1989 GL1500 SE Aspencade

Re: '78 GL1000 No lights or start

Post by billhickson » Wed Apr 01, 2020 10:01 pm

My 98 GL1500 had started right up after sitting 4 months. I let it warm up then shut it down. 2 days later I flooded it and ran the battery down. Then it started acting just like yours. I bought another trickle charger and it said 85% or better so I let it finish charging. When I turned the key to run the dash light went dead and the charger said it was fully charged. Got out my jumper cables and just touched the terminals and everything lit up. I'm guessing jell-cells die this way.

Badfinger, Bill

pmacddd
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Feb 23, 2020 8:17 pm
Location: Palmdale, CA
Motorcycle: 1978 GL1000 Goldwing

Re: '78 GL1000 No lights or start

Post by pmacddd » Thu Apr 02, 2020 10:39 am

Saltspringer wrote:
Sun Mar 29, 2020 5:03 pm
Thanks for putting up the solution, its always good to hear about a problem and how it was solved.

I finished off my electrical troubleshooting this morning, chasing intermittent front driving lights and flashers. It turned out the turn signals were electrically isolated from ground by the rubber donuts on the headlamp ears. When I ran a new ground from each turn signal, directly back to the green ground in the headlamp shell, then the issues were resolved. This is not the first bike that I have had to run dedicated grounds to the headlamp shell and then back to the loom or frame.

The rest of the wiring looks to be in good shape. I swapped the original loom out with one from the donor bike, it seemed to be in far better shape, with a lot fewer questionable splices from previous owners.
I had this issue when I bought stems to remount my front signal lights to the fork. I forget where I ordered them, but the material (looked like metal, obviously not the conductive type) is non-conductive. I needed to run a ground also.

pmacddd
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Feb 23, 2020 8:17 pm
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Re: '78 GL1000 No lights or start

Post by pmacddd » Thu Apr 02, 2020 10:43 am

billhickson wrote:
Wed Apr 01, 2020 10:01 pm
My 98 GL1500 had started right up after sitting 4 months. I let it warm up then shut it down. 2 days later I flooded it and ran the battery down. Then it started acting just like yours. I bought another trickle charger and it said 85% or better so I let it finish charging. When I turned the key to run the dash light went dead and the charger said it was fully charged. Got out my jumper cables and just touched the terminals and everything lit up. I'm guessing jell-cells die this way.

Badfinger, Bill
My battery was a jell-cell. First I had, and it acted exactly like that. Charger says it's good, but doesn't act that way. Sure had me chasing myself. Bike wiring looked like it exploded (sticking out everywhere) by the time I got it running. Took a couple of days to nest it all back in to be presentable.



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