Headlight Will Not Come On

Information and questions on GL1100 Goldwings (1980-1983)
  • Sponsored Links
Post Reply
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Jul 14, 2018 5:45 pm
Location: Appleton WI
Motorcycle: 1982 GL 1100 Interstate

Headlight Will Not Come On

Post by BearsGrandpa » Sat Jul 21, 2018 1:44 pm

I have tracked the problem to this point:
1. The bulb is new and both the high and low work when tested.
2. The test on the female plug to the bulb shows,
a) green wire to blue wire has power,
b) green to white only has a flash of power in the middle when toggling the light switch between high and low. It only flashes and does not stay on. I had
changed out the switch for a new/used one thinking the switch was the problem. It did the same thing with my old switch.

Any help will be greatly appreciated.

Posts: 867
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2015 7:28 pm
Location: Amity. Ar
Motorcycle: 2010 GL1800
2004 Suzuki DR200

Re: Headlight Will Not Come On

Post by DaveO430 » Sat Jul 21, 2018 6:45 pm

Probably the start switch. Try flipping the start button with your finger nail several times.

Posts: 134
Joined: Wed Mar 12, 2014 1:56 pm
Location: Vista, ca
Motorcycle: 1985 Goldwing Aspencade (GL1200A

Former bikes;
2000 R1100RT
2005 Suzuki Bandit
1979 Yamaha XS1100
1978 Yamaha XS1100 Special
1990 Yamaha XV250
1980 Yamaha XV750
1979 Honda CB750
1968 Triumph Bonneville T120
1973 Honda CB450
1968 Harley Davidson Sportster
1974 Honda CB750
1968 Honda CL72

Re: Headlight Will Not Come On

Post by froche » Sun Jul 22, 2018 10:57 pm

My 1200 lost the headlight. It turned out to be the start switch. You can take the switch apart but be careful, there are springs inside. In any case you take the s=witch apart, clean out the gunk, get it clean! Then polish the four copper or brass dots and put it back together, that's it.

Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Jul 14, 2018 5:45 pm
Location: Appleton WI
Motorcycle: 1982 GL 1100 Interstate

Re: Headlight Will Not Come On

Post by BearsGrandpa » Mon Jul 23, 2018 8:08 am

Thanks, guys, I had read about the switch but wasn't sure that it was that. I didn't know if I had a problem in one of the harnesses because of the white wire having power in between high and low. I will try that.

User avatar
Posts: 66
Joined: Thu Apr 27, 2017 7:27 pm
Location: Akron, OH
Motorcycle: 1976 GL1000
1983 GL1100 Aspencade
1981 CB750K
2006 FJR1300

Re: Headlight Will Not Come On

Post by DWade1990 » Mon Jul 23, 2018 8:13 pm

Mine will occasionally act up, but the problem isn't from the kill switch that goes left and right. When you press the starter button, it kills power to the headlight while cranking. Every now and then I notice my headlight isn't on, but if I grab the starter button with my finger and thumb and physically pull it out, the headlight comes on.

Usually it means it's time for some electrical contact cleaner.

User avatar
Posts: 935
Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2012 1:47 pm
Location: Sussex, Wisconsin (West of Milwaukee)
Motorcycle: Current Rides -
2002 GL1800 - Pearl Orange
2003 GL1800 - Illusion Blue
1983 Suzuki GS850GL - Blue & Black

Past rides -
1996 GL1500 Aspencade - Pearl Blue
1992 GL1500 Aspencade -Candy Red
1980 GL1100 - Custom Cobalt Blue
1985 GL1200 Aspencade Brown
1983 CX500 Custom Red
1982 CX500 Custom Blue
1978 CX500 Standard Black
1982 Suzuki GS650 Red

Re: Headlight Will Not Come On

Post by Wingsconsin » Thu Jul 26, 2018 1:03 pm

Suspect your fuse box -
I had this problem on a 1980 and it turned out the corrosion on the glass fuse ends caused enough heat to actually melt the fuse holder.
One symptom of the fuse issue was the headlight wouldn't work --
If that is it there is a thread about changing the fuse block entirely - you will like the change to blade fuses and it's not that hard to do.

Fuse Block thread
Postings are my opinions based on experience and acquired knowledge.
Your results may vary. Universal disclaimers apply.

Motorcycle Adventure Storys

User avatar
Posts: 377
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2011 2:20 pm
Location: Denver, CO
Motorcycle: 1980 GL-1100 STD Vetter (2005-)
1993 GL-1500 Aspencade (2017-)
1983 Trav-Lite Camper (2010-)
Past rides
1972 CL-350 (1980-1988) sold
1978 Suzuki GS-550 (1985-2005) sold
1977 GL-1000 (2002-2006) sold

Re: Headlight Will Not Come On

Post by DenverWinger » Fri Jul 27, 2018 7:43 am

I've had those glass fuses "fail", not "blow" before. Fuse LOOKED fine, but putting voltmeter across the fuse with the power on showed 12v. Seems the fuse element inside the glass came detached on one end.... :shock:

Here's a couple other unusual headlight failures, both happened on my old '77 GL1000 when I still had her - On the big round sealed-beam Automotive-type headlights that fit a Vetter fairing, I had a sealed-beam Halogen light, of course this happened at night, all of a sudden I had no light, either high or low beam. Looking inside the headlight you could see the little internal halogen bulb laying in the bottom of the sealed beam, it had broken off. Fortunately I was near a gas station, and bough a then readily available incandescent sealed beam. I figured the standard sealed beam might be safer on the wing, maybe those halogen's couldn't stand the vibration.

Well, some time later, it too, failed! On a standard incandescent bulb there's a little metal shield inside the bulb right in front of the filaments that directs the light, the little shield broke off from it's mount and slid back over the wire posts that the filaments attach to, shorting the bulb. Bike immediately died like I hit the kill switch, it blew the main fuse!

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:

Post Reply