Starter clutch is on the way out


Information and questions on GL1100 Goldwings (1980-1983)
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goldwingingit
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Starter clutch is on the way out

Post by goldwingingit »



A few weeks ago a GL1100 was basically given to me for $50. It runs and idles well. The engine seems to be in great shape, but I was told that the starter clutch is on the way out. I didn't notice it after a few starts since then, but on the last start it wouldn't catch and then just spin. Eventually, it would catch and then the bike would start up.

It's possible that it could just be the starter, but I don't think so. I thought when starters failed they just don't do anything. I'm definitely hearing a lot of spinning, so I believe that it is the starter clutch.

In which case, the engine has to come out (or I could use it until it absolutely fails and then push start it.) The thing is, what are the logistics of removing the engine? It has to come out sideways, and while I could use straps or something to pull it out, how would I get the engine back in? Are there special tools or something that people use? These are heavy engines, so I really don't know what the semantics are of getting it out and back in. Looking for some tips or guidelines from anyone who has done it before.


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DenverWinger
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Re: Starter clutch is on the way out

Post by DenverWinger »

I used a floor jack and a buddy to help wrestle it both in and out. Not too bad, really.... About 2 hrs to get it out, another 2 hrs reassembly to have a running bike.

Watch the vacuum advance unit while getting the engine in/out (bent mine).

Before committing to pull the engine you might try some Seafoam in the oil, use a full can of Seafoam (don't worry about the slight overfill, it'll help clean) and put 100-200 easy miles on the bike, that may loosen the clutch sprags. It'll clean out the crankcase, too! You'll see that when you change the oil.
♫ 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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ekvh
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Re: Starter clutch is on the way out

Post by ekvh »

Another item to try and keep it freed up is to press the starter button while the bike is running. The starter clutch is an over-running type so no damage can occur. It’s location leave the pins (dogs)in a spot that get little to no lubrication. Pressing the starter while in motion let’s the lower part of the chain carry oil up to the starter clutch location. Adding an oil thinner just prior to an oil change can help and will likely be helped more doing the above suggestion.

It’s a good idea to do this prior to parking at the end of the year. If you can’t get it to catch try a heat gun on the stator. The heat can help the cogs unstick themselves.
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WingAdmin
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Re: Starter clutch is on the way out

Post by WingAdmin »

This is a fairly common problem. The sprags in the starter clutch do not receive much oil flow, so sludge tends to collect in there, and after a while the springs can't push them out anymore.

Go to your local auto store (or Walmart), buy a can of Seafoam and some oil. Get yourself an oil filter as well. Pour the can of Seafoam into your engine crankcase through the oil filler. Start the engine, let it run for a few minutes, then go for a gentle ride for 30-60 minutes. You want the engine good and hot, but you don't want to do any hard acceleration.

When you get back, while the engine is still hot, drain the oil. You will likely see chunks of all kinds of nasty sludge come out - the Seafoam dissolves the sludge and lets it work its way out of the nooks and crannies. Refill the engine with fresh oil. Nine times out of ten, this will solve your slipping starter clutch problem. Some owners have had to do this treatment twice, but it almost always fixes the problem.
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RBGERSON
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Re: Starter clutch is on the way out

Post by RBGERSON »

+1 ON SEAFOAM METHOD WORTH A SHOT!!!
HAD LOTS OF GOLDWING 75-83
NOW INTO 1500'S..RIDING A 1998 SE

FAIR WINDS,
RB
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Chewy
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1983 1100a Aspencade

Re: Starter clutch is on the way out

Post by Chewy »

did you have to pull your engine? I am in the process of doing mine. I tried MMO 3 time, but to no avail. While I had never worked on a bike, I am a capable mechanic. It has taken about 3 hours for me to get the engine ready to come out. Upper engine mounts, clutch cable, and lower engine mounts are all that is left.
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goldwingingit
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Re: Starter clutch is on the way out

Post by goldwingingit »

I haven't tried MMO and oil flush yet, it's a long shot but I'll give it a go. If you get the engine out, please share how you got it out and how you plan on getting it back in!
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Chewy
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Re: Starter clutch is on the way out

Post by Chewy »

There is an instructional under DIY for the 1100. I followed it, except it didn't mention the vaccuum advance unit. I unbolted it and moved it out of the way. I just got the engine out 10 minutes ago. I hope to be able to video the reinstall.
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WingAdmin
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Re: Starter clutch is on the way out

Post by WingAdmin »

goldwingingit wrote: Sun Apr 28, 2019 10:56 am I haven't tried MMO and oil flush yet, it's a long shot but I'll give it a go. If you get the engine out, please share how you got it out and how you plan on getting it back in!
Not a long shot at all, it's a very common issue, and usually fixed with a gentle solvent in the oil. I've always used Seafoam - one can in the crankcase, gentle riding for 100 miles or so, and then drain and oil change. It almost always fixes the problem, which is usually sludge collected in the clutch sprags, due to very little oil flow in that area.
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Chewy
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Re: Starter clutch is on the way out

Post by Chewy »

Mine is reinstalled, but haven't got the cover back on yet. I still can't believe how gummed up the rollers were, couldn't move them with my small screw driver. Unfortunately, i ran into the necessity of replacing front master cylinder, and cleaning out the front brake lines.

Things left to do:

1. Clean gasket off of rear case surface and install.
2. Front master cylinder and clutch lever replacement.
3. Degrease the engine.
4. Figure out why the rear brake is useless.
5. Put it back together.
6. Get my license.
7. Buy riding gear.
8. Go for a long ride.
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Chewy
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Re: Starter clutch is on the way out

Post by Chewy »

goldwingingit wrote: Sun Apr 28, 2019 10:56 am I haven't tried MMO and oil flush yet, it's a long shot but I'll give it a go. If you get the engine out, please share how you got it out and how you plan on getting it back in!
Have you tried the MMO yet? If so, how did it go?
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DenverWinger
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1972 CL350 (1980-1988) sold
1978 Suzuki GS550 (1985-2005) sold
1977 GL1000 (2002-2006) sold

Re: Starter clutch is on the way out

Post by DenverWinger »

Chewy wrote: Sat May 04, 2019 8:50 pm I still can't believe how gummed up the rollers were, couldn't move them with my small screw driver.
I bet the starter works now! (After reassembly, that is...) :lol:
♫ 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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Chewy
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Re: Starter clutch is on the way out

Post by Chewy »

DenverWinger wrote: Sat May 04, 2019 10:44 pm
Chewy wrote: Sat May 04, 2019 8:50 pm I still can't believe how gummed up the rollers were, couldn't move them with my small screw driver.
I bet the starter works now! (After reassembly, that is...) :lol:
Works perfect.
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Chewy
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Re: Starter clutch is on the way out

Post by Chewy »

goldwingingit wrote: Sun Apr 28, 2019 10:56 am If you get the engine out, please share how you got it out and how you plan on getting it back in!
I rested the engine on a shop jack while i took out the rest of the mounting bolts, tied the carbs up to the frame. i pulled the vacuum advance and set it aside, and pulled the oil filter housing off. Both of these were to give me more wiggle room. Dropped the jack a little and wiggled it right on out. Once i started to pull the engine, it took less than 2 minutes and it was clear of the frame.
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goldwingingit
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Re: Starter clutch is on the way out

Post by goldwingingit »

I've done the first oil flush with some motor oil and marvel mystery oil. Got the engine warm and rode it around the neighbourhood. I'd intermittently hit the starter (less than 10 seconds per minute) over the course of an hour. It seems to have worked but I'm going to do another flush to make sure.

Now for curiosity, when you say "pull" the engine, did you literally just pick it up and carry it out?
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Chewy
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Re: Starter clutch is on the way out

Post by Chewy »

goldwingingit wrote: Sun May 05, 2019 11:16 am
Now for curiosity, when you say "pull" the engine, did you literally just pick it up and carry it out?
it was resting on the jack. when you take out all of the mounting bolts, lower the jack about an inch and a half. it will come straight out the side with just a little wiggling.
DON'T forget to unbolt the vaccum advance, and remove the oil filter housing.

also, this is a good time to replace the neutral light switch, if necessary, and pull the oil pickup screen and clean it.
i had access to a parts washing bin that was empty of solvent, and had a higher rated pump installed. i filled it with 5 gallons of diesel, set the engine on a rack in it and set the hose where the oil filter pipe would go and turned it on. i let that run while i cleaned up the sprag clutch area and installed the new rollers, springs, and caps. the process of replacing the sprag clutch parts took about 30 minutes, a dremmel on low speed with a brass wire wheel, and 2 cans of carb cleaner.

i still plan on changing the oil after a few hundred miles just to make sure i get all the diesel out. the oil i will put in after installing everything will be 15w-40. after that, i will use 10w-40.

if you want my number for direct communication, just let me know. this site has been very helpful to me, and i like being able to help others.
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shows the whole left after removing the engine.
shows the whole left after removing the engine.

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Chewy
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1983 1100a Aspencade

Re: Starter clutch is on the way out

Post by Chewy »

Got the engine installed today and it started right up. I intended to make a video, but didnt press the record button, live and learn. I replaced the timing belts while i had it out. I plan on running a few gallons of distilled water through just to clean out anything that might be in there.

I do have a question though:
My friend has an 04 shadow 1100. He runs the the orielly brand premix antifreeze and says he hasnt had a problem with the seals, or o-rings. Is it because his is 24 years younger, or can i use the same mix in my Wing? Denver Winger, any thoughts?
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DenverWinger
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Motorcycle: (s)
1980 GL1100 STD Vetter (2005-)
1993 GL1500 Aspencade (2017-)
1983 Trav-Lite Camper (2010-)
Past rides
1972 CL350 (1980-1988) sold
1978 Suzuki GS550 (1985-2005) sold
1977 GL1000 (2002-2006) sold

Re: Starter clutch is no longer on the way out :D

Post by DenverWinger »

Congrat's on the project success!

These bikes aren't picky on the antifreeze as long as it's silicate-free. Don't know about the O'Reilly brand.

It doesn't say so on the jug, but the manufacturer reports confirmation that good ol' green Prestone is silicate free.... I usually get the full-strength and mix it myself. Best to use distilled water, but I don't bother.... Or just get the premix.
♫ 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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Chewy
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1983 1100a Aspencade

Re: Starter clutch is on the way out

Post by Chewy »

Green Prestone it is.

All I have left to do is flush the cooling g system, fairing, fake tank, seat, clutch handle, and front brake reservoir installed. I ordered a new set because the old one was very pitted on the inside. I can't wait to get that done.

Oh, and get license, riding gear yada-yada.


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