1985 GL1200 LE.....To Buy or Not To Buy


Information and questions on GL1200 Goldwings (1984-1987)
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dwight007fchr
Posts: 439
Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2010 9:43 pm
Location: Culpeper, Va
Motorcycle: 1983 1100 Goldwing Interstate

1985 GL1200 LE.....To Buy or Not To Buy

Post by dwight007fchr »



Hello. I own a couple 1983 GL1100 Interstates, and now ran into a real nice looking 85 GL1200 LE for sale. This is the gold/brown Limited Edition with fuel injection and all the other gigdgets and gadgets. It has been garaged-kept most of its life, but after speaking to the owner, I found that it is not charging and he thinks it could be the stator.

So, my question to the experts here......if it is a bad stator, is it going to be a royal pain in the beehind for me to do the repairs? This would entail removing the engine, or can it be done by removing the rear tire and going in from that direction?

Also, is the fuel injection on these early Wings reliable and not too hard to tweek/repair if needed?
Thanks.



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Rednaxs60
Posts: 2347
Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2015 12:44 pm
Location: Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Motorcycle: 1985 GL1200 LTD
1995 GL1500 SE CDN Edition
2012 Suzuki DL1000 VStrom
2008 GL1800 (sold)
Ontario 1985 GL1200 LTD (sold)

Re: 1985 GL1200 LE.....To Buy or Not To Buy

Post by Rednaxs60 »

I have an '85 LTD as well. Great bike, almost finished doing all the maintenance items I want to do. Bought mine for a variety of reasons, cheaper insurance (I'm retired), and the fuel injection. I also like how Honda incorporated so many items that the 1800s don't have. Mine, since I have been refurbishing it, is almost as smooth as my 1800, handles well, two up riding is not an issue - more than enough power, and good fuel economy.

The fuel injection system is just as reliable as having carbs, parts availability may be an issue but this is with carbs as well. Honda fuel injection systems are quite robust and last for years. A lot of information on these forums regarding parts and ways to work around issues. Injector and FI parts are apparently the same as an '85 Prelude.

The throttle position sensor is no longer available new, but may find used. There are articles on these forums regarding a work around solution should this part go considering it is only a rheostat.

The LTD is computer controlled and displays error codes regarding the electrics should there be an issue. You need the supplement(s) to determine what the codes mean, but this aids in your troubleshooting.

The stator is an issue on these older bikes, as is the wiring regarding this issue. If you decide to replace the stator you must remove the engine. There is also the "Poorboy" alternator conversion as well that is very effective - I did this on mine and it is working well.

With regards to the stator and regulator/rectifier, there is a test for each so you can determine what the issue may be. If you need the test procedure(s) you can find it readily in the various threads, mine included. There will be the recommendation to solder the stator wiring and remove the OEM plug; however, some have just renewed the OEM plug, seal with dielectric grease, and monitor.

I keep notes on what I've done and when I read about an issue I research it and determine the criticality for myself and whether I should pursue getting a spare or not.

Recommend getting the service manuals and supplements for this bike if you commit. If you do commit to this bike, let me know, send a PM and I can provide a lot of information regarding the LTD via wetransfer.

Peruse the forum threads for a wealth of information on these bikes. People here are extremely helpful and have given me good advice when asked.

Forgot to add, if te price is right, buy it, you will not be disappointed. Must remember though it is a 32 year old bike that may require some TLC and maintenance.

Hope this helps.

Cheers
"When you write the story of your life, don't let anyone else hold the pen"

Ernest

dwight007fchr
Posts: 439
Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2010 9:43 pm
Location: Culpeper, Va
Motorcycle: 1983 1100 Goldwing Interstate

Re: 1985 GL1200 LE.....To Buy or Not To Buy

Post by dwight007fchr »

RedNax60.....Thanks for the quick reply and your insight into the 85 LE (I guess I called it the LE, but I guess the proper name is the LTD). I will have to follow your suggestion and read up on how to test the bike to be sure if it is a failing stator.

I really do not want to remove the engine to do a stator repair. If I went with the "PoorBoy" modification, could I just leave the old stator in place (and not remove the engine), and just disconnect the wiring from it? I think I read about the PoorBoy modification, and the alternator is placed up front near the timing belts. But would that entail modifying or removing the lower fairing? This bike looks too nice to cut up and make huge mods to.

If I do buy it, I will be reading all your posts and most likely seeking additional advice.
Interesting that Honda Prelude injector parts will fit.
Thanks much.

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Rednaxs60
Posts: 2347
Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2015 12:44 pm
Location: Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Motorcycle: 1985 GL1200 LTD
1995 GL1500 SE CDN Edition
2012 Suzuki DL1000 VStrom
2008 GL1800 (sold)
Ontario 1985 GL1200 LTD (sold)

Re: 1985 GL1200 LE.....To Buy or Not To Buy

Post by Rednaxs60 »

Dwight - you're welcome. My insight comes from a lot of research, reading and help from these forums.

If you get the bike, check the charging system then make a decision. I did not have to modify the lower fairings, I did use a heat gun to gently make it fit around the alternator. If you did not know that I had done this, you would not be able to tell.

I did remove the engine because I was going to replace the stator; however, after a fashion and some time to reflect I did the alt mod. I installed a 50 amp alternator that gives me more than enough power for whatever I want to do. You do have to modify the upper left fairing support bracket to accommodate the upper alternator support bracket, and a few other items.

When I had the engine out I also refurbished the clutch because the PO had towed a trailer and the clutch plates had been overheated. I also replaced the starter clutch parts as well.

Cheers
"When you write the story of your life, don't let anyone else hold the pen"

Ernest

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Rusty Bike
Posts: 376
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Location: New castle, PA
Motorcycle: 86 GL1200 SEi, 98 Valkyrie Std, 78 Yamaha XS750SE, 86 Honda XL125, 4.5 HP belt drive Minibike my dad built, foot clutch!

Re: 1985 GL1200 LE.....To Buy or Not To Buy

Post by Rusty Bike »

Well, I have the 86 SEi, paid 1600. Same bike as the LTD. I put over a grand in it this past summer and got most stuff straightened out. Did my own work. My charging system is strong. Engine is good with 46,000 miles. Beautiful bike. Runs good but not quite right, rides nice.

Now for the bad: You can not get most OEM parts, OEM air and fuel filters are gone! Even the 15" rear tire is getting rare. Forget about electronics and CFI parts, only used stuff is available and that is a crap shoot at best. The early FI system is fussy and NOBODY will work on it. When you take the hood off this thing it looks like the space shuttle guts! Most folks scrap the now unreliable air ride system. Some of the soft parts (seals) are still available. Honda dumped these FI bikes for a reason, they ran carbs for a long time afterwords..............If you get one of these, you had better be a GOOD mechanic.

I have been lucky so far, everything is working except the four way flashers. I'm thinking seriously about selling mine due to the above. I've been looking at Valkrie, VTX and CTX. I'll be able to get parts for the last two longer then I'll ride at 61. JMO of corse.

There are a bunch of good guys on here that will help out with info if they can. That is a plus...good luck.

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roadwanderer2
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Location: Tucson Arizona
Motorcycle: previously owned 83 GL1100A aspencade traded for a motorhome, 1981 honda GL500i silverwing interstate, 1974 yamaha xs400, 1974 Honda cb450 twin cam, 1983 honda vt30, 1982 honda 700 shadow, 1972 cb750four, and my first bike, a brand new 1982 honda CM400e. now own-1986 GL1200 aspencade SEi
Contact:

Re: 1985 GL1200 LE.....To Buy or Not To Buy

Post by roadwanderer2 »

i too have the 86 SEi, and i can tell you from experience that removing the engine IS a PITA. i had to remove mine to do the starter clutch, and it wasn't an easy job to do, but, when the bike is running it IS a great machine. the throttle response is great. for a 33 year old bike it is wicked fast. in my opinion these fuel injected bikes are much quicker than the normally carbed bikes. are they temperamental?, yes they are. if you dont have any service manuals for it i suggest you invest in them. they are invaluable to have.

if your stator isn't working properly, i would recommend doing the "poor boy" conversion rather than having to pull the motor, but, if you need to do the starter clutch, you have to pull the motor also, so while you're doing the starter clutch you can then replace the stator as well, or you can go onto ebay and find a kit between 500-700 dollars. there is an article on how to install it with pictures and diagrams in the "how-to" section on this site. very informative and it should help you step by step to get it installed on your bike.

IF by chance you need to find a great electrical mechanic and IF your willing to go the distance, (about 619 miles from where you live), i know of one, in fact, i've brought my bike to him already and am bringing it back to him again over this weekend. he is an electrical genius. he is a retired ASE master electrician that used to wire up motorhomes and other buildings. very good, a bit pricey, but well worth it.

good luck with your rebuild and hope you get her up and running again.

stuart.

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paneled
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Location: kansas city mo
Motorcycle: 1986 Goldwing 1200 aspencade sei

Re: 1985 GL1200 LE.....To Buy or Not To Buy

Post by paneled »

I have owned an 86 sei for going on two years, put a poor boy kit on mine and
have not regretted it at all, the mods needed to make it work are minimal and
not easily detected by the untrained eye, the fresh air vent on the left side is
removed and not used, besides that you can`t tell its in there. I have ridden mine
in the cold weather just above freezing as well as hot sunny days and you can`t tell
any difference it the way it starts and runs. I have never let it sit for more than
2 weeks without riding it at least one day since I have owned it. (thanks to the nice weather)
this winter so far it has been 2 weeks since I have ridden it, but always starts right up.
I own several older model vehicles, 54 chevy panel, 64 chevy van, and a 69 chevy van
all of which are fuel injected, carbs belong on your lawn mower and weed eater.
86 aspy sei
54 chevy panel truck
68 chevy van
69 chevy van
64 chevy van

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roadwanderer2
Posts: 4483
Joined: Thu Aug 08, 2013 4:03 am
Location: Tucson Arizona
Motorcycle: previously owned 83 GL1100A aspencade traded for a motorhome, 1981 honda GL500i silverwing interstate, 1974 yamaha xs400, 1974 Honda cb450 twin cam, 1983 honda vt30, 1982 honda 700 shadow, 1972 cb750four, and my first bike, a brand new 1982 honda CM400e. now own-1986 GL1200 aspencade SEi
Contact:

Re: 1985 GL1200 LE.....To Buy or Not To Buy

Post by roadwanderer2 »

paneled wrote: carbs belong on your lawn mower and weed eater.
LOL, love this sentence on your posting paneled.

stuart.

dwight007fchr
Posts: 439
Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2010 9:43 pm
Location: Culpeper, Va
Motorcycle: 1983 1100 Goldwing Interstate

Re: 1985 GL1200 LE.....To Buy or Not To Buy

Post by dwight007fchr »

Rednax60.....Sorry for the late reply here....I did not get an email notice that anyone replied. Thanks for more input regarding making the mod for the Poor Man's alt. Good to hear it can be done w/o tearing up the appearance of the bike. Im still considering buying the bike, but realize that it involves alot of risk about getting parts and getting her running right. Regardless, its still a beauty of a bike......maybe she will just be "eye candy" for my garage.
Haaaa haaaaa.

dwight007fchr
Posts: 439
Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2010 9:43 pm
Location: Culpeper, Va
Motorcycle: 1983 1100 Goldwing Interstate

Re: 1985 GL1200 LE.....To Buy or Not To Buy

Post by dwight007fchr »

Rusty Bike......You make a strong case for the 85 being hung up on wires from my garage ceiling and just being "eye candy" for the man-cave. Even with the potential issues, its a hard bike not to buy.

dwight007fchr
Posts: 439
Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2010 9:43 pm
Location: Culpeper, Va
Motorcycle: 1983 1100 Goldwing Interstate

Re: 1985 GL1200 LE.....To Buy or Not To Buy

Post by dwight007fchr »

PanelRed......Thanks man. Sounds like the poor mans alt. might just be the way to go, and I would not have to have the eye candy just hanging up by strings from the cieling.

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Rusty Bike
Posts: 376
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Location: New castle, PA
Motorcycle: 86 GL1200 SEi, 98 Valkyrie Std, 78 Yamaha XS750SE, 86 Honda XL125, 4.5 HP belt drive Minibike my dad built, foot clutch!

Re: 1985 GL1200 LE.....To Buy or Not To Buy

Post by Rusty Bike »

Dwight...They are beautiful bikes! I just sit and stare at my SEi, with a beer of corse! Don''t get me wrong, a well maintained example will still give may miles of pleasure. If you are a good mechanic/fabricator, willing to dig for parts, and willing to adapt available parts to the application, you may be alright. I bought my SEi this past Feb. I was able to find everything that I needed. Right now it is reliable and running fairly well. I just bought a Valkyrie and my plan is to sell the SEi but who knows, I may runum both... ;)

As for the Poor Boy, I feel that mod is definitely the way to go. We only live once...Good luck...Rusty

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Rednaxs60
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Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2015 12:44 pm
Location: Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Motorcycle: 1985 GL1200 LTD
1995 GL1500 SE CDN Edition
2012 Suzuki DL1000 VStrom
2008 GL1800 (sold)
Ontario 1985 GL1200 LTD (sold)

Re: 1985 GL1200 LE.....To Buy or Not To Buy

Post by Rednaxs60 »

Dwight - Rusty Bike:

Agree with Rusty Bike in his assertion that these bikes are fantastic when operating well, and maintenance is down to a dull roar. I have found you do need to be your own mechanic, electrical specialist and jack-of-all-trades. I have bought a second LTD for troubleshooting and spare parts if necessary. The biggest difference between the 1200s, especially the FI models, is the availability of electrical/electronic parts.

I do look at and bookmark threads that I may need in the future to keep my '85 operating. My second LTD will also let me address issues then do an out and in to minimizing downtime.

The 1500s will be similar to the 1200s and earlier models in the not so near future as well considering the 1800s have been out since 2001. Some of the parts are no longer being made, but maybe found as new old stock (NOS) such as the u-joint. It won't be that much longer when people will only be looking at 1800s as the GW of choice, mostly because of parts availability and shops still work on them.

Having mentioned all this, I still think a well maintained older bike is no more of a risk when touring than a newer bike. Keeping up on the maintenance and addressing issues before the issue becomes a problem is the key in my opinion. An example of this is starters. These do eventually start to drag and not perform as when new. Taking apart, a good cleaning, new brushes and such, and potential failure averted. Issues regarding electronics will always be a good today, not tomorrow issue, then finding the issue is the challenge.

I have noticed that issues regarding the 1500s are showing up more frequently, as are those with 1800s.

I have friends who need to have the newer bikes as they do not want to work on their bikes. It's all about what you want to do and are willing to do. I like working on the 1200, a great deal of satisfaction is had knowing that, barring catastrophic failure or something unforeseen, it starts and rides with the best.

Will be seeing how it tours next year. My better half enjoys riding with me and is not worried about reliability issues.

Enough pontificating. Enjoy your bike(s).

Cheers
"When you write the story of your life, don't let anyone else hold the pen"

Ernest

dwight007fchr
Posts: 439
Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2010 9:43 pm
Location: Culpeper, Va
Motorcycle: 1983 1100 Goldwing Interstate

Re: 1985 GL1200 LE.....To Buy or Not To Buy

Post by dwight007fchr »

Rednax......I agree with you about the maintenance. The old book "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" was required reading way back when, and maybe partly as a result, I enjoy the chanllenge of working on my bikes, tearing into them, finding the problem, and figuring the best way to fix it. Nope, its not always easy for sure, but to be able to ride the bike down roads and know exactly what all the various components are doing, and to be able to hear a new strange sound and begin to make dianostic evaluations in my head as Im riding....kinda enjoyable, like a doctor riding on his patient's back.......hoping the patient isnt going into cardiac arrest or something. I would never be the type to just ride and then dump off the bike with a mechanic at a shop.......i just can afford that, and I would never learn anything.

Im still pondering the 85.....I made an offer, but have not heard back.

See ya.



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