Should I buy an '85 Limited Edition or '86 SE-i Fuel Injected GL1200 Goldwing

Information and questions on GL1200 Goldwings (1984-1987)
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Should I buy an '85 Limited Edition or '86 SE-i Fuel Injected GL1200 Goldwing

Post by Rednaxs60 »

Find this as a topic every now and then. Most people shy away from these 2 bikes specifically because of the fuel injection, and parts availability for this system. There are quite a few of these models out there on the road and giving good service, and this should give an indication that these two bikes are viable options for owning an older GW.

I have found that up here in Canada these bikes tend to be listed for sale at a premium if there are low Kms (miles) although I have seen some for a good price. When you compare these two bikes to later model GWs such as the 1500 and even the 1800, the asking prices can tend to be expensive for a 33/34 year old bike.

Another aspect of owning these bikes, and bikes of this vintage, is that there is nothing inexpensive in bringing one of these bikes back to almost new condition, nor making them roadworthy and safe after 33/34 years. This, of course, is also dependent on how it is done, doing the work/maintenance yourself, or having someone else do it.

Another issue that has to be contended with is doing the maintenance/work on these bikes. Most shops will not take the work on because of parts availability, not being familiar with these older bikes, and not wanting to do time/materials work that could result in a huge bill. If you need a shop to do the work for you, be selective and make sure that you are getting good value for your dollar.

So with this in mind, what have I found out from owning my '85 LTD for almost 2 years. With the exception of the fuel injection, these 2 bikes require the same type of maintenance and parts as the other carburetor models. These 2 bikes have the same electrical issues such as stator wiring, and of course, personal electrical additions.

Regardless of the older/used bike a person will buy, there will always be maintenance/work issues that will need to be addressed. In my opinion, the best mindset for buying/owning one of these older GWs is that you have a budget and stick to it, or you intend to keep the bike for a while. I do not believe that flipping a 33/34 year old bike is cost effective.

What is specific to the '85 LTD and '86 SE-i is the CFI (computerized fuel injection) system. This is a bit more involved than the carburetor models, but should not be a deterrent to owning one of these.

There are a lot of threads on the various forums regarding the carburetor models and the issues associated with these other models, and quite a few are about carburetor issues.

So should you buy/own one of these fuel injected models. Of course you should. I have a preference for fuel injection over carburetor models. I have had a significant learning curve with my bike, but nothing to date has been insurmountable. The fuel injection system on these bikes was state of the art in the day, but not the first bikes by Honda to have fuel injection. The CX500-650 turbo bikes a few years before the '85/'86 models had fuel injection and there is a good following and ownership out there regarding these bikes. There is a CX500-650 forum that is very interesting and has a lot of good product and technical information that is applicable to the '85/'86 fuel injected GWs.

I have found as have others, replacement parts for the high pressure fuel pump, injectors, Ns (crankshaft) sensor, PB (MAP) sensors, Gr/Gl (camshaft) sensors, and fuel filter. The relays are a bit more challenging, but are the same or similar to the carburetor models so there is an issue with supply for these other bikes as well.

The ECU is a challenge unto itself. Most issues are with sensors and relays and there have been few instances where the ECU has failed. I am a firm believer that an ECU sent to an appropriate ECU repair shop can be fixed. Finding a shop may be an issue, but the repair once a shop is found should not be.

The ECU also assists the owner/mechanic in troubleshooting the CFI system. Error codes are indicated and need to be addressed in the order presented.

Once these 2 bikes are up to a standard that you as the owner expects, they are a great ride. A 1200 is not a small bike by any standard, and is a respectable ride in any circle.

I have the bike at a maintenance/work state that will allow me to ride with a considerable amount of confidence. I have taken mine on two tours this year. First tour around BC was two up with the better half and the bike performed well. The second tour was with my HD friends and again the bike worked well. I have had some issues, but have solved each one. Even newer and new bikes have issues.

There is no shortcut to owning one of these bikes, or other bikes of similar vintage. There is; however, a lot of satisfaction that can be had from buying one of these fuel injected models, doing the maintenance/work and then riding. Each one tends to gain a personality, and the personality of the owner.

Thought I'd put my thoughts out there. I thoroughly enjoy riding my '85 LTD. It has also been endorsed by the better half as the preferred ride when we go out. She prefers the 1200 GW over the 1800 GW, good endorsement for the 1200.

Safe riding.


"When you write the story of your life, don't let anyone else hold the pen"
"My '85 FI model is not a project bike, it's my retirement career"
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Re: Should I buy an '85 Limited Edition or '86 SE-i Fuel Injected GL1200 Goldwing

Post by Mountain rider »

Plus 1 for your opinions of these bikes. I have the other bike you discussed, the 1986 Aspencade SEi. It's a beautiful bike that never fails to draw compliments where ever we go. Aside from replacing all the fluids, adding a new AGM battery, reupholstering the seat, and a much needed set of tires, all of which I consider normal wear and tear items, it's been reasonably trouble free. My biggest hurdle has been working toward a solution for a high speed wiggle, which changing to 15 weight Belray fork oil seems to have corrected.

I love the injected bikes! While others are rebuilding carburetors, I run either Marvel Mystery Oil or Seafoam through the fuel system. Performance has increased steadily and I haven't noticed the slightest bobble in throttle response.

We actually plan on buying an 1800 when we retire in a couple years, and originally looked at selling the Aspy to help finance that venture. The problem is every time we replace something or repair something, she only gets better, causing us to consider keeping her as a backup to the 1800. Hard to let great things go. Around here, the prices aren't bad, making these a real bonus. I paid $1500 for my 86 Aspy SEi, and saw an LTD listed for about $1800. If you have the patience and are willing to stick with it, they are hard to beat.

Stay safe and keep the shiny side up.
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Re: Should I buy an '85 Limited Edition or '86 SE-i Fuel Injected GL1200 Goldwing

Post by AZgl1800 »

You did a very good write up on the FI models.

I owned an '86SEi and loved it, both the appearance which I feel really looks better than any other Goldwing out there, including my 1800.

the only thing wrong with mine, was at the very end of us keeping it, the computer began to give some minor problems... the bike always started up like it should, and runs like a spring kitten scared by a gator. :)

I specifically chose to replace my 1500 with an 1800 because it is FI... I don't want anymore carburetors and their issues when setting up w/o being ridden.

And, there is another reason I did not go back to an 86SEi, I am too old to do my own work anymore, after my accident in '08, I just don't have the patience to start a project and then get it finished.... I end up with parts everywhere, and it is not done. :( ... ent?sort=3

2009 Piaggio MP3 250cc
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