Houston we have a problem


Information and questions on GL1500 Goldwings (1988-2000)
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Aussie81Interstate
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Houston we have a problem

Post by Aussie81Interstate » Wed Jan 16, 2019 4:12 am



Hi Guys,

Major dilemna and lots of head scratching for the last hour or so.

Coming up my driveway on the Valkyrie this afternoon – the bike just quit – didn’t stall – just stopped.

I put the bike in neutral – hit the starter button and just got – “click”.
Put the sidestand down then up – tried again - click
Turned bike off and on – tried again - click
Hit the kill switch to off then on – tried again – click

Did all of the above a few times – then it started and was making some weird sound – could not quite hear with my helmet on - but a bit of a rattle –
Rode it to its parking spot – and it seemed to be idling fine and running on all six cylinders – gave it a few gentle twists of the throttle – any noise had gone away.

Scratched my head - and not sure what has happened.

After dinner – thought I better go check again see if things were ok

Bike on side stand in neutral on – tried again – click

So thought it must be a stuck solenoid?

Seat and side covers off – measured battery voltage – and it was showing about 12.3 but steady – not jumping about anywhere indicating a failed cell.
Checked ALL the fuses for continuity and voltage – checked the main 30amp fuse - all good – no problems – getting 12v either side,
Checked the MAIN FUSE – and again 12 volts and continuity.

Same issue – tried again – click. The solenoid is definitely getting power and is clicking – I am charging up the battery tonight – just wondering if the battery does not have enough grunt – but when I put the voltmeter across it when starting there is no appreciable drop when I hit the starter button?
– so what do you think has happened?? Any help gladly appreciated

Thanks in advance…

Cheers



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DenverWinger
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Re: Houston we have a problem

Post by DenverWinger » Wed Jan 16, 2019 8:09 am

Did you check BOTH solenoids? I don't have any Valk schematics but I would assume that like the Wing it has two....
♫ 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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virgilmobile
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Re: Houston we have a problem

Post by virgilmobile » Wed Jan 16, 2019 9:13 am

I suspect a loose or corroded connection at the battery and a questionable alternator(brushes).
This would explain the sudden death of the bike.At a idle,the alternator may not have had enough power to run the bike and with a bad connection at the battery,it wouldn't be able to sustain the power demand needed to idle it.

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Aussie81Interstate
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Re: Houston we have a problem

Post by Aussie81Interstate » Wed Jan 16, 2019 4:12 pm

Thanks for the responses,

I will take some photos - but the battery connections are good - no corrosion, not sure on the alternator - but I'm possibly leaning towards a bad battery, as being one issue.

I let the bike sit overnight - and it started fine this morning - I had put the seat back on last night so I'll take the battery out tonight for a charge up and measure the voltage, if the bike starts before I remove the battery I'll check the voltage from the alternator, see if I can work it out.

But at least I now have my Turbo available to be ridden to work... so I'm still happy - but it is extremely hot here - over 40 degrees celcius in the last 3 days - here I am sitting at work in air conditioned comfort and my polo shirt is wringing wet -

cheers

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MikeB
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Re: Houston we have a problem

Post by MikeB » Wed Jan 16, 2019 10:49 pm

You really don't have to take the battery out to charge it unless you want to. But, once it is charged and installed, check the voltage at the battery once it is charged with the ignition off. Check again with the ignition on while starting the engine. Then check the voltage at the battery while the engine is running. This should give you a fair idea what condition the battery is in and how well the alternator is charging.

It has been my experience that the battery should be 12.75 volts after a full charge and has been disconnected from a charger for about 8 to 10 hours.
With the a good battery installed and the ignition off, the voltage should not be below 12.6 volts.
With the ignition on and the starter turning to start the bike, the voltage should not drop below 11.0 volts.
After the engine is running, the alternator should be maintaining the voltage at the battery about about 13.9 - 14.5 volts.

All measurements are taken at the battery posts.
MikeB
Tacoma, WA, USA

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Aussie81Interstate
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Re: Houston we have a problem

Post by Aussie81Interstate » Thu Jan 17, 2019 2:05 am

Thanks MikeB,

Came home this afternoon, took the seat off and measured the battery voltage - 12.22V with ignition off. Ignition on it dropped to 11.85V - hit the start button - it dropped to low 9's high 8's in voltage - so pretty well confirmed the battery has seen better days. It did crank for about 4 seconds. Tried a second start - click click click.....

Confirmed diagnosis...

Off to ebay to get a gel battery... rang around for some prices today anyway - cheapest was Motobatt at $142 from battery world.. so off to ebay lol..

No corrosion on battery posts at all - but giving it a charge off the bike anyway to see what it will take overnight then let it sit tomorrow and install again Friday night - take some more measurements then, but pretty sure I am getting a new battery.

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MikeB
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Re: Houston we have a problem

Post by MikeB » Thu Jan 17, 2019 2:26 am

A good way to test the battery is with a load tester. I have one similar to this one.


Even better is to take it to a battery shop and have them test it for you. They have the tools and the experience to determine the life of the battery.
MikeB
Tacoma, WA, USA

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Aussie81Interstate
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Re: Houston we have a problem

Post by Aussie81Interstate » Thu Jan 17, 2019 6:23 am

Yes thanks,

I used to use a load tester like that quite a few years ago - I used to sell and service mobility scooters, basically that is a big toaster element - and does work to load test and give readings.

Cheers :)

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Aussie81Interstate
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Motorcycle: 2001 GL1500F6C Valkyrie
1982 CX500 Turbo (Historic registration - finally)
1981 GL1100 Interstate (sold)
1988 GL1500 (sold)

Re: Houston we have a problem

Post by Aussie81Interstate » Fri Jan 18, 2019 8:46 pm

I charged the old battery YUASA brand and it was showing 12.2 volts which is basically flat.

Put it on a 2.5A constant charger on Thursday night and the following morning it was back to over 14V - did not take an exact measurement, turned it off Friday morning and checked this morning - battery showing 12.58V - so it was holding a charge - not sure if just a surface charge - took it to Battery World in Penrith to do a load test - and it passed with flying colours.

When I got the battery back home it was showing 12.55V so pretty reasonable. I purchased the bike in May 2017 and not sure how old the battery was at that time.

I'm going to replace it with the new one - but keep this one charged every two weeks for a few hours.

Brings me to the problem at hand - so now I need to check if the Alternator is putting out Voltage when I reinstall this battery tomorrow, and if it isn't putting out the adequate voltage - then it might be an alternator replacement problem. Either way the bike gets used usually 5 days per week - but the run to and from work would be a total of 10km or so - thinking it could be the battery just run down from short runs all the time ??

Any thoughts guys ??

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Aussie81Interstate
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1982 CX500 Turbo (Historic registration - finally)
1981 GL1100 Interstate (sold)
1988 GL1500 (sold)

Re: Houston we have a problem

Post by Aussie81Interstate » Fri Jan 18, 2019 11:52 pm

Just spent some time cleaning up some electrical connections,

Even though they look cleanish - when you give them a good scrub with some emery paper they come up a lot shinier.

Cleaned up the solenoid contacts, solenoid connector and 30amp blade fuse connections, also cleaned up the 55A main fuse and all connections on that plus the battery cabling terminals. Gave them a spray of lanoshield - and now I am sure there are good clean connections when I bolt the battery back in.

Trying to find the bikes 3 wire alternator connector on the Valkyrie - anyone point me to it - I must be blind - I could not find it... as I would like to check the condition of that connection and clean that also if required (I know I will clean it anyway)..

cheers

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Aussie81Interstate
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1982 CX500 Turbo (Historic registration - finally)
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1988 GL1500 (sold)

Re: Houston we have a problem

Post by Aussie81Interstate » Sat Jan 19, 2019 9:40 pm

Well I think not good news, but will be needing some brains to work this out.

Put the fully charged battery back in the bike - everything hooked up - turn the key on - press the start button and get "click" from the starter solenoid.

Measured voltage at the small trigger wire - it was over 12volts - and voltage is operating through the solenoid on both sides.

My son suggested giving the starter motor a love tap with a BFH, and the bloody thing turned over...took a little bit to start - but when it fired it was ok - battery showing 14 plus volts at anything above idle - so alternator is fine - revved up to 3000 rpm - showed about 14.3-14.4. Settling at idle about 800-900 rpm it shows 13.5V.

So alternator crossed off list.

Turned the bike off - tried to start it again - just click AGAIN.

I'm leaning a bit towards a bad earth on the body somewhere- or a bad start motor - as we tapped the butt end of the starter motor and each time it spun over.. after a few goes at this the starter motor seemed to get sluggish in turning..

Wondering if a faulty starter motor would cause this problem...

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DenverWinger
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Re: Houston we have a problem

Post by DenverWinger » Sat Jan 19, 2019 10:14 pm

Sounds like you nailed it.

Last test to confirm: When it's just going "click" measure volts right at the starter connection and see if you have voltage there with the starter button pressed.

I haven't been inside a 1500 starter yet, but have repaired GL1100 and other bike starters (and automotive ones), there's not much to go wrong inside, usually a good cleanup, lube in the bearings and a fresh set of brushes will fix them, your brushes are probably down to nubs if whacking the starter will get it to go a little bit.... And with bad brushes the starters will usually start drawing a TON of current if they are working at all...
♫ 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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Aussie81Interstate
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1988 GL1500 (sold)

Re: Houston we have a problem

Post by Aussie81Interstate » Sat Jan 19, 2019 10:26 pm

Might be able to confirm the process a bit later - as I'm sitting inside in the air con - temperature is a bit too hot to spend in the sun while I get sweaty and sunburnt lol

Hopefully it might be just worn brushes and nothing broken - but will be checking the main earth and the direct 12v to the starter motor post..

Thanks for your response.. :)

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MikeB
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Re: Houston we have a problem

Post by MikeB » Sat Jan 19, 2019 11:50 pm

Sounds like a bad starter to me as well. A bad earth would not magically go away when you tapped on a starter that is mounted solidly to the engine.
MikeB
Tacoma, WA, USA

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Aussie81Interstate
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Re: Houston we have a problem

Post by Aussie81Interstate » Sun Jan 20, 2019 12:06 am

Well,

I ran a battery cable directly to the starter motor post (just held it on the post), then put the other end direct on the Positive Battery post, and the starter motor spun up perfectly and as quick as anything.

Where does that leave me now ???

Bad Earth from the battery side? Bad earth from the solenoid ?? Bad contact from starter solenoid to starter motor post ? Bad solenoid?

I'm getting a headache..

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MikeB
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Re: Houston we have a problem

Post by MikeB » Sun Jan 20, 2019 12:16 am

Bad starter solenoid that is supposed to be applying power to the starter. There are two solenoids, A and B. I've not had to troubleshoot such a problem in the past but there are those that have here. I'm sure the answer is in one or more threads on this board. Just have to do a search....
I have a feeling that tapping on the starter is also jarring the solenoid and making for better power transfer.
MikeB
Tacoma, WA, USA

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MikeB
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Re: Houston we have a problem

Post by MikeB » Sun Jan 20, 2019 1:42 am

Battery Power is fed to Starter Relay A contacts.
When Starter Relay A energizes, it will energize Starter Relay B through a 5 amp fuse.
When that power gets to Starter Relay B through the fuse, it energizes and delivers battery power to the starter through its contacts.

One of those relays, A or B, may be what is causing the problem. You need to determine which it is.


MikeB
Tacoma, WA, USA

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Aussie81Interstate
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Re: Houston we have a problem

Post by Aussie81Interstate » Sun Jan 20, 2019 2:27 am

Hi MikeB,

I have a Valkyrie and not sure if it has the same wiring diagram as it does not have a reverse function.

I have tracked down the Valkyrie PDF for the particular page - and it seems to point to a bad solenoid..see if I can post it here..apparently cannot drop a pdf as an attachment.

Just for interest I went out and ran my test light over the solenoid - main fuse, both sides of solenoid - turned the key pressed the button - never looked like struggling - spun up nice and fast and started easily.

Did that 5 or 6 times- so I'm really scratching my head now... I'll try and diagnose the solenoid a bit further and find the correct wiring diagram to see if it has 2 solenoids or not..



Thank you

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MikeB
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Re: Houston we have a problem

Post by MikeB » Sun Jan 20, 2019 2:40 am

Oops.. Missed that bit of information. However, the starter solenoid would still be suspect.
MikeB
Tacoma, WA, USA

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Aussie81Interstate
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Re: Houston we have a problem

Post by Aussie81Interstate » Sun Jan 20, 2019 3:40 am

Yes I agree,

It could be a problem - so some further testing is required.. I'm going to ride it to work and back fingers crossed tomorrow..

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MikeB
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Re: Houston we have a problem

Post by MikeB » Sun Jan 20, 2019 3:49 am

Aussie81Interstate wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 3:40 am
Yes I agree,

It could be a problem - so some further testing is required.. I'm going to ride it to work and back fingers crossed tomorrow..
I wish you good luck.
MikeB
Tacoma, WA, USA

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AZgl1800
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Re: Houston we have a problem

Post by AZgl1800 » Sun Jan 20, 2019 11:20 am

when you tapped on the Starter's case, you may well have dislodged some carbon dust and the brushes then made contact.

it would do well, to open the starter up and clean out the brush holders and see if the brushes are long enough for service.

For test purposes, clip the Voltmeter lead to the Starter's + terminal, press the Start button.

IF, you see full battery voltage, but the starter does not run, you have eliminated all of the relays, it is the starter brushes that are dirty.
~John

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Aussie81Interstate
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Re: Houston we have a problem

Post by Aussie81Interstate » Mon Apr 08, 2019 5:16 pm

The bike has failed me twice in the last two weeks - so I could not get the bike to start again - just "clicking" from the solenoid.

Bit the bullet,

Valkyrie has been delivered up to my mechanics in Katoomba to diagnose the non-starting issue. I managed to buy a set of starter motor brushes last week - one set left in Australia from Nowra motorcycles. Paid and posted for $45.00. Better than waiting anywhere up to 4 weeks to come from Japan.

Despite some vigorous swearing at the bike (now called THE BIOTCH), it has not responded to my stern lectures and refused to even acknowledge my presence with even a hint of a whir or flutter - despite numerous depressing of the starter button.

Ignition off - so there - I even left the bike cover off - cop that.

Mechanic called said he would diagnose on Monday and let me know what he discovers.

Hoping for a simple answer - but tending towards something which may hurt my hip pocket..

On the brighter side - I am riding the Turbo every day to and from work - and am getting more used to riding it - and selecting the proper gear for the speed I am running - don't seem to get into 5th gear a lot doodling around town, and all roundabouts are definitely 2nd gear - in 3rd the bike tends to shudder a fair bit coming out of the roundabouts and throttling up. It is pleasurable to ride and it is getting smoother the more you get used to when the power is coming on. Makes it a fun ride. 2angel

In the mornings it seems to have a few small issues of stumbles when throttling up in 2nd gear (first change of the morning) - I think because it is not even getting warm - as per the temp gauge by the time I am parking the bike. Even letting it warm up a few minutes it does the same thing. After riding for a few minutes it is all fine - so possibly a sticky injector methinks. Apart from that I love it.

Cheers guys - looks like a great weekend to go for a ride.

Charlie

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Aussie81Interstate
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Motorcycle: 2001 GL1500F6C Valkyrie
1982 CX500 Turbo (Historic registration - finally)
1981 GL1100 Interstate (sold)
1988 GL1500 (sold)

Re: Houston we have a problem

Post by Aussie81Interstate » Thu Apr 11, 2019 4:48 pm

Mechanic called on Monday afternoon,

Start motor removed and not in a good state - brushes worn badly and commutator burnt from arcing of some sort. I don't think he took any pictures but has the brushes to show how bad they were.

Apparently it has cleaned up quite well and should more than likely last for the balance of time I own the bike.

Good to know the starter has lasted 18 years - not a bad performance and not knowing how many times the bike has been started - probably quite a few thousand times - so a good run.

Cheers guys - back to riding the moving sofa next week.. lol lmao

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Aussie81Interstate
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Motorcycle: 2001 GL1500F6C Valkyrie
1982 CX500 Turbo (Historic registration - finally)
1981 GL1100 Interstate (sold)
1988 GL1500 (sold)

Re: Houston we have a problem

Post by Aussie81Interstate » Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:45 am

Now I know why the Valkyrie starter motor was not happy.






But it is now :)



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