intermittent charging


Information and questions on GL1500 Goldwings (1988-2000)
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bcarnold
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2010 12:40 am
Location: Los Angeles, Ca
Motorcycle: 1992 GL1500A Aspencade

intermittent charging

Post by bcarnold »



I have a 92' Aspencade with 145K on the clock, so it's almost broken in.

I recently started to have a charging problem that I hope someone can help with.
A week ago the bike started up with no problems, I rode about a 3/4 mile stopped and shut it off. I tried to start it and it was a no go. The volt meter showed about 8.8 volts. I waited for AAA for a jumpstart which was about an hour away, after about 45 minutes the battery had enough of a surface change to start the bike. I rode it home and checked the voltmeter along the way and it still showed 8.8 volts. I got home and let the bike idle. The voltage dropped a few volts, then I felt a vibration and heard a slight rumble and saw that the voltage started to climb to normal. I put the bike on a trickle charger and brought it up to full charge before I checked the battery and alternator.

A few days later I took it for a ride to check the alternator, as I rode I checked the voltage and saw that it read a constant 10.8 volts either with the engine idling or at 3,000 RPM. Just a constant 10.8 volts. I continued riding and saw the voltage start to drop a few tens of a volt.
I headed back home. On the way home I again noticed a vibration and heard a slight rumble. I checked the voltmeter and saw that the voltage started to return to a normal 13-14 volts

The voltmeter was originally wired to the aux terminals on the bikes fuse panel on the left side, the second time I wired it to a aux fuse block that I installed on the side of the battery.
The only changes to the electrical system was done a few years ago and was the aux fuse panel on the battery side, LED saddle bag lights and LED aux driving lights

I'm puzzled with this, If it's the alternator, wouldn't it be either good or bad.

Any help is greatly appreciated.

Best Regards
Bob


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MikeB
Posts: 3525
Joined: Fri Dec 04, 2009 12:54 pm
Location: Tacoma, WA
Motorcycle: 1998 - GL1500 Aspencade
186K Miles
2017 - GL1800 Audio Comfort
20K Miles
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Re: intermittent charging

Post by MikeB »

I'd hazard a guess that it is the Alternator. After a period of a few years the brushes wear and they get shorter. As they wear, carbon has a tendency to build up in the brush chutes and the springs on the brushes can not push them against the commutator tight enough.

If it were me, I'd remove the alternator and at least inspect the brushes. Replacing them may be a good idea. You could try blowing out the alternator and hope it helps but I think it is inevitable that the brushes will need to be replaced at some point.
MikeB
1998 - GL1500 w/184,500 miles ~ 2017 - GL1800 w/13000 miles
USAF Avionics Communications Tech - 1968 - 1986 / Flight Engineer C-130E - C-141B - 1986 - 1992. Retired
Industrial Maintenance Tech - 1992 - 2014
Retired in Tacoma, WA
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WingAdmin
Site Admin
Posts: 22292
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 4:16 pm
Location: Strongsville, OH
Motorcycle: 2000 GL1500 SE
1982 GL1100A Aspencade (sold)
1989 PC800 (sold)
1998 XV250 Virago (sold)
2012 Suzuki Burgman 400 (wife's!)
2007 Aspen Sentry Trailer

Re: intermittent charging

Post by WingAdmin »

Agree. The fact that you're hearing/feeling something physical when it decides to start working really points to alternator brushes.
bcarnold
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2010 12:40 am
Location: Los Angeles, Ca
Motorcycle: 1992 GL1500A Aspencade

Re: intermittent charging

Post by bcarnold »

Gents, Sorry for the late reply, it has been a busy week and your suggestion was spot-on. The brushes were sticking. A little contact cleaner released the brushes.
I am waiting for new dampers before I reinstall the alternator.

Thanks for your help


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