New Alternator needed (89 GL1500) - OEM or Compufire?


Information and questions on GL1500 Goldwings (1988-2000)
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Sequencer
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New Alternator needed (89 GL1500) - OEM or Compufire?

Post by Sequencer »



Hi there,
Ok - I have a brand new battery on my 89 GL1500. Running the bike it seems there is no extra voltage across the battery - so I'm assuming this means I need a new alternator:

There's not a fuse specific to the alternator is there that might have it not charging/reaching the battery?

Anyhow, assuming a new alternator is needed, my inclination is to go with a Honda OEM unit.

The only extra load I have is heated handgrips (aftermarket purchase, but they seem to work great) .... I assume the standard Honda OEM alternator can cope with this added load, and I don't need to figure out a higher power solution like Compufire?

Cheers

George.


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MikeB
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Re: New Alternator needed (89 GL1500) - OEM or Compufire?

Post by MikeB »

Sequencer wrote: Fri Apr 26, 2024 12:41 pm Hi there,
Ok - I have a brand new battery on my 89 GL1500. Running the bike it seems there is no extra voltage across the battery - so I'm assuming this means I need a new alternator:

There's not a fuse specific to the alternator is there that might have it not charging/reaching the battery?

Anyhow, assuming a new alternator is needed, my inclination is to go with a Honda OEM unit.

The only extra load I have is heated handgrips (aftermarket purchase, but they seem to work great) .... I assume the standard Honda OEM alternator can cope with this added load, and I don't need to figure out a higher power solution like Compufire?

Cheers

George.
An OEM alternator will absorb the load of the heated grips easily. Most heated grips only consume about an amp and a half.

When you say "seems there is no extra voltage across the battery" do you mean the voltage reading is around 12 volts? With an good operating alternator and the engine running above 1500 RPM, you should have well over 13 volts at the battery. I routinely see 13.8 to 14.1 volts.
MikeB
1998 - GL1500 w/195,500 miles ~ 2017 - GL1800 w/32,000 miles
USAF Avionics Communications Tech - 1968 - 1986 / Flight Engineer C-130E - C-141B - 1986 - 1992. Retired
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Sequencer
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Re: New Alternator needed (89 GL1500) - OEM or Compufire?

Post by Sequencer »

>> do you mean the voltage reading is around 12 volts?

Yes, exactly - I rev the bike but don't see any change in the voltage across the battery, it sticks at about 12.5 volts.

Gotcha on the heated grips - not a big load.

Thanks
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Rambozo
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Re: New Alternator needed (89 GL1500) - OEM or Compufire?

Post by Rambozo »

Check the dogbone fuse. Either use a meter or remove it to inspect as they often get hairline cracks that are almost invisible.
Also check that the exciter wire on the alternator has switched battery power. I believe it's Blk/Grn but it might be different on an 89.
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Snowmoer
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Re: New Alternator needed (89 GL1500) - OEM or Compufire?

Post by Snowmoer »

If you have an alternator shop around, take your original there and have it checked. The one on my 88 was doing the same thing as yours. The shop found that there was just dust from the contacts keeping them from moving and doing their job. They cleaned it up and checked it out. It was putting out 14V again after the cleaning. It worked great for the remaining years that I had the bike.
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John K
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Re: New Alternator needed (89 GL1500) - OEM or Compufire?

Post by John K »

20 years ago Compu-Fire was the way to go
But
Somewhere on this forum people are talking bad about them now
2 places suggested in other post are
DB Electrical
And
Rick's Motorsport Electrics

Good Luck
John K
Sequencer
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Re: New Alternator needed (89 GL1500) - OEM or Compufire?

Post by Sequencer »

Thanks for the advice

I have the Clymer as well and I see a bunch of tests in there.

I'll dig a bit deeper and report back.

I hear ya on having the alternator tested and cleaned as well - seen that advice a lot - it's done 94,000 at this point.
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offcenter
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Re: New Alternator needed (89 GL1500) - OEM or Compufire?

Post by offcenter »

One thing I can tell you is, all the alternators coming from China are crap.
I had two in a row that didn't last one summer. One died with less than 8000 miles on it.
Before you buy one, call them and ask them outright where it's made.
If they say China, hang up and find somewhere else.
George in Jersey.
99 Goldwing GL-1500 SE
76 Goldwing Gl-1000
77 Honda CT-90 "Trail 90"
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Rambozo
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Re: New Alternator needed (89 GL1500) - OEM or Compufire?

Post by Rambozo »

offcenter wrote: Sat Apr 27, 2024 6:33 pm One thing I can tell you is, all the alternators coming from China are crap.
I had two in a row that didn't last one summer. One died with less than 8000 miles on it.
Before you buy one, call them and ask them outright where it's made.
If they say China, hang up and find somewhere else.
So, what about when you call Honda and find out that a brand new Hitachi one right from them is also made in China? :cry:
And has been since the late 90s.
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Snowmoer
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Re: New Alternator needed (89 GL1500) - OEM or Compufire?

Post by Snowmoer »

Sequencer wrote: Sat Apr 27, 2024 12:06 pm
I hear ya on having the alternator tested and cleaned as well - seen that advice a lot - it's done 94,000 at this point.
Unless the copper wire winding is damaged, it can be repaired. Honda sells just the contacts. They are not that hard to replace. Or get the new contacts and take it to the alternator shop and let them do a complete rehab on it.
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Re: New Alternator needed (89 GL1500) - OEM or Compufire?

Post by newday777 »

Sequencer wrote: Sat Apr 27, 2024 12:06 pm Thanks for the advice

I have the Clymer as well and I see a bunch of tests in there.

I'll dig a bit deeper and report back.

I hear ya on having the alternator tested and cleaned as well - seen that advice a lot - it's done 94,000 at this point.
Your alternator just needs freshening up from worn brushes leaving behind dust, mixing with moisture so the brushes are probably stuck in, they probably aren't contacting the commentator. There are many posts about this. And probably a How To article(upper right corner of the main page header)on how to refresh your alternator.
Pre 1996 alts were made in Japan and are robust.
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newday777
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Motorcycle: 2008 Cabernet Red. Level 4 bought at 15,000 now 172,000

1975 CB750 K5 Planet Blue 11,00 miles

Project bikes
1976 CB750 K6 Anteres Red 25,000 miles, 2 more K6s, 1 K4, 1 K8

Past rides
1983 GL1100A Wineberry 63,000 miles(sold)

1999A Restored from PO neglect & sold at 19,000 miles

1999SE Totaled by cager at 105,000 miles

Re: New Alternator needed (89 GL1500) - OEM or Compufire?

Post by newday777 »

Well there is an article about rewinding the alternator, but it shows how to open it up to refresh.
Buy new brushes(#6), rear bearing(#13)(while you have it apart), big Oring(#21) and rubber dampners(#2).

https://www.southsoundhonda.com/--xpart ... ed7c07ca/y


The how to article

viewtopic.php?f=14&t=18463

Or take it to an automotive alternator repair shop and have them do it.

Your alternator is far better than most replacements available today.
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dwarven1
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Re: New Alternator needed (89 GL1500) - OEM or Compufire?

Post by dwarven1 »

John K wrote: Sat Apr 27, 2024 10:50 am 2 places suggested in other post are
DB Electrical
And
Rick's Motorsport Electrics

Good Luck
I don't know where Rick's makes their electric stuff - New Hampshire, where they're based, or if they import them, BUT I've bought two stators from them when the stators on both my wife's and my Vulcan 900 failed. (It's a well known failure point - 2006-2010 Vulcan 900 stators just DIE.) And three years later, they're both running just fine, thank you.

If you find that it's not the brushes (I did read through the thread before replying!), I'd recommend you look at Rick's Motorsport Electrics. If I ever need an alternator for my 03 GL1800, that's where I would get it.
Sequencer
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Re: New Alternator needed (89 GL1500) - OEM or Compufire?

Post by Sequencer »

Where I am right now - I decided to buy a new OEM alternator from Babbitts - plus the 4 rubber things ... I might have a look at taking my old one apart, as a project, but I'm not quite savvy enough to rely on my fixing abilities - so new OEM it is.

One thing - all of the OEM suppliers quote part number #31100-MT2-015 for the alternator, which is a newer replacement for #31100-MT2-005 .... I can't believe this whole topic revolves around failures - the damn thing is just a washing machine motor.

Anyhow, I'll report how I get on - thanks for everyone's help!
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offcenter
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Re: New Alternator needed (89 GL1500) - OEM or Compufire?

Post by offcenter »

The two bad ones that I had both died from the same cause.
The oil seal on the shaft allowed motor oil to get inside the alternator.
The oil cooked and destroyed the alternator.
Not repairable according to the local alternator shop.


George in Jersey.
99 Goldwing GL-1500 SE
76 Goldwing Gl-1000
77 Honda CT-90 "Trail 90"
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