Headlights out. Turn on in reverse...???

Information and questions on GL1800 Goldwings (2001-2017)
Post Reply
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Jun 21, 2020 11:10 pm
Location: Buckeye Lake, OH
Motorcycle: 1989 GL1500
2004 GL1800

Headlights out. Turn on in reverse...???

Post by Kwest364 »


131k miles

Daily commuter, no other vehicles.

LED Pathfinder lights installed in Sept 2020. Never a problem.

Santa Barbara, CA (from OH, I'm not a commie haha)

Headlights went out other day. Never problems with em. Was riding, all normal, pulled over and stopped to talk to buddy I saw. Keyed bike off.

Keyed on, had no headlights. Turn signal lights work fine. Fog lights work fine. Had to use fogs to get home.

The air is very moist at night. Right next to ocean. Saltwater in the air condensing. Air was very wet night it happened. Assuming it's messing with connection point, or has damaged something. But what?

Just got back, and put bike in reverse and lights kicked on......HUH? Lights out once shifted back into neutral......what cockamamie gremlin have I unleashed?

Battery tested great. Fuses are all fine. Continuity tested each one too. All tested fine. Didn't ohm test for resistance, assuming continuity test is fine and culprit is connection somewhere or failed piece in electrical system.

Related or not:

A. 2 weeks ago or so, keyed bike on and it "reset" itself. The Goldwing insignia that shows up on dash screen during key on:....I've NEVER seen that since buying bike used in 2020. I didn't even know it did that haha. Why hasn't it ever done that prior? Why now? What does that tell me?

B. It reset clock too. What caused that? I'm guessing these are somehow related and the extra wetness this month has been wreaking havoc on my electrical connections.

C. One of my horns stopped working. I'm assuming it's related?

D. Previous owner installed daytime headlight flashing relay, so the headlights constantly flash when sensor is exposed to light. Could be something to do with that? I typically just tape over it so it doesn't flash. I pull tape when lane splitting, though.

E. Reverse = headlights on. Back to Neutral = headlights off.

Suggestions on where to troubleshoot further? Thanks for any input.

User avatar
Posts: 3541
Joined: Sun Apr 01, 2018 8:36 pm
Location: Disneyland
Motorcycle: 1992 GL1500 Aspencade
Ducati Monster

Re: Headlights out. Turn on in reverse...???

Post by Rambozo »

Do the lights come on when you shift into reverse, or only after you actually back up a little?
You might have dirty contacts in the start button as it has an extra set of contacts to kill the headlights.
User avatar
Posts: 1418
Joined: Tue Aug 24, 2010 7:18 am
Location: Zephyrhills, Florida
Motorcycle: 89 GL1500
03 GL1800
04 GL1800(abs)
05 GL1800(abs)
07 GL1800(abs)

Re: Headlights out. Turn on in reverse...???

Post by GoldWingrGreg »

As Rambozo said. To tell, when the lights are not working, pull rearward on the start button. If it's the start button, here at JustWings we would replace the right switch assembly. They are currently still available.
Post Reply