GL1100 Starter clutch - Pull engine or 2nd round of MMO?

Information and questions on GL1100 Goldwings (1980-1983)
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Motorcycle: 1983 GL1100 Standard
1998 BMR R1100R
Several other VJM's

GL1100 Starter clutch - Pull engine or 2nd round of MMO?

Post by sacruickshank » Sun Oct 07, 2018 5:40 am

I've recently acquired am '83 GL1100 Standard with 30k miles.

The known issue at time of purchase was a starter clutch that would not engage. It just whirs/spins. It can be roll started since I live on a hill, but can't be a general rider due to starting issue. And pushing it back up the hill is a two person job if it doesn't start.

I've already done ~100 miles with a heavy concentration of seafoam in the engine oil with no luck.

So ... is it worth doing another 100 miles with MMO or is it time to bite the bullet, pull the engine, and clean/change the starter's sprag clutch?

If I try the MMO route, is it also help to pull the starter out and shoot the insides with PB Blaster?

All other aspects of the bike are fine.


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Location: Denver, CO
Motorcycle: (s)
1980 GL1100 STD Vetter (2005-)
1993 GL1500 Aspencade (2017-)
1983 Trav-Lite Camper (2010-)
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1972 CL350 (1980-1988) sold
1978 Suzuki GS550 (1985-2005) sold
1977 GL1000 (2002-2006) sold

Re: GL1100 Starter clutch - Pull engine or 2nd round of MMO?

Post by DenverWinger » Sun Oct 07, 2018 8:43 am

Might try adding a quart of ATF (transmission fluid) and go another 100 easy miles. ATF is a lubricant, but it is also very good at dissolving gunk (35 yr old bike with only 30k mi probably has a lot of gunk), being overfilled by a quart won't really hurt anything but you likely will get smoky exhaust, and the extra oil may help get the lube up to the top of the engine where the starter clutch is. Running on the hot side helps, too, might try cardboard in front of the radiator leaving 1/4 of the radiator open - watch your temp gauge, but see if you can get it on the hot side (like 3/4 scale).

These are things that I would try, if these didn't work I'd resign myself to defeat and acknowledge the engine has to come out
♫ 99 Little Bugs in the Code, ♪
♪ 99 Bugs in the Code. ♫ :(
♫ Take one down, Patch it around, ♪
♫ 127 Little Bugs in the Code. ♫ ♪ :shock:


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