Is my starter going?


Information and questions on GL1100 Goldwings (1980-1983)
Post Reply
johnny42
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Apr 18, 2010 11:15 pm
Location: Lancaster, NY
Motorcycle: 1983 GL1100I Interstate

Is my starter going?

Post by johnny42 » Mon Jan 06, 2020 11:54 pm



This past season, occasionally when trying to start my bike (83 GL1100 Interstate and I'm the only owner) it would do like one or two "chugs" and since it didn't start, I let go of the starter button. Sometimes those "chugs" would be followed by a spinning/whirring sound and slowly stop. Other times, it would "chug" a couple times then fire right up. Other times, no problem, it just fires right up. One more...2 hour ride, stop for gas, try to start and I would sometimes get the one or 2 "chugs", like there's not enough power to turn the starter motor. Other times, fires right up.

The battery is good and strong.

I read all 13 pages on how to repair/replace the starter motor as well as where to obtain a good one. I've also read about the starter (sprag) clutch and doing the Seafoam trick.

Since I can't ride for another 4 months or so, I was wondering if this sounds like a starter issue or a clutch issue? One, I can work on now, the other I have to wait.

Any advice?



User avatar
DenverWinger
Posts: 1164
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2011 2:20 pm
Location: Denver, CO
Motorcycle: (s)
1980 GL1100 STD Vetter (2005-)
1993 GL1500 Aspencade (2017-)
1983 Trav-Lite Camper (2010-)
Past rides
1972 CL350 (1980-1988) sold
1978 Suzuki GS550 (1985-2005) sold
1977 GL1000 (2002-2006) sold

Re: Is my starter going?

Post by DenverWinger » Tue Jan 07, 2020 7:23 am

Does sound like the starter is dragging, most likely worn brushes. Relatively easy to service and not very expensive either. Since it is still working (sort of) doubtful you will need to replace it, a new set of brushes, clean the commutator and lube the planetary gears should make that a happy unit again and will be able to spin the engine real good instead of just "groaning over".

But it does sound by your description that you may possibly be experiencing some sprague clutch issues too, or maybe not. These can be better identified once the starter motor is serviced and cranking the engine real good. The "spinning" you are hearing when you release the starter may simply be the engine was part way up a compression stroke when you release the starter and the compression spun the engine backward a little which will also spin the starter backward some until it coasts to a stop. Sprague clutch trouble symptoms will be starter spins when you hit start button but does not crank the engine.

Since you are still able to start the bike, I'd wait and see how it behaves with rebuilt starter. I don't know what oil you are using, but a 5w-40 oil (such as Shell Rotella T6) may be helpful to the clutch. Extra "runny" when cold. If you do notice starter clutch issues, next step would be to try the Seafoam. Worst comes to worst the engine needs to come out.

Not that hard to get the engine out of a 1100 depending on your mechanical experience, I can pull mine in about 3 beers and 2 hours. :lol: Good to have a helper around when the engine is ready to come out. If you determine you need to tackle the starter clutch, plan on a full weekend job. You may find other things you want to do "While I'm in there".
♫ 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

johnny42
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Apr 18, 2010 11:15 pm
Location: Lancaster, NY
Motorcycle: 1983 GL1100I Interstate

Re: Is my starter going?

Post by johnny42 » Tue Jan 07, 2020 10:20 am

Good advice Denverwinger. Thanks! You know, in all those 13 pages, i did not see anyone give specific info on what brushes this starter needs. Style, size, part number, etc. So here is what I found for the part number BRUSH SET, CARBON 31201-292-158 (amazing how many Honda's this fits). Some sites have a photo of this part showing exactly what it is.

I'm hoping my starter just needs a good clean and lube.

User avatar
Wilcoy02
Posts: 1070
Joined: Sun Nov 21, 2010 11:37 pm
Location: Marengo, Ohio
Motorcycle: 1983 GL1100 I purchased 3/16

1983 GL1100I frame with an 80 engine. poor boy installed with C-5 ignition--DIED in Grande Prairie Alberta Canada 8/15


98 valkyrie sold 8/16

Re: Is my starter going?

Post by Wilcoy02 » Tue Jan 07, 2020 10:52 am

If it is the sprague clutch-- Is there info on how to fix it? My bike has been having this problem off and on for some time now.




With part numbers you can go to the Honda Auto dealer and find some parts cheaper than the bike dealer. Cars use some of the same parts as the bike.

pocketchange
Posts: 36
Joined: Fri Aug 09, 2019 10:21 pm
Location: Houston, Texas
Motorcycle: 1994 GL1500 SE

Re: Is my starter going?

Post by pocketchange » Tue Jan 07, 2020 11:34 am

If you are not worried about your battery, next thing to check is the starting system wiring..
Ebay has several small battery/starter system readers/checkers** cheap >).. pc

johnny42
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Apr 18, 2010 11:15 pm
Location: Lancaster, NY
Motorcycle: 1983 GL1100I Interstate

Re: Is my starter going?

Post by johnny42 » Tue Jan 07, 2020 12:22 pm

Wingadmin posted this:

The problem you're describing has nothing to do with the starter, and everything to do with the sprag clutch. It's a very common problem, and is easy to fix. It's been covered many times before:

viewtopic.php?t=14084#p70266

viewtopic.php?t=15061

viewtopic.php?t=1335

User avatar
OldguyGlen
Posts: 152
Joined: Sat Nov 24, 2018 10:55 am
Location: Mound,MN
Motorcycle: 1980 GL1100 STD/Vetters
1966 Honda 90

Re: Is my starter going?

Post by OldguyGlen » Tue Jan 07, 2020 12:43 pm

Slow "chugs", like there's not enough battery to spin the engine (but the battery is good) is more likely the starter itself, rather than the sprag clutch part. Especially if the problem is more pronounced HOT rather than cold. You don't say how many miles, or if the starter has ever been serviced since 1983. Brushes should last 40k miles, but its a good idea to replace them even on low mile useage if you are going to open it up anyway. Cleaning of the commutator, and clean / re-lube bearing and planetary gear assembly are really the key items that will bring that starter back to life. The starter rebuild does not require the engine to come out... so clearly the place to start. Worry about the sprag clutch later.

johnny42
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Apr 18, 2010 11:15 pm
Location: Lancaster, NY
Motorcycle: 1983 GL1100I Interstate

Re: Is my starter going?

Post by johnny42 » Tue Jan 07, 2020 12:57 pm

Original starter, never been worked on. 72,000 miles. I could clean, lube, etc and reinstall only to have the same problem. I may as well get new brushes and do it right to avoid removing it twice. But, I'll take off the starter and examine the parts. Some folks here complained of disintegrated wire insulation and cracked or cracking wires. Not sure if all wiring is part of the brushes or if there's other wires in there. I also see springs for the brushes on the parts diagram. Are new ones mandatory?

User avatar
OldguyGlen
Posts: 152
Joined: Sat Nov 24, 2018 10:55 am
Location: Mound,MN
Motorcycle: 1980 GL1100 STD/Vetters
1966 Honda 90

Re: Is my starter going?

Post by OldguyGlen » Tue Jan 07, 2020 1:14 pm

The brush kit you mentioned above is brushes only. I often re-use springs. There are also re-build kits with more pieces. Since it is off-season, I'd pull it apart and see what shape it's in. Then decide on what parts, or even consider a new, or re-built whole assembly. If the commutator is damaged beyond simple surface cleanup, it might not be a DIY project. Most cities have small independent starter / alternator re-build shops that can do more major rework.

User avatar
DenverWinger
Posts: 1164
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2011 2:20 pm
Location: Denver, CO
Motorcycle: (s)
1980 GL1100 STD Vetter (2005-)
1993 GL1500 Aspencade (2017-)
1983 Trav-Lite Camper (2010-)
Past rides
1972 CL350 (1980-1988) sold
1978 Suzuki GS550 (1985-2005) sold
1977 GL1000 (2002-2006) sold

Re: Is my starter going?

Post by DenverWinger » Tue Jan 07, 2020 6:01 pm

I'd say after 73000 miles and never serviced it most certainly needs brushes. A new set of brushes in mine a few yrs ago and I've never heard it crank over so good! (now 102k miles).

When I changed the brushes it was just barely groaning the engine over until the excess current draw due to bad brushes melted the internals of the starter relay and would no longer send juice to the starter. So needed a new relay and brushes. The Commutator on mine needed little cleaning, I just brightened up the copper a little, cleaned the gaps between commutator pads, lubed the gears and good to go.
♫ 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

User avatar
newday777
Posts: 1374
Joined: Tue Jan 11, 2011 5:21 pm
Location: Milford NH summer/fall & Oceanside, CA winters(N San Diego) with lots of miles riden between
Motorcycle: 2008 Cabernet Red. Level 4

1983 GL1100A Wineberry 36,000 miles

1975 CB750 K5 Planet Blue 7,800 miles

1976 CB750 K6 Anterris Red 25,000 miles

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

1999SE Totaled by cager at 105,000 miles

Re: Is my starter going?

Post by newday777 » Thu Jan 09, 2020 10:28 am

I agree johnny42 that your starter needs to be refreshed which is the hot start problem.
Then, once you can get the bike out for a spring ride of at least a 100-200 mile ride, with a can of Seafoam and fresh oil to do the engine flush to fully heat up and melt the sludge in the starter sprag clutch, (keep it under 2,500 rpms), then drain the oil while it's still hot from the ride(be careful not to get burned!). Fresh oil and filter.
If you are trying to start it up in the frozen north winter in a cold storage area that is when the sprag clutch problems happen and the starter will spin the chain only and the sprag rollers won't spring out to engage to spin the motor over to fire it up.
Be sure to reply back on this thread as you get the work finished with updates so others can gain insights to fix their problem that read it later in the years to come.
BTW I had to rebuild my starter and do the Seafoam treatment back in 2009 when I brought my 83 back to life from it's 13 year sleep.
A fresh oil change in the fall before a winter nap of the bike is always the best preventive maintenance to reduce sludge buildup in the motor.
I usually do a Seafoam flush every couple of years as a preventive maintenance. It cleans the clutch plates and friction discs too.

johnny42
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Apr 18, 2010 11:15 pm
Location: Lancaster, NY
Motorcycle: 1983 GL1100I Interstate

Re: Is my starter going?

Post by johnny42 » Sat Jan 11, 2020 6:28 pm

I'm not trying to rewrite the main DIY article. Just reporting a few of the things I encountered.....

60 degrees so I started... bike on the sidestand and then I removed the shift lever. The starter motor was held on by two bolts. The top one was a breeze. The bottom one was not. There's got to be some sort of small universal socket adaptor to facilitate removing it from that tight spot. I had a sort of universal end on a tool that helped. I'll check with Harbor freight for the right tool. The motor came away from its spot with a bit of wiggling and then the motor was easily removed from the bike. I didn't need to contort anything. I moved it toward the front of the bike and the gear cleared the engine with room to spare. (seems like this went easy for me compared to others on the main DIY thread.)

I was able to remove one of the long screws with a screwdriver. The second one slipped a bit which deformed the phillips pattern a bit. I ended up placing the motor in a vise (just enough to hold it in place) and used an impact driver to crack the other 2 screws. One tip here is to dab some valve grinding compound in the screw top to get more bite. (this also worked for me on my mirrors that didn't want to stay in place)

I tapped off the rear cover and saw a crazy amount of carbon powder. I had the 3 washers mentioned and they just slide off.

When I tried to get the armature out of the casing, it looked like there was not enough room to pull it out with those wires there. So I tried to move the wire a bit and a small bit of insulation was messed up. Not sure whether to just leave it as is or try to remove the loose bit.

My brushes are over 10mm long. The DIY article says to replace if 5.5mm or less.

Next up.... clean everything with mineral spirits and rubbing alcohol per the main article.
Attachments







User avatar
Overdog
Posts: 285
Joined: Sat Oct 12, 2013 7:00 am
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Motorcycle: 83 Goldwing Interstate

Re: Is my starter going?

Post by Overdog » Sun Jan 12, 2020 7:50 am

My brushes were still within spec but the insulation was completely gone from the positive brush after cleaning.... https://www.ebay.com/itm/Starter-BRUSH- ... 2749.l2649 I replaced the whole plate....cheap & easy. If you go that route save the screws...they don't give you new ones with the plate.

johnny42
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Apr 18, 2010 11:15 pm
Location: Lancaster, NY
Motorcycle: 1983 GL1100I Interstate

Re: Is my starter going?

Post by johnny42 » Mon Jan 13, 2020 3:14 pm

Couple things...

The rubber o-ring won't come off the "front" cap. Instructions say to remove, clean and reuse. It's stuck and I think I'll destroy it if I try to remove it.

There appears to be a gasket on the "rear" cap. It's broken/torn. I don't see it on the original DIY thread nor is it mentioned there. There's no part shown in the starter diagram parts list. Wondering if it's mandatory? Again, not shown on WingAdmin thread nor mentioned.
Attachments





johnny42
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Apr 18, 2010 11:15 pm
Location: Lancaster, NY
Motorcycle: 1983 GL1100I Interstate

Re: Is my starter going?

Post by johnny42 » Mon Jan 13, 2020 3:45 pm

Another glitch... The DIY says to, "Remove the Circlip and push the shaft through the “head”. No way that's coming out. Circlip removed. I tried lightly on my vise and some taps with a hammer. It's not budging. I may have to simply clean the old grease and repack. Just need to know about that gasket.

johnny42
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Apr 18, 2010 11:15 pm
Location: Lancaster, NY
Motorcycle: 1983 GL1100I Interstate

Re: Is my starter going?

Post by johnny42 » Mon Jan 13, 2020 4:56 pm

If the gasket is needed, I've seen folks make their own gaskets out of cereal boxes. Mine is definitely not rubber. It really looks like some sort of paper. They only caution about not using them in hi-heat applications like exhausts, etc. Anyone use a homemade cardboard gasket?

It looks like there's a bit of rust in that area. So it needs to be water tight. So a gasket will be needed.

User avatar
Overdog
Posts: 285
Joined: Sat Oct 12, 2013 7:00 am
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Motorcycle: 83 Goldwing Interstate

Re: Is my starter going?

Post by Overdog » Mon Jan 13, 2020 8:34 pm

johnny42 wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 3:45 pm
Another glitch... The DIY says to, "Remove the Circlip and push the shaft through the “head”. No way that's coming out. Circlip removed. I tried lightly on my vise and some taps with a hammer. It's not budging. I may have to simply clean the old grease and repack. Just need to know about that gasket.

I couldn't get mine apart either....cleaned off the old grease and loaded it up with fresh grease

User avatar
Overdog
Posts: 285
Joined: Sat Oct 12, 2013 7:00 am
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Motorcycle: 83 Goldwing Interstate

Re: Is my starter going?

Post by Overdog » Mon Jan 13, 2020 8:37 pm

The commutator on mine looked as if it was painted black...much dirtier than yours. I cleaned it with fine emery cloth.

froche
Posts: 219
Joined: Wed Mar 12, 2014 1:56 pm
Location: Vista, ca
Motorcycle: 1985 Goldwing Aspencade (GL1200A

Former bikes;
2000 R1100RT
2005 Suzuki Bandit
1979 Yamaha XS1100
1978 Yamaha XS1100 Special
1990 Yamaha XV250
1980 Yamaha XV750
1979 Honda CB750
1968 Triumph Bonneville T120
1973 Honda CB450
1968 Harley Davidson Sportster
1974 Honda CB750
1968 Honda CL72

Re: Is my starter going?

Post by froche » Mon Jan 13, 2020 8:57 pm

If I cleaned mine with emery cloth I would use a pick to clean between them. When I raced slot cars (back in the late 60's) we cleaned the commutators using a 'lathe" and a fine cutting tool. Emery caused shorts by causing tiny pieces of copper to become embedded in the insulators between.



Post Reply