Bikers Workshop Series

GL1500 Starter Motor Repair.

By Steve Saunders.


The GL1500 Goldwing starter motor is a very robust unit. Previous Goldwing starters were prone to problems at sometimes low mileage, but Honda learned from this and the GL1500 starter was a great improvement over the ones in earlier Goldwings in terms of reliability and longevity. The starter motor in Aspencade and SE models has to cope with pulling the over 800lb Goldwing in reverse as well as starting the engine and Honda probably over-engineered the starter motor for the GL1500.
Of course nothing lasts forever. The starter motor in this article was pulled from a GL1500 which had over 110,000 miles before it started running very slowly. Many GL1500 starter motors see in excess of 200,000 miles without ever giving problems. This one had suffered earlier because the starter/reverse button had been sticking (covered in article 29) and making the starter run on. This wore the brushes down and burned the slip rings on the commutator. Credit has to be given to Honda for the build quality of these Goldwing starter motors because this particular one was saved by a good cleaning and a new set of brushes.
At the end of the page you can find links to a three-part video tutorial to go with this article.

Click the thumbnails for a bigger image.




Disconnect the wire at the starter terminal. 1988-89 models have two terminals, all other model years have one.


When pulling the starter motor out, it will probably be a bit stiff and will need to be wiggled from side to side.


A rare view of where the starter motor engages.


Here are the old starter motor brushes and plate, note the layout and text tips in the picture for reassembly time. The plate pulls away easily.


Now for the gears...


When reassembling the gears make sure to put some grease in there and remember to put the large o-ring back between the two gear case halves.


The cleaned up armature and new brushes back in place. Remember to grease the bearings at each end of the armature before putting the end cap and gear case back in place, and don't forget to put the large o-ring on each end as well.


The starter motor mounting bolts. The longest one goes to the bottom Cleaning them with a wire brush makes them easier to refit. Note; When refitting the starter motor to the engine, you may find it will go in so far and then stop. Don't be tempted to use the bolts to pull it in the rest of the way or you may break the reverse gear, which means removing the engine to replace it. To get the starter motor in the rest of the way, make sure the gears are in neutral and pull up the reverse lever. Get someone to slowly rotate the rear wheel back and forth while you push the starter motor in, and it will suddenly pop home.



There is a three-part video tutorial available, right-click each link here and "save-as" to a location on your computer.

Part 1; Removing the GL1500 Starter Motor (Windows WMV format). 3 minutes, 32 seconds playing time. 18.9 megabytes file size.
Part 2; Opening up and servicing the Starter Motor (Windows WMV format). 9 minutes, 9 seconds playing time. 49 megabytes file size.
Part 3 (COMING SOON); Inspecting the Starter Reduction Gears