1975 GL1000 Won't Start - Steve Saunders Goldwing Forums

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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-23-2006, 06:35 AM Thread Starter
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Last month, I took the bike for a ride and it started fine. Since then, I have attempted to start it a couple of tmes and it hasn't started. In those cases, I would the battery down. I have replaced the battery and now the cranking is very good.

While cranking for quite a while with the choke off, I'll get about a half-second burst - almost like the engine wants to start. If I keep cranking, I'll get nothing. If I stop cranking for about 1 - 2 min, I will get a short burst again. Cranking with the choke on doesn't get any action.

I have topped off the gas and added some fuel stabilizer. I have taken emery paper to the plugs. The plugs didn't look too bad, but I'm not an expert. After the second plug sanding, one burst lasted about 1 sec, instead of a half second. Cracking the throttle seemed to add a bit of encouragement. During that burst, some grey smoke came out of the pipes.

I'm at a loss as to what to do next - drain the carbs (perhaps there is dirt in there), replace the plugs (I though emery paper should have done the trick), or... ?

Tom

1975 GL1000
2007 Harley Ultra Classic
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-23-2006, 06:45 AM
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Welcome tmoreau,

Go for the easy stuff first:

Kill switch is not off or bad.

Fuel filter is not clogged.

Plugs wet or dry?

Voltage at the battery when cranking?

Points need cleaning or adjustment?

Coil gone bad?

Do you smell gas when you crank it choked?

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-23-2006, 06:48 AM
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Welcome to the forums tmoreau First thing I would do is the plugs, as it sure sounds like they aren't firing.

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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-23-2006, 07:44 PM Thread Starter
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Kill switch: Was on all the time. I even rocked it back and forth to make sure. When I got the bursts, they sounded healthy, though short-lived.



Fuel filter: I smelled gas, especially when I took out the plugs to clean them.



Plugs: I'm not good at reading plugs. (Wish I had a chart to which I could compare them.) IIRC, they looked a little wet. Dunno how wet they have to be to cause trouble. After the second cleaning, the engine did start - and sound healthy - but it lasted only a second. Cracking the throttle seemed to help, FWIW. I tried to buy plugs tonight, but they didn't have them. I take it that NGK D8ES-L is what I want?



Voltage: I don't have a voltmeter. The battery is brand new. If I had a voltmeter, what should I be seeing when I crank?



Points: I bought a point file and plug gapper. Will file the points and replace the plugs as soon as I get plugs.



Coils: How would I determine if they're good or bad?



Gas;: I'm smelling gas no matter what I do. I have transparent fuel lines and they look like they have fuel in them.



It's been along time since I've done my own mainteance. I live in a condo and the bike is parked behind my car in the underground parking.



I'm in Canada. We have our Thanksgiving on the second Monday of Oct.




Tom

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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-23-2006, 07:48 PM Thread Starter
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I'll try and get some tomorrow. Today, I couldn't locate any, but the bike shop was closed and where i went didn't have them. Is NGK D8ES-L the right thing or is there anything better?

Tom

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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-23-2006, 09:18 PM
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Sounds like you are getting fuel ok so I'm thinking electrical.

Tell me, when it runs you say it runs good and then how does it do when the running good stops?

Does it sputter or just die like you turned the key off?

When does the good running occur?

Is it when it's cold and choked or after it's warmed up and the choke is off?

Is the running good part during idle or when running down the road?

When did it last run right, full-time?

How long ago was that?

I used to get some condensation in my points area on my 1000 and until that got dried out things ran very crappy. Even worse with unclean or worn points.

The reason I asked about the battery voltage was just to make sure that it was proven to be up to snuff before you start looking further into the ignition system. I've seen new batteries give trouble and had to be exchanged.

I prefer to stick with the stock NGK plugs personally.







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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-23-2006, 09:26 PM
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I just reread your original post and from the description, I'm thinking that you may be running rich like you might have a float valve stuck or something.

If it won't start cold with the choke on but will sputter start (kind of) in bursts with the choke off cold and you smell gas, it could be carb related but I'd still look after the points and plugs before going further.









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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-23-2006, 11:52 PM
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Welcome to the World's Greatest Goldwing Site tmoreau!

While filing a spark plug isn't a bad idea to sharpen up the electrodes, using any kind of sandpaper isn't the best way to clean a plug. The abrasive without a solid backing will tend to round the edges of the electrodes and increase the voltage needed to fire the plugs.

Try removing all four plugs, stick them back into the hi-tension caps and lay the plugs so the bases are on the cylinder head to get a ground. Then crank the engine and see if you get good strong sparks at each plug. Should be a fat blue arc at each plug. Next put the plugs back into the engine with all the spark leads reconnected, using a spare spark plug open the gap to 3/16", connect it to one of the leads and lay the plug on the head. If you still get a good spark in that plug it's most likely your ignition system is okay. If not your problem is most likely electrical.

Check this out and get back to us and we can consider further indications with your engine

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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-24-2006, 12:11 AM
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I would head down exavid's path to begin with. Is an easy way to see if you are getting a spark. I like to shade it some to make it easier to see the spark - easier for me to see if it is a nice hot blue spark if the lights or sun isn't shining there. I unplug all of the wires to keep it from firing while I have a plug out.
If no spark - check back and I am sure somebody can point you in the right direction
If u do have a nice hot blue spark - could be a few things - compression (ask me how I know) fuel or timing.. Again, I would see if you have a spark and let us know.
As she was running fine last month, hopefully will be a pretty easy fix.


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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-24-2006, 06:06 AM Thread Starter
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Back when it did start, it would usually need coaxing, since I don't get to ride very often. Typically, I would start it with choke off. After it started, I would add choke, just to keep it running but I would try to get it off of the choke ASAP.



My last time riding was a month ago. It ran quite well.



My Honda manual says NGK D8ES-L, so Ill try and locate those today. I'll buythem anyway, just to be safe. If I don't really need them, I can alwys use them in the future. I'll do the spark check that was suggested by exavid. The light level in the underground parking is low, so there should be no problem seeing the sparks, if any. That test sounds easy enough to do. My big concern is if it is carbs.



Will report back, hopefully later today.



Tom

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2007 Harley Ultra Classic
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