1981 GL1100 will not run - Steve Saunders Goldwing Forums

LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-16-2019, 01:29 PM Thread Starter
Junior Member
Join Date: Jun 2019
Location: Statesville, NC
Year: 1981
Make: Honda
Model: GL1100
Posts: 5
1981 GL1100 will not run

Hi everyone. This is my first post and I'm hoping for lots of help.

I've had a lot of bikes and British cars through the years and consider myself a pretty good mechanic, but my recent purchase of an 81 GL1100 that had been sitting for a long time has me stumped. Since it had been sitting, I knew from experience I had to go through the carbs to get it going. I cleaned the main jets, needles, seats, and everything else thoroughly, along with setting the float levels. I put everything back together and the bike ran, but would not idle. I took the carbs back off and extracted the idle jets per the forums here, or possibly from another source. They were clogged and I had to use a tiny drill bit to clear the main hole and fine wire to clear the other holes. I put it back together, again being very careful everything was clean, and adjusted the floats correctly. The bike will now barely start if I use about half throttle and then will only just chug, chug, chug, chug after it finally does kick over. If you let off the throttle, the bike immediately dies. I know it's getting fuel, it just doesn't seem it has the spark to get going. All four intake tubes are very cold to the touch when it's trying to run. I've been through the carbs four times with the same result each time. The third time I changed floats, needles, seats. The bike still will not run.

These are the things I've done to try to get the bike running.

New NGK spark plugs. Gap is correct
Have good spark on all four cylinders
All plugs have a dark sooty appearance, but are not wet. I know that indicates a rich condition, but I've seen bikes and cars fire off with worse looking plugs
Compression is well within tolerance at about 150 lbs on each cylinder
Adjusted valves. Clearances are correct. Made absolutely sure I was at TDC on cylinder #1 before adjusting. Engine was cold.
Original coils were not giving resistance readings that were in tolerance with the manual. I swapped the old coils for a different set from an '81 that are in spec, ohms wise.
Plug wires are not crossed. Believe me, I've checked.
Voltage at the battery is about 11.2 when starter is engaged
Fuel delivery is good. All carbs have fuel. No excess fuel in the plenum
Pulse coil resistance is within tolerance at 530 ohms
Both spark units have been tested per the manual and check out fine

I'm not usually stumped with mechanical things, but this bike has done it. Can anyone offer suggestions for something I must be missing?

tommyd is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-16-2019, 03:35 PM
DaveO430's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Amity, Arkansas, USA
Model: 2010 GL1800
Posts: 23,877
How small a drill bit did you use in the low speed jets? They are a very small jet, .35mm which is about .0125"

With no God over the state, the state then becomes not the defender of liberty but the definer of liberty.

NRA endowment life member
Wild Rhino Arkansas chapter
2010 1800 pearl yellow

If I disagree with you it's simply because you're wrong.
DaveO430 is online now  
post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-16-2019, 05:20 PM Thread Starter
Junior Member
Join Date: Jun 2019
Location: Statesville, NC
Year: 1981
Make: Honda
Model: GL1100
Posts: 5
I'm not really sure. I know the shaft of the bit fit into the hole nicely.
tommyd is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 06:40 PM Thread Starter
Junior Member
Join Date: Jun 2019
Location: Statesville, NC
Year: 1981
Make: Honda
Model: GL1100
Posts: 5
What about the possibility of a severely clogged exhaust? It just seems the bike can't breathe. There was a lot of rust and smoke coming out of the pipes when the bike first ran. I know the air going in is good, fuel delivery is good, spark seems good, no flooding issues, compression is good, valves are good. It seems that just leaves getting the exhaust out the pipes.
tommyd is offline  
post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 10:36 AM
Johnno SA's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Alberton, , South Africa
Year: 1983 and 1990
Make: Honda
Model: 83 1100 Bitsa(sort of interstate) and 90 1500SE (Canadian Origin)
Posts: 33
any leaks in vaccuum side of inlet manifold?

1st ride Suzuki 50
2nd Silver Wing GL500 I S
Current GL 1100 Bitsa and 90 1500SE
Johnno SA is offline  
post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 11:44 AM
Bike...and Dennis's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Glendale, Arizona, USA
Model: 1987 GL1200 Interstate 290,000 miles
Posts: 21,377
What kind of air cleaner are you using?

I know my 1200 is real particular about that and won't run without one.

Why ain't we ridin'?
Bike...and Dennis is online now  

  Steve Saunders Goldwing Forums > Forums > Goldwing Technical Forum

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Steve Saunders Goldwing Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome