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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Had a beautiful day here recently, went out to start my 82 1100 and the start clutch wouldn't engage after repeated attempts. I removed the engine, not alot of fun, got it all apart, replaced the rollers, springs and spring caps with new Honda parts (partzilla), figured i`d better check and repair the starter, cleaned it, checked the brush thickness, still good, used compressor to blow it clean, checked reduction gears, no problems, bench tested, darn motor jumped off the bench!, cleaned all the roller surfaces with carb cleaner and then lacquer thinner, reassembled and installed, reinstalled the engine, not alot of fun, again. Wont start, Again! So is this common, what did i miss? I`m confident i installed the clutch assy correctly because i checked rotation with a wrench before replacing the cover, everything went Roundy round. And frankly i don't understand how smooth steel rollers engage a smooth steel surface. All help appreciated.
 

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I don't think there is any way to put it together wrong. take the starter out and pull down on 1 side of the chain then the other and see if it moves 1 direction but not the other. That type of roller clutch has worked for a long time, I won't argue that it can't. How about the splines on the starter shaft & sprocket?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
That condition is often caused by thick oil in cold weather.
When i got the bike in 2011 the mantra at goldwingdocs was to use diesel oil in these old engine's because it most closely met the lubrication standards when it was designed and built, and i`ve stuck to that. I use Delo 400. As to the Starter splines and sprocket, splines are abit shiny but not worn and fully engage the sprocket. Too my knowledge the 66k miles on the bike is accurate and wear shouldn't be a factor at this point. I`ll be removing the engine again soon and will post my findings.
 

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I`ll be removing the engine again soon and will post my findings.
Why not do as I suggested and remove the starter to see if the start clutch is working?
 

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1999 GL1500SE
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293 Posts
Depends on how long you run between oil changes. I have had 2 GL1100's and they don't like to run long oil change intervals. I changed at least every 4 to 5000 miles. If it gets cold, as in the low 30's in your area the oil does make a difference on the starter clutch. I sometimes had to hit the starter 2 or 3 times on cold mornings to get engagement. I also ran 10/40 Shell Rotella T as I always had a case around because of my Rabbit Diesel car. Used it in all my vehicles for many years.
 

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2012 GL1800
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791 Posts
Did you check the battery? Try jumping the bike with a known good battery and see what happens.
 

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Went to purchase an 83 aspy. They had to pull it to start it. No engagement of starter. After purchase then added a half quart of seafoam. It was low on oil anyway. Ideled it for 10 minutes. It then poped right off. Rode it home 100 miles and proceeded to go thru it. Oil change etc. Been working good all fall.

Figured it was starter clutch.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Why not do as I suggested and remove the starter to see if the start clutch is working?
Well because I've been down that road and found it thoroughly exasperating to replace the starter and getting the splines back into the gear. If i remove the starter how am i supposed to spin the engine to know that the clutch has engaged, certainly not by turning the rotor bolt. Enlighten me.
 

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1993 gl1500, 1976 gl1000
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See post #2.
 

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Well because I've been down that road and found it thoroughly exasperating to replace the starter and getting the splines back into the gear. If i remove the starter how am i supposed to spin the engine to know that the clutch has engaged, certainly not by turning the rotor bolt. Enlighten me.
So easy to get the starter back in, put the bike on the side stand. Or like I have a really strong magnet that will hold the sprocket against the side of the case. A starter replacement on an 1100 is about a 30 minute job if you take your time.
 

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1988 Honda GL1500
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698 Posts
In that case the sprague clutch behind the generator rotor is duff, unfortunately that is engine out and rear case off
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
In that case the sprague clutch behind the generator rotor is duff, unfortunately that is engine out and rear case off
I`m not surprised to learn this, i suppose thats an obsolete part, can that be rebuilt? Thanks for that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
While i`m here i bought a 1986 Interstate, wine berry, 33k on the odometer, thinking i`d be able to use the saddle bags and trunk on the 1100 and learned the fallacy of that, so ive decided to break it up for parts or sell it complete. Complete bike; engine turns, has some issues, Forks have wrong springs or too many springs in the tubes, stripped bolt on lower left triple tree, missing the upper left brake assy bolt, all the body panels are in nice condition, ditto the fairing. Bike sat for a long time, maybe a dirt floor shed or barn, NO rust! Nice seat no rips Exhaust system is good save for some cracks on the underside of the tips.
 

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1988 Honda GL1500
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The starter clutch will need 3 rollers, 3 springs and 3 pins plus cleaning out and the gaskets and O rings for the cover.
As you say you have fitted rollers etc, perhaps the generator rotor is spinning( bolt not tight enough) or the big gear is damaged
 

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As you say you have fitted rollers etc, perhaps the generator rotor is spinning( bolt not tight enough) or the big gear is damaged
That could be checked by removing the rear case plug and turning the bolt with a socket wrench.
 

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1988 Honda GL1500
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Very true, there was a recall for early 750/4 where the rotor bolt wasnt tight enough and low charging happened as the rotor slipped on the crank taper
 
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