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I have been doing a lot of work on my GL1100 and it seems to run better each time I apply some TLC. The one thing I have not been able to resolve is the extremely cold nature of the bike.

When the temperature dips into the 40's, the bike is very difficult to start for the first time. Its easy to start after its warmed up, but that initial start in the morning takes a bit.

This morning it was 26 degrees (farenheit) and I could not get the GL1100 started at all. This is very depressing, because I really like all of the wind protection, which would allow me to ride it any time there is no snow or ice on the road.

FYI: I notice no difference between switching the petcock to 'off' overnight or leaving it on 'run'. To start the bike in the morning, I have to use the choke unless its very warm out (80's). I have run seafoam through the carbs. There was one big dose to start, and then small maintenance doses at each fill up.

What could be the culprit? Should I get the carbs cleaned out real well? I'm all ears.
 

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Hi vabike

What are the symptoms? Does it crank good when cold? If not check oil viscosity, batt on way out . Just some thoughts. Give us a little more info.

Tom
 

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at very cold weather you need to close all the choke so it will suck more gas into the cylinder. dont pull the throttle too hard or it will flood the cylinders.
 

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So I keep the choke closed, in other words don't use the choke?


The battery is only a year old and has been charging fine. I use 10w-40 oil and the last change was done one week ago (Castrol GTX). The starter will do its job, but the engine just doesn't want to catch when its real cold. The bike starts with the use of the choke in outside temperatures ranging from 80's to 50's.
 

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Well first I'd check to see that the choke butterfly's close all the way. You should be able to see them after you pull the air filter out. The control on my 83 is a bit different and won't stay fully closed unless I hold it. Since mine will crank in neutral with the clutch handle out I can hold it closed while cranking. Check to see if yours tries to open some and hold it to prevent it.

Mine is being a little bit of a PITA to start when cold also and we ain't seen nothing close to the 40's down here. I was going to do just what I've talked about and then try opening each pilot jet a quarter turn to see if that helps.

From there I don't know. I'll try harder if it gets to be more than a small problem.

LOL!
 

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Hi

I wasn't sure if it was cranking good sounds like it is. On mine in ice cold weather I gave it full choke and cracked the throttle a few times to allow the accelerator pump to pump in a few extra squirts, then crank and it would fire right up. On my particular bike there was no such thing as flooding the engine when it is cold. The more fuel the better. Hope this helps. Tom
 

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NO do use it..pull the knob all the way out..to close the choke and increase air to gas mix..richer for starting her up.
 

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Down at the carburator end of the choke cable the outer sheath connects by a little bent metal bracket. Friction holds it in place. The outer sheath of the choke cable can slip in its mount and you cannot apply full choke. I would check that end to make sure things havn't slipped...
 

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Discussion Starter #10
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I did notice that my choke cable doesn't operate very smoothly. I went ahead and ordered a new one. Hopefully, this will help resolve some of the issue.
 

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put lighter oil in the case....thatsa a given for those temps
 

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You may want to pull your plugs and see what they look like? You could go 1(one) heat range higher and see if that helps.
Later Rumple
 

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the chokes are spring loaded. sometimes they get stuck and you can pull the cable but the choke shafts arent moving or not all the way. verify your choke shafts in between your carbs are moving freely. jb
 

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Rumple wrote:
You may want to pull your plugs and see what they look like? You could go 1(one) heat range higher and see if that helps.
Later Rumple
:waving:NGK sparkplugs for the GL1100 incold climates (below 5 C, 41 F): 1980, D7EA or DR7ES which is optional for '80: 1981, DR7ES and for 1982-83 use DPR7EA-9, also use 10W-40 oil when temps are below 5 C, 41 F.
 

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retiredintime is on the right track. You can pull the choke then reach down and try to pull the choke lever on the carbs up. If it goes up further by hand then the cable has slipped and is not closing the choke.
 

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Not sure if this is a related problem but on my 83 1100 I had a real hard time starting below 50 deg last fall. The engine would crank ok but only seemed to want to fire when I released the starter button. I had a Honda 4-wheeler that was almost the same way. It wouldn't start with the battery but would fire right up with the kick starter. I thought that maybe the voltage was dropping too much for a good spark. I replaced my Wing battery with an Odyssey battery last month and now have no problems starting it below 50 deg. I have done nothing else to the engine or carbs.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
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wing ding wrote:
Not sure if this is a related problem but on my 83 1100 I had a real hard time starting below 50 deg last fall. The engine would crank ok but only seemed to want to fire when I released the starter button. I had a Honda 4-wheeler that was almost the same way. It wouldn't start with the battery but would fire right up with the kick starter. I thought that maybe the voltage was dropping too much for a good spark. I replaced my Wing battery with an Odyssey battery last month and now have no problems starting it below 50 deg. I have done nothing else to the engine or carbs.
The good news is that I know the battery is good. It is only a year old and if its bad already, then I have bigger issues.

I haven't had time to research it yet, but I assume that the false tank, air filter and fuel tank need to come out in order to get at the carbs where the throttle and choke connect. If I go this far, I might as well pull the carbs and send them in for servicing (this is not something I'm comfortable doing myself, nor do I have the time).

Heck, with the new throttle and choke cables I order in conjunction with rebuilt carbs, my system should be good to go. Oh yeah, I should add a fuel filter in there as well.
 

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You don't have to remove anything to get to the choke lever, it's on the right side under the frame on the #3 carb. I used to choke my 81 with the lever until I got a choke cable.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
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UPDATE!

I finally got around to installing a new choke cable. It operates much smoother than the old one and seems to lift the lever higher. Hopefully, this translates to the butterfly valves opening wider.

While I was installing the new choke, I stripped the screw that clamps down the stay at the carbs. I tried to start the bike using my finger on the choke lever by carb number 3. This must not have been done correctly, because I didn't have success starting the bike. In fact, I ran the starter so many times that it stopped all together and all I could hear was the relay clicking. Crap.

Fortunately, the PO gave me another starter when he sold the bike. I quickly replaced the starter and the stripped screw. Once the bike was together again, the bike fired the very first time! Its slightly below 50 degrees at the moment and before the repairs it would have taken several tries to get the bike started.

After reading a number of starter related threads, my guess is that there are several reasons why my GL1100 was having trouble starting in the cold:
  1. The old choke cable was sticking and not opening the valves far enough
  2. The starter was wearing down (the replacement doesn't make much noise by comparison)
  3. In the cold, sludge in the engine messes with the starter clutch plate
To fix this last issue, I have poured about 5 ounces of SeaFoam into the engine, which I'll drain in about 100 miles. I'm feeling confident that this last fix will enable me to start the bike in 30-40 degree weather.
 

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Thanks for reporting your success, lots don't and we're left wondering what happened. BTW pulling the choke closes the butterflys instead of opening them. This causes higher vacuum in the carbs to pull more fuel into the cylinders.
Just for your information.
 
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