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I recently purchased an 81 GL1100 that is now just giving me a click when the starter button is pressed. I'll go through the whole story in case some of it makes a difference to someone who knows more about this than I do.

Met the guy and looked over the bike, all seemed OK so I took it for a test drive. It started fine the couple of times I cranked it before the initial drive and for the test drive. Didn't find anything wrong during the ride, so I gave up the money and did all the paperwork. I drove the bike off to get the safety inspection done. It was a little slower to start this time, but didn't seem too bad. Got the safety inspection and filled up with gas, and it was a little slower to start than the last time, but I thought this may be due to the battery not being charged in a while. I rode it about an hour home, or close to home and had a spill that put me in a ditch I couldn't get it out of. The wrecker driver got me out and it cranked, but I let the cluth out too fast and it died. After that all I got was a single click from the solenoid when pressing the starter button. Towed it home and read through all the related message boards I found, and they all seemed to point to a bad solenoid. I ordered a solenoid and installed it. Initally after installing it I only got a single click when pressing the starter button, but after taking it off the side stand it started. I rode it to work the next day with no problems, and most of the way home till I stopped to get gas. After filling up with gas I am only getting the single click again.

I have tried moving the kill switch to all positions, and tested to make sure I'm getting power from the battery all the way to the starter (12.3v all the way).

Any ideas on other things to check?
 

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Not real sure but, sounds like possibly the battery has a bad cell (hydrometer needed to check) or brushes in the starter may either be "hanging up" or worn to the point they need replacing. You seem to have covered the other "easy" things. Any of the gurus have any other ideas?
 

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Check the clutch handle switch. If you look on your clutch handle, you will see 2 little wires going into it. That is the clutch interlock. Pull the 2 wires loose and put a jumper in between them (make sure to hold your clutch in) and hit the starter button. I had mine go bad a couple of weeks ago, jumered it over and started every time, since then I have replaced it. $14 at bikebandit.com. What happens is the switch has a little spring in it that after 20 years or so won't push the contacts together when the clutch is engaged, and the normal neutral switch on the engine doesn't always work properly once they get old, so you have to depend on the clutch switch.:D Also, welcome to the forum!.:clapper:

Gene:waving::11red::11red::11red::cooler:
 

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It sounds typical of a failing battery or stator. Check the battery for water level and top it up if needed. Charge the battery overnight to make sure it's up as well as it will get. Measure the battery voltage before trying to start the bike, you should have at least 12V, start thebike, ifstarts okay, measure the voltage across the battery with the engine turning around 3500rpm, you should have approximately 14V. If not there's a problem with the charging circuit. If you have a good charge voltage but the battery still won't charge it's likely it has a bad cell and should be replaced.
 

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Check the voltage from the battery like you did, but also check the voltage while you are trying to start it. If it drops down significantly, which I am sure it will, then you have a dying battery. Or the battery is fine, and you have no charging going on.

And spilling it on the first day is no way to start off riding a bike!

Raymond
 

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Thanks for all the replies. I will give these a try when I get back home this afternoon. Also, I forgot to include that the battery did not charge much on the drive so I replaced it before the solenoid.

Silicon Sam wrote:
  And spilling it on the first day is no way to start off riding a bike!
I agree completely. After 12 years of not riding, I remembered all the parts about watch the other cars, watch for holes and items in the road, but forgot the part about respect dirt/gravel roads.
 

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PDKing wrote:
Thanks for all the replies. I will give these a try when I get back home this afternoon. Also, I forgot to include that the battery did not charge much on the drive so I replaced it before the solenoid.

Silicon Sam wrote:
And spilling it on the first day is no way to start off riding a bike!
I agree completely. After 12 years of not riding, I remembered all the parts about watch the other cars, watch for holes and items in the road, but forgot the part
about respect dirt/gravel roads.
Sometimes it's the little things that get you.
 

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OK, Finally got back out to look at things and the good news is I got it to crank. :clapper: Now I have to go find the post that talked about putting the bike in gear and rolling it back and forth to free something up to see what the rest of the details were.

As for the specific things you asked me to check:
-The clutch switch checked out OK. Open circuit without clutch engaged and closed when clutch engaged.
-The charging system was puting out 13.5v at 4000rpm. Is this OK or low?
-I checked the battery voltage while trying to crank (before I got it to start), and there was no drop in the voltage. I didn't think to redo this test after it started running.

It is still slow to start, from a novice it sounds like the starter is having a hard time turning the engine over. I read one article talking about changing the weight oil used. Does this sound related to you guys?

Thanks again for all the ideas.
 

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OOPS!
 

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PDKing wrote:
-The charging system was puting out 13.5v at 4000rpm. Is this OK or low?
-I checked the battery voltage while trying to crank (before I got it to start), and there was no drop in the voltage. I didn't think to redo this test after it started running.

It is still slow to start, from a novice it sounds like the starter is having a hard time turning the engine over. I read one article talking about changing the weight oil used. Does this sound related to you guys?

Thanks again for all the ideas.
:waving::waving:Welcome to the Best Goldwing Site on the Internet PDKing!:waving::waving:

I was a bit slow in noticing that this topic was your first posting!

13.5V is a bit low but if that's right after starting it could be the battery is drawing a lot of current, especially if the bike took a bit of cranking to start. Your cranking test on the battery makes me wonder if the connections from the battery to the starter and the starter ground are all good. I'd expect a bit of a drop in voltage across the batter when the starter is energized. It may indicate the starter isn't drawing as much current as normal when energized. Could be poor brushes or an armature that needs a bit of work.

Where you live the normal daily temperatures ought to be high enough at this time of yearthat the weight of oil in your engine shouldn't make much difference on the starting load.

If the bike idles okay and runs up to full power on the road it's unlikely the ignition timing is too advanced at starting which can slow the cranking.

With a new battery and starting relay about all I could recommend would be to make sure all the wiring between the battery and starter and the starter's ground are clean, shiny and tight. If that doesn't do it, it might be time to pull the starter and take a look at that.
 

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exavid wrote:
PDKing wrote:
-The charging system was puting out 13.5v at 4000rpm. Is this OK or low?
-I checked the battery voltage while trying to crank (before I got it to start), and there was no drop in the voltage. I didn't think to redo this test after it started running.

It is still slow to start, from a novice it sounds like the starter is having a hard time turning the engine over. I read one article talking about changing the weight oil used. Does this sound related to you guys?

Thanks again for all the ideas.
:waving::waving:Welcome to the Best Goldwing Site on the Internet PDKing!:waving::waving:

I was a bit slow in noticing that this topic was your first posting!

13.5V is a bit low but if that's right after starting it could be the battery is drawing a lot of current, especially if the bike took a bit of cranking to start. Your cranking test on the battery makes me wonder if the connections from the battery to the starter and the starter ground are all good. I'd expect a bit of a drop in voltage across the batter when the starter is energized. It may indicate the starter isn't drawing as much current as normal when energized. Could be poor brushes or an armature that needs a bit of work.

Where you live the normal daily temperatures ought to be high enough at this time of yearthat the weight of oil in your engine shouldn't make much difference on the starting load.

If the bike idles okay and runs up to full power on the road it's unlikely the ignition timing is too advanced at starting which can slow the cranking.

With a new battery and starting relay about all I could recommend would be to make sure all the wiring between the battery and starter and the starter's ground are clean, shiny and tight. If that doesn't do it, it might be time to pull the starter and take a look at that.

Having replaced the battery, starter magnetic contactor (starter relay), cleaned/replaced all the corroded/fried connectors on my 84 Interstate I still had the same problem.

Pulled starter and low and behold the brushes and armature contact area were worn.

Brushes are easy... Armature a little work intensive but an old trick is to use a piece of a hacksaw blade and cut down the insulation between each of the copper contacts about a 16th of an inch, clean the contacts with a fine wet/dry sand paper and clean with hospital grade alcohol (99 an 44/100ths pure).

Put it all back together (sidestand trick really works) and pushed "the button"... Instant sound of a running goldwing and I do mean "instant". If the starter turned the enginge over once I would have been surprised. Been working fine for the last two years.
 

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We got her running again. :cheeky1: :clapper: :clapper: :cheeky1:

It was the starter. I finally figured out that it would start once each time the starter was jarred somehow, either rolling it in gear or tapping on the starter. So I pulled it off and took it apart, then quickly decided that I didn't know what I was doing when I thought I was pulling on the wire attached to the brushes and the wire pulled off & what it was attached to didn't move. So I called around and found a guy here in town that would rebuild it for $20 plus parts. I took it to him and he told me that the battery was most likely bad (which you guys already figured out) because the starter had gotten so hot that it melted the solder from two of the contacts (where I pulled the wire out) and the brushes were mostly gone, but that he could fix it. And he did. Now it is back on the bike and cranks right off every time.

Thanks again for all the suggestions.
 

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PDKing wrote:
We got her running again. :cheeky1: :clapper: :clapper: :cheeky1:

It was the starter. I finally figured out that it would start once each time the starter was jarred somehow, either rolling it in gear or tapping on the starter.
Congratulations!!! We'll hoist one or two for you. :toast::toast::toast::toast:
 
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