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Did...did I do that?
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Discussion Starter #1
96 GL1500Se with 48k on it.

Riding yesterday, two-up, after running around doing some errands. Cruise cuts out and won't re-engage. I fiddle with the pedals and grips to see if I've got something out of place. Nothing. No big deal; I'll sort it out when I get home.

A few miles later the dash starts flashing, and I lose engine power. It backfires a couple of times, then dies. I coast off to a stop.

When I try to start it, I don't even get a solenoid click, and the dash lights don't cut out like they should. A few minutes later, someone stops and offers jumper cables. After five minutes on the cables, it'll crank weakly. After 20 more minutes on the cables, it starts and idles well, until we pull the cables off. Then it dies within about a minute. By the time the tow truck got there, it had charged for another 20-ish minutes, and I was able to drive it up onto the flatbed.

With it being a 96, and the OEM alternator, (and 22 years old), I'm assuming my alternator has gone bad.

Here's my troubleshooting so far:
  • Bike off, battery shows 12.8 volts without having been charged since my breakdown. It's on a trickle charger now.
  • Bike started fine. At choke idle (about 2k RPM), battery showed 14.1 or so
  • At regular idle with no real load, battery showed 13.8 or so.
  • At regular idle with radio, driving lights and cruise turned on (but parked) it showed 12.7-ish
I know I need to check it at the alternator, but I don't know what points to test on the alternator.

I think I can do the repair itself, and I'm leaning toward the Lactrical. I just want to make sure I'm doing the right thing. PO says the battery is just a couple of years old.
 

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Magic Moderator
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You may want to have the battery load tested. Does the bike have a maintenance free battery or conventional? When was the last time the alternator was opened and cleaned? It may just need a good cleaning and new brushes.
 

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Here's my troubleshooting so far:
  • Bike off, battery shows 12.8 volts without having been charged since my breakdown. It's on a trickle charger now.
  • Bike started fine. At choke idle (about 2k RPM), battery showed 14.1 or so
  • At regular idle with no real load, battery showed 13.8 or so.
  • At regular idle with radio, driving lights and cruise turned on (but parked) it showed 12.7-ish

Your results are almost normal but after it gets good and hot it is probably failing. No need to check at the alternator itself.
 

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Did...did I do that?
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128 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
You may want to have the battery load tested. Does the bike have a maintenance free battery or conventional? When was the last time the alternator was opened and cleaned? It may just need a good cleaning and new brushes.
Conventional battery, and it's probably about 3.5 years (adding my ownership time to PO's comment). I wondered last night about its condition. I don't charge it on a regular basis, not even a battery tender. I'm not used to hot-weather riding, either. All of my riding until 2016 was in Ohio. The heat down here can be somewhat upsetting.

AFAIK, the alternator has never been opened and is confirmed to be OEM.

Probably going to add a voltmeter during my winter project time.
 

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Magic Moderator
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You may want to think about a maintenance free battery and cleaning the alternator inside, add a fresh set of brushes and you'll be good to go. A battery tender is a great help when you're not riding.
I know the feeling with the hot, left Bellaire Ohio with friends and came to New Mexico its really hot here.
 

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+1 on the AGM battery (maintenance free battery). Also, cleaning the alternator. The brushes wear and create a LOT of carbon dust that makes the brushes stick in their holders. I kind of doubt they need to be changed yet. I'd just thoroughly clean the alternator, with particular attention to the brushes and holders, and see if you're not good to go. Mine acted the reverse of yours. When cold, it would not produce voltage, and after warming up, it was good.....most of the time. I cleaned out the alternator, and all was good until the rotor winding went south 6 months later. That was the end of it, and time for an 85A Lactrical. But, I wouldn't put too much faith in the wet cell battery that I assume you are using. AGM's rule in these bikes.
 

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Did...did I do that?
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128 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
John, we met at one of the breakfast rides over a year ago. I'm on a white 96. Of course, you had a few other things going on in your life back then. I'm in the Muskogee area.

Oh, and my boys announced they're buying me a new alternator for Father's Day.
 

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that was a very dark period in my life, that was about the time my wife passed from diabetes.


let us know how the 'new' father's day gift does. :)


I can be there in an hour or less, PM me your address and ph#,
mine is 918.613.95.......................three.................... oh



currently, I am in Enid, OK overnighting as I travel back home.
we took our travel trailer, and my bike, to Colorado Springs.


 

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You are seeing the very same thing that happened last October to my 89 GL 1500. My bike showed the same symptoms as you have described.

I replaced the alternator and the battery and I've not had a problem since. I did replace the OEM alternator with a high output alternator because of the extra lights that are on the motorcycle. Wish you the best and getting yours fixed

Sent from my SM-G930P using Tapatalk
 

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I need to get some really big


WATCH OUT FOR MOTORCYCLES


signs and put them on the back of the toy hauler....


let folks know what is inside.... or, maybe not, out of sight, is out of mind...
 

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Did...did I do that?
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128 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
My boys got me the alternator, and it's here, but I neglected to say anything about the dampers. Itching to ride though. Trying to decide between just swapping it out now (since I've got time Sunday), or waiting until I order the dampers.
 

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Did...did I do that?
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Discussion Starter #20
I have to ask how you know that? >:)
No you don't. You just want to. :)

We got 50-ish miles into a ride the day after my son and I replaced the alternator, and I had a puddle under the bike at a fuel stop, and spray along the left saddlebag. Babied back to town and took it straight to the shop. The service writer called me that afternoon to tell me what we'd done, so I didn't sweat it all weekend.
 
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