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(I MEANT TO WRITE 1987 1200 GOLD WING, NOT 1978. Corrected below.)
I've been waiting for my new title to come through for my recently purchased 1987 1200 Gold Wing Aspencade so I can take it on the road. Meanwhile, I've started it up a few times, even taking it for a first-gear spin around my property (bad idea!). I just filled the tank with premium using a spare gas can and a funnel (the former owner has been using that instead of regular because of the ethanol content), and as I attempted to start it up I remembered I'd turned the petcock off. I turned it to the on position and continued trying, but all it would do was crank away--until there was a huge backfire which sounded like a large-bore gunshot. Hmmm. I so I cranked away again and the same thing happened, so I shut it down, put the cover back on the bike and closed the shed doors (the bike's back end is positioned right at the door so the exhaust can make its way out of the shed!). What could have caused such backfiring?
 

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Welcome to the forum Bill,

You state it is a 1978 Aspencade.
1978 would be a GL1000 and no Aspencade till 1982 GL1100.
Did you mean to type 1987 as in the last year of the 1200?

Seeing you have had it out and running, it could be moisture in the air, I grew up in NH so understand moisture in the air and poor running to not running vehicles, caused by leaky spark plug wires to grounding out. Replace the plug wires and spark plug caps with new ones. NGK has caps available and you can buy plug wire in bulk length, 7' should give you enough. The 1100 I had needed 6' of wire, cut to 18" each. The caps screw on the wire and at the coil there is a cap & prong that you can reuse.

It could be a leaking coil also.

Do you have a repair manual for it?
 

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Thanks for the correction, newday777, and the warm welcome to the forum. Yes, it's a 1987 GW; I've adjusted my initial post. I appreciate your suggestions as to what may have caused the backfiring and will look into them. I don't have a repair manual nor am I a mechanic by any stretch of the imagination, but with the manual and advice like you gave, I could do some of the minor tasks myself. Much obliged!
 

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Given the fact that it ran fine before my best guess might be that the bike is flooded especially if the battery voltage is low. This is fairly common to crank but not fire as the voltage drops due to the draw from the starter. Basically you have cranking, fuel, air but no spark because of the low voltage. This will flood both the engine and exhaust system with fuel air mixture. When you release the start button voltage jumps quickly and the ignition fires once or twice setting off the air fuel in the engine and exhaust system. I would try hooking up to a car battery or battery charger to raise the cranking voltage and hold the throttle wide open (choke off) to clear the flooded condition and see if it fires up. If it won't try again with the choke applied and the battery or charger connected for more voltage at the ignition. I just have a feeling if you spin it fast and with good voltage it will start. Running it at low speeds around the house might discharge the battery. Especially on a 1200 as it does not have a big alternator output anyway. Put it on a battery tender to charge and keep it up to snuff. You might, or might not need a battery soon. If you find the thing spins slow and especially if it starts when you release the button look at a new battery. Charge it full and do whatever you can to insure the battery is weak. I do think the battery needs a little help right now to get it running but under normal driving conditions it might be OK.



Edit: Also ethanol adds octane just like premium. Though mother Honda does not like any ethanol it seems most bikes will tolerate the 10% that is common. No need to buy premium. Most here use the regular with no bad effects.
 

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Welcome to the Goldwing family !!! Mine will backfire if a crank it with the kill switch off (dummy),when i realize what i have done,unless i wait a while it will backfire due to the unburnt fuel in the chambers.

Jim
 

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Redwing52 might have it. Cold temps will be harsh on the battery output along with thickening of the oil. Also shut off the petcock when finished for the day as sometimes a float might stick open and fill a cylinder causeing hydrolock, which could bend a rod. (probably not your case) The check is pull the plugs and see if cylinders are filled, crank over with kill switch off.
How old are the plugs?
God Bless
 

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Terrific, RayJay. Thanks for the link to the two documents!

And thanks to everyone else for all the advice. I'll let you know what I discover.

This forum is indeed most useful.
 

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you'll probably have to get a new set of plugs at worst but sounds like a flooded condition

welcome to the forum
 

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I just tried to start the GW again after having the backfiring problem yesterday. I opened the choke and hit the start button . . . and voila: it started right up! I had poured a Sea Foam-like additive into the full fuel tank of 91 octane yesterday and whether it helped or not overnight with the backfiring problem, it certainly didn't hurt. As time goes on (springtime and on) I'll do some experimenting with using regular fuel as opposed to 91 octane. The P.O. had been using 91 because, he said, of the 10% ethanol content of most gasolines today. I'm not convinced I should be using 91. The manual says use 87, and I've been reading various blogs which point out that 91 doesn't burn as cleanly and can leave carbon deposits. I don't know if any recalibrations (to the carbs or whatever) will be necessary if I begin using 87; maybe none would be needed at all. I'll certainly listen for pinging, and if that continues, might be better off using a higher octane. Quite frankly, the bike could probably use a good going over (electrical and fuel systems, for example), but I'm not prepared to do any of that at this point. I'll do a search of some of the other forum topics on this site to see if any of my concerns about octane, etc., are addressed on more focused forums. Thanks again for all the advice I've received. I'll keep questions to a minimum; I don't want to become a nuisance.
 

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The regular will run better than the 91 octane. your Goldwing was never designed to use the high octane stuff and can possibly cause problems using it.

Now if your battery is low the bike will crank but unless the voltage is above 9.5 volts whilst cranking you will not get any ignition. Sometimes a low battery bike will fire up when the starter button is released due to this problem.
 

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Agree again, just wasting your money on high octane. Might be worth doing a carb, sync. !


Jim
 

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Carb synch is a great place to start. If it doesn't work totally, I'll bet it at least helps, because chances are the carbs are not synched now.
 

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BillW wrote:
Thanks again for all the advice I've received. I'll keep questions to a minimum; I don't want to become a nuisance.
Don't hesitate to ask as that what this forum is all about, we learn to pass on info.

Glad to hear it fired up.
 

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Had a few backfire problems with my 1200 when I first got it..they always appeared after I thought I was being smart by putting 91 in. Stopped putting anything other then 87 in a few years ago and have not had a backfire since.
 

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I'm new to the forum, but I just want to thank you guys. I have a backfiring problem,but I just got bike back from shop. I think they added cleaner and my backfiring is related to alcohol content in fuel plus cleaner. Your tips are very helpful..thanks again...1987 GL 1200 with 11,000 miles
 

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ccnovice wrote:
I'm new to the forum, but I just want to thank you guys. I have a backfiring problem,but I just got bike back from shop. I think they added cleaner and my backfiring is related to alcohol content in fuel plus cleaner. Your tips are very helpful..thanks again...1987 GL 1200 with 11,000 miles
Elevengrand? Any chance that has rolled over?

Anyway, welcome to the forum, CC.
 

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in the past week, this forum has helped me resolve 2 problems..leaking carbs..and mechanic had installed air cleaner backward..gromit was on wrong end...thanks and i will donate NOW...thanks to all you guys
 

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How about a big Po Boy or some Gumbo !!!!:waving::applause::ROFL:

Jim
 
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