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1990 SE
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
1990 GL1500 SE 79,000 miles. My cruise control does not hold a steady speed - is this normal for this age bike? Once I set it it will cruise at the set speed for a few minutes then start speeding up and suddenly cutting out but reset itself to the faster speed and will continue the surging up and down until I shut it off. Any ideas on the cause of this?

Thanks in advance!
 

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Piaggio MP3, was 02 GL1800
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The 1500s use a Vacuum controlled Cruise.
and like all vehicles that use such, there is going to be a wide swing between the "set speed" on Level Ground,
and the speed it goes down hills.
for my '94 and '98 that was about 3 mph faster than set speed, the steeper the downhill grade, the worse it will be.

climbing hills, the reverse is true, it will Lag by 1 to 4 mph, moderate inclines seemed to be about 3 mph slow.

Frustrating? yes, especially if you are following an 1800 with Electronic Cruise control, they pretty much hold within 1 mph.

If you are traveling thru hilly terrain, leave it in 4th gear.
makes an amazing difference in how good the cruise can be.
the higher RPMs will NOT effect your MPG at all, I have run 75 miles or more in 4th gear at 60-70 mph in hilly terrain, and the MPG was not effected enough to measure it at the next fillup.
 

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Premium Member
1990 SE
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200 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The 1500s use a Vacuum controlled Cruise.
and like all vehicles that use such, there is going to be a wide swing between the "set speed" on Level Ground,
and the speed it goes down hills.
for my '94 and '98 that was about 3 mph faster than set speed, the steeper the downhill grade, the worse it will be.

climbing hills, the reverse is true, it will Lag by 1 to 4 mph, moderate inclines seemed to be about 3 mph slow.

Frustrating? yes, especially if you are following an 1800 with Electronic Cruise control, they pretty much hold within 1 mph.

If you are traveling thru hilly terrain, leave it in 4th gear.
makes an amazing difference in how good the cruise can be.
the higher RPMs will NOT effect your MPG at all, I have run 75 miles or more in 4th gear at 60-70 mph in hilly terrain, and the MPG was not effected enough to measure it at the next fillup.
Thanks for the quick reply - I suspected as much that I just need to get used to it. Can I ask what you are getting for MPG?
 

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Piaggio MP3, was 02 GL1800
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for me?
both the '94 and '98 gave me 33 mpg over a year's average, I have a Spreadsheet documenting every fillup.
there was not a half a mile mpg difference between the two bikes.

the Magic is in the Right Hand.... :)

some claim 40 mpg, those folks ride slower by far, and in less hilly terrain than Greater Southwest where I rode with inclines of 9 degrees or more.
 

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1987 GL1200 Interstate
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I'd say there's something wrong with the cruise. On reasonably level ground it should hold a reasonably steady speed.
Yes inclines or declines may challenge the system but if it loses or gains a bit it should go back to the originally set speed.

Now, what could be wrong? Hell, I don't know. Maybe a vacuum leak or maybe something in the speedometer or it's cable. Or something where it hooks to the carbs.
Somebody who is familiar with that system may chime is soon.
 

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I think Bike and Dennis are on the right track. I owned a 92 and the cruise did not very much at all.

Just remembered something. The speedo cable on mine broke once and I loss the speedo and cruise at the same time. Check your speedo cable. Maybe it's worn or about to fail. It's an easy fix. You can even route the new cable without removing any plastic bodywork.


Rayjoe
 
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Piaggio MP3, was 02 GL1800
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I'd say there's something wrong with the cruise. On reasonably level ground it should hold a reasonably steady speed.
Yes inclines or declines may challenge the system but if it loses or gains a bit it should go back to the originally set speed.

Now, what could be wrong? Hell, I don't know. Maybe a vacuum leak or maybe something in the speedometer or it's cable. Or something where it hooks to the carbs.
Somebody who is familiar with that system may chime is soon.
the surging could be a very dry speedo cable.... the Speedometer uses the front wheel for speed sensing.
Lube the speedo cable and make sure it spins freely when you have the front wheel off the ground, and spin the tire.

check the vacuum line to the speed governor, it might be cracked or just loose.
 

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Just one of the guys
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4,863 Posts
The cruise on that bike is operated by vacuum. So a vacuum leak could cause it to act up.

The vacuum pulls a cylinder inside of a chamber, it it got dirt or corrosion inside that chamber it could also cause this problem, A vacuum leak inside that chamber could be the problem.

The cylinder pulls a cable which pulls the throttle open so that cable could be dirty, or corroded making it hard to pull which could also cause this issue.

Bottom line is to make sure everything is clean and has some lube on it and check for vacuum leaks.
 

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Village Whack Job...
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If I recall correctly, the speedo actually has no connection to the cruise system at all. You have a vacuum issue.
 

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1990 SE
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks all, I will go looking for a vacuum leak
 

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1999 GL1500SE
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Another thing you can check easily. Does your cruise lag a bit or drop speed then pick it back up when first engaged? Adjust the cruise cable a few turns at a time until it stays very close to speed you are moving when you hit the set button. This is also a common issue with 1800's. A touch of 'customization' will do wonders sometimes.
 

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Village Whack Job...
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Yes it does but does different things on different years.
Cruise was aftermaket on the 1100s. So I wouldn't think they'd be compatible with the mechanical speedos. I suppose there could have been kits made to work with the digital dash models.
 

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Village Whack Job...
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1990 SE
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Well don't I feel like an idiot. I looked at his screen name and thought he had an '83. Color me dopey.
Unfortunately my 83 met the front of a 2005 Dodge Ram 2500 very shortly after I got it...
 

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Just one of the guys
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Hello all , I have on my '89 1500 the cruise will come on but can't set . Wonder why ?
I had problems getting the cruise to set on my ‘94 at times. It was the clutch handle switch. If it wouldn’t set I just pushed forward on the clutch handle a little and it would then work fine. I looked into trying to fix the switch but it was pretty small and well buried in the handlebar system so I just dealt with it.
 
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