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1989 GL-1500
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a question for all you GL-1500 gurus. Let me set up the situation then the question.

Ever since I purchased my 1989 GL-1500 I have had one complaint that has bugged the dickens out of me. If the bike sits for a while, a week or two, then the carbs will be dry. Don’t know if the fuel leaks out or evaporates. Doesn’t matter why, they are just dry. Now when I try to start the engine, there is no fuel, so I have to crank and crank until the carburetors are primed, then the engine will start.

Since the fuel shut off valve is vacuum controlled, there is no way to force the fuel into the carburetors. So, I had this great idea. I have the bike torn down right now overhauling the carbs so I thought this would be a great time to address the issue. I researched and found an electric fuel shut off valve that would fit into the limited space where the vacuum shutoff valve was. Another $30.00 for brass fittings and I have it installed. All is well.

Well not really. This is when I realized that the engine control module controls the fuel pump and it only provides power to the pump for about a second when I turn on the ignition switch. No power is provided again until I start cranking the engine. So, I still cannot prime the carburetors unless I’m cranking the engine. All that effort resulted in no gain at all as far as priming the carbs. I probably have accumulated more than 10 hours of cranking that engine over the years trying to start it. I’m wearing out the starter when priming the carburetors. Now I have the option of either leaving it alone, installing a push button switch to bypass the engine control module or controlling the fuel pump and shutoff valve from the ignition circuit.

So, here is my question. Is there any way to adjust the engine control module so that it will provide power longer? Probably not, I’m guessing.

I could connect a relay to the bank angle sensor for safety shutoff in the event of an accident and supply power to the fuel pump and fuel shut off valve whenever the ignition switch is on. Is this a good idea? What do you think would be my best approach? I’m competent with designing and wiring the circuit, I’m just wondering if there is something I’m missing or is there a better way to accomplish my goal?

Okay, I know that was more than one question but I really would appreciate some feedback. Thanks for reading and for goodness sake, ride safe out there.
 

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I don't see any problem with doing what you suggested, should work and be as safe as the system it has now if not better.
 

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Piaggio MP3, was 02 GL1800
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If Penski had not killed my '94SE,
I would have done the same,
I had already drawn up a schematic to do just that

go for it.
I have never liked that vacuum controlled shut off fuel valve.
 

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1998 GL1500 Asp and 2017 GL1800 4AC
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376 Posts
I am just curious, how do you know that the carbs are dry? When you say they are dry, do you mean the float bowls are dry?

When you have attempted to start the bike after it has sat a week or two, do you use the enrichment (choke lever)? As far as I can tell, according to the owner's manual, the choke lever is to be used on all cold starts unless the ambient temps are 95 degrees or higher.

I know that when I start my GL1500 after it has sat for a few days, it always needs to be choked, otherwise it will crank for a long time before it will start. And even then it needs to have a little choke to keep it running. It has been that way since I've owned it and I've put over 180,000 miles on it.
 
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1989 GL-1500
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274 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Briese,

Thanks for the suggestion but I have been starting carbureted engines since the late 1950's. I kinda know how to use a choke. As far as knowing that the carburetors are dry, I don't know that for a fact. What I do know is that I have to crank the engine for way too long before it starts firing. If there was fuel in the carbs then I wouldn't have to crank the engine for a minute or two before the engine would fire.

I have tested the fuel pump and it works within OEM limits but it does not receive power except for about one second after I turn on the ignition switch and then only again only after I hold the starter switch. I just want the carbs to be able to have fuel before I start wearing out my starter.

With the limited comments I have received so far, I'm studying the bikes wiring schematics to see what are my best options for bypassing the engine control module. I do want to include the bank angle sensor for safety reasons.

Bill - N5HQ
 

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1998 GL1500 Asp and 2017 GL1800 4AC
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376 Posts
Briese,

Thanks for the suggestion but I have been starting carbureted engines since the late 1950's. I kinda know how to use a choke. As far as knowing that the carburetors are dry, I don't know that for a fact. What I do know is that I have to crank the engine for way too long before it starts firing. If there was fuel in the carbs then I wouldn't have to crank the engine for a minute or two before the engine would fire.

I have tested the fuel pump and it works within OEM limits but it does not receive power except for about one second after I turn on the ignition switch and then only again only after I hold the starter switch. I just want the carbs to be able to have fuel before I start wearing out my starter.

With the limited comments I have received so far, I'm studying the bikes wiring schematics to see what are my best options for bypassing the engine control module. I do want to include the bank angle sensor for safety reasons.

Bill - N5HQ
You've got ten years on me then.
 

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Piaggio MP3, was 02 GL1800
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Briese,

Thanks for the suggestion but I have been starting carbureted engines since the late 1950's. I kinda know how to use a choke. As far as knowing that the carburetors are dry, I don't know that for a fact. What I do know is that I have to crank the engine for way too long before it starts firing. If there was fuel in the carbs then I wouldn't have to crank the engine for a minute or two before the engine would fire.

I have tested the fuel pump and it works within OEM limits but it does not receive power except for about one second after I turn on the ignition switch and then only again only after I hold the starter switch. I just want the carbs to be able to have fuel before I start wearing out my starter.

With the limited comments I have received so far, I'm studying the bikes wiring schematics to see what are my best options for bypassing the engine control module. I do want to include the bank angle sensor for safety reasons.

Bill - N5HQ
I have a couple of notes that might be useful,
look at your PMs
RED DOT above your avatar top right of page, you will need a PC though
 

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If the carbs are dry after a week, something is wrong. I can let my 1500 sit for a couple of months and it lights right up. Since the starter is also used for reverse, I don't think you have to worry about wearing it out from some extra cranking. :)
I would first find out why is doesn't start without excessive cranking. Next time it sits, jump the fuel pump, open the valve with a hand vacuum pump, then see how it starts. If you are correct, it should light right up. If so, time to figure out what is going on with the fuel bowls. If it is leaking into the cylinders, and going into the oil, that isn't great, either.
Of course you could modify the ECU to have a longer initial fuel pump cycle, but it really shouldn't be needed.
 

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You could add an auxiliary momentary (switched) power source to the fuel pump, but put a diode in the normal source so you don't back feed the ECM.
Also ,if it is like the 94SE I rode it seemed to only fire up/start at the moment I let off the starter button.
 

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Piaggio MP3, was 02 GL1800
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You could add an auxiliary momentary (switched) power source to the fuel pump, but put a diode in the normal source so you don't back feed the ECM.
Also ,if it is like the 94SE I rode it seemed to only fire up/start at the moment I let off the starter button.
Would not need a Diode, is you use a Single Pole, double throw switch.
Center terminal goes to the fuel pump.
One side goes to the ECM,
Other side goes to Battery thru a fuse.

I would dump the vacuum valve, and get an electric valve switched thru a relay off the fuel pump + terminal.
 

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With the limited comments I have received so far, I'm studying the bikes wiring schematics to see what are my best options for bypassing the engine control module. I do want to include the bank angle sensor for safety reasons.

Bill - N5HQ
If you tap into the ignition circuit blk/wht wire and use it to trigger a relay to operate the shut off valve and pump it would shut off in the event of a tip over.
 

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1989 GL-1500
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274 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
If the carbs are dry after a week, something is wrong. I can let my 1500 sit for a couple of months and it lights right up. Since the starter is also used for reverse, I don't think you have to worry about wearing it out from some extra cranking. :)
I would first find out why is doesn't start without excessive cranking. Next time it sits, jump the fuel pump, open the valve with a hand vacuum pump, then see how it starts. If you are correct, it should light right up. If so, time to figure out what is going on with the fuel bowls. If it is leaking into the cylinders, and going into the oil, that isn't great, either.
Of course you could modify the ECU to have a longer initial fuel pump cycle, but it really shouldn't be needed.
I understand and agree. However it has been that way since day one. I overhauled the carbs about 10 years ago and no change. Like I stated in the OP they are being overhauled now. I'm having them done by an expert and when they get back, maybe they will be better. Time will tell.

I have already installed the electric shut off valve so that is happening. I have been studying the schematic and I will have the fuel pump and shut off hooked to the ignition circuit like in every carbureted car I have ever driven. The Bank Angle Sensor will be in play.

Thanks for taking the time to respond. All input is welcome.

Bill - N5HQ
 

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It aint rocket science
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I understand and agree. However it has been that way since day one. I overhauled the carbs about 10 years ago and no change. Like I stated in the OP they are being overhauled now. I'm having them done by an expert and when they get back, maybe they will be better. Time will tell. Thanks for taking the time to respond. All input is welcome.
Bill - N5HQ
I have re-built many sets of carbs on various years of 1500's and it never takes more than 18 seconds of cranking to fill the bowls with fuel to start from bone dry. If you are cranking a minute or two there is something else going on that is preventing a start-up.
 

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1989 GL-1500
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274 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
So turning the ignition on & off multiple times isn't working?
Nope, wouldn't do any good because the vacuum controlled fuel shut off valve would not open unless the engine was cranking. No cranking = no vacuum. No vacuum = no fuel.

I'm pretty sure what I'm going to do now. I'm going to put in a power distribution block and power it from the battery and re-wire everything electrical that I have added over the years. Anything needing to turn off with the ignition switch will get a relay. This way I can have separate fuses for everything instead of piggybacking off the existing wiring. Should have done that years ago. I have the plastic off now and I can see everywhere where I fished wires through and I want to clean all that up. Good winter project.

Thanks everyone for all the suggestions.

Bill - N5HQ
 

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1989 GL-1500
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I have re-built many sets of carbs on various years of 1500's and it never takes more than 18 seconds of cranking to fill the bowls with fuel to start from bone dry. If you are cranking a minute or two there is something else going on that is preventing a start-up.
Don't know that I can contradict you but it has been that way since it was new. Like I stated in the OP, I had the carbs overhauled 8 to 10 years ago and it made no difference.

If the engine is hot and I shut it down in the 90 to 100 degree fahrenheit Arkansas summer, the fuel in the carbs will boil off in a short time. I think that is where most of it is going. Don't know, I'm just guessing.

I'll know next summer.

Ride safe and ride proud.

Bill - N5HQ
 

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First I would be sure that fuel is your problem, let the bike sit for a couple days and then before starting crack the bowl drains on the carbs if fuel is present than that is not your problem. As the OP has said my 1500 would only light off when the start button was released. My bike had done this from new and it did not matter new battery or old battery. Honda could not find the problem and it started every time so I left it alone and rode to it for 173,000 miles.
 

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Nope, wouldn't do any good because the vacuum controlled fuel shut off valve would not open unless the engine was cranking. No cranking = no vacuum. No vacuum = no fuel.

I'm pretty sure what I'm going to do now. I'm going to put in a power distribution block and power it from the battery and re-wire everything electrical that I have added over the years. Anything needing to turn off with the ignition switch will get a relay. This way I can have separate fuses for everything instead of piggybacking off the existing wiring. Should have done that years ago. I have the plastic off now and I can see everywhere where I fished wires through and I want to clean all that up. Good winter project.

Thanks everyone for all the suggestions.

Bill - N5HQ
While you are at it install a relay or just use the same relay for the pump and fuel valve and power the blk/wt wire going to the coils. That has been the cure for lots of 1500s with starting problems.
 
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