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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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1989 GL-1500
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278 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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1989 GL-1500
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278 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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1989 GL-1500
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278 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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278 Posts
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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1989 GL-1500
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278 Posts
Discussion Starter · #21 ·

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1989 GL-1500
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278 Posts
Discussion Starter · #26 ·
That service bulletin is "GL1500 #1", Revised: March 1988. It gives the VINs that is applies to. There is a good chance yours was built after those numbers.
Yes, that mod was either completed or it came from the factory already done, can't be sure.

Thanks,

Bill - N5HQ
 

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1989 GL-1500
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278 Posts
Discussion Starter · #29 ·
Many of us have eliminated or bypassed the vacuum shut valve of for various reasons, mostly due to problematic issues. Although there have been concerning comments about fuel being drawn into the engine after shutting down causing a “hyper-lock,” considering the fuel tank is lower than the carburetors, I’ve never actually seen or had this happen. On the other hand, I’ve also installed low pressure in tank pumps and in a couple cases bypassed the “ECU“ and wired the factory OEM fuel pump to the ignition circuit allowing continuous fuel flow when running as long as the pump pressure stays at below 2-3 lbs. As you (and others) certainly are aware, most all of the control valves and switches are for safety and emission reasons and therefore should be altered (or modified) at your own risk but many are redundant, backup systems to assure the OEM is covering their butt too.
Well I think you nailed it with why there are so many ways to kill the engine and make it not start unless everything is just right. I understand why Honda doesn't want to be responsible for something going wrong and someone getting hurt. I just want the engine to start without too much trouble.

I have already replaced the vacuum fuel shut off valve with an electric fuel shut off valve. I'm overhauling the carburetors and replacing a few vacuum lines that don't look and feel just right. The bike will get a full servicing including the timing belts, fuel and air filters and anything else that comes up during the winter while I work on it. I'm also going to bypass the ECM and run the fuel pump and fuel shut off valve from the ignition circuit. DaveO430 suggested also connecting the coils to the same bypass. Something that I think might be a good idea, I'm going to look into that. Comments would be welcome.

Bill - N5HQ
 

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1989 GL-1500
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278 Posts
Discussion Starter · #30 ·
Have you installed new spark plugs properly gapped? Might help starting.

Do not see where you have done this. Maybe air filter needs replacing.
Clean and tight battery connections?

I knew a guy years ago that put one of those batterys like they used on electric fences wired to his coil for better winter starting. This would have been in the 50s, or 60s. Must have used a switch somehow to turn this added power on for starting, then turn off once going.
gumbyredd
I replaced the plugs at around 60,000 miles, the bike has 78,000 miles on it now. Changing the plugs had no effect on starting and quite honestly the plugs I pulled out looked almost as good as the new ones. Already have a new air filter sitting on the shelf waiting to be installed when I put the bike back together. The battery is good and terminals are clean and tight. Well, they will be tight when I hook the cable back up after the repair is complete.

Thanks for the input,
Bill - N5HQ
 

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1989 GL-1500
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278 Posts
Discussion Starter · #33 ·
Doing that will improve the Voltage to the Ignition circuits immensely.
the OEM circuit method results in the engine not starting up because the load on the battery goes through too many different small, undersized wires before it can get to the Ignition circuits..

Providing power to the Ignition direct from the battery through a relay will provide Full Battery voltage, and IF the carbs have fuel in them, the engine will be running before you can get your finger off of the Starter Button.
Thanks for the input. Pretty sure I'm going to locate the feed for the coils and bypass the ECM. I really don't see any problem doing that. It was good enough for my old Flat Head Ford. It started and ran well.

Bill - N5HQ
 

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1989 GL-1500
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278 Posts
Discussion Starter · #37 ·
I'm not sure that this will help your particular situation... but my '96 Wing used to crank a long time after sitting for awhile. In the spring after being parked all winter, it was a terrible chore to get it started (even with a fully charged battery). After switching from the standard Yuasa battery to a Deka AGM battery, all those starting issues disappeared. Now it starts within 5-7 seconds after sitting for a month, and not too much more after sitting for 5-6 months (though freshly charged).

Oh, and the first one lasted 13 years before it died. And it cranked with no loss of power until that final day. Gotta love that.

Thanks for the input. It’s always good to hear about a battery that will hold up. I have replaced the battery on this bike more than a few times over the years. I think the best thing I did was to quit using those Harbor Freight battery maintainers and I bought a Yuasa battery maintainer. Haven’t had a battery problem since I started using it.

A lot of people have voiced concern about my battery. Well it is a Super Start Power Sport AGM about 3 years old and going real strong. I have a “Battery Bug” battery monitor installed and it lets me know the condition of the battery whenever I hit the starter. The battery is good.

To date, I have removed the vacuum fuel shut off valve and replaced it with an electric fuel shut off valve. I have bypassed the ECM by putting a relay in the circuit direct from the battery (through a fuse of course), the BLK/WHT wire modification. I also connected the fuel pump and fuel shut off valve to the same relay. So now when the key is in the start or run position there is battery voltage to the coils, fuel pump and fuel shut off valve. After I get the carbs installed, I’ll take a picture or two of the mods.

I have high hopes that one or all of the mods result in a much easier starting motor. Time will tell. I’ll keep you posted. Thanks everyone for the feedback. You guys are great.
 

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1989 GL-1500
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278 Posts
Discussion Starter · #42 ·
With pump and valve direct from battery thru relay, it all depends on where the trigger voltage for the relay is coming from. If it comes from the power source to the ECM should work off BAS.
Thanks for all the assistance and concern. To set everyone’s mind at ease, I simply cut the BLK/WHT wire after C54 connector. This is the wire that feeds the power to the coils after it has passed through all of the bikes wiring and connectors. This is after the Engine Stop Switch, Ignition Switch and the control from the Bank Angle Sensor.

The hot side of the wire I cut now feeds the relay coil. I also placed a 1N4004 Diode across the coil for spark/noise suppression. The relay contacts are fed from a fuse panel I installed next to the battery so it is hot all the time. The other side of the relays contacts feeds the other side of the BLK/WHT wire that I cut plus the fuel pump and the fuel shut off valve.

So all I did was supply battery voltage to the coils using all the same circuity already provided by Honda. I replaced the vacuum controlled fuel shut off with and electric one so that I could open it before there is vacuum from the engine, then provided continuous power to the fuel pump whenever there is power to the coils. Still controlled by all of the safety circuits in the original system.

Right now there is COVID-19 in the house so the work has halted and will only proceed once that is behind me and all the Christmas decorations are stored away. Right now they are in the garage all around the bike where the wife put them. I’m fully vaccinated and showing no symptoms but my Step-Son who didn’t want the shot is now pretty sick with it. Hopefully that will pass soon.

Stay safe everyone and thanks again for all the help.
 

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1989 GL-1500
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278 Posts
Discussion Starter · #44 ·
That should work exactly as designed by Honda. I might suggest cutting the BLK/WHT wire feeding power to the ECM and adding it to the relay-supplied power as well... It is the ECM which is sensitive to low voltage and will still refuse to spark the Battery-power supplied coils if ECM voltage is too low......
That seems like a pretty good idea. I'll have to cut a few wire ties since I have already prettied it up. But I think that might be worth the effort.

Thanks for the suggestion.
 
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