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GL1000 Engine recovery after being down for many years

5626 Views 6 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  luvmyhotrod
I have a customer who is restoring a GL1000 barn-find. After talking to him, I realized he is a really nice guy, who cares about what he is doing, and has a goal in mind: a nice GL1000 recovered from a rust-bucket.

So, I took the time for him to go through what I do to try and recover a long-sitting engine. I figured I'd post it here: maybe some one else can use the thoughts of an old wrencher. This was a 1975 GL1000, and the directives apply specifically to 75 through '77: those with kick-starters and start levers. It generally applies to all old Goldwing motors, or for that matter any engine that has been sitting for a long time. There's more, but this started as simply a note, and I've done enough. If you have other questions, let me know. If you have other suggestions, throw them into the thread.

Re your GL1000 restoration: barn find: ‘bringing’ back an old Goldwing engine:

I have recovered many engines, but have broken down more for scrap than recovered, so I have a small amount of experience in this area. I have wasted a good deal of time in trying to recover, but was it really waste? I think not. It was an investment of time for potentially a good benefit.

I may as well recap the aspects of what you are looking at on this project.

Being as this bike sat for 20+ years:

Your crank main-ends are possibly pitted from sitting, and your big-end bearings are probably bad as well, after that length of time without it being run and while sitting metal-to-metal. Transmission bearing surfaces have been sitting and, unless the engine was overfilled with oil for storage, which is highly unlikely, then you’ll have a bit of a mess in there. Same goes for your alternator output bearing, Fargo (starter) clutch bearings and bearing surfaces, and the final-output bearing. The same is true for virtually every bearing and bushing on the bike: ‘sit-pit’ happening, unless stored high, dry, and with preservative.

Heads have at least two valves that have been open to moisture, those are possibly (actually probably) pitted on the valve-seat surfaces, both the head and the valves.

In any event, you have little to lose by checking it out, and lots to gain. These engines are tough as hell, so you just might get lucky. The following assumes that you have put in NEW valve belts before you finally actually start the engine. Do NOT run on the oldies. It also assumes that you’ve dumped the old oil, and at least, washed the oil-filter out with gasoline, filled the filter with fresh 5W, oiled the filter-seal, and replaced it.

The motor needs fuel, air, compression, and timing of the utility of all of these to operate. It’s that simple. The recovery process is laid out the way I have done it, and I’d do it, by the numbers, hereafter. I would do absolutely nothing until I have taken a look inside the cylinder walls with a light-scope. You might find that the engine is toasted within 2 minutes if you do this, and save yourself a LOT of time. It just may have been sitting outside with rain pouring into it, look great on the exterior, and be a total mess inside. Assuming that you have done that, and the 'cans' look decent:

1) Get the carbs OFF. Old carbs like that have nothing but problems to offer until you bite the bullet and do it right.

Get carb kits from Randaak Cycle. Randy has the best kits there are available. (The key is here to NOT suck more crap into the carb orifices by rolling it over as it now is with ancient fuel, and to as soon as possible have all swivels clean and easy to move.) Rebuild the carbs. (Start the process by using EZ lube NOW on everything that moves or is supposed to move: all swivels, fuel cross-over ends, ALL moving parts or sealed parts that are visible, including both sides of the butter-fly axles inside the carbs, and the fuel-enrichment pulls. Soak everything with a liberal spray. It doesn’t take much EZ lube. Then work the carb swivels while awaiting the kits. You might find that some of the swivel-points are tight or inoperable. The EZ lube will fix that with time: just keep trying to move the whole mechanism, and it’ll free up. You’ll be amazed at how it loosens up.

2) Soak, with the spray can, EVERY visible gasket and seal on the motor, and try to get at the innards if you can (heads/valve seals, ignition-points back-seal, fuel pump end, the kick-start racket and it’s backing seal, and other stuff like that) with EZ lube. It’ll help pre-swell the gaskets until the oil gets to do its job from the inside, and EZ lube will help rejuvenate the materials while you are waiting on parts and doing other things. (Try to do this two or three times, starting at least a week-10 days prior to any attempt to roll it over.) This process should include removing the front-plate from the water-pump (the little fore-housing plate that has the rad-hose attached: and spraying it liberally with EZ lube to get the lube right into the pump rotor: starting it dry will really create some problems. (It IS best to have a water-circuit in-line when starting the motor to keep the pump lubricated with the coolant, if you can’t be positive you’ve fully lubed it with the EZ lube, and that's difficult to do in-situ: so use Honda coolant after flushing the radiator. I’ve dry started them, but not with an engine that’s been sitting as long as yours.)

3) Remove the starter gently. Have a thin 10mm wrench (I ground one down specifically for this purpose) to hold the lock-nut UNDER the terminal strap so the post does not turn while you are taking the starter-cable off: simply put: if the post turns that’ll mess up the inards of the starter. If you haven’t worked on starters before, after removal consider taking it to your local starter/alternator shop. The shoes and contacts are easy to bugger up if you don’t know what you are doing.

If you have decent mechanical-electrical sense, then carry on, and clean it out. In-cut the armature end (where the brushes ride) to 1mm deep (broken hacksaw blade works fine, but polish the armature-end with 1200 to 1500 grit after in-cutting: remove burs that’ll quickly wear out the brushes). In-cutting improves the starting power considerably. You can refresh the brushes if need be while you are in there. Max is 11mm, min is about 4mm in brush length. Use proper lubricant on the bushings, both ends of the armature. They are sure to be dried out.

NOTE: If you remove the starter: then clean it up and replace it before you move the engine at all or in any sense: that way lining up the starter sprocket which should be still on the chain, will be easy. If you roll-over or move the engine, the sprocket, which should be still in place on the chain, will move: and multiply your hassle replacing the starter. Not to mention that you may be digging for both the chain and sprocket in the rear case.

4) Remove ALL spark plugs. Use the kick-start lever to ensure that the motor will roll over manually and relatively easy. Then tip engine on the opposite head (on top of decent padding, of course) to the one you want to start with: and give each cylinder a 3 second spray of EZ lube down into them. (At this stage, this is actually easier if you turn the whole stripped-down bike on its side: then you have some engine-support, and can do it yourself. Otherwise: get a buddy to help while with a naked and dismounted motor)

Roll the engine slowly using the alternator end-bolt, while the motor is still on its side, pistons pointing up. Do so for 7-8 full revs, then spray it again. (NEVER turn the alternator bolt counter-clockwise, or you’ll loosen that bolt: and that means rear-engine-case removal to retighten it properly). After the second manual roll, re-spray both ‘cans’, and it’s done for the first time around. When you turn the engine over to do the second side, the lube should be plentiful enough to get the valves soaked (when they are on the down-side, with the other two cylinders upwards).

Turn the engine/bike to get the second set of can’s up, and repeat the above.

Doing process this will get the EZ lube penetrating in around the rings properly, and at the very worst will prevent years-old crystallization from jamming the rings. At the best, the old stuck rings will start to free up, and the cylinder walls will get some decent lube with inherent cleaning properties.

5) Now, after the engine is back on the level, you can load the motor with at least 5, preferably 6 liters of light (5W if you can find it) oil, with a 25% mix (about 1.25 liters) of kerosene added (float the engine, in other words, by well overfilling it). Then, using your kick-start lever, roll the engine over 15 or twenty times. This will start the cleaning-out of the old oil and will get the bottom end lubed and cleaned. (I’d say use up the can of EZ lube in there, but your clutch plates would never grip again.)

6) EACH day thereafter for at least a week, kick the motor over 10-15 times, with another rotation of steps involved in step #4 above on the 4th day. Keep plugging the spark-plug holes with your old plugs after you are done, to keep crap out.

7) After at least a week of pre-soaking, and after your starter is cleaned and replaced (hit the chain with some lube through the starter mount-hole in the case with some EZ lube, not much, but enough that it’ll travel around the chain when rolled over), then:
Attach a car-battery so you have lots of amp-hour juice, and roll the engine, plugs out, in MAX length 10 sec spurts, for 5 minutes total rolling time (30 times). Allow the starter to cool for at least 30 seconds before each spurt. These intervals must become longer between spurts, because of reducing heat dissipation: hence, be working on something else close by while doing this to kill the boredom for the 30-second-growing-to-one-minute intervals.
Recharge the battery, and do it again the within the couple days. The object is to get the oil flowing, get your oil pump working properly again, and pump oil properly through the oil-circuit system. After doing so:

8) Replace the oil with some clean 10 weight, 4 liters.

9) Clean and check the points, and check spark-fire at and with the plugs, then manually check/set the timing with a DC test light or meter. Check the valve-belts and crank-shaft timing AGAIN to ensure your valves are not interfering, and are set to proper specs.

10) And now, you are ready to actually hear it fire (exhaust pipes ON), assuming:

The engine is rolling freely (and valves are visibly moving freely with the head pans off).
You have new belts in it, and checked that the belt-tensioners are rolling and springing freely
You have cleaned the starter, replaced it
You have flushed out the nasty-old oil
You have replaced the flush with light clean oil
The timing is checked.
The fuel-tank is cleaned and flushed, and all lines are blown out and ready (blow back INTO the tank from the petcock at normal “ON”, and at “reserve” settings to ensure both lines are freed and clear. DO this also from the fuel-pump back towards the tank, with the line disconnected from the petcock. Spiders like small places: and they make effective plugs.
Valve/head pans are re-placed (use the old gaskets: just lube with EZ lube a couple times, then line the pan-ridge with some string wiped with silicon sealer to space out the old gasket. Costs pennies, not dollars. Remove that ‘spacer’ when you are ready to finish up with new gaskets, but keep that trick in mind after the pans have been on there for a couple years: saves buying new gaskets if you just space them up a bit.
You have tested your rad-fans with a jumper off a 12V battery to make sure the fan actually works.
You have checked the valve clearance to spec (2 &4 /1000 I & E respectively)
You have the petcock on, the lines are clear, the line from the fuel pump to the carbs are disconnected, and you have tested that you are getting good flow all the way through, by rolling the engine over with the starter, plugs out. (You should check this while accomplishing point 7 above)

11) Hence: your engine is as clean as you can get it internally. Your carbs are good, your fuel is fresh. Your timing is on the button, and firing properly. Your compression is as good as it is going to get for a first start-up attempt. Your seals and gaskets are presoaked, lessening the chance of a blow-out due to a plugged circuit. You battery is up, your system through the starter-button is working correctly. Your 'interference' type valves are not interfering with your pistons.

12) Fire it up OUTSIDE (EZ lube is dental tool lubricant: it is an FDA/CHA certified food-inclusive product: but while burning: it is slightly toxic). MAX the rpm at NO MORE than 2.5k rpm at any time during initial start-up. Better to have to re-start than over-rpm it. Run it until the fan kicks on, at a high idle of 1350-1500 rpm (set at the carb). (This gets it oil-soaked, checks that your water temp circuit sensor is operating, and runs the oil and coolant thoroughly. Do NOT attempt to shift gears at this point. DO draw your clutch in and out several times to get it freeing up a little.

NOTE: If the temp gauge reaches ¾ the way to the red mark before your rad-fan kicks in, then your temp-sensor is probably toasted. Throw a manual 12V toggle-switch of pretty much any nature in line for the short term, and use it when the temp gets 2/3 the way to the red-line/heat mark. If you find that your temp gauge isn't working, then use some common sense regards the heat. In under 20 minutes the rad-fan should be on, when the surrounding (ambient) temperature is running in the 60's F.

13) Turn it off. Check the clutch action by STARTING while IN second gear, with the clutch lever pulled. That’ll break the old dried-out clutch free and prevent tranny damage that might occur if you tried banging it into gear with the clutch frozen. All being well, then shift it through the gears, preferably with the drive-shaft, yoke, final drive, and rear wheel in operating position (after proper lubrication having been done on all aspects), and on the center stand with the wheel well clear.

14) Then, and only after all the above is done: run a compression test on the engine. If at this stage you have 140psi per can, you are doing well. If you find that you have a large spread between can’s, then suspect first that it is valve-seats: either old flakes of carbon stuck on the seats, or sit-pit on the seats or valve-faces. Test that by doing a wet-test: lean the bike over, get some EZ lube in the cans, and run a compression test with the cylinder/rings lubed to block ring by-pass. If your compression goes up substantially, you have good valves and poor ring-seating. If it doesn’t go up, you need to do the valves. Do this testing before wasting your time with placing new valve seals. The rings will still possibly be a little sticky, and it may have one or more rusty cylinder walls gained while underneath the long-open valves, so expect your compression ratios to pick up a bit on all 4 after running it a bit.

15) If you get through this, and have an engine that is rattling like a tank, then replace it: rebuilding is a pain in the butt, and is very expensive: and you’ll probably get all the work done of breaking it down just to find crank-journal/transmission bushings/bearings pitting. If it sounds reasonable, but is burning blue on start-up but that smoking clears up after 3-4 minutes of running, then that’s natural for old valve seals. ( If your compression is reasonable: you can invest $60 in an Snap-on external valve-spring compressor so you can replace the valve seals with the heads in-situ, rather than replacing all the gaskets and O-rings in your heads.)

Generally: If your valves are good, and compression is running at under 140 across the board, but within an 8 psi range, and it seems to be running ‘good’, then the engine is usable but the rings are at the ‘pretty much worn out’ state.

If you are at 154 or better, then you are doing very well. If you are at 160+ then you're extremely lucky: that’s a great engine.

After you think you are ready to road test it, dump the oil, replace the filter and spark plugs. New air filter. Helmet. No passenger. Backup crew with a pick-up truck standing by. :readit:

16) So: It all checks out, and you are on the road. Keep the rpm UNDER 3k for 300 kilometers/200 miles. Then slowly let’er out over the next 7-800 kilometers. 30 weight oil for the first 200 miles, then dump it again, and go to 10/40. By this time it has had a flush and 3 changes: should be nice and clean. And if you get here, you are a lucky son-offa-gun.

Remember: you are driving an engine that is old, metal-crystalized, with metal-memory in the wrong places, with almost certainly pitted bearings and bushings, and dried seals. Think of it as a fragile old motor, and treat it as such. I think that if you do so, then the act of heating/cooling and wearing it in again (breaking it in) will help substantially to bring it back in one piece. You try being Mario on this engine before doing so, then you just may be ‘ducking pistons’ as they come through the case.

There are assuredly things I haven’t mentioned here, such as carb synch and other aspects, but generally: prove the engine out, and if it isn’t good then discard it, and replace it. The cranks on these don’t wear out unless totally mismanaged: but they do sit-pit. The cylinder walls are bullet-proof from wear: but they rust. There are often decent engines sitting in bikes that don’t deserve such a nice engine. Try and find one. Or call me.

I think I’ll drop this babble into the Goldwing site. You aren’t the only one who could use the info, but I’m happy to take the time to lay it out, just to see another old girl recovered from oblivion.
:cheers: Ride safe.
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That is some good instructions StraightWings. That should surely bring back to life an engine that has been sitting a long time if it is not totally ruined before you start. :bow:
Great write-up, but I did not see the waterpump mentioned (please forgive me if I missed it). I have done MANY waterpump jobs on my Wings, as well as for friends.

After sitting for long periods of time, any water or even coolant, can cause rust in the bearings if there was ANY seepage prior to storage. This can kill the bearings and can QUICKLY fry the waterpump. I just went through this myself with a bike that was 'stored', and I am thankful that it happened in my garage. I know someone that had this happen on the road, with an 83 that sat for years. On his the waterpump seized and stopped the oil pump too. This happened on the highway and LOCKED his engine from lack of oil.

I suggest ANY doubt on the waterpump, that the front case be pulled to inspect the pump bearings before the engine is rotated (AT ALL). I have never had this, but an engine that 'appears' to be locked might be from the pump.

Photo of my waterpump in post 41.

Also, I have had engines with fairly wide ranges in compression come back into a good range, others not, or even get worse. This is something to keep an eye on for the first few hundred miles at the very least. As a matter of fact, the 1100 that waterpump came from had 155, 120, 119, 115 (fully cold, throttle full open, no choke) and is now almost 170 across the board (warm).

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Bill I guess you just overlooked his comments on the water pump. Take another look at item #2 where he talks about the water pump.
If it has been sitting that long I think I would just go ahead and replace the pump. If you are going to take the front cover off why not just replace it after you have done most of the work.
Bill I guess you just overlooked his comments on the water pump. Take another look at item #2 where he talks about the water pump.
If it has been sitting that long I think I would just go ahead and replace the pump. If you are going to take the front cover off why not just replace it after you have done most of the work.
Yep, missed it, as it was in with other info.

I don't think the O.P. is talking about the front case cover, just the impeller cover (I could be wrong). Yes, I agree, if the front case cover is pulled the waterpump is easy to at least FULLY inspect or replace at that point.

Spraying oil on the impeller, as the O.P. says to do, would not really help because behind the impeller is the 'mechanical seal' that is blocking (sealing off) the bearings (that are sealed themselves), so unless its fully shot (needing replacement anyway), very little to no oil will get near the bearings. As a matter of fact, some types of oil might even have a detremental effect on the seal, the plastic impeller (if so equiped) and other rubber parts/seals of the cooling system; not something I would do.

Removing the pump to FULLY inspect it is not quick or easy, and thats why I think its commonly overlooked (the 'if its not leaking its fine' attitude). Chances are there is rust in the bearings if the bike was sitting for any abnormal length of time. Also, if the age of the pump is unknown at least pull it out and look for evidence of seepage.

IMHO: Deal with the 4 banger GoldWing waterpumps as a reasonable owner would deal with the timing belts; they are just as critical, if not more.

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Some very good advice. It seems that around here the cylinder walls are the first to go. They rust, which causes pitting, and the rings weld themselves to the cylinders. I have a stripped down dual sport bike stored right now (I got it as a parts bike, it came with a new condition 3000 mile engine) the engine is still in the frame. It has an electric starter, and about once a month, I hook a battery to it, and spin it over, while spraying fogging oil into the inlet (carb is off and stored in a tupperware bowl soaked in WD40) I do this in gear as well, and also work the shifter up and down. Seals seem to be the next thing to go, and clutch plates weld themselves together. My opinion is that anything designed to move needs to be moved, and severe damage will result is it isn't. The problem with a bike as old as a GL1000 is finding replacement parts for what is ruined.
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my 77 gl100 sat 24yrs & was locked up solid! And clutch plates rusted together. I tried mistery oil in the cylenders but that that wasent the only thing siezed. after a week of no succes i tried this "AND IT WAS LIKE IT WAS NEVER SIEZED" drain oil & replace plug,Remove spark plugs. Get 1-Turkey fryer,8-qts cheep transmission fluid. 1-metal funal "VEARY INPORTANT" 1-Pair insulated gloves,kitchen mitts. Heat traney fluid to 300'F OR JUST STARTS TO SMOKE! fill crankcase with hot fluid, replace fill cap. lean bike down on one side & then on the other side.Put on center stand. will kick start over like it was never siezed! Well it did for me:shock:
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