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Argh! Have had my GL for about 6 weeks now. Never overheated in city-highway driving. Was being a good boy and enrolled in Rider Skills Refresher course today. About 80F today. And about 1.5 hours into the riding, the bike overheats, percolates green pee on the range thru the overflow tube, temp gauge just at the red, (does this twice) and so they send me home early (understandable, from a safety standpoint, can't have slick anti-freeze on the course). Anyway, after letting the bike cool down, come home (no temp problems). Let the bike idle in the driveway - fan comes on, stays about 50% on the temp gauge. Hmmm. Tootle around the neighborhood, performing starts, stops, creeping, waiting (just like the routine at the range). Doesn't overheat! A good thing I guess, but frustrating to have to miss the last half of the rider training.

What could have been the cause of the fluke? Air pocket? Unreliable fan? Bad radiator cap? Don't worry about it?

Any thoughts appreciated!

-hossners

'81 gl1100i se
 

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I would think any of your suggestions would be applicable except "don't worry about it". Questions to think about: Did the fan ever come on while you were on the course? Assuming you were up to 35+ MPH so there would be good air flow through the radiator so the engine should have run cool on the way home.

Possibilities to think about: Intermittant fan switch; sticking thermostat; radiator cap not holding pressure; insufficient coolant initially; incorrect coolant/water ratio; air bubble is unlikely unless you have recently done work on the cooling system and had to add coolant.

Keep us informed on the progress.
 

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I'm thinking the 'sticking thermostat' or 'intermittent fan switch' is the most likely culprit, being that the problem comes and goes (mostly goes).

Anyone know how much of a job replacing the thermostat is? Is this an OEM part or is it available aftermarket? I'll have the radiator off to replace timing belts soon...

hossners

'81 gl1100i se
 

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hi hossners,

it does sound like the thermostat stuck so needs replacing.

Why not run a bypass with a switchfor your fan so if it doesn't cut inbecause the thermo switch has failed, you can switch on manually. Handy for heavy traffic as well.
 

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I am talking about two different potential problems - don't know which one yet.

'Sticking thermostat' is the temperature actuated valve that regulates coolant flow. If it is stuck shut, no amount of wind or fan will help as the coolant is not allowed to circulate.

'Thermostatic Switch' is the part that senses whenthe coolant temperature exceeds a given value, and then electrically switches on the fan.

As I write this, the second seems the more likely scenario, as I have not yet seen this problem on the road, only after 1 1/2 of parking lot riding. Your switch idea may have merit (esp if cheaper/easierthan replacing the thermo swtich itself).

-hossners

81 gl1100i se
 

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Hossner, I am in the process of replacing my Thermo switch. They are very pricey if you buy from Honda dealer. I found a new one through Saber Cycles for $45.00 plus S&H. I have the old one out & I am just waiting for the new one to arrive. It was not that hard to remove. Did it solve my problem? not sure yet but I think I might wire the fan to a toggle switch just for piece of mind as I do alot of city driving. I just hope that I can wire it right, so the Thermo switch will still turn the fan on automatically. Good Luck with your project.



This site is great & definately worth the price of admission!!!!!
 

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hossners wrote:
Argh! Have had my GL for about 6 weeks now. Never overheated in city-highway driving. Was being a good boy and enrolled in Rider Skills Refresher course today. About 80F today. And about 1.5 hours into the riding, the bike overheats, percolates green pee on the range thru the overflow tube, temp gauge just at the red, (does this twice) and so they send me home early (understandable, from a safety standpoint, can't have slick anti-freeze on the course). Anyway, after letting the bike cool down, come home (no temp problems). Let the bike idle in the driveway - fan comes on, stays about 50% on the temp gauge. Hmmm. Tootle around the neighborhood, performing starts, stops, creeping, waiting (just like the routine at the range). Doesn't overheat! A good thing I guess, but frustrating to have to miss the last half of the rider training.

What could have been the cause of the fluke? Air pocket? Unreliable fan? Bad radiator cap? Don't worry about it?

Any thoughts appreciated!
hossners, that sure doesn't sound like a good afternoon. Lets go down the list here & see what we have?

Air pocket- not likely as that would have worked it's way out long before your riding class, or acted up at other times.. Probably not the problem.

Unreliable fan?- very possibly, maybe not the actual fan but possibly a failing thermo switch or faulty wire connector. Check those fan wire connectors & wiring. With all that stopping & zig zagging maybe a connector is acting up.

Bad radiator cap?- doubtful as your temp gauge was in the red. A bad cap could allow fluid to pass but shouldn't cause an overheat at 80°F at low speeds. I suppose it's possible that the cap could fail & not allow the coolantrecovery tank to add it's coolant back into theradiator though.

Don't worry about it?- if it happened once it will probably happen again.

Things to look for-- make sure the radiator isn't plugged with mud or ? & that air can easily pass through the radiator fins. Make sure the cooling fan is working & the fan blade isn't loose on the motor. Make sure the radiator hoses aren't pinched or twisted.

My first guess would be that the cooling fan didn't come on. In that case the bike would cool OK at road speeds but not in parking lot maneuvers. Check that thermo switch or do the parking lot thing again & listen for the cooling fan to come on as the engine heats up.

Make sure you have sufficient battery voltage to run the cooling fan. Those early Wings don't have much of a charging system & if you were sitting idling with the brakes on you were probably in a heavy batterydischarge condition.

Twisty
 

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twisty wrote:
Make sure you have sufficient battery voltage to run the cooling fan. Those early Wings don't have much of a charging system & if you were sitting idling with the brakes on you were probably in a heavy batterydischarge condition.

Twisty
Twisty -

I think you may be on to something! I had forgotten, but after it overheated and I let it cool for 20mins or so, I barely got it started the battery was so low. Since this was after 1.5hrs of the stop and go, it also would explain why I couldn't get it to overheat later after only 20-30min of stop and go. Time to get a voltmeter installed on the bike!

Does the fan actually turn off with insufficient voltage, or just slow to a ineffective speed? Is there a practical remedy, or just what you get with an 'early Wing'?

Mana to you, my friend!
 

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hossners wrote:

I think you may be on to something! I had forgotten, but after it overheated and I let it cool for 20mins or so, I barely got it started the battery was so low. Since this was after 1.5hrs of the stop and go, it also would explain why I couldn't get it to overheat later after only 20-30min of stop and go. Time to get a voltmeter installed on the bike!

Does the fan actually turn off with insufficient voltage, or just slow to a ineffective speed? Is there a practical remedy, or just what you get with an 'early Wing'?
hossners, a voltmeter on those early Wings is a great idea. I have both a voltmeter & a home built greenLED that comes on at about 14 volts so I can visiually see that the battery is charging.

I have taken a few motorcycle performance based classes over the last few years & when using my Harley's I don't have any charging problems but on my 1200 Wing I usually pull the headlight fuse just before the riding begins as that takes a load off the charging system. I also don't sit idling with the brakes on if at all possible. I now have a switch on my 1200 Wing to turn the headlight off when caught in stop & go traffic or when idling for extended periods withthe brakes applied (my 1200 has alarger charging system than your 1100 also).
I have also set my engine idle up to around 1100 as that sure helps the charging at idle. A real slow idle will leave you with no charge at idle.



Does the fan actually turn off with insufficient voltage, or just slow to a ineffective speed? Is there a practical remedy, or just what you get with an 'early Wing'?
I really don't know, it would at least slow down some & it's possible the fan relay won't set if the voltage is too low. Maybe try idling your bike with the high beam on & the brakes applied. (use a tie strap on the brake lever so you don't have to sitthere & hold it on). See if the fan acts up after a while of idling with the brakes on.

Let us know if you find anything?

Twisty
 
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