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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My GL1500 has a very annoying but thankfully very rare habit of cutting out for no reason. The first time it happened was on tour with other Wingers, after being on the road for twenty minutes it cut out whilst idling and would not start on the button. (chattering from solenoid) Diagnosed as flat battery we managed to bump start it and all was well. Today after about ten miles the bike cut out again and would not turnover on the button. I waited for ten minutes and it started ok. Turned around to head home and it cut out again after only one mile.
Again it would not turn over on the button. Whilst waiting for breakdown truck I tried again and it started. Caned it for ten miles back home without a problem. Tried different gears and shutting off throttle whilst cruising and still it keeps going.
Got home and tried restarting several times and it starts first button..
The bike stands for weeks and always starts and spins well from cold. The battery appears to be charging but I'm not sure what the voltage should be when cruising. Is it a faulty starter relay, battery, rectifier?. The chattering makes me think it is the solenoid but that doesn't explain why it cuts out in the first place.
Thanks for reading my tale of woe and any help or tips would be appreciated.:?
 

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Welcome to the forum Bluewing88
And Happy New Year.
Sorry to hear of the troubles.
It sounds like the battery has about had it. Is it a wet cell battery? Have you done a specific gravity test after fully charging?
What did you use for a charger and rate of charge?

The volts on the bike running cold and hot need to be 13.5-14.5 volts

What year is your 1500? Need to know that in your posts.
Pre 96 -have you refreshed the brushes in the alternator?
96-2000 -Honda went to Chinese alternators and they are known for the windings connections to fail. Some have been able to solder the breaks.
 

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...The first time it happened was on tour with other Wingers, after being on the road for twenty minutes it cut out whilst idling and would not start on the button. (chattering from solenoid) ...The chattering makes me think it is the solenoid...
Is the Chattering coming from the relay box on the left side of the bike, or on the right?... It's likely to be a Relay from the left side, and probably caused by the battery being dead.

Replace the battery and report back.
 

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Cables

Simple stuff first. Check battery connections and both ends of cables. Specially the ground cable. Then put a voltmeter on the battery and check voltage at idle and then higher rpm to be sure the alternator is charging.
Also, if you do not have a maintenance free battery check the water level in each cell.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the feedback guys..
As per my name it is a 1988 GL1500J with just 70k on the clock. Resprayed blue from the original grey in '96..according to DVLA.. The battery is a MOTOBATT which I thought was maint free however I dont know its age. I have had the bike for nearly two years but it only goes out at weekends if the sun shines which is a big if!..It stands for weeks and starts with a fast lively spin with half choke first time so I thought the battery was ok but perhaps its just shorting a cell or something. I haven't had the alternator out as I thought it was charging ok as the volts increase with the revs and then level off but they are 12.6 to 13.2 max so perhaps its not enough..Anyway I will check the volts and cables again and see whats goin on. (Wish I was in California...)
Thanks again for the feedback.
 

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Battery maybe but seems odd it can 'sit for weeks' and spin the bike over well. I agree check charging cold, get hot, recheck. If the brushes are sticking or wore it could be charging intermittently. 88's were a known issue for wearing alt brushes prematurely. Easy as it is to remove and check 'em...I think I'd do that.
 

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Hi Bluewing88 and welcome......all of the above , and, have you a voltmeter installed on your bike?...they will tell you the important stuff about your charging system as you ride, and, sadly no I still haven't installed one yet on mine....Stu (newday777) I am sure from a previous post has a preference for which type to install and where.
Cheers,
Peter.
 

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I would bet my lunch that it is an intermittant alternator, due to crimped,(Chinese) windings. The battery may be close to "DOA", because of varying charging voltages. This happens when the Hitatchi alternator windings start arcing due to loose crimped connections. This can be corrected. Also, cruddy brushes/holders can cause these types of problems. Hope this helps. Google Ken Hemmings "MARS" (motorcycle alternator repair service). Great guy, and does a heck of a resto job on your stock unit. jimsjinx:)
 

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MOTOBATT which is maint free, should be good though it could possibly be bad but I have my doubts now,
sparrowhawwk brings up a good point on checking all the cable connections, connections do come loose if not installed properly or too long a bolt used on the battery which allows the bolt to appear tight but bottoms out on the battery case and the cable is not fully tight. I have seen this on a shop installed battery on a friend's 1800 trike, new battery, he came out after a service for another friend's wife and the bike wouldn't start for him, on a hot 90 deg day. I had my tools and the battery had a full charge. Took a few minutes of testing and finally checked the cables and found the too long of screws. 5 minutes later it was all fine after replacing the bolts with shorter bolts. Somebody was in a hurry on that install.

As to the voltmeter, you have one fitted on the bike so you can readily, easily keep an eye on it(nothing blocking the view of it)?
 

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Could be as simple as dirty/loose battery connections
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks again guys. I am hoping for something simple but will strip off the plastic bits and go through the starter circuits and check the charging rate hot and cold..
 

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I'd put a voltmeter on the bike regardless of the outcome. Batterybug has diagnosed me out of trouble twice now. My GL1500 shows about 14.2 - 14.3 volts when running. I think yours is low. When you buy a battery, get a good AGM (like Yuasa). Check the brushes in your alternator.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well guys it looks like the alternator is toast.. 11.6v at start 13.2v reving at 3k rpm with lights off. 12.1v with lights on..
I think I will bite the bullet and go for the compufire 90A. Looking at old forums it seems it will fit my 88 with a slight mod to the holes..
Still dont understand how the Motobatt can spin the lump so fast with so low volts..amazing..
 

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Make sure that all connections are tight and clean. Remove them to verify, and clean them with a little emery cloth.
Check battery terminals, solenoid connections and main fuse.

Re check voltage as described previously.
Have battery bench tested at a shop.
When in doubt about age or condition replace it.
 

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Aside from the original brushes wearing prematurely, the 88's were good alts, easy removal and rebuild if it's only the brushes...If it were me, I'd go that way. Either way you'll want to replace the rubber dampers that mate the alt to the engine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Oh decisions decisions. I wish the dam thing would go bang then I would know it was faulty but as it is, it seems ok..Still not convinced its the alternator or the battery so I got hold of a decent amp meter and did the test as described in the Clymer manual with the amp meter replacing the main fuse. Started bike and let it run up to temp. With the fans off and the main beam on I have .2A to 1.2A at tickover and 6.5A to 8.0A at just under 2000 rpm. The voltage however is still low 12.4 at tickover and 12.6v at 2000 rpm. So is it the alternator or the battery ????????
FYI took some current drain readings with the engine switched off.
Ignition on 1.4A + brake lights = 10.6A + lights on full beam = 24A So again if the alternator is holding a drain of 24A and still charging at between .2 and 1.2A at tickover can it really be faulty ????
Think I will try another battery from another Wing and do the test again.
Yes, I know, I should replace both, but try and convince the wife OMG AKA WTF!!!!
 

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The brushes in the alternator are probably corroded, rusty springs and sticking or worn out, very common in the older alternators. It is worth putting new brushes in it!

While in there there is the rear bearing to replace too and the seal behind the drive flange along with the 4 rubber damper bushings to replace. @ $30-40 parts.

Just do a forum search on alternator brushes. You will find lots of reading on that fact.
 

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Blue - you can have the battery tested for free at Sears, O'Reilly's. If it's bad, replace it and recheck the running voltage.
You need to get the right mind-set here. The GL1500 is an overly complicated bike that costs a lot to keep up to snuff. It's reliable, but all parts cost like you bought them at the emergency room and you'll be buying them regularly. You shouldn't just chuck money at it but you need to spend what's necessary or you'll be fussing more than you'd probably like.
 
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