Steve Saunders Goldwing Forums banner

GL1500 Underwater

8273 Views 101 Replies 33 Participants Last post by  RKB53
My 96 goldwing aspencade got caught in a bad flood where I work. Although it was in motorcycle parking the drains backed up in the lot and my bike was under water. I was told the seat was under water. I checked my side saddlebags and water came out when I opened them. Although this was a few hours later, the bike wouldn't fire. It would crank over but thats it. I had exactly 215000 miles on the odemeter. I pulled the starter(it finally did stop cranking) and when I took it apart, water came out and the armature is shot as well as the brushes (only had 10000 miles on the starter rebuild).
I am currently in talks with the my job as to if I will get any money for repairs. Of course I had just dropped my full coverage insurance 6 weeks ago.
Question, I have parts coming to rebuild the starter but I know that will only fix the cranking portion of it. I'm sure it still won't start. I have fresh oil in it and the old oil didn't look too bad so I 'm confident not much water got in the engine. What can I look at and where will be my coil packs or ignition system for my wires be should I not get spark? Thanks for your help-I can't afford to replace this bike at this time.
Not open for further replies.
1 - 20 of 102 Posts
Alternator, and depending on the locations, control units.
You might remove the units before you try to start the bike. Blow out the connectors. Some of the boxes MAY separate. If so, open them up and blow out as much moisture as possible.
Differential/driveline/wheel bearings/calipers.......
Man, that sucks.
Water in the gas and also the carb's. All the vacuum lines should be taken off and blown out also. To be honest, it's time to part ways with this bike......
Be thankful it wasn't SEAWATER, everything on the cycle is fairly water resistant to start with and would not worry about the coils. The ECM on the right side is where my concern would be for any starting issues.

Take all the covers off let it dry out for a few days in the sun. Before trying to start again remove ECM and check for water inside.

As GL noted drain the rear drive.
I would let everything dry out as well as possible. Push it out in the sun during the day and put it inside at night (Or under cover) and put a fan (or 2) on it to dry it out. Electrical components (most anyways) will only go bad if energized while wet.

Change rearend oil and engine oil, open and drain all hoses, change antifreeze. If the bike runs, run it for a 100 miles and change everything again! And maybe again!

I suspect however, that if this bike ever runs again, you will have nothing but issues with it in the future, best start looking to trade it for another one if you get it going.
The rear brake master cylinder reservoir was in the drink also, flush that out.:)

Do not use on board compressor until that is removed, checked and dessicant changed.
Since your here in Fl do take advantage of the Sunshine/heat . Have you pulled all the plug wires ? Do that and blow the water out of the plug wells . Probably pull the plugs and shoot a little oil in the cylinders as soon as you can and turn it over to get the oil coating the cylinders . I know the stock mufflers have condensation drain holes but there could be more water in the headers and collector . The gas tank should be sealed pretty well . HAve you removed the air filter ? if your lucky the water didnt get that high and if not perhaps no water into the carbs and cylinders from the top side . I think the alternator might dry out ok . If/when you get it running you might consider new timing belt tensioners and wheel bearings . IF your drive shaft boot is good and solid theres a chance all that stayed dry .Sheesh the more I think the longer the list becomes .
If ya want drop it off here , I'll use the parts .;)

Seriously , I am sorry to hear your into this situation . Especially with you just recently cancelling your full coverage policy .
See less See more
You took a big gamble turning the engine over with spark plugs in. If there was water in the intakes you could have bent or broken a rod.
Only my opinion: If it was my cycle, I'd also change all wheel bearings and rear end lube. They DID get water in them; some is still in there. GOOD LUCK.....papasmurf
Control module dryout tool:

This does work. It's a bit lengthy. Once you make and use it you will be thankful you did. If you can get it in the box and pull a vacuum, you can dry anything out. Simple physics.

Get a waterproof military ammo box (with a good seal).
Go to a HVAC supply house (or W.W. Grainger) and get a standard brass HVAC Schrader port fitting with a braze-on stem.
Drill a hole in the ammo container lid just big enough to fit the stem, and JB Weld it into place. Be sure the epoxy surrounds the stem for a leak-free fit.
Go to Harbor Freight and get an automotive R-12 to R-134a fitting conversion kit. Use the low side fitting, and screw it on to your epoxied brass fitting.


Go to your local Autozone, or an auto parts supplier that loans/rents tools.

Borrow a HVAC vacuum pump and an AC gauge set.


Put your module in the ammo can and close it up.
Hook the low side hose of the AC gauge (blue) to the ammo can fitting.
Hook the center (yellow) hose to the vacuum pump.
Make sure the hi side knob (red) is completely closed.
Turn on the vacuum pump and open the low side knob. You should see the needle pull into a vacuum. The gauge should read at least 26 inches of mercury, or you have a leak somewhere.
Leave it running for a couple of hours. The vacuum will lower water's boiling point enough to get rid of it all.

Sent from Free App
See less See more
I too surprised it turned over after being under water.

Anyway. Pull all plugs and spray at least WD-40 in all cylinders. You need something in there.
Needed to make sure ANYTHING that has to do with power was DRY first! That was mentioning about electronics getting wet.
Drain tank(may or may not have any or some water). Drains carbs. Check air filter. Air filter hate water.

I don't see how long it was under water. As long as it wasn't running, water would not be that bad. Just need to dry out real good.
Bought a car at a dealer before? If you get a "real good" deal on a new car..May have been in a flood before? Ever think of that? Makes you wonder.

I would dry it out and get it running. Will take some time o get ALL the moisture out. But should be ok when you get it running.
That is a good idea Rob. I forgot all about using a vacuum pump like that. I may just make one. At LEAST a couple hours, anything longer isn't going to hurt.
You just said it was in a llood. Nothing mentioned if it was salt, or fresh water involved. Plastic body parts on the 1500 are very expensive if you try to part it out. Every electical connection is compromised. Maybe you could find a 1500 that was layed down gently, and use your parts to fix it up. Sell whats left over should put you close to even.
Thanks for all of your replies. It was freshwater(rain) that was the issue. I don't think it was under for more than 5 minutes. Carb area is dry and shows no sign of water intrusion. Other than starter and alternator height, even though the seat was wet I dont think it stayed that high for long. I did bump the engine just to see if would crank. On the commutator, one of the copper pieces came out that is why its unrepairable. I do have a new starter kit coming. Oil drained for a week and this weekend I will hand crank it over. It will be at least another two weeks before I can spend more time on it. Thanks again for your feedback.
If you get it running, then it would probably be a good idea to dis-assemble and clean Every electrical connection on the bike... to remove any residual moisture, as well as to use as an opportunity to pack with dielectric grease to prevent any future corrosion.

If it was my bike though, I'd be looking for another bike... I'd be afraid of numerous electrical problems steming from corroded connectors.

Also, although you don't have insurance on the bike, your employer's may still cover you... I'd be pushing them hard to pay for damages.
BTW, a 5 gallon bucket and a Costco bag of rice works as good for less money than a vacuum system.
set a fan up to blow some air around the bike would help,the faster you could get it running and riding the better.I get caught in the rain while riding and i do wash my bikes, so 5 minutes of water is not going to kill it.I would change the gear lube too.
set a fan up to blow some air around the bike would help,the faster you could get it running and riding the better.I get caught in the rain while riding and i do wash my bikes, so 5 minutes of water is not going to kill it.I would change the gear lube too.
I agree to a point.
But I am sure you been out in the rain a few times for 5 minutes or so and pretty soaked right. How about I hold your head under water for 5 minutes :ROFL:
See the difference. :ROFL:

Just joking of course, but you see my point right?
New info that I got yesterday from witnesses. Bike seat got wet(I always have a full cover on it at work) because someone(employed at work and driving company vehicle)drove through the water at high speed and caused a wave to go rushing at my bike and others. So the water over the seat was temporary and one other bike(another employee) is in the shop for repairs and two little scooters got knocked over due to the wave. Other cars including a corvette that wasn't in the signed flood zone but still got damaged are in the shop. I was told yesterday that due to no insurance I would be getting no money. So at this point I will get the bike running and turn my receipts in to a higher authority. Again thanks for your input.
New update: Got the parts for the starter and now solenoid is bad(the one with the red and blue insulators). Bypassed that solenoid and engine cranks real good(pulled inspection cover for timing belt to verify). Not getting any spark at plugs. I checked fuses and swapped relays with no luck. How difficult is it to get at the coils? I cant even see them! How many coils are there and do you think all of them would go bad at the same time? Thanks for your assist. I am out of town again for another week so it will be that long before I can look at it again.
1 - 20 of 102 Posts
Not open for further replies.