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I'm thinking about doing some longer trips on my GL1200a, now that I did a little one (900 km). Probably next year at this point. My GL1200 (1985) had the original stator and works great. But what if I'm 1000 miles from home and the stator packs it in?



Can you buy 2-3 batteries, charge themup and take the headlight fuse out, and get 200-300 miles a day out of a battery or two? If so, I'd have the peace of mind to travel far and wide with this bike. If not, I'd consider trading it for something more reliable for long trips.



Any of you folks limped home with a dead stator before? Tell me about it!



Frank
 

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Install a poorboy kit, then if it fails, you can run to any automotive shop to have it fixed or rebuilt! no more worries :p

well the battery thing is the only thing i can think about.
 

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Jump box probably has more energy/weight than battery. Idea to turn off headlight is good, it probably sucks more power than ignition.
 

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do like a buddy of mine did put a semi battery where your helmet box is 1000cca one use jumper cables to hook to the battery and put 4 or 5 harborfreight solar chargers on it only ride in the day time and dont have any lights on but be carefull in some states its mandatory for bikes to have a headlamp on while running down the road
 

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Your best bet is to not worry about it. If you're hard wired, the stator may never fail.
 

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If you're touring you want to relax not play "What If?" Go for the poorboy and leave the original as a back-up. Change the dog-bone fuse at the same time. The poorboy would be a good winter project. Do the belts if they are old or unknown and wait for spring.
 

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If you decide to install second alternator you should probably take with you new starter, coils, wires, solenoid, wheel bearings, water pump, wheels etc.:):):)
 

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My alternator went without warning whilst touring France, my mate's went the same way a week later touring Scotland- both were hardwired already. Mine had failed at least once before (34K miles at this time). Both bikes would just about hold a charge at 3000 revs with no lights on so we could ride during daylight hours. You may need to remove the headlight and tail-light bulbs if there's no switch, (but riding without a headlight is illegal in some countries I believe). As soon as you used lights etc they dropped to 11 volts on the meter, even revving the engine. The battery will take you a reasonable way if it fails completely, but not with lights in use obviously.
Both bikes were later converted to poorboy type external alternators .... Steve
 

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I had a charging system failure while out on a solo day trip on my 1200 and based on my experience I would estimate the stock battery will run the bike for around an hour before the engine sputters and then in a minute, dies. I had pulled the headlight fuse when I noticed the voltage drop. Although theoretically illegal it was a reasonable trade-off to get me home.

I was able to get to a garage that recharged the battery and I made it home on the re-charge, about 45 minutes.

A car battery will obviously last longer so if one was able to make it to a auto outlet they could cobble up some arrangement to get them home if farther than a hour away. Buy a battery, some appropriate wire and a charger if this will be a multistage event. You might also have to buy a backpack for the stuff you normally carry in your top box.

Keep in mind that batteries are heavy and cobbling one into place may result in damage to the plastics and even create an unsafe condition.

The question is not “Can it be done?” but rather “Do you want to do it?”

If you do it and can laugh about it later then it was an adventure. However if the trip goes sour due to missed connections, financial costs of being on the road too long, or having a crash due to things coming apart do you want chance it?

I was forewarned because I had put in a voltmeter. Adding Rudy’s Smart-light would be even better. As soon as you see a problem, make course corrections to get to a safe location. Once at a safe place you can make alternate plans for a tow, trailer or repair.

All vehicles should have a voltmeter. They are cheap and easy to install even if you just duct tape them to the bars.

FWIW My system failure was due to the regulator / rectifier and if I had kept the bike I would have never felt comfortable on long trips without something like the Poor boy conversion. I have read of repeated stator failures with aftermarket units. Some are good but is that the one you got? Reg / recs are the same. I had a new one fail and an aftermarket one didn’t keep the battery fully charged.
 

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Here is solution:
Put 2 new bike batteries in side bags and hook them up together. They will stay low and wires don't need to be heavy unless they will be used for starting engine. Jump box will also fit in side bags.
 

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Frank, from the tone of your post I would suggest you have only 2 options, and #1 will be a borderline solution.

1. The preemptive strike - install a Poorboy conversion during the off-season. I sense you are not too different than I am. A 'voltmeter watcher'. Spent almost as much time watching those dang things on my 1200s as I did watching the scenery. And spending far too much time conducting 'what if' scenarios as I drove thru the hinterlands of Montana or Washington or B.C. or Alberta. Having the Poorboy would probably give you some peace of mind on those long trips but.... what about those other nagging problems the 1200s have? As 'newbiker' stated, "you should probably take with you new starter, coils, wires, solenoid, wheel bearings, water pump, wheels etc." For me it was a new set of pulse generators. Must admit I lost confidence in the 1200s and I sense that is close to your mindset.
No doubt, each bike is unique. Mileage, maintenance, previous owners' driving styles, etc all factor into the longevity of your bike and you may already have a sense of what it is capable of. The last thing you want to do is spend a vacation worrying about possible breakdowns.

2. Trade up. You immediately leave the idiosyncrasies of the 1200 behind and inherit the benefits of the new breed. But you also gain the new idiosyncrasies. This is the path I have taken, and have already encountered one of the 1500s weaknesses; a blown diaphragm on the fuel shutoff valve. And I am discovering it has others. I am constructing a list of the most common issues and am planning my own preemptive strike just for my own peace of mind. The bike has low mileage, excellent maintenance record and been driven gently by the PO so I know what I have inherited. Drove it home 2500 miles and loved every minute. Bike doesn't even have a voltmeter! A few upgrades and jumping on for a long ride will be no more disconcerting than jumping in a car for the same ride. There are enough other things to think about on a trip than to be worrying about the location of the closest Honda dealer. I hate talking to those guys at home. Why would I want to include them in my vacation plans?

If I'm reading you correctly you're looking for permission to move up. Permission granted. There is no reason to feel you're abandoning or quitting on your bike. There are some Wing owners that are hopelessly devoted to the 1200s and should be congratulated and admired for it. But its not everyone's path. I've already discovered that no one here holds it against me for moving up. Or they're polite enough not to mention it. I haven't even been ousted from the GL1200 forum!
It's what you're comfortable on the road with that should be the ultimate factor. Wings weren't made to be driven in a circle in a 50 mile radius of the nearest dealership and mine sees limited duty in the the city. What can you take out on the open road and shout out he occasional 'YAHOO!!'? That will decide your path. Make yours roadworthy enough that you can drive worry-free or find one that will.

Happy planning and riding.
 

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Frank...

No machine is 100% reliable. I'm sure there are brand new Lexises, (should that be Lexi?) suffering some kind of failure at this very moment.

Gold Wings are the most reliable and trouble free motorcycles on the market. I take my GL12 on trips all the time. It has almost a quarter million miles on it and it has never left me sitting.
 

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i rode 350 mile with the stator blown, i bought the bike knowing the stator wasnt working, 3 hours was in the nights without the head light on, i took a spare battery, and got a new battery off the owner, i stopped twice for fuel, and make it home without the need to change the battery, you could also take some battery operate bicycle lamps and fasten them on in an emergency, i sold that wing and bought another and fitted a poorboy kit, and i also have roadside recovery, if i breakedown, i know i'm gonna get home
 

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the best and most economical solution to a break down away from home, if repair cannot be made easily, is a u-haul truck. PUt the bike in the truck and go home.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
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Thanks folks. I'm not paranoid about the bike, just realistic. Just did a 900 km trip and the fuel pump quit at the furthest point from home. Ended up putting in an automotive 2.5-5 psi pump that works great. I'll probably keep it.



I think I'll consider the poor-boy conversion for the winter, amongst other things like brakes, fork oil, new tires, and then just ride next year. Nice to know though, that in a pinch, you can limp home, or to a nearby city (with Uhaul if necessary) using a spare battery. I just would hate to be stuck in the middle of nowhere with a 800 lb chunk of metal that won't move.



There's a lot of 'middle of nowhere' around here.



Frank
 

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I ride about 1400km in a single journey every two weeks and have had stator failure twice, I have now converted to a home made poorboy type conversion.



To ride distance after a stator failure,ride in daylight, reduce electrical consumption to a minimum, for example, disconnect the trunk lights, pull the accesory fuseetc.

Try not to use the brakes or keep usage to a minimum, it's the brake lights that draw most current (next to the headlight).

Bring the engine revs up to 1500-2000rpm at idle to prevent stalling as the battery finally fails. If stop start riding, try to park facing down hill for rolling starting, or at least on the flat for a running/pushstart (use 2nd gear!), avoid using the starter if you can.



The engine will run all day with a flat battery, firing from the pulse coils (which also feeds the fuel pump). It just needs the revs kept up. Difficulty comes when stopping for gas or at dusk although the engine will run the lights will soon dim the best thing would be to stop for the night then start off again at dawn.

The furthest I have ridden in this situation was over 300 miles (480km) a recharge of the battery and I rode back again next day!!!!
 

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Years ago I owned an old boat with an old motor. Every weekend we would take that old boat and head across the bay to places unknown. As I think back at all those adventures, the only ones I really remember are the ones that I had trouble.

You can't do everything to insure that every possible thing that could go wrong will be taken care of. Take that bike and ride it. That's part of the enjoyment of riding, the freedom of the country roads, without worry, just enjoy the ride. If the bike breaks down, that's just part of the journey.
 
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