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To All,

My 1985 Limited has a peculiar problem. I can drive down the road and the alternator is charging between 13.8 and 14.1 volts. Then, all the sudden, the voltage drops to 11.1 volts. I thought it was the fan kicking in, but it does it when the fan engages or not. Then I thought that there is a loose wire that is grounding, but I figured that would blow a fuse or something.

Also, when I pull the hand brake, the voltage drops almost 2 volts for no apparent reason. I thought the brake lights were the big voltage draw, but when I use the foot brake, it only draws about a tenth of a volt. The battery is brand new and it was doing this with the old battery as well.

I'm thinking that the rectifier/regulator is bad. Some are telling me it's the alternator.

Any ideas?

Robert "that's why they call me Newbee" Guinn
 

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Hey Newbee,

Mine was doing the exact same thing last year, my three yellow wires by the battery were already fixed, but the connector under the false tank going to the regulator was melted, the wires were burnt and corroded. I removed the connector, cut out the bad pieces of wire and soldered the connections, been fine ever since, constant 13.8-14.0.

Cheers, Geoff
 

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Hatchetman / Gtcouple,

I really appreciate your prompt reply.Sounds like you two know what's happening. This is my first Goldwing (previous Harley owner) and I'm really in the dark on most GW issues. I will check the wires tonight after I get off work and see if that's what's wrong. Either way I will let you guys know.

Thanks again,

Robert
 

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Hatchetman / GTcouple,

Well, I tried looking for the three yellow wires by the battery, but I never saw them. I removed the battery and the false tank cover, had both eyes open, but never saw them. I did, however, see three yellow wires going to the rectifier / regulator and they were melted. Evidently, the previous owner (I've only had the bike 3 months) has addressed this problem before because the connector had several other wires melted in the plug that looked like he had tried to fix. Two of the three yellow wires were taken from the connector and soldered directly together. The remaining yellow wire was still in the connector.

I tried to seperate the two connector halves, but I couldn't get them apart. After I made sure thatno wires were not burnt together,I cranked it up. I let it run for about an hour and the voltage never dropped below 13.7 volts. I took it on a little test drive (about 10 miles) and it stayed between 13.8 and 14.0 volts. I drove it to work this morning (56 miles) and everything seemed okay.

I guess it's fixed for now, but I'm sure this will be something I'll have to monitor for the life of the bike. I really appreciate you guys help. I didn't know where to start looking for problems.

Hatchetman, I don't have any CV40 carbs laying around. Sorry. I've had four Harley's since 1982. I had a 1982 Sportster XLH Roadster (1000cc eng. & 4-spd), a 1983 SuperGlide II, a 1977 (I think) Harley 250 SX Enduro, and I currently have a 2005 883 Sportster Custom. I have liked every Harley I've owned, but I couldn't get them to go the distance. I put 60K miles on my 883 in two years. I wore out the engine and had to get another one. I figured I'd better get a bike that was made to go 300K without wearing out. That's why I bought the GW.

Thanks again for all y'alls help.

Robert
 

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Hatchetman / GTcouple,

Well, the old GW is doing it again. I'm convinced that I need to totally replace the connector between the motorcycle main harness and the rectifier/regulator.

Do either of you have any idea where I can get both halves of the connector :stumped:? I'm really not wanting to buy a whole new rectifier and bike harness, so if you don't know where I can get a "Honda" authorized part replacement, do you know of anything else that would work? I was told that the Honda Civic car had allot of connectors that were the same or very close the the Goldwing's. Could I use something like that?

Any assistance would be appreciated. Thanks for all your help thus far.

Robert
 

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Newbee,

I would remove the connector completely and solder the wires together, you can always cut the wires again if you need to remove the regulator. You want to get rid of the old connectors, they seem to cause a let of issues.

That is my opinion, if anyone else has a different thought they should be along soon

Cheers, Geoff
 

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You are right gtcouple, it would be best to cut out the connector, slip some heatshring tubing over the wire, then solder the two wires together and when cool slide the heatshrink over it and shrink it on with a hairdryer. This was a common enough problem with Suzuki's and Honda's in the eighties when I repaired them. When the connection is burnt it can be corroded too, but you cannot see that and eventually you will ruin either your windings in the alternator or the regulator.
 

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Thanks GTcouple and Wingle. I appreciate your input.

I was looking at the GL1200 harness fix made by David Campbell (http://gl1200harness.tripod.com/harness.html) which suggests doing the same thing you two are talking about. I'm just not sure if the fix works on the Limited edition model though. I'm going to contact Mr. Campbell and see what he says.

Thanks again.

Robert
 

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Robert, I agree with Geoff that you need to get rid of ALL of those connectors - both the one to the left of the battery with the three yellow wires AND the connectors at the regulator/rectifier. Note on the LTD/SEi there are TWO connectors and as I recall two of the yellow wires from the stator were in one and one was in the other connector. Your best bet is to cut all of them out and solder the wires together.

In my case, my LTD acted like yours - it would run at 14 volts but then all of a sudden drop to 10 volts or less. Sometimes it would come back up, but other times not. I bought the bike from my brother and he had already cut out the connector to the left of the battery and soldered the three yellow wires together, but the yellow wires had also melted the connectors at the r/r.

I bought the EC Harness (http://www.electricalconnection.com/wire-harnesses/hrns_gl1200_charge.htm ) and took all the connectors out and soldered everything together, but that did not help. It turned out the regulator/rectifier was bad. Got a new one (if you look for one note that the LTD/SEis put out more power and use a different r/r than the standard 1200s) and it has been fine ever since.

Of course, it could also be your stator. There is a testing procedure for that on this board at http://www.goldwingfacts.com/GL1200Statortest.htm

Keep us posted.
 

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Pauln,

I'm going to follow your advice. Now that I've been talking about it,to the right people,it appears that taking the connector(s) out and soldering them together is the common fix for these bikes. Thanks for the extra inputdealing withthe Limited model.

Everyone at this website has been very helpful. Speak about a wealth of information; you guys know many times more than the local Honda dealer. They won't even look at my bike. Nothing older than 1990 is what they told me. I'm actually glad that they don't. I have a feeling it would have cost me a lot of money just to find out they don't really know what's going on.

Well, I have my project for this weekend. I'll let everyone know how it turns out.

Thanks again,

Robert
 

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Well, my weekend project ended up taking a longer than I had expected. I ordered one of the harness kits from Campell's electronics and installed it on my bike this last weekend. The bike fired up and was charging at around 13.4 volts. It would stay steady between 13.4 and 13.5, regardless of rpm. The one thing I noticed was that the rectifier became hot very quickly. It used to get hot before I installed the new harness, but I thought the "fix" would have eliminated the heat. Maybe that's normal, but it seemed odd to me. At any rate, the bike at least was charging and not discharging.

After I finished with the installation of the new harness, I put the fairings back on and wiped everything down (greasy fingerprints) and hit the start button. It cranked just fine, but never started. I thought that I had done something stupid like not putting the bike in neutral before I cranked it (didn't know GW's had a safety feature built in to keep from starting the bike in gear) like I had done before. Everything was fine. I ended up taking the fairings back off to see if I had pinched something and everything was just as I had left it. I finally was able to detect that I wasn't getting any voltage to the plugs. I had power to the coils, but nothing leaving the coils.

I find that extremely odd to have something working fairly well and all the sudden both coils don't work at the same time. I'm thinking that I must have disturbed something that was happy where it was at. Was hoping maybe one of you guys would have the magic cure.

Any advise?

Robert
 

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Pauln,

Did you happen to see my last post? I thought you would have commented on what may be happening that's causing my coils not to fire. I may have not replied correctly where it would alert everyone on the email string. I really have benefitted by from everyone's experience and respect what all of you tell me.

Do you have any suggestions pertaining to the coils or no fire to the plugs? Are you able to read my last post on this email string?

Thanks,

Robert
 

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Getting power to coils kind'a rules out the kill switch, but that's all that my poor diagram really shows that both coils have in common.(need beter schematic) You may find a better detailed wiring diagram on line or in the reference/faq forum. The limited and injected 1200's had a lot more going on than the carb models.

Dave Cambell was a member here a few years ago, but a few folks had issues with his harness and some feathers got ruffled. I don't know if he's still here,(hidden), or not, but you may try contacting him directly.

If you had it running and charging before re-installing the plastic, it sure sounds like a pinched wire. Don't give up yet, the guys here will get back to you. We all have to sleep sometime... :gunhead:
 

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Thanks Shooter. I appreciate your input. Sometimes when I need a schematic, I go to BikeBandit.com and use one of their free ones.

I'll be patient with the forum. So far everything that has been suggested to me is right on the money. I know someone out there has the answer.

I spoke with Mr. Cambell (email) and I think that due to the fact the bike started after I installed the harness and it wouldn't start after the fairings were installed, his responsibility to me is over. But, you never know.

Thanks again,

Robert
 

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Robert,

Some tips that will help you in the future related to using the forums:

1. Try not to expect that any one person who replies to your post will ever reply again. Most will keep up with a particular thread they are participating in, but often life gets in the way and they will not be able to get back to you for days, weeks, even months in some cases. Sometimes never. People come and go, so you may be waiting for a reply that will never come. It is best to sort through the advice of all of the replies and ask questions as they come up. Someone will reply, it is just that it may not be the same person every time.

2. Try to select the appropriate forum. More "tech" people would see this thread if it were in the Goldwing Technical Forum (you could PM one of the admins and they can move it there for you).

3. If you are trying to get a response from a particular person, you can PM (Personal Message) them. That way they will typically get an email that they have a new PM and will see it when they go into the forums.

Now, to your problem. It will help if we look at just what the EC (Campbell in your case) "harness" does. It basically wires the positive and negative posts of the battery directly to the regulator/rectifier and eliminates all the connections. It does the same thing with the three yellow stator wires. You could do this yourself with wire, but it is easier to buy the harness, particularly if you are not familiar with the electrical systems on these wings.

The OTHER thing that the harness does is provide coil power directly from the battery to the coils. Stock, each coil has two connections from the electrical system: One is from switched battery power (only on when the ignition is on) and the other is from the spark units. All the spark units do is break the connection each time the plug is to fire (makes the electrical field collapse in the coil and makes the spark at the plug).

I am not familiar with the Campbell harness, but the EC harness uses a relay to that uses the switched coil power to switch on the relay that gives the coils direct battery power. The theory is that the stock power connection has a voltage drop that reduces the spark energy. By powering the coils directly from the battery, you should get better spark performance. I never noticed any difference on my LTD, but I have seen some posts that swear by it.

The EC harness has fuses for both the positive wires to the r/r and another fuse for the hot wires that go to the coils. I really don't have an answer to your question as to how your coils would not work if they are getting power. Are you SURE they are getting power? Any easy explanation would be that when you put the shelter (fake gas tank) on you somehow knocked the fuse or wires loose that power the coils? It is possible that you knocked loose the wires from the spark units, but you would have had to have knocked BOTH of them off and they are well protected, so that is very unlikely.

Let us know what you find out. One of the best things about this (and the other forums) is that they give you information so that you CAN FIX THINGS YOURSELF and not be at the mercy of dealer or mechanic. With the 85 LTD and 86 SEi this is essential because even if you could find someone to work on them, you could easily end up spending thousands of dollars trying to diagnose and fix the problems they can have.
 

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Pauln,

Thank you for your time and effort and quick response to my email post. I also appreciate you mentoring me through to do's and don'ts of posting messages. I think all your advice has merit and and is sound. I'll definitely take heed.

As for the harness, I took a test light (alligator connector on one end with a 12V light in the middle of a pointed pen) and checked voltage where the red "hot" wire from the battery goes to the r/r and is soldered to the blue wire that goes to both coils. I checked both blue wires where they connect to the coil and the 12V light came on. I didn't measure the voltage with a multimeter, only checked to see that they're getting voltage. Both coils light up the tester where the blue wire connects to them. The blue wires (hot wires) connect where the black/white wires were located (I think the negative side of the coil) and the two Blue/white wires on the other side of the coil I left alone. I didn't receive a light when I placed the tester against that side of the coil. So, I'm thinking that I have power to the coil, but how much voltage the coils are receiving I'm not sure.

I'm going to be checking everything else out tonight when I get home and see if I can find any smoking guns. I'm pretty sure it's something simple, but I just don't know what it is. You mentioned that there was a fuse that goes to the coils? I didn't notice a fuse or fuseable link, although there is a fuse box that sits just below and on top of the coils that hold fuses for everything else. I checked all those fuses, but there were 5 relays in the fuse box (or metal box type fuses) that I shook to see if they were loose, but didn't check for any continuity or anything else. I checked to see if I had damaged the wires going to the spark units, but there is no visible damage to any wiring around there anywhere. I will make sure I have both eyes wide open tonight just in case I didn't before.

Thanks again for your assistance. One day I will advance from being a Newbee to a Novice. :eek:)

Robert
 

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Pauln,

Okay, I went home and did some poking around with the circuit tester on anything that seemed or looked connected to the ignition system or directly to the battery. I used your advice to check the circuits in both the switched and unswitched positions and I finally found the problem.

There is a fuseable link that comes off the starter solenoid (that is covered with a black rubber protector) that connects to another wire directly underneath the seat. I had power before the link and none after it, so I opened the case and sure enough the fuse was blown. I used a jumper wire from the battery to the connector under the seat and tried to start the bike. Low and behold it cranked right up.So I put two and two together and realized that the blown fuse was somehow connected to the circuit to the coils, but I still don't know how. The wires are buried inside the main harness and I don't know where they go from there. So I went and purchased some more 30A fuse links and installed one. It didn't immediately blow, so I knew that there wasn't a grounded short somewhere. I put all the fairings back on and the bike fired up. But, there are a couple red flags I still see.

First, I don't know what caused the link to blow in the first place. I don't think I disrupted the wires while working on the bike, but something made it blow. Second, the r/r still gets hot to the touch. I don't know if that's a sign that it's about to fail or if that's normal. Third, the charging system charges between 13.3 and 13.5 volts back to the battery. I was getting 13.8 to 14.1 prior to all this happening.

Am I out of the fire with any of these things or do I still need to do some work?

Thanks again for all your excellent advice.

Robert
 

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The fuseable link that you're talking about is the Infamous 30 amp Dogbone fuse I believe. There are 2 of them on your Ltd Ed. One is on the front of thestarter selinoid and the other is an in-line fuse located kinda in back of the starter selinoid.

I had the one on the selinoid go out on me about a month ago and when I tried to remove the spare to use, it was so brittle from age it fell apart when I tried to remove it. The fix is to use a weather proof in-line 30 amp spade type fuse holder and solder/heat shrink insulate the wires. I replaced both of mine and the bikes been running good since. You might have a short somewhere, but I suspect old age and heat to be the cause of the fuse failure!

Now then,, About your charging. Have you located the stator conector at the left of the batteryand soldered the three yellow wires? If you can't find it PM me and I'll post a picture of where to look. Another place that might require attention is the regulator connectors. Those wires will burn also. When I replaced the regulator on mine I cut out and soldered the stator connector and both the regulator connectors.

Also, did you perform the stator test? At 2500rpm's the output per leg should be between 50vac-70vac +- 5vac. When I tested mine it was 70vac per leg and about a 1vac tolerance.

13.3 sounds a little low to me so let us know what you find out. Good Luck!!!
 
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