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I have a 1981 Honda GL1100 that I recently bought to hopefully get running good. Initially the bike had dirty carbs and couldn't idle below 2500rpms without choke because the pilot jets where clogged. Otherwise the bike was rideable and I even drove it back home over 130 miles! Now to the present where all I did was rebuild the carbs with new pieces, cleaned them out (they looked pretty nasty), and put it back together. Now the bike can idle fine at 1000 rpms, but when given throttle it back fires horribly and bogs down and even spits out of the air intake. I don't know how I made the bike so much worse but any help would be great. Thank you!
 

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Crossed spark plug wires. Verify.
 

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I suspect the float setting. Where did you get the parts?
 

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I agree with Dave, Two questions. Did you turn the carbs upside down to set the float level? That is not the right thing to do and will make the float level low causing the symptoms you describe.


You mentioned the low speed jet but did you make sure the low speed circuits were not varnished as well/ Usually just a cleaner will not open the varnished idle circuit. You need to get in there with a fine wire etc. to get them open. Both of the mentioned issues are common mistakes and will cause the symptoms you describe. I bet the bike runs better with the choke on.

As duster said a vacuum leak is also possible but my money would be on the 2 issues listed. Keep in mind I have been wrong before. Lots of times. :p
 

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Did you turn the carbs upside down to set the float level? That is not the right thing to do and will make the float level low causing the symptoms you describe.
Totally agree Mike. I have watched my friend Ed (who is the best at Carb work) adjust float settings many times.....!!!!

Reference post # 5. I know he did not need the rebuild kit now. It was just an FYI for anyone who might be interested....!!
 

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Famous last words. "I cleaned/rebuilt the carbs". I doubt there is one person who got it right the first time.
 

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Crossed spark plug wires. Verify.
I also thought that was the issue at first too! Checked the diagram with my setup and everything looked to be going to the right place, though I will be checking again next time I am working on the bike!
 

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I suspect the float setting. Where did you get the parts?
Yeah my parts where not the best sourced, I have worked with carbs in the past with my other bikes but nothing on this scale, But I was talking with a friend of mine and he mentioned it sounded like my float levels where off. So I think that is going to be the first thing I will look at! Thanks for the advice :)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I agree with Dave, Two questions. Did you turn the carbs upside down to set the float level? That is not the right thing to do and will make the float level low causing the symptoms you describe.


You mentioned the low speed jet but did you make sure the low speed circuits were not varnished as well/ Usually just a cleaner will not open the varnished idle circuit. You need to get in there with a fine wire etc. to get them open. Both of the mentioned issues are common mistakes and will cause the symptoms you describe. I bet the bike runs better with the choke on.

As duster said a vacuum leak is also possible but my money would be on the 2 issues listed. Keep in mind I have been wrong before. Lots of times. :p
I had them at an angle when setting them and just eyeballed the approximate level so I pretty much set myself up for failure with that technique! The slow jets I did clean with a wire and cleaner as well, tho I ended up replacing them in the end with new ones. A friend of mine suggested my float levels where most likely off, and now that I have heard it from multiple people here I believe that is my issue! I will be looking into it next time I'm working on the bike. Also, any advice for reconnecting and disconnecting the throttle cables? I find that is the hardest part of removing the carbs haha
 

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Also, to make sure I get it right this time around what would you advise for the best way to adjust and check the float levels? Or any good videos or posts about it, thanks!
 

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Quick version of how I set float level. You can figure the details. I clamp the carb in a vice safely but not too tight. Then I put a piece of fuel line on the inlet and blow air past the needle and seat. Slowly rotate the carb until you just can't blow through the hose. Measure adjust repeat.

Many use a single wire from a wire brush to make sure the low speed circuits are clear. When done if you spray carb cleaner in the low sped jet you should see the cleaner come out each of the low speed circuit ports.
 

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I didn't see this mentioned, but given the symptoms you describe I have to ask: Have you synchronized the carbs?
 

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Thanks for the suggestion! I will be looking into, except I had a Suzuki with a vacuum leak issue and it acted much differently symptom wise!
It is not a vacuum leak, it wouldn't idle good with a vacuum leak.
 
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I had them at an angle when setting them and just eyeballed the approximate level so I pretty much set myself up for failure with that technique! The slow jets I did clean with a wire and cleaner as well, tho I ended up replacing them in the end with new ones. A friend of mine suggested my float levels where most likely off, and now that I have heard it from multiple people here I believe that is my issue! I will be looking into it next time I'm working on the bike. Also, any advice for reconnecting and disconnecting the throttle cables? I find that is the hardest part of removing the carbs haha
Approximate doesn't cut it on those, exact is just close enough. I hear you on the cables, they can be routed outside the frame to make it easier but they have a little bit of a bend I don't like doing it that way.
 

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Get a set of hemostats. 8in. at least. Makes unhooking and reattaching the cable ends at the bellcrank easy peasy.
 
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