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There've been request or two to eludicate as to what I mean when I whine and cry about Hondas design flaws in the GL1200s, so here goes.

I bought a brandy - new still in the shipping crate 1986 GL1200A in 1989 but it was way too cheap, $6800 USD. Didnt see the problems coming.

But I did see the lorry (big truck) coming at me as I turned a corner in the rain and the ignition system cut out, leaving it running on 3 cylinders. The Goldwing was saved a smashing death due to motorcross experience - I grabbed a big handful of clutch, twisted throttle wide open and burned the clutch through the intersection.

As result of nearly becoming radiator ornament on truck, and the fact the GL started running poorly and backfiring within 3 months, I decided to reverse engineer the electrical system and later, the whole cycle.

The "Nasty Nine" as I affectionately call them, are 9 areas in the cycle that have problems which either compromise safety, performance or a combination of the two. I wrote about these and my ramblings were published by one of the smaller Goldwing organisations in US.

These are chronic, design -related problems in addition to the usual mixture of typical problems like rust in petrol tank or handlebar shake. Once they are fixed, and the ignition and fuel systems tuned (two years of tuning to discover then several months effort to accomplish requiring weekly re-adjustment but BLANK it was fast!!:cool:) the GL1200 is an extrordinary motorcycle, accomplishing 0 - 60 m.p.h. (0 - 97 Km/h) in the3-4 seconds range.

Many (most) of these problems are discussed regularly on this BBS, but many may not be aware they are rooted in design flaws Honda should have recalled.

The "NN" in no particular order are:

1.) Spark plug recesses fill with water because the drain holes clog and exit too close to the hot exhaust manifold - we assumed close enough to boil against a very hot manifold and thus not drain.The chrome spark plug covers direct water onto the spark plug boots, thenthe plug recesses fill with water, shorting the spark plug. This one is a nightmare to find because it happens in rain, when you go out in sun to inspect it, the waters gone.

Remove the covers and put them on opposite sides, seem to recall it takes a little modification.

2.) Electrical wiring is junk.This is notunique to the GL1200, its happened to every Honda cycle Ive owned,CB360, CB550, CB750K, GL1200 (2). Its more severe on the GL's due to the high current drain from fancy electronics and aggrivated greatly by the charging system design.

A myriad of complex failures thatoften dont appear to be electrically related , particuarly performance and fuel mileage, are caused by poor electrical contacts in the electrical system connectors. I proved this with oscilloscope, designed a wiring repair harness to fix it about 1992. More on my web site.

Bad wiringcauses anything from annoyances like static in stereo and intercom, to poor performance and fuel mileage up tosevere engine cylinder damage from overheating. Before this was repaired, I measured over 500*F on exhaust headers, 240*F after repair, on idle. A burned connection on front of the start solenoid can cost your life when the cycleloses all electrical power on the highway. Youll swear on a stack of Monty Python videos that the "valve noise" in a GL1200 is really valve noise, the "valve rattle" in my engine disappeared once wiring was repaired.

3.) Brakes dragging. The typical GL (most any cycle for that matter) has dragging brake pads which score and blacken the rotors. I eliminated this and restored the rotors to almost a mirror finish for about 2 U.S.D.

4.) PVC system throws motor oil into rear cylinders. The rear two cylinders' valves were carboned-up with valve seats pitted in the 20,000's of mile range.

5.) Stator failure. Its not a stator problem, its a dirty, acid laden motor oil problem. The GL1200 stator is identical to the GL1100 stator (except for a minor mechanical detail)but the 1100s seldom failed. The fault isthe engine design, not the stator.

6.) Rear DIFFERENTIAL (THERE I said it! I cant stop!:gunhead:) holds insufficient oil if filled to factory level. This starves the DIFFERENTIAL bearings for oil and overheats the DIFFERENTIAL so the DIFFERENTIAL fails and you have to buy another DIFFERENTIAL or repair the DIFFERENTIAL.

7.) O.k., its a final drive:baffled::gunhead:

7a.) And while were in the rear end, left axle seal leaks and puts water in axle bearings and splines. Thats why the splines are ruined by rust. Yes they can go dry on grease if not maintained regularly, but many dont notice the rust along with it, and rust is not caused by lack of grease, its due to water getting in.

8.) Oil filters splitting seams. Dont know if this is a problem now, but early on, FRAM made a filter with glued seam, and I found them splitting. One phone call to the SECRET FRAM NUMBER and they replaced glue with a metal crimp. That one can ruin an engine.

9.) Very expensive Panasonic stereo cutting out on bumps, indicated by riders going down highway pounding a fist on the radio housing. Problemsnot in the radio.

10.) Charging system quitting due to dirty spark plug threads. Yes, dirty plug threads. The reason is complicated, but briefly, it puts large voltage spikes on the electrical system the battery cannot filter, and shuts off the voltage regulator. Seen several GL1200s that Honda condemned the stator what were simply due to this. Riders were not happy when I fixed it in 20 minutes with spray cleaner.

Was that "nine?":baffled:

These are the "design" based problems i.e. areas that should not give trouble till many miles are accumulated, instead, all of them appeared in my GL1200 under 40,000 miles. I gave up counting the house consumed to fix them and tune the engine, had to have been 2000+ over several years. Spent literally 200 hours investigating and proving the bad wiring to prevent un needed cutting into the wiring loom.
 

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Wow! never ad any problems like that with my 77 dresser from before or my current 75 GL1000. I guess I won't be buying a larger wing.....:waving:
 

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I understand that, but its OK if one is aware of these things and can repair them at home. Honda dealers both dont know how to repair them AND are not permitted to do so by Franchise regulations. Had one mechanic admit he knew about one of these but wasnt allowed to repair it as he knew it should be. Corporate cover up.
 

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Thanks for the Nasties Dave... In retrospect, looking back over the years of working on these bikes, I have come across several of them.. All these years later, thanks to this forum and talented people, we have accumulated this knowledge and stored it for future use. I hope the Wings will never fade, or become stigmatized like the Hogs have in the past.. So far, Wings remain extremely desireable and as you said, if properly maintainted by thier owners, can last a long time AND be serviceable.

I am fully aware of how manufacturers produce products with discrepancies built in the design. Theycount on the consumer to purchase & test them and based on a low percentage of come-backs, rely on the "field recipient" to relay the fix's for the next production run. It ultimately comes out of all our pockets and the manufacturers get rich.. That's big business I guess.

This web site is truly the most knowledgeable resource we have for our riding toys and it runs only on the individuals who contribute to it.. Steve Saunders has created a "most friendly" monster. :coollep:
 

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Yes there are some problems with these bike but everytime I go for a ride on a 30 year old motorcycle that runs as good or better than a lot of new ones I am impressed with it. This forums and ones like it are great sources for info from all the guys that "been there and done that".
 

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I am hoping that these "nasty nine" are potential problems and not pending ones. If my stator ('84 Aspencade 80,000 KM) passes the continuity test does this indicate that there is a good chance that my bike received an upgrade of some sort or am I living on borrowed time?


Also, the drive shaft and final drive pinion were just replaced prior to buying the bike. Other than Moly additives to the final drive oil, are there any other suggestions how to protect the gears/bearings?
 

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9.) Very expensive Panasonic stereo cutting out on bumps, indicated by riders going down highway pounding a fist on the radio housing. Problemsnot in the radio.

Ok, so what is it? It peeves mee off...
 

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Dave Campbell wrote:
I proved this with oscilloscope, designed a wiring repair harness to fix it about 1992. More on my web site.
Hi Dave

Thanks for your insight and experience on the nasty nine, I am fixing up my 1200 over the good ole scottish winter, how easy is your replacement loom to fit?, do you supply them to order? My system is still totally original and only done 28,000 milies however it is also 18 years old, and i hear horror stories all the time.

BB
 

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Interesting stuff Dave. I "fixed" my radio by pulling the pins as well a couple of years back and so far so good. Most of the other nasties I wasn't aware of but will be able to check some ofthem now, ie clean plug threads and make sure the drain holes are clear.
 

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Black Bart wrote:
Thanks for your insight and experience on the nasty nine, I am fixing up my 1200 over the good ole scottish winter, how easy is your replacement loom to fit?, do you supply them to order? My system is still totally original and only done 28,000 milies however it is also 18 years old, and i hear horror stories all the time.

BB


Please contact me on Email, I dont want to commercialise here out of respect for the Board.

Mjpliv: Sorry about the gears, thats no surprise especially if it went dry on oil. I might have to do a thread on fixing that. Stator may be on "borrowed time but a continuity check wont tell, thats only good for winding burned completely open. Electronics equipment is needed to test output voltage.


About bending radio contacts. That sometimes isnt enough. And - DONT sand them:shock::shock::shock:

If you want to clean them, use tarnish remover chemical.

The radios go whacky due to misalignment between the socket in the fairing and plug in the radio. Remove each mounting screw in both socket - halves (radio and fairing) one at a time, coat the threads with Loctite and reinstall them but dont tighten them down - leave them 1/4 turn loose. The Loctite will harden and allow the connector halves to "float" and self align. Mine never would "fix" by bending the terminals but this cured it. The radio was always twisted slightly in the fairing and I assume that was the source of the misalignment.

NEVER PUT GREASE IN THIS CONNECTOR!!!!!!! Grease is an insulator and doesnt belong between contacts unless the contacts are designed to use it.

Renegade: True about corporate testing on us guinea pigs, but we gotta realize the 1200 was the first (?) big touring platform and there were bound to be mistakes - and I dont fault them for it. Whatisevil and dishonest is the way they covered it up and formed GWRRA (large GL club in U.S.) to help conceal it.

$ 92 to clean contacts and tape heads? I wish I could steal for a living.Ill do it for $ 20. It takes 5 minutes to do both.

$92/hour for 5/60 th hour is a rate of $1104 per hour USD. Wish I could make that kind of money. Shall I tell stories on Sierra Electronics.... :clapper:

Or tell how to do it for free instead of you guys being robbed like that!
 

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Dave Campbell wrote...

Brakes dragging. The typical GL (most any cycle for that matter) has dragging brake pads which score and blacken the rotors. I eliminated this and restored the rotors to almost a mirror finish for about 2 U.S.D.



Are you allowed to tell us this 2 buck tip ?



cheers, Craig
 

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"Allowed?" I suppose, but I shan't -its difficult todo, requires constant attention andcan get you killed if it fails. Im just saying "its there" and if you can find it, go for it. There are a couple of these fixes with a little element of danger, thats the most risky one.
 

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Thanks for the good word Vic! I'll be posting some pics soon. About 1/2 done with the winter work and with the recent good weather I am motivated to get done. Could,nt do it without all your guys help tho. I love keeping up with my friends Harleys knowing my "barn fresh $300 wing gets the job done. Yeah some quirks but look at where Technogy was in 75
 

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wveith, I know what you mean about the Harley guys. I quite often ride with a group of Harley's and some paid over $36,000. for their bikes. I think it's fun to accelerate andthen have to slow my 20 year old 1200 cc Wing down to let them catch up to me. TheirHarley's are 1340cc and they seem to go into denial when they can't catch me, but, we're all bikers and friendsand share the same air so I don't hold it against them for not having the good sense to buy a Wing.

Looking forward to seeing some pics of your Wing when it's done.

Vic
 

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Well I installed Dave Campbell'swiring harness today and after following the directions (which were simple and very precise) I fired it up and it ran perfectly. The three yellow wires had been hard wired at the connectors by the battery by the previous owner and I had been told that the stator was replaced. The two wires connecting to the starter solenoid I found had started to burn and fuse together. I clipped them off and wired them to the new harness as the instructions indicated.

Dave, why do these wires heat up and burn like that at the connectors? Will this hard wiring solder joints prevent this heat build up now?

The rest of the wiring was simple and uneventful. The bike ran well prior to installation. I may have seen some increase in performance but to be honest I have to drive it more to be sure. The main reason I did this rewire was to prevent future unwanted roadside visits. I heard the testimonials from others about doing this upgrade to the wiring harness and decided it was a few dollars well spent.
 

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Dave, as usual your advice is spot on. Butmy two biggest problems of late are a pair of 50 + year old knees.... :action:
 

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Wow! never ad any problems like that with my 77 dresser from before or my current 75 GL1000. I guess I won't be buying a larger wing.....:waving:

........................................................................................................................................

wveith, my 1984 Aspencade is very much like both of your Wings and has never exprerienced the above mentioned problems, except for the radio cutting out which turned out to be the main connector whichwas easily fixed by lifting the connector with a screwdriver.For the most part, Gold Wings old and neware quite reliable machines and will run very reliably for hundreds of thousands of miles with simple routine maintenance.

Vic
 
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