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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just bought a 1983 GL1100 Interstate. 74k miles, it had been sitting (I think in a garage or storage based on the very low levels of rust) for probably a good ten years before the PO bought it for peanuts and refreshed it. It was no longer running, but he brought it back to life. I bought it from him and have been riding it around a bit to get a feel for it. I like it a lot, especially since I normally ride a large displacement sportbike and like the revvy 1100. The 1983 has a nice highway RPM at 70-75mph and it has lots of power. Much more than I expected. So far, very happy with my purchase.

I used forums like this one to scout out all the stuff to check for - things like the alternator providing good current, what kind of condition plastics generally are at this age, air suspension holding pressure, etc... So I'm already in your debt.

There are a few things I wanted to ask - just since I've never owned one of these before and my bike history is very limited.

1. It pulls like a train above 4k. Never seems to run out of breath, even to redline. Woohoo! It pulls decently strong from 3k-4k, too. From 2k-3k it's usable, but sluggish. It idles at just under 1k, but from 1k to 2k it has almost no power at all. I've been just bringing RPMs to 2k when launching from a stop and they really never get below that when riding it. It's not a problem for me as long as it's normal. My (somewhat) modern sportbike has very strong torque from idle all the way to redline, but every engine design is different, so no big deal for me if it's just not supposed to have any power until you hit 2k (or 2.5k to get a good strong launch).

2. At idle (1k), the engine rocks very slightly from side to side. It's not in danger of dying or anything, and the effect is slight - nowhere near the idle drama of my friend's Harley, which shakes and rattles like an angry dragon. It's more like a soft, inertial rock. Is this bad? Does it matter?

3. When it rocks at idle, it makes a bit of a tapping sound that is timed to the rocking. It's not loud like a whack or a bang, but it's a noticeable tap-tap-tap. Again - bad? Does it matter?

4. I'm going to need a taller windshield. Any recommendations on where to look? I'm pretty tall - at highway speeds if I duck down about 4-6 inches it's dead quiet, but otherwise I'm in the turbulence above the screen. It doesn't have to be taller as long as it does a better job of pushing the air up away from the top of my helmet. :)

5. The tires have deep tread and show no sign of dry rot. But they're 13 years old, according to the date code. I can assume they are unsafe, right?

6. Last one - for now. The timing cover gasket has a gap in it where it looks like the gasket has been damaged/clipped somehow. I put some electrical tape over it just to make sure no dirt or debris got inside. Is this something that should be replaced urgently? The gasket gap is about 5 inches long along the side. Timing cover and engine seem undamaged, so I'm guessing this happened with the PO refreshed it. He said the first thing he did was change the timing belts.

Oh - Just to clarify question 1 - On my friend's Harley and on my sportbike, if I slowly let out the clutch while giving enough gas to keep it at idle RPM the bike will launch beautifully. If I don't mind launching slow I can do it without using the throttle. On the GL1100, if I slowly let out the clutch the engine lugs and acts like it wants to die (and the light tapping sound gets louder). It does not have enough torque at idle to get the bike moving. At 2k and up it's smooth sailing. Pulls forward just fine - I just have to slip the clutch a bit while keeping revs right around 2-2.5k, and it launches like a champ. Heck, I accidentally drag-raced a dirt bike at one intersection (and won). And again - at 3k it feels very strong and at 4k it feels very similar to my sportbike. If I'm at 40mph I have to lean forward to keep my arms from being yanked if I open the throttle while at 4k. I have zero problem with this if it's normal. If it's not normal then I just don't want to damage the bike since, yaknow, I just got it and all!
 

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1.I've been just bringing RPMs to 2k when launching from a stop and they really never get below that when riding it. It's not a problem for me as long as it's normal. Yep... but you may need to synch your carbs..never try to run her below 2,000 except in 1st

2. At idle (1k), the engine rocks very slightly from side to side. Carb synch!!

3. When it rocks at idle, it makes a bit of a tapping sound that is timed to the rocking. It's not loud like a whack or a bang, but it's a noticeable tap-tap-tap. Again - bad? Does it matter? Carb synch or valves need adjusting or exhaust leak.

4. I'm going to need a taller windshield.

5. The tires have deep tread and show no sign of dry rot. But they're 13 years old, according to the date code. I can assume they are unsafe, right? YEP!!!!

6. Last one - for now. The timing cover gasket has a gap in it where it looks like the gasket has been damaged/clipped somehow. Not a big deal


Oh - Just to clarify question 1 - On my friend's Harley and on my sportbike, if I slowly let out the clutch while giving enough gas to keep it at idle RPM the bike will launch beautifully. If I don't mind launching slow I can do it without using the throttle. On the GL1100, if I slowly let out the clutch the engine lugs and acts like it wants to die (and the light tapping sound gets louder). It does not have enough torque at idle to get the bike moving. At 2k and up it's smooth sailing. Pulls forward just fine - I just have to slip the clutch a bit while keeping revs right around 2-2.5k, and it launches like a champ. Heck, I accidentally drag-raced a dirt bike at one intersection (and won). And again - at 3k it feels very strong and at 4k it feels very similar to my sportbike. If I'm at 40mph I have to lean forward to keep my arms from being yanked if I open the throttle while at 4k. I have zero problem with this if it's normal. If it's not normal then I just don't want to damage the bike since, yaknow, I just got it and all!
Posting Rules..High riving engine doesn't like low RPM"S
 

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RB is right, it sounds like all you need is a carb sync, it's not hard to do with the right equipment and know how.

I'm in Spring, just north of you, I have a sync kit if you'd like to borrow it and I can point you in the direction of some really good instruction.

PM me if you want to do it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
RB is right, it sounds like all you need is a carb sync, it's not hard to do with the right equipment and know how.

I'm in Spring, just north of you, I have a sync kit if you'd like to borrow it and I can point you in the direction of some really good instruction.

PM me if you want to do it.

PM sent and you responded really fast.

Are all 'Wing owners awesome like that? :D
 

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It has been quite a while since I owned a GL1100 but as I recall they did not have a lot of low rpm torque. Those 4 cylinder goldwings like to be reved to put out much power. However when the rpms come up they go like stink.
It sounds like you have a really nice running bike. Enjoy it.
 

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The 1100's don't like to run under 2000 rpms. I never shift mine under 3000. As far as starting from a stop, I have been riding it for so long I can't remember exactly the rpms for taken off, I just give it throttle and go. The quicker you get over 2000 rpms the better the wing likes it. Ride it like you stole it and you'll have no problems. They love rpms.
 

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I've been trying to get these on a sticky for months!

The definitive carb' sync' instruction video for all of you that, don't know:-



But that's why I'm just a "Cheeky Plonker" eh Wexy!!? :raspberry:
 

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.....it had been sitting.....for probably a good ten years before the PO bought it for peanuts and refreshed it....
This was all I need for you to post for me to determine that you NEED to do EVERYTHING, and go over EVERYTHING you can think of to this bike.

Been there, done.....


Bill
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Hi, y'all.

The PO had an injury that prevented him from riding (not from riding, something else), so on a hunch, I figured the bike had been sitting with the gas in it for at least a month or two. So, I ran that through the engine (there was only 1/4 tank left), put some fresh gas in and topped it off with half a can of SeaFoam. I then went for about 15 miles, then let it idle for a while, then shut it off until this afternoon.

I cranked it up and the light rocking at idle is now gone. Yay! The tap tap is still there (again, not loud or destructive sounding. Just tap tap tap), and I want to figure out if it's carb synch or just a normal tap tap. I figure I should check/adjust the valves and then do a thorough/perfectionist carb synch.

It's soooo peppy. I am surprised a bike this big and this accessorized is still _fun_ to ride around.

And new tires are on order. I cheaped out and am going to try the Shinkos. I've used them on my sportbike and liked them, so... we'll see what kind of mileage I get.


EDIT:
I'm listening to GL1100's idle on Youtube (I love the site - awesome!) and the sound mine is making is the same tap tap tap I hear all of them making, even the ones being shown as demonstrations on how it should idle after a proper synch. So... I'm guessing this is normal and I shouldn't worry about it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I'm not sure if it's ok to reply to my own message, but here's an update:

Thanks to Chilidawg, who hooked me up with some carb-synch tools and a quick tutorial, I think I got 'er dialed in. It took forever, mostly because of my unfamiliarity with the bike. I was messing with setting idle and actually removed the screw entirely. It took me 15 minutes to move a bunch of hoses out of the way so I could thread it back on. Stuff like that. Getting the two banks to sync was surprisingly difficult, but I managed.

So, anyway, it seems to idle more smoothly, and it revs off idle more quickly than before. Now, more than before, it revs like a sportbike engine - almost instantly climbing to 5-7k with just a flick of the wrist. So, good news on that front.

The odd part for me is that the tapping sound is still there, and it WASN'T as noticeable on Chilidawg's GL1100. It doesn't sound like BANG BANG or WHACK WHACK, like that (scary) video of a GL1100 idling with loose metal in the valve covers. It's just tap tap tap, and only at idle. I suppose I could post a video of it if that would help.

So here's my q:
Since it seems to run like a champ, should I just leave well enough alone? Or is this something I ought to track down? If so, what would be the best place to look first - Valve clearances? Timing? Plugs and wires?
 

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run it for awhile and it may stop think its a valve with rust ring on it it will do better if you take a hundred mile ride replace timing belts siting causes flat spots on them and they could break that could cost you an engine
 

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Dont now much about 1100 , but on the 1000 , the fuel pump can make a tapping sound.It is possible to run , for a short time , the engine with the fuel pump removed.
BUT first adjust your valves , and while doing that , inspect camshafts and rockers for wear and pitting .
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Ok - the plot thickens.

The tapping thing had me curious, so I decided I would investigate a little before I did the valve adjustments. One thing I noticed was that one side of the exhaust seemed louder and more assertive than the other side. I used a piece of paper to get an idea if it was less air coming through or if the air was just coming through with less force. Sure enough, roughly the same volume of air. But the right side was more... I dunno... energetic. Which is strange...

So I started checking the spark plug caps and wires. Everything seemed cinched down nice and tight on the right side. Left side, where the exhaust seemed to be less forceful, one of the caps seemed like it wasn't on the plug. I tried to seat it, but it wouldn't actually click down against the grooves. I pull it out and it looks different from the others. Same angle, but the molding on it looks a little older, and it definitely doesn't grab the threads on the plug. So I think I've been running on 3 cylinders this whole time.

Now here's the strange part. I get my multimeter out and test the resistance of the other caps. They're at 5.1k Ohms, which seems about right based on what I've been able to gather. The oddball cap that won't connect? 10k Ohms. Yup. Twice the resistance. So even if it COULD connect...

So I figured... this is ridiculous. I ordered a set of four NGK caps using their part finder, which matched the info from bikebandit and others. Then, just to be safe, I ordered a set of new plugs as well. I figured if the PO put on a totally wrong cap, they might have just as easily put in the wrong plugs too. If the new caps and plugs solve the tap tap tap issue, then awesome. I might still adjust the valves anyway. Might as well since I'm doing all this other stuff, too.

Also, is there any way to inspect the timing belt without taking off the front half of the bike? I just want to see how new-ish it looks.
 

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ok did not see any where in your posts if the oil has been changed recently I know when my 83 gets alittle long between oil changes it gets alittle tap that I can hear it is just a thought
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
ok did not see any where in your posts if the oil has been changed recently I know when my 83 gets alittle long between oil changes it gets alittle tap that I can hear it is just a thought
I figured I'd do that at the same time as the valves. I have to drain out some oil anyway - might as well change all of it.

That is, if the plugs and caps don't solve the problem.
 

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you cant tell what condition the timing belts are in by looking at them. if in doubt, change them.
 

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you cant tell what condition the timing belts are in by looking at them. if in doubt, change them.
This guy is absolutely right, just change them, it's only a couple of hours work and providing you don't mind a little wrench rash on your knuckles, you don't have to remove the radiator or hoses.

As far as running on 3 the whole time is concerned, there is absolutely no way that your bike would run as you told me it does or as you have described on here on 3 cylinders, a GL1100 is totally gutless on 3 cylinders, barely able to make 50-60 MPH and cannot spin up to 5-7K at the flick of a wrist, it certainly doesn't hurt that you got new plugs though.

Remember we talked about making sure the intake grommets where tight, your tapping could be as simple as that, but you'll need to re-sync'.
 

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Hmmm...
Might want to not start looking for a broken valve spring.
You might want to not do that just yet...
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Hey, Chilidawg - I forgot to check the intake grommets. I'll do that first thing in the morning.

CaptainMidnight, I'm having trouble deciphering your message. What do you suggest doing or not doing?


Just a quick update....

I got the new plugs and caps in today. I double-checked the gap on the new plugs and installed them with a little anti-seize to protect the threads. I pulled the old caps off and they were all cracked and rusted. Put the new ones on and took it for a spin around the block.

Definitely runs better now. I did some testing on the RPM lug point, where there's some jerking motion from the shaft drive, and it occurs a little below 1500rpm. So as long as I rev to 1500 it will launch with no drama. Before the plug+cap change it was around 2000. It pulls nice and hard, almost like it wants me to get a speeding ticket; and spins up to 7k very easily. Temperature gauge says the engine is barely warm. So, it runs GREAT from the perspective of just riding it. Tap tap is still present.

Looking at the old plugs they have some carbon deposits on them (but no real buildup), so the engine is running (or has been running) a little rich - a little moreso on the left side than the right. I dunno if the multiple resistances on the caps was causing the plugs not to fire as strongly as they should, or if I have some other issue. Anyway, it was a fine layer, nowhere near enough to foul the plug. It is strange, though, because at idle the right side valve cover will heat up faster than the left side and the right side exhaust puffs with a little more intensity. Above idle they even out pretty quickly. Kinda has me concerned that there is some obstruction in the idle jets, though I would imagine that would cause it to run lean and not rich. #confused

The guy I bought it from said that he JUST replaced the belts a month or so ago. Given what happens if he's lying, maybe the trust is more expensive than the $40 and a Saturday afternoon. I have a feeling you guys will laugh at me if I don't change them and then blow up the engine.... so I'll change 'em. :)

I haven't done the valve clearances yet. Maybe I should do that and the timing belt at the same time.
 

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