How to Troubleshoot a Goldwing 1100 Solenoid

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Since its introduction in 1975, the Honda Goldwing has earned a reputation for rugged reliability and minimal maintenance. Even so, there may come a time when you jump on your bike for a quick trip to the store or you are getting ready to leave for a long road trip and the bike fails to turn over. Instead of spending money on expensive professional shop time, you can find out for yourself if the starter solenoid is bad.

Things You'll Need

  • Digital multimeter
  • 14-gauge jumper wire
  • Shift the motorcycle into neutral and remove the left side cover by gently pulling it free of its rubber mounts. Locate the solenoid to the right of the battery. Pull the solenoid free of the mounting lug and pull it out far enough to access the wires.

  • Place the black probe of the digital multimeter on the negative battery terminal and the red probe on the positive terminal. The meter should read about 12.3 volts if the battery is good. Leave the black probe on the negative terminal for the remainder of the testing.

  • Place the red probe of the multimeter on the red wire at the solenoid. This is the wire that goes directly to the battery. The meter should read battery voltage at the solenoid terminal. If a voltage does not register then check the other solenoid terminal. If battery power is not present at either terminal then the cable to the battery is bad and must be replaced.

  • Turn the ignition key and the kill switch to the "Run" position. Place the red probe of the multimeter on the yellow/red wire at the solenoid. Push the starter button and read the voltage. The voltage should indicate 12 volts at the terminal. If voltage is not present then the starter switch, the wire or the starter button may be bad.

  • Place the red probe of the multimeter on the green/red wire at the solenoid. Turn the multimeter to the "ohm" setting. The meter should read about 10-20 ohms, indicating a good ground circuit. If the meter reads "1", then the circuit is open and indicates a possible bad clutch switch or neutral safety switch.

  • If voltage was present at the yellow/red wire when the starter button was pushed, then attach a jumper wire from the green/red wire to the negative battery terminal. Push the starter button. If the solenoid actuates, then the solenoid is good and the problem is on the ground side of the circuit.

  • If no power was present on the yellow/red wire when the starter button was pressed, then jump the yellow/red terminal to the positive battery terminal. If the solenoid actuates, then the solenoid is good and the problem is on the start circuit.

  • If the solenoid actuates properly and the starter still does not function, then jump the two large terminals of the solenoid together. If the starter engages, the solenoid plunger is bad and the solenoid must be replaced. If the starter fails to function after jumping the solenoid terminals, then the starter or starter cable is bad.

  • Remove the jumper wire and digital multimeter. Press the solenoid back onto the mounting lug and replace the side cover.

References

  • "Honda GL1000 & 1100 1975-1983"; Clymer; 1984
  • Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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