More on GL1000 ignition

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mikenixon
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More on GL1000 ignition

#1

Post by mikenixon »

The GL1000 ignition system makes or breaks this model. It makes the difference between an aggravating, recaltrant, hesitating slug of a machine and one that puts a smile on the rider's face.

Judging by how most forums treat the subject, no one really understands ignition point dwell. It's viewed as a kind of mysterious way to make your bike run better, like a secret, little-known pilot screw setting, or some ideal spark plug gap. Dwell isn't like that. Folks also stress over point gap, which of course is just the same adjustment done statically. Almost every forum conversation I read, and every email inquiry I receive, on the subject of ignition adjustment, focuses on gap as if it were as important as timing or all there is to timing. Why is a mystery to me. Timing is many times more important than gap or dwell.

Of course having a dual-point system's two points assemblies gapped the same is preferable. They will wear equally, their coils will volt-saturate equally, and future adjustments will be easier. But remember Honda specifies a range, so there is quite a lot of wiggle room. And if you have learned the routine--and it is a routine-- of timing your GL1000 you know why Honda gave you that room. It is an intimidating procedure for the DIYer.

Rebuilding carburetors for a living forces the subject of ignition timing to the forefront. Carb rebuild customers seldom consider the role ignition timing plays. It's not even on their radar. They have to be convinced and in most cases trained in the procedure, and this is a challenge--for both parties. I have said to people hundreds of times that they have no business thinking about carburetors if they haven't yet tuned their ignition. From points brand, to contact face condition to wire connection integrity to gap to timing. From resistance cap condition to tightness to plug gap. Even cam belt adjustment and timing is a part, along with mechanical advancer inspection and lubrication. It's a lot to do, and it's a lot more important than the carburetors.

I have come to believe folks can't assimilate that ignition tuning is as important as it is. It's so late in history; point ignition is so ancient, it's like trying to get people to seriously consider dinosaurs. They just can't hold onto the thought, it doesn't even fully materialize in the consciousness. We're in a time, in a millennia, whose denizens have insufficient context with which to give point ignition any thought whatsoever. And the "CB450 DOHC twin points as silver bullet" fraternity is just as lost as the rest. Even those GL1000 owners whose frame of reference somehow does includes point ignition have a defective understanding, because they remember only that their father used to adjust the family Plymouth's timing by ear, rotating the distributor until the pinging stopped. Such folks will never give point ignition maintence the importance it deserves. This is the landscape, the surface of the planet, on which the communicator on this subject and the always-indifferent listener find themselves. The family car could run adequately no matter the timing. Your GL1000 isn't even in the same universe; five degrees off and it will act possessed.

If you own a GL1000 you simply must learn its ignition. Nothing else you do maintenance-wise will affect the engine tune as dramatically. And having a Dyna or other points replacement system does not let you off the hook. These products require almost as much finesse to install and time as do points. It is therefore a given yours was not done correctly. If a Dyna, was the advancer modified to work properly with the magnetic rotor, were the two pickups synchronized, were the fiberglass plug wires replaced with real wire, were both sides of the ignition timed and not just one? In my view, getting a Dyna to work correctly is more work than tuning the stock setup. Your carburetors may well demand some rehabilitation, most do considering all the bad parts and bad technique out there. However, your ignition is much more important, whatever the glitches the carbs may be.
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Re: More on GL1000 ignition

#2

Post by 5speed »

so for us newbies..we can expect a "setting timing for dummies" post soon?
I was fortunate enough to find the magic wand online. :mrgreen:
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Re: More on GL1000 ignition

#3

Post by mikenixon »

So you have one of those! Cool! :) Kind of acts like the reticule on a scope, doesn't it.
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Re: More on GL1000 ignition

#4

Post by dontwantapickle »

I've got one of those bombsight timing plugs. It's so old that the crosshairs are worn off of it.

It's still gets used all of the time, but really just to keep the oil slinging mess contained.
I don't even bother pointing my timing light at it anymore, can't see a thing...... never really could.
Heck, I don't even us the timing light anymore.

Static timing to get things started and then tweaking to taste is the current MO.
Hall effect sensors just seem a more logical approach to accurate timing than the mechanical contact breaker points.

Tuning mostly by feel, I really wish that I could be more accurate, there are just so many variables.

speaking of......
How precise are the timing marks on the crank? - probably a degree wheel and TDC stop are needed to measure.
What about Belt slop? - I figure that could be a really big factor with these cam driven ignitions.
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Re: More on GL1000 ignition

#5

Post by pidjones »

I tried the TFI module experiment with the points triggering them, condensers out of the circuit. Too bad I didn't find true Ford modules and used cheap aftermarket modules. They worked great for the first 10 miles, then would get erratic. The thing about the early remote mount push-start grey TFIs was that they adjusted the dwell for you. All the points did was trigger them, so point gap just had to be sufficient to trigger the modules.
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Re: More on GL1000 ignition

#6

Post by mikenixon »

I have never like dynamic timing on the Wing. All the Honda mechanics I knew knocked out the bottom lense and the bombsight worked better, but still not great. The one I have is still like that. Static is the only way in my view. :)
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Re: More on GL1000 ignition

#7

Post by 5speed »

mikenixon wrote: Tue Apr 13, 2021 2:57 pm I have never like dynamic timing on the Wing. All the Honda mechanics I knew knocked out the bottom lense and the bombsight worked better, but still not great. The one I have is still like that. Static is the only way in my view. :)
I was reading someone on the interweb that to avoid the oil splashing on the lens, drain a quart of oil out first.
I haven't attempted setting the timing yet on my 1100 nor have I checked the carb sync. Both are on the list once I read up more on setting static timing.
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Re: More on GL1000 ignition

#8

Post by ericheath »

“ If a Dyna, was the advancer modified to work properly with the magnetic rotor...”

Can you elaborate on this? It seems I read this years ago but cannot remember where (maybe your Motorcycle Project site) or how you modified the advancer.
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Re: More on GL1000 ignition

#9

Post by mikenixon »

Hi Eric. The aluminum rotor used in Dyna systems is thicker than the hardened steel rotor that is part of the centrifugal advancer and that is removed when fitting the Dyna part. This causes the flyweights to be partly deployed even when at rest, which has the effect of shortening the advance curve. The result is, if you time properly at the idle mark, at the full advance mark the timing will come up short. The curve has been shortened by the thicker Dyna rotor. No one talks about this but experienced techs have known this for seeming millennia. The procedure then is to remove 0.010-0.015" off the inside of the advancer stop ears. They are hardened so this does not weaken them appreciably, and because they are hardened, you cannot simply bend them. I do a little, put everything together and check, remove if necessary and take a little more off, until I have it right. (Actually, if I was truthful I would say I can pretty often get it in just one try because I have done it so often.) This modification is necessary on every Dyna S series fitted to every vintage model Honda I am familiar with (1970s into early 1980s). And it is just the beginning. Because then you have to synchronize the triggers (pickups). And timing the Dyna on the Wing presents a special quirk. I don't know why, but the Dyna for the Wing fires random extra times when doing the timing by hand. You really have to keep your wits about you because watching the plug fire is how you time a Dyna. So you see why I say fitting and setting up a Dyna ignition is not a lot simpler job than doing the same thing on the stock point ignition. If anything, it can challenge you just as much or more. :)
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Re: More on GL1000 ignition

#10

Post by Whiskerfish »

I have a hunk of 1 inch PVC about 5-6 inches long. I sanded down one end into a bit of a cone and it fits in the timing access hole nicely. Both ends are open. Any oil that is slung out hits the inside of the pvc and drains right back into the engine. Aligning your eyes and the strobe to see down the tube can be a bit of a trick but all in all it works very well. Generally I only use dynamic if I am troubleshooting an issue and want to double check the advancer operation. Anymore I do that with a timing wheel. For stock bike setups Static has always served me well. My 1000 kludge I use dynamic due to the unique component mix.
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Re: More on GL1000 ignition

#11

Post by dontwantapickle »

mikenixon wrote: Tue Apr 13, 2021 7:19 pm Hi Eric. The aluminum rotor used in Dyna systems is thicker than the hardened steel rotor that is part of the centrifugal advancer and that is removed when fitting the Dyna part. This causes the flyweights to be partly deployed even when at rest, which has the effect of shortening the advance curve. The result is, if you time properly at the idle mark, at the full advance mark the timing will come up short.
Makes sense...... but ouch!
never really though about it till right now.
I've had Dyna's forever and just installed a new dyna S in my 1000 a few days ago.

Probably explains why my "extra super accurate" static timing always ends up being adjusted. :-?

do you think new advance springs would be that much, if any, difference than the old stock springs?
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Re: More on GL1000 ignition

#12

Post by mikenixon »

dontwantapickle wrote: Tue Apr 13, 2021 10:21 pm...do you think new advance springs would be that much, if any, difference than the old stock springs?
If I understand your question...it's not the shape of the timing curve that is changed but the length. The springs don't come into it.
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Re: More on GL1000 ignition

#13

Post by mikenixon »

Whiskerfish wrote: Tue Apr 13, 2021 8:31 pm I have a hunk of 1 inch PVC about 5-6 inches long. I sanded down one end into a bit of a cone and it fits in the timing access hole nicely. Both ends are open. Any oil that is slung out hits the inside of the pvc and drains right back into the engine. Aligning your eyes and the strobe to see down the tube can be a bit of a trick but all in all it works very well. Generally I only use dynamic if I am troubleshooting an issue and want to double check the advancer operation. Anymore I do that with a timing wheel. For stock bike setups Static has always served me well. My 1000 kludge I use dynamic due to the unique component mix.
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Re: More on GL1000 ignition

#14

Post by kjmarti2 »

Would you elaborate more on what it means to synchronize the pickups? I think this, as well as the bit about the rotor, are not mentioned in the Dyna installation instructions. I followed those and got what looks to be proper timing according to the marks, but I'm also getting poor gas mileage and am wondering if this could be a contributing factor.
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Re: More on GL1000 ignition

#15

Post by dontwantapickle »

mikenixon wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 6:45 am If I understand your question...it's not the shape of the timing curve that is changed but the length. The springs don't come into it.
I assumed that "larger' meant more mass. More weight riding against the springs, holding the advance weights slightly open.
This morning, I was curious, so I measured.
dyna rotors1.jpg
dyna rotors.jpg
What I found is that all 3 measured out exactly the same at 18cm.
the stock rotor weighed in 3 grams heavier than the dynas.

I don't find the advance operating any differently when using any of the rotors shown above.
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