Carburetor Overhaul, GL1100

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Carburetor Overhaul, GL1100


Post by Roady »

This is not a reinvention of the wheel. With so many excellent sources already available, this is intended to fill in some gaps and touch on some details of my '81 GL1100 carburetor overhaul.

Mechanic'in' is not my trade, that's graphic arts, computers and documentation. But I do know what a spanner is and have rebuilt a few carbs (VWs and XS1100). If you're like me you can take things apart pretty easy. Putting them back together is another thing! Most manuals walk you through disassembly and then you get the famous, "Reassemble in the reverse order." That always gets me in trouble because I read left to right / top to bottom. Backward reading has always meant trouble. The focus here is going to be cleaning and reassembly. For the rest, I'll assume that you'll be doing the Howard Halasz efficient and straightforward procedure as supplied by Randakk. You won't find that process here.

It would be foolish to rebuild your GL1100 carbs without using Randakk's GL1100 Master Kit Combo. This brilliant kit includes Randakk's GL1100 Master Carb Overhaul Kit and Howard Halasz' GL1100 Carburetor Repair Guide. I ordered mine Sunday night and had it on Wednesday morning, it felt like my birthday.
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You could source your kit from the Honda dealer or through various websites but you'll be missing some valuable parts, get things you don't need (jets & needles) and parts that don't fit. Plus, you'll no doubt pay more.

While you're waiting for your Randakk kit to come, do my Carb Removal, GL1100 procedure, some cleaning, planning and as much reading as you can.

Valuable Resources
Tools, Chemicals, Bins and a Jig

Use drivers and wrenches that fit tightly and you'll ruin very few screws and bolts. Treat yourself to a new, quality #2 JIS* screwdriver with a good handle. You'll also need a #3 JIS screwdriver and likely a pair of vicegrips.

* JIS is the Japanese Industrial Standard cross-blade screw. JIS screws have a small dot punched in the head and have a flat bottom in the hole. If you can't find them locally, they are available all over the Internet.
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Chemicals, solvents and sprays. Brake cleaner, carb cleaner, WD-40, PB Blaster, anti-seize lube, strong bathroom cleaner, whatever it takes to get the carbs clean. Lots of clean shop rags, paper towels, toothbrush, etc. Some aluminum-loving Carb Cleaner (like Yamaha Carb Cleaner, it mixes 1 part to 2 parts water).

Use gloves when you're working with these chemicals. Many are quite caustic ... the brake and carb cleaning fluids will devour rubber parts and can easily eat your skin.

Tubs, containers and bins, Oh My! You'll need 10 or 12 of various sizes. Trash like Coffee cans, Orange juice and laundry detergent bottles. Plus small ones for the tiny parts.
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The Jig is up. This simple jig will hold the carb rack without denting any important parts or flattening the floats. It works whether the rack is right-side-up or upside-down. That patent application better go through soon.
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Compressed Air. Since this is Po'Boy talkin' here ... fancy air compressors are out of the question. So I butted this here up ag'in the wall and strapped it to the shelf.
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Lean into it with the shoulder and both hands are free.

Let's Get Down to It!

Randakk GL1100 Master Carb Overhaul Kit contents.
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  • 1. O-rings for float bowl, carb to plenum, intake, idle mix (includes tiny washer), vacuum plug and float drain.
    2. Air cutoff kit.
    3. Accelerator pump kit (use extra o-ring in attached bag).
    4. Carb to plenum fuel o-rings.
    5. Fuel joint pipe o-rings; 4 large, 4 small. Plus 2 large for the fuel inlet barb on carb #3.
    6. Brand new #3 plenum screws.
    7. Plenum o-ring.
    8. Cotter keys for linkage.
    9. Fuel petcock rebuild kit.
    10. Fuel filter.
The Carbs have Left the Bike

Clean up the outside with large doses of carb cleaner and brake parts cleaner.
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That's better. Now you can see what you're doing.
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Follow the directions in Howard's book to remove some of the linkage. You don't want to take it all off unless there's a problem that needs fixing.

To separate the plenum halves you'll need a good, tight-fitting #3 Phillips screwdriver. If you can't move a screw, try clamping vicegrips on the shaft. Push hard on the screwdriver and turn with the grips. Works every time. Discard the 5 screws. Watch for the little straw!
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Separate the carbs and screens from the plenum halves. Keep each carb's parts separate from here on out. Discard all o-rings. I had a special trash bucket for discarded parts just in case ... didn't need anything but I saved it all.

Work the carbs one at a time. Disassemble it, wash it and then soak in carb cleaner for a few hours or overnight. I liked the result from Yamaha Carb cleaner, mixed 1 part with 2 parts water. While the first is in the carb cleaner, take the next apart and wash it. Keep the assembly line in order so you don't mix up the parts.

Remove the Vacuum Chamber, piston, sealing ring and airjet cover/piston guide (the black plastic part held in by a phillips screw, under the cover). Toss all removed parts into the soapy wash bucket.

NOTE: Pic is wrong, your carbs are separated now.
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Flip the carb over and remove the 3 float bowl screws. I had a leak on the left, #2 & #4 side and the reason was obvious when I saw the smashed and cracking float bowl o-rings. But, I had done several soaks over the winter to try to clean the carbs so the bowls themselves were pretty clean.
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Here's what you'll see under #3's float bowl.
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Unscrew the Main Jet. Secure the Needle Jet Holder with a 7mm open end wrench if it wants to turn too. Remove the Needle Jet Holder. Turn the carb over and use a suitable soft punch (mine's a #2 Ticonderoga) to knock out the Needle Jet from the vacuum slide side.
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Parts from the Main jet assembly.
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Idle Jets: '82 and '83 Idle Jets should now be unscrewed. On '80-'81s these jets are pressed in and supposedly un-removable. Though I haven't done it, it appears that they can be removed with just a bit of extra effort. See Evo A. Vulpes' Video to find out how it's done. I'll be trying this method next time.

To get out the Pilot screw's parts you'll need to make a small hook tool. Remove the screw and spring. There is a tiny washer and an o-ring down in there.
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This is the pile of small parts you'll pull from the carb. Again, discard all of the o-rings. There is a replacement tiny washer for the Pilot and a Float valve washer so toss those too.
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Now all of this goes into a soapy bath. Use a strong bathroom cleaner of some kind (my choice: BAM!!), put on your rubber gloves and scrub everything with a brush (not a wire brush!). Rinse and repeat until all greasy stuff is removed and you're getting happy.
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Then everything goes into the carb dip for a nice, long soak. Follow the instructions on the bottle. Do not use the stuff from the auto store, get either Honda or Yamaha carb dip and follow those directions. I soaked each overnight but that may have been overkill. Count the little parts that you put in to soak.
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Note: Put the next carb's parts into the soapy bath.

Next day ... remove big parts and then strain the little parts.
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Count to make sure they're all present & accounted for.

There's those tiny buggers.
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Note: Get another carb into the carb dip now.

Clean off the excess dip. Spray with carb cleaner or brake parts cleaner (or back to soap and water). Again, what do the directions on the carb dip say?
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Look closely at all mating surfaces. Scrape (lightly) to remove gasket and o-ring gunk. Carbs are aluminum so be careful not to scratch the surfaces with your steel tools. Get the gunk out of all o-ring journals.
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Repeat: Do not scratch the surfaces or you're looking at leaky carbs and will need to open them up again. Tough stuff will often come off with a concentrated spray from the brake parts cleaner. You can get big cans of this stuff from Wally-Mart for, like, a buck.

Now for all the holes and channels. Follow the red lines in these images as a general guide. Spray compressed air, parts cleaner, water-pic ... whatever it takes ... to clear out all of these. As Randakk says, "Everything Affects Everything," so make sure you clear all of these.

Plenum end.
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Cutoff valve side.
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Throttle side.
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Vacuum chamber/top side.
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Float bowl, jets, bottom.
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Float bowl drain.
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Vacuum Chamber. That little hole goes into the center where the slide fits. Clean it.
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Accelerator pump cover has two channels to clean.
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When you are more than satisfied with your cleanliness and starting to question whether anal-retentive is hyphenated or just two words ...

Take stock of the parts and arrange them for reassembly. Find all the necessary o-rings and new washers.
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Do not mix up the float bowl screws, accelerator pump screws and air cutoff screws. They are the same size and thread but different lengths. Use a too-long screw and you'll be searching for a new carb body.
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Assemble the Air Cutoff Valve. Line up the diaphragm; big end of spring goes down; small o-ring in place; top mates with knob in cover; tighten the screws.
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Put the spring, tiny washer and o-ring onto the Pilot Screw. Turn the carb right-side up (vacuum chamber side up) and screw it in. Go in just until you feel it touch bottom, do NOT over-tighten. Then, back it off 1-1/4 turns ('80-'81), 3 turns for '82-'83.
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Needle Jet goes in next, open end (looks like a tube) goes toward the vacuum chamber, convex end toward float bowl. Drop it in and line it up.
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Tap lightly with a wooden drift/dowel to seat it.
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Then the Needle Jet Holder. Double check the twelve little holes to make sure they are clean, clean, clean. Hold it up to a light and peer through to the other side to see.
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And clean out the inside with a bit of light aluminum foil.
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I just loves makin' tools.

Screw in and tighten the holder; then the Main Jet..
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Put the washer and screen onto the float valve holder. Turn the carb right-side up, slide it in and tighten.
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Ensure that the float valve/spring moves freely.
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Make sure that the float pin moves freely in it's hinges. Clean the hinges with foil or a small file, it must move smoothly. Install the valve and slide in the pin.
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Install the float Drain Screw with its new o-ring.
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Attach the Float Bowl, do not install the o-ring/gasket and just finger tight on the screws. You'll need to set the floats after the carbs are assembled.
34bowl.jpg (134.5 KiB) Viewed 8993 times
Onward and upward to the vacuum pistons. Clean and smooth is what you want here.

Use lightweight foil to buff the Piston body ...
37foilslide1.jpg (108.7 KiB) Viewed 8993 times
... in here too ... NOTE: yep, plug should not be in yet.
37foilslide2.jpg (126.82 KiB) Viewed 8993 times
... around the edge ...
37foilslide3.jpg (104.54 KiB) Viewed 8993 times
... inside Carb Body ...
38foilcarb.jpg (125.29 KiB) Viewed 8993 times
Note: another bad pic! Airjet Cover/Piston Guide and Sealing Ring should not be installed yet.

'82 and '83 Owners: There was a problem with CV slide scuffing on these models that may cause sputtering and missing. Read through '82-3 Scuffed CV Slide Repair and consider smoothing your bores.

... inside the Vacuum Chamber ...
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... and don't forget, down in here ...
39foilcap2.jpg (120.54 KiB) Viewed 8993 times
Then clean, clean, clean all the newly buffed parts. Again with the brake/carb parts cleaner and compressed air.

Install the plug with its new o-ring into the slide.
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Compare the length of the springs. They should be equal.
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Put the four Vacuum assemblies together and place them upside-down on the bench. They should move freely and settle to darn near the same height.
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Do NOT mix these up! They are paired with the carbs.

Screw down the Airjet Cover/Piston Guide. This screw is another close match to the cutoff and bowl ones. I didn't separate these from their plastic covers during the overhaul.
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Press in the Sealing Ring, flat side to carb body.
39z2sealring.jpg (87.31 KiB) Viewed 8993 times
Install springs, pistons and caps on #2 and #4. Leave them off of #1 and #3, those are installed after the carbs have been put back in the bike.

Specials for Carb #3

If you haven't already, remove the Fuel Inlet Barb, clean it all up and replace the two o-rings. You may have to remove the linkage that's blocking access.

There's a lock washer behind the hold-down bracket.
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This is not in the book. Randakk pointed me to the correct section on his Tech Tips page (about halfway down the page, search "fuel inlet barb") and I had to do this after the carbs were all attached to the plenums. Not fun that way.

It goes back together as shown here. The fuel inlet barb actually goes the other way 'round, see the picture after this one.
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The fuel inlet port as it should look when assembled.
(thanks to Dan Filipi for the pic and Jetubet for catching my error :oops: )
40z0fuelinlet2.jpg (53.71 KiB) Viewed 8993 times
Accelerator assembly: clear all of the holes in the carb.
40z1accelpump.jpg (181.48 KiB) Viewed 8993 times
Clean out the holes in the cap, much like those in the Air Cutoff covers.
40z2accelpump.jpg (175.14 KiB) Viewed 8993 times
Install the diaphragm, spring and cover. Don't forget the little o-ring (in separate, attached baggie, toss other one) or she'll leak. Put a little grease on the shaft and slide the gaiter onto the shaft.
40z3accelpump.jpg (161.19 KiB) Viewed 8993 times
Special for Carb #4

Sorry, no image of this ... Attach the choke lever with the new cotter key.

Final Assembly

Collect carbs #2 and #4, fuel tubes, springs and o-rings.
41mating.jpg (123.48 KiB) Viewed 8993 times
Put the o-rings on the tubes and slide one end of each into one of the carb bodies. Note: Float bowls should be on.

Loosen the sync lock nut and screw all the way. Slip the accelerator linkage together, between the two washers. Make abso-F'in-lutely sure that there is a washer above the linkage and one below.
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Slide in the spring. Take a close look.

Spring in position. Are you certain that the linkage is fitted BETWEEN the two washers?
43link.jpg (89.93 KiB) Viewed 8993 times
Push the carbs together being careful not to bend the tubes.

Repeat that for carbs #1 and #3.

Refer to Howard's book for this next step. It's important that the Li'l o-ring and Bigger o-ring are placed in the correct holes or again ... leakage.

Install the large carb to plenum o-rings.
44carbplenum13.jpg (168.12 KiB) Viewed 8993 times
Sorry, no image for #2 and #4. The two small o-rings go one on each carb, same side and close to each other. Next time I rebuild a set of 1100 carbs (wayyyy in the future) I'll add a pic, promise.

Remember that straw? It's time to put it in its hole.

Put the beautiful new plenum gasket in its journal and mate the plenum halves.
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Oh, boy! New plenum screws!

Don't forget to include the Choke Bracket under the one by carb #3 before you tighten it down. Don't ask.
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Assemble the linkage with the new cotter keys. If you replace all of the keys you should end up with one leftover.
47linkage.jpg (142.92 KiB) Viewed 8993 times
Moving right along and getting close to done.

Time to set those float levels. Remove the float bowls. Stand the carbs up with the intakes secured. Rubber furniture coasters work good ... just don't let the assembly slip and crash to the floor (no I di'nt).
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The angle you want is where the floats have just settled on the valves but are not compressing the springs inside.

Measure from the bottom of the float to the gasket surface. It needs to be 15.5 mm along the entire length. Mine were correct near the valve but about 12 at the lower (as in pic) end. Bend the tang to adjust. See the blowup inside the pic below? That is the tang. It's in the center of the hinge and bends without a whole lot of force.

Do avoid bending where the floats are attached or anywhere else.
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You may proceed when the floats are perfect.

Put the new o-rings on the Float Bowls, tighten the screws.
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Time to Bench Sync the set.

Previously, I had recommended Alley Kat's method of bench syncing the carbs by using a wire or needle as a feeler gauge. That was before Mike Nixon, noted GL Carb Guru, joined this board. He brought to my attention that the wire/needle method can cause "nicking of the throttle plate which permanently ruins the plate and introduces unregulated air". And you know that he's seen the guts of enough of these carbs to know what he's talking about.

So, how to get a decent bench sync? Simply look into and around the outlet port of #3 carb and locate the bypass outlet. It will be right along the line of the resting butterfly.
GL1100_carb_wm.jpg (18.72 KiB) Viewed 8993 times
Note the relationship of the outlet to the edge of the butterfly. Now, adjust the 1/3 sync screw so that #1's butterfly position matches #3.

Flip 'round to the other side and adjust #2 and #4 so they match each other. Then adjust the left bank's sync screw so the 2&4 set match up to #3. The 2/4 sync screw is between those two carbs. The left side's screw is aft of #4 carb.

Thanks to Mike Nixon for the pic!

Fill the Bowls with Gas

Use a syringe to fill the carbs with gas through the fuel inlet fitting. Test it by rotating the throttle and watching for gas spritzing into the carbs. Check that all of the choke and throttle linkage works smoothly.

Ready to go back on the bike.
54tobike.jpg (75.08 KiB) Viewed 8993 times
Now, the famous line, "Reassemble in the reverse order" in the Carb Removal, GL1100 procedure. Also, Howard's book has some excellent advice on the installation procedure.

Here's a new (26 Sept. '09) tip on tightening the clamps on the rubber intake runners. When everything is buttoned up and you've got the bike running and well warmed up, re-tighten the ring clamps. With the rubber warm you should be able to get almost an extra turn on the screws. This will reduce air leaks at that connection.

Pilot Screw Adjustment

There's a special tool required to adjust the Pilot/Idle Mixture screws called a Pilot Screw Adjuster (imagine that?!). Motion Pro has them, starting at $29.99 and going way up from there. I rode down to the Honda dealer and pal'ed up with a mechanic who let me borrow his brand-spankin'-new, never been used, $125 tool.

[EDIT=17 Oct. '09] I finally ordered the tool from Motorcycle Superstore.
pilotwrench.gif (23.51 KiB) Viewed 8993 times
Link to it in their online catalog.

To adjust the screws, you must first get a black marker and score through the Idle Drop procedure outlined by Honda in their manual. To meet emission standards, Honda developed the idle drop method and it ensures that your bike will run lean at idle. Not good.

Puffy75 advises us to do it differently. This will get you a better idle and quicker warm ups.

First, attach an accurate, external tachometer. Warm up the bike and set the idle to 950. Pick an idle mixture screw and turn it in/out to achieve the highest RPM. Leave it there. Reset to 950 RPM. Do another screw. Repeat until all 4 have been set.

Then do a sync and you can come back and adjust the pilot screws again if you like.


Everything worked out good for me with all of the bench syncing and such. She started right up on the first crank and ran like a dream (sort of). Check out my Video in the Dark on YouTube to see the first minutes of the startup.

As for vacuum sync ... well ... I spent quite a bit of time making a homemade manometer. Only spent about $10 but it just didn't work for me. I think my tubing was too small. When I started the bike, all of the Marvel Mystery Oil got drawn out of the tubes and into the intakes. That sucks. I ended up getting in touch with Ritalz through the NGW Club who let me come over and use his set of mercury sticks. Definitely the way to go. For more info on how to sync 'em, do Randakk's Carb Synchronization Procedure. After my sync, she runs much better ... check out this YouTube video taken a few days later.

Those Harley mufflers really changed this old gal's personality.

There you go. All done!

Now, get out there and RIDE!

Roady, 30 June 2008

With help from:

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Last edited by Roady on Tue Feb 28, 2017 3:31 pm, edited 12 times in total.
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Post by octane »

Faaaaaaantastic Steve!

Thank you so much!

As I know very little about 1100 carbs
I'll just let it linger here for a couple of days
to see if anyone have any corrections
to your procedure (unlikely)
and then with your permission
move it as a 'sticky' to "Octanes Corner".
(Once it's in there (as I recall it); you can't 'edit')

Again: thank you for your contribution!
Highly appreciated.
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Post by WingerDave »

action1 action1 action1 action1 respekt2 kewlpics tumb2

So....... that just about says it :lol:

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

'80-'81 GL 1100 Hybrid Vetter Interstate 90K km
1989 GL1500 58K mls

Previous bikes

1973 Suzuki GT 500
1975 BMW R60/6
1982 Suzuki GS 550
1980 GL1100 (frame went to current bike, rest parted out)
1983 GL1100 Interstate
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Post by randakk »

Excellent work!
Randall Washington (Randakk)
Retired Founder -
Curator -


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Post by Roady »

Thanks, Randall.

And I just can't say enough about how perfect your carb kit is.

Thank you for providing such an excellent product.

Back patting over ... let's go ride!
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Post by Frenchy »

Great job Roady!! tumb2
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Post by octane »

octane wrote:....
I'll just let it linger here for a couple of days
to see if anyone have any corrections
to your procedure (unlikely)
and then with your permission
move it as a 'sticky' to "Octanes Corner".
On Steves request it stays here,
but I've made it a "Sticky",
so it's easy to find for those many
folks who, without doubt, will find this brilliant
thread very helpful.
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Post by bigricksharpe »

very good indeed, hv you ever done the starter clutch!? after all the repairs n crap, now my starter clutch no longer grabs the eng. just whines and clunks usta do it once or twice then catch. i hv tried to get all thing done so i could ride with my brothers in the Patriot guard this summer, now this crap! it would be nice if public serv. workers made good money like our so-called CEO's n sports hero's now what have ta wait another year or what!
Wish my Trucking business had really worked well, hope to try again someday! imsmilin
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Post by Roady »

I've not done a starter clutch (thank heavens) but I think you will probably get some good advice around here.

If no one responds, post a query in the Discussions forum. Try to give us as much info as possible, there are some really smart folks around here but they can only answer based on the questions.

When Asking Questions, please give as much info as possible:
  • What year & model is the bike? (Hint: edit your Profile to include this info.)
  • Are there any mods pertinent to the question?
  • What work has been done (if any) to resolve the problem?
  • How long was the bike parked?
  • Is this a daily driver or a restoration/customizing project?
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Ok, thank;s for the info....


Post by bigricksharpe »

Just for everyones Knowledge I have a 1981 GL 1100, not exactly naked, I'm kinda old fashioned! Anyway the bike was stored throught the winter again, had to retune the tappets, no engine mod's except chrome add-on's.
Has I said when you try to start bike the starter turns, you can hear the cog spin then slight clunk, this happened before last year, added oil it helped, lost about a quart or so while covers were off this year and oil is somewhat used and sat all winter, tried the start switch off, hit button 2-3 sec remedy, nah ah! it did start the other two days, yesterday even rode it a while , someone told me in a diff post that I should change oil and filter and use lighter weight oil, I wonder will this help.
I am in dire straight's not unlike the Band I useta listen too all those years ago lol.
So I've been desparate and offered my prize Century Augusta 109 large RC Heli to anyone near me who can get this baby running right provided they are into RC'n Heli that is lol Has a working stiff I honestly wish I had lots of extra cash, but having survived a failed business, been homeless with wife, watched her suffer Caner, and now diabeties, gobs of Meds, mortage cost, and a President who wants to give our money to already wealthy Corp's I am blessed to just be hanging in there, I really enjoy Goldwing's but if all it does at this age is cost money, then maybe if I can get that Newer one always wanted a 1500 but I have to be realistic I guess, unless I can rob a Bank and not get...nah, perhaps, I will get one last chance to start that Trucking business, I have more experience now, sadly, just less money!
Too bad Honda shops at least the ones I've been to here in MN are very expensive, even for small parts I got robbed on a selinoid @ 75 bucks I shoulda went to a parts store and got an auto selinoid for abot 30 or less, just wanted to keep original Honda parts,much like I once approached my love for Hotrodded Cars, and since I don't really have a two car garage, I have to wait for warm days or days that are reasonable enough to use the few tools I do have, been a mechanic (Diesel City bus) once at pro level, till I injured my back, tried to start business, had money and desire but no real civilian trucking experience which I do now lots of Miles under hat, and have held endorsements in everything inc'ld tanker. sold Air tools to help pay bills, never had Bike tools now left with a lunch box of asst. tools, and a few I stash in house or on the Motorcycle like our Harley ridin friend's.
So, that's it just sad that I can't get this Honda up right now, would like to ride a few with the Patriot guard riders, has well has solo rides etc.
Nuthin like it! This Vet need's ta ride or else! What I don't know yet sish! crossy.gif
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Post by papirrin »

ohh this information is gold for me !!!

i'm having troubles with my gl 1100's carburators!!

i identified the problem and is the level on floats, the mixture is poor and not work like i want.

Good post !!!!
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Post by karday2 »

How similar is this to the 1983 GL1100 carbs. Nice job but I think I am gonna be sick. Man so much to go worng. I am hoping that my idle issue can be resolved by removing the idle jets and cleaning that area. The main jets work fine as the engine runs ok.
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Post by coyotewhacker »

MAJOR LEAGUE Confidence builder of an article. My 80 Oldwing needs some carb attention, and I was not looking forward to the major shop charge. With all this detailed information and pics to boot, I think I can do it myself, save some bucks, and get a lot smarter about my ride.
Thanks a bunch.
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Harry Callaghan
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Post by Ole Guy »

Roady, very talented writing and excellent show and tell. The cleaning and prep is the major task in any operation. These tutorials with accompanying photos and graphics are in valuable in my opinion. The pictures clearly illustrate the task at hand with easy to understand narratives. Fantastic job!
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Post by Roady »

Karday2; the 83's are almost identical. I believe that the only difference is that you will be able to remove that slow idle jet.

Coyotewhacker; I hadn't rebuilt carbs in many years until I took these on. I think the one previous to this was from an 11-year-old '69 VW Bug. :shock:

Ole Guy; I'm no mechanic, just an ex-graphic artist who has moved on to pc training and technical support. This process actually helped me to do a better job.

And I'm happy to report that they worked perfectly the first time and have been worry free ever since.
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