Should I Buy an '85 Limited Edition or '86 SE-i CFI Model Gold Wing

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Rednaxs60

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Decided to do a primer for the purpose of viewing to purchase an ’85 GL1200 Limited Edition, or an ’86 GL1200 Special Edition-Injected (SE-i), both fuel injected models. There are quite a few queries regarding buying one of these CFI models, and most queries are about the CFI system. It is necessary to understand some of the other aspects of these CFI models.

I have an ’85 GL1200 Limited Edition CFI model that I purchased 6 years ago as my long-term retirement project. I have done several modifications such as the Poorboy external alternator mod, a side stand safety mod, custom seat modification for myself and the Mrs, adding an accessory fuse block with relay, complete engine rebuild, and new paint all round.

I have found alternatives for the PB sensors, Gr/Gl sensors, Ns sensor, injectors, speed sensor assembly fitted on the front tire, and the throttle position sensor to name a few

Short resume, now on to the topic at hand.

The first Honda fuel injected model was the ’82 CX500 Turbo, followed by the ’83 CX650 Turbo. The fuel injection system of these bikes were iterations 1 and 2 respectively.

Move forward a couple of years to the ’85 GL1200 Limited Edition and ’86 SE-I for the third iteration of the Computerized Fuel Injection (CFI) system.

Tools needed are simple, a good flashlight, and multimeter. Take lots of pictures.

The fuel injection system on these bikes is very robust and dependable, but parts are now getting scarce. This is not to say that all is lost, but that you have to be creative when looking for replacement parts.

Forums to peruse are Classic Goldwings, Naked GoldWings, Goldwing Docs, and Goldwing Facts, there is the CX500 forum. These forums are a wealth of information regarding the Honda legacy and Gold Wings.

The ’85 and ’86 fuel injected models are different from the carbureted models, and require a bit more in depth scrutiny. The first order of business regarding a possible purchase is the availability of the OEM service manuals for these fuel injected bikes. There is the OEM service manual, Electrical Troubleshooting manual, and the Supplement – most important manual of the three.

The dash is different, and has more information than its carbureted cousins. It displays digitally and analogue RPM data. There is a fuel level and engine temperature indicator that can be changed to an oil pressure/temperature readout by selecting the appropriate button on the travel computer. The display can be in metric, or good old miles by selecting the appropriate button on the travel computer.

There is a FUEL SYSTEM and FUEL indicator light on the right side of the dash. The FUEL indicator light illuminates when the fuel level in the fuel tank is at approximately 19 litres – tank is approximately 22 litres.

The FUEL SYSTEM indicator light has nothing to do with the fuel system, but instead illuminates when there is a fault in the CFI system. This indicator illuminates when a voltage signal from one, or more of the CFI system components is faulty. If this light is on, do not turn the motorcycle off. The ECU does not store any error code. Before turning the key to the OFF position, look at the ECU error code window to determine what the fault is. (Insert ECU window pics) Once you determine what the fault is you can turn the key to the OFF position.

The CRUISE CONTROL indicators, controlled by a relay, cycle on then off when the ignition key is turned to the ON position.

There is a TAILLIGHT indicator on the left side of the dash. This indicates that there is a faulty lightbulb on the rear of the bike.

When viewing either of these bikes, have the owner go through the above dash indicators. If one is not as described above, ask why and take note.

These bikes have as standard OEM equipment, a stereo system with an integral tape deck that has a voltmeter display. The carbureted models with this type of system have a clock in place of a voltmeter. This voltmeter gives an electrical system voltage readout. You should verify this readout by using a multimeter and measuring the voltage at the battery. The electrical system is old, and the combination of age, line loss, bad connectors and such all affect the displayed readout. Knowing what the delta is between the voltmeter display and the voltage showing at the battery is important. It is not so much that the two readings be the same, but that if the voltmeter readout does change, higher or lower, you should check the voltage reading at the battery just to ensure that the electrical system is still operating as expected.

The travel computer located on the shelter has a fuel management system, trip management system, and a various other selections depending on what you want to do. Make sure the bike in question has the owner’s manual, extremely important in understanding and operating the bike. You can get an owner’s manual digitally, but the original hard copy is always nice to have.

The travel computer fuel management system is quite useful. Can be in metric, or US units of measurement.

The ’85 GL1200 Limited Edition CFI model travel computer default units is dependent on where the bike was intended to be sold. If the bike was earmarked to be sold in Canada, the default units are metric. An ’85 Limited Edition sold in the US has the US units of measurement. The fact that you can change to metric or US units of measurement after the bike is started, is very convenient. It must be remembered that once the bike is stopped, and shut off, the bike will revert back to the default settings as mentioned above.

The ’86 SE-i was only sold in the US and as such, the default travel computer settings will always be in US units of measurements.

On to Part Two
 
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Rednaxs60

Rednaxs60

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Part 2

The travel computer fuel management system display is comprehensive and provides a lot of information for the owner. One aspect of the fuel management system is the fuel tank level indication – how many litres, or US gallons are in the tank and the estimated distance remaining based on the amount of fuel in the fuel tank and how you are using the bike. These readouts are based on a functioning thermistor on the fuel tank level indicator float. When the thermistor is functioning, and the fuel tank is full, you will see the display indicate “FULL” when you select the FUEL QTY and DISTANCE to be displayed. If this thermistor is faulty, the FUEL QTY and DISTANCE indicator will display 4 dashes, and there will be no fuel qty or remaining distance displayed. To correct this issue a new thermistor will have to be installed.

When viewing either of these bikes, have the owner go through the above-mentioned systems. Have the owner switch the dash unit indication from metric to US units or US units to metric. Switch the engine temperature and fuel quantity indications to oil temperature and pressure. Reset the dash trip odometer. Change the fuel management system units from metric to US units or the other way round. If one is not as described above, ask why and take note.

The CFI system Electronic Control Unit (ECU) located under the rear trunk, is the heart of the CFI system. This ECU, the travel computer, and dash are interrelated in that the functioning of each is dependent on signals from the CFI system, or the individual units.

When the ignition key is turned to the ON position, the ECU monitors the voltage signals from the injectors, Ns (crankshaft) sensor, PB (MAP) sensors, Gr/Gl sensors – on the rear of the right-side cylinder head, throttle position sensor (TPS), Tw – engine water temperature, and T1 – inlet air temperature. If any of the voltage signals are out of specification, or non-existent, an error code will be generated, and the dash FUEL SYSTEM indicator light will illuminate.

The lower front fairings are different from the carbureted models. These FI bikes have cornering lights that turn on when the signals are used. These lights are angled to illuminate the corner as you round it. If the bike in question has these on at all times when the key is in the ON position, the owner, or previous owners have modified these lights to stay on as driving lights. You should query this, and determine, if possible, how this modification was done.

You can have the owner remove the right/left side panels.

You want to view the fuel shutoff valve located behind the right-side panel. It should be in the ON position at all times. You only need to turn this valve to the OFF position when working on the fuel system. If it is in the OFF position and the fuel system is not being worked on, ask why.

The left side panel hides the battery, starter solenoid, brake/taillight relay and the stator connector. The starter solenoid and brake/taillight relay are located to the right (rear) of the battery. The stator connector is located to the left (front) of the battery.

These CFI models have a 500 watt stator instead of a 350 watt stator of the carbureted models

The stator connector may be the original OEM connector, or have been modified. The modification may be the removal of the OEM connector and the stator wires soldered. You need to have a close look at the stator wires to determine if any of the three have overheated. This is the prevailing mindset, but there are connectors rated for high voltage/amps. If the original OEM connector is still in place, upgrading to a more modern connector is definitely an option.

The starter relay should be examined to determine if it has been upgraded or not. An original starter solenoid will have the older style “dog bone” fusible link. A newer model will probably use a blade type fuse. This fuse has a 30-amp rating. Take note of which and what the install is like.

There will be an extra wire connected to the battery terminal of the starter solenoid. This is specific to the ’85 and ’86 CFI models. This wire feeds power to the CFI system, and a couple of other circuits. There is an in-line 30 amp “dog bone” fuse, probably tucked in towards the back of the battery. Check to see what type of fuse this is.

The air compressor control system is located on the right side of the front fairing, close to where your right knee would be when riding. When the ignition key is turned to the on position, you should see the system air pressure displayed in the display window, can be changed for the front forks or the rear air shocks. If there is no air in this system and it is functioning properly, there will be dashes displayed in the display window. If the system is not working properly, there will be a set of the letter “E” displayed, indicating an error in the system.

Now it’s time to start the engine and listen to what the system(s) are doing. To do this, I recommend using the Engine Stop Switch (kill switch) in conjunction with the ignition key.

Turn the Engine Stop Switch to the OFF position. There are two OFF positions, test both when you turn the ignition key to the ON position.

With the Engine Stop Switch in the OFF position, turn the ignition key to the ON position. You should notice no sounds from the engine, and the right-side dash indicators should be out except for the OIL indicator light.

Move the Engine Stop Switch to the ON position. You will hear the fuel pump start for 2-3 seconds then stop. It is priming the CFI fuel system. The fuel pump will start automatically when the engine is started.

Turn the Engine Stop Switch to the OFF position. The right-side dash indicators should be out except for the OIL indicator light.

Turn the Engine Stop switch to the ON position and take note of the dash start up sequence. The right-side dash indicator lights should all illuminate. The CRUISE CONTROL indicator lights – 2 in number will cycle on then off. The FUEL SYSTEM indicator light will be on then go off. The same for the FUEL indicator light.

The FUEL SYSTEM indicator light should be off, not illuminated. If this indicator light is off, it indicates that there are no error codes generated by the ECU. If this indicator light is illuminated, the ECU has generated an error code. Do not turn the ignition key to the OFF position. You need to inspect the ECU error code window to determine what the error code is so you can troubleshoot the CFI system. You do not turn the ignition key to the OFF position until you have done this because this ECU does not store any error codes.

An error code does not immediately mean that the engine will not start and operate correctly. This is why you need to have access to the OEM Supplement for the bike in question. You can use the Supplement manual from an ’85 or ’86 CFI model to troubleshoot.

If you attempt to start the engine and it does start, it means that there is a faulty component, but not one that prevents an engine start. Honda has designed this CFI system with a few double redundancy systems that allow the engine to operate even if the component in question is faulty.

If you attempt to start the engine with an error code displayed and it will not start, one of the primary components is faulty. The engine will not start if the Ns (crankshaft) sensor, BOTH the Gr/Gl sensors located on the rear of the right-side cylinder head, BOTH numbers 1 and 3 injectors are faulty, and BOTH numbers 2 and 4 injectors are faulty.

The Gr/Gl sensors are commonly called PG sensors, but this is incorrect. The PG equivalent, because it has to do with crankshaft position, is the Ns (crankshaft) sensor. The Gr/Gl sensors are primarily for injector timing, but are used in conjunction with the Ns sensor.

Once you get past the CFI system, travel computer and dash, and have a basic understanding of the CFI model intricacies, these CFI models are practically the same as the carbureted cousins. Timing belts, bearings, fluids and such are the same, and have the same maintenance requirements.

Ask about the battery – new or how long installed. Tires – read the date stamp. Should be a four number code. The first two numbers are the week of the year manufactured, the send two numbers are the year the tire was manufactured.

Ask about the maintenance history. Timing belts changed – when and at how many miles. Fluid changes – coolant, brake/clutch, final drive.

Many have mentioned that a person should stay away from these CFI models. I, on the other hand, endorse these. I like fuel injection over carburetors. Older carbureted bikes have parts issues as well. The CFI models do not have a monopoly on this issue. You will have to become your own, best mechanic.

One final comment on looking at one of these CFI models. You never know what is hidden under the hood. The plastic on these bikes can hide a lot of skeletons. If there are a lot of aftermarket additions to the bike, ask the question; Did you do the addition or was it there when you bought the bike? As always, buyer beware – too late after the fact.

Long dissertation, but hopefully good info and of assistance to you, the perspective buyer.

Cheers
 

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