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940 Views 22 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  MechaKuratas
Hi everyone! 馃憢 I bought a 1981 Honda GL500 in November 2022. It ran when I got the bike but stopped after. Seller mentioned the stator motor might be the cause so inspected the motor. Inspected it and it was covered with rust and cleaned it as much as I can. Also, looking to rebuild into a cafe racer and looking for a good deals without compromising quality for parts. Looking forward to chatting with y鈥檃ll!
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Welcome !... Is the bike running, now that you cleaned it as much as you could ?
There is no "stator motor". Your engine has a starter motor attached to the left side near the footpeg and an alternator stator mounted inside the engine rear cover.
This may sound picky but consider how much difference that small difference in spelling makes and how incorrect advice for the wrong one would be:
A bad starter motor would be unable to start the engine. On the other hand, a bad stator would prevent the battery from charging which would also prevent the engine from starting but it could also make the engine stop when the battery discharged to the point where it could no longer provide enough power to the ignition system for it to produce sparks.

Welcome to the forum and welcome to the world of antique vehicle ownership (they own us, not the other way around). Your bike is about 4 decades old and may or may not have had all of the maintenance necessary to keep it safe & reliable so it is highly recommended to download the Factory Shop Manual for your model (available through the CX Wiki - link in my signature) and go through all of the service procedures, regardless of whether your bike has reached the specified mileage.
Note that while aftermarket shop manuals are pretty much necessary for people without factory training to work on a lot of makes & models of bike the FSMs for the CX/GL500/650 family of bikes are so well written & laid out that the FSM is really the only book you need and and even the best aftermarket books are secondary references at best.

I also recommend looking on all rubber parts with suspicion because rubber does not age gracefully. Check the date codes on your tires and replace them if they are over 5 years old no matter how good they look & feel (old rubber simply cannot flow around the irregularities in the asphalt well enough to grip, especially if it is cool or wet). The original rubber brake lines should be replaced every 2 or 3 fluid changes (= 5 or 6 years) so if your bike still has them I recommend shopping for modern stainless braided ones (they last practically forever and double the life of the fluid). And don't forget things like the rad hoses and the boot between the engine and swingarm (they can crack on the bottom where you don't see it).

The best advice anyone can give you about customizing any vehicle is to get it safe & reliable in more or less original condition and use it for a while before you start making any changes so that it can tell you what changes are needed to make it do what you want/need better and then putting your time/effort/money into those instead of wasting those precious resources on making changes based on style or on copying what someone else (who may or may not really understand how the changes affect the way it works) has done.
Modifications that actually make it work better not only are more likely to produce something you actually want to keep and use but also something that doesn't look like every other copycat "custom" around. Mods for the sake of style, on the other hand, often result in a piece of expensive yard art that you can't stand sitting on for more than a few minutes and might even be dangerous.
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Welcome !... Is the bike running, now that you cleaned it as much as you could ?
Thanks! I will find out this weekend. keep you posted.
Thank you kindly!
2
There is no "stator motor". Your engine has a starter motor attached to the left side near the footpeg and an alternator stator mounted inside the engine rear cover.
This may sound picky but consider how much difference that small difference in spelling makes and how incorrect advice for the wrong one would be:
A bad starter motor would be unable to start the engine. On the other hand, a bad stator would prevent the battery from charging which would also prevent the engine from starting but it could also make the engine stop when the battery discharged to the point where it could no longer provide enough power to the ignition system for it to produce sparks.

Welcome to the forum and welcome to the world of antique vehicle ownership (they own us, not the other way around). Your bike is about 4 decades old and may or may not have had all of the maintenance necessary to keep it safe & reliable so it is highly recommended to download the Factory Shop Manual for your model (available through the CX Wiki - link in my signature) and go through all of the service procedures, regardless of whether your bike has reached the specified mileage.
Note that while aftermarket shop manuals are pretty much necessary for people without factory training to work on a lot of makes & models of bike the FSMs for the CX/GL500/650 family of bikes are so well written & laid out that the FSM is really the only book you need and and even the best aftermarket books are secondary references at best.

I also recommend looking on all rubber parts with suspicion because rubber does not age gracefully. Check the date codes on your tires and replace them if they are over 5 years old no matter how good they look & feel (old rubber simply cannot flow around the irregularities in the asphalt well enough to grip, especially if it is cool or wet). The original rubber brake lines should be replaced every 2 or 3 fluid changes (= 5 or 6 years) so if your bike still has them I recommend shopping for modern stainless braided ones (they last practically forever and double the life of the fluid). And don't forget things like the rad hoses and the boot between the engine and swingarm (they can crack on the bottom where you don't see it).

The best advice anyone can give you about customizing any vehicle is to get it safe & reliable in more or less original condition and use it for a while before you start making any changes so that it can tell you what changes are needed to make it do what you want/need better and then putting your time/effort/money into those instead of wasting those precious resources on making changes based on style or on copying what someone else (who may or may not really understand how the changes affect the way it works) has done.
Modifications that actually make it work better not only are more likely to produce something you actually want to keep and use but also something that doesn't look like every other copycat "custom" around. Mods for the sake of style, on the other hand, often result in a piece of expensive yard art that you can't stand sitting on for more than a few minutes and might even be dangerous.
Thank you for correcting me and the kind words of wisdom! I clearly did not know where to start and you gave me a good start on what to do Sidecar Bob. 馃檶馃檶馃檶 I'm currently looking into getting new brakes as there were no front brakes when the seller sold me the bike and the wiring is really messy.

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Looks like it has been painted not too long ago, like the color.
Welcome !... Is the bike running, now that you cleaned it as much as you could ?
Unfortunately, it鈥檚 still not running. I鈥檓 not sure why. Did I start the bike wrong? I turned the key to the ON position, engine kill switch to run, pulled on the choke and turned the fuel lever to ON and when I press the starter button, nothing. I did realize the manual said not to use sand paper or emery cloth to clean the commutator but I did just that. My plan is to get my multimeter from work and test the commutator coils, inspect the field coils, test the battery, test relay switch, and test silicone rectifier. Am I missing something?
I turned the key to the ON position, engine kill switch to run, pulled on the choke and turned the fuel lever to ON and when I press the starter button, nothing.
No fire? If you have the stock vacuum-actuated petcock, you'll need to crank long enough for the bowls to fill. I recommend 2 to 3 second bursts with the kill switch off until the oil light goes out.
Or no spin? Does the headlight dim when you press the start button?
The problem I have is the choke lever doesn鈥檛 stay pulled but goes back to original position. Do you mean to close off the choke valve until the oil light goes out? I didn鈥檛 notice the headlight dim when I pressed start but I鈥檒l get a closer look on that soon.
The problem I have is the choke lever doesn鈥檛 stay pulled but goes back to original position. ...
There is a rubber cover at the base of the choke knob. Turn that to adjust the tension on the choke so that it remains where you have it set . See the GL500 owners manual, available in the Wiki I believe. Wiki link in my sig line.
Mike posted while I was typing ^^^^

When you turn the key on do the lights turn on? If not check the main fuse as they are a common failure point. I've had them crumble at the slightest touch. We usually recommmend replacing the original open link "dogbone" fuse with a blade fuse in an inline holder.

Are you sure the transmission is in neutral? (that should always be step #1 when starting a bike)

BTW, the headlight shouldn't dim when you press the Start button, it should go out completely.
Mike posted while I was typing ^^^^

When you turn the key on do the lights turn on? If not check the main fuse as they are a common failure point. I've had them crumble at the slightest touch. We usually recommmend replacing the original open link "dogbone" fuse with a blade fuse in an inline holder.

Are you sure the transmission is in neutral? (that should always be step #1 when starting a bike)

BTW, the headlight shouldn't dim when you press the Start button, it should go out completely.
Mike posted while I was typing ^^^^

When you turn the key on do the lights turn on? If not check the main fuse as they are a common failure point. I've had them crumble at the slightest touch. We usually recommmend replacing the original open link "dogbone" fuse with a blade fuse in an inline holder.

Are you sure the transmission is in neutral? (that should always be step #1 when starting a bike)

BTW, the headlight shouldn't dim when you press the Start button, it should go out completely.
update***
When I turn the key to ON the headlight doesn鈥檛 turn on but the oil light is on, and the neutral light is on. Before pressing start, i switch the key to ON, pull the choke lever all the way out, turn the petcock to ON, press the start and still nothing. I鈥檝e used my multimeter to test the battery and it reads 12.3vdc from my fluke 1507. I haven鈥檛 checked the main fuses yet but it鈥檚 on my list. Thinking of just getting a new battery.
What does the battery show while pressing the start button?
OK, I'd say you have 2 different problems, the headlight not lighting and the starter motor not running. Let's finish dealing with the starting issue before we work on the headlight.

Just to clarify, when you say nothing happens do you mean
1) nothing at all, no sounds, no dimming of the lights
2) the solenoid (next to the battery) clicks but the starter motor doesn't turn
3) the starter motor groans or hums but doesn't turn
4) the starter motor turns but the engine doesn't start
(I have to ask because we don't know you well enough yet to know how well you describe things)

Assuming it is #1
I've said many times: The only real way to tell a lead acid battery's state of charge is to measure the specific gravity of the electrolyte. But you can get a good idea from the voltage (see chart below).
12.3V indicates that the battery is probably at about 70% of full charge, which should be enough to run the starter motor if power is getting to it.

Checking the battery voltage while pressing the Start button (like Randall suggested) is a good starting point.
- If the voltage falls dramatically but the starter motor doesn't try to run the battery might not be able to hold a charge. I'd try charging it for several hours and see if that changes.
(Bringing the battery to full charge before going much farther wouldn't be a bad idea in any case)
- If the voltage doesn't change or decreases only slightly the problem is probably in the starter motor or the circuit that supplies power to it. The next step is to measure the voltage between a chassis ground point and the stud on top of the starter motor while you press the Start button and let us know what you find.


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OK, I'd say you have 2 different problems, the headlight not lighting and the starter motor not running. Let's finish dealing with the starting issue before we work on the headlight.

Just to clarify, when you say nothing happens do you mean
1) nothing at all, no sounds, no dimming of the lights
2) the solenoid (next to the battery) clicks but the starter motor doesn't turn
3) the starter motor groans or hums but doesn't turn
4) the starter motor turns but the engine doesn't start
(I have to ask because we don't know you well enough yet to know how well you describe things)

Assuming it is #1
I've said many times: The only real way to tell a lead acid battery's state of charge is to measure the specific gravity of the electrolyte. But you can get a good idea from the voltage (see chart below).
12.3V indicates that the battery is probably at about 70% of full charge, which should be enough to run the starter motor if power is getting to it.

Checking the battery voltage while pressing the Start button (like Randall suggested) is a good starting point.
- If the voltage falls dramatically but the starter motor doesn't try to run the battery might not be able to hold a charge. I'd try charging it for several hours and see if that changes.
(Bringing the battery to full charge before going much farther wouldn't be a bad idea in any case)
- If the voltage doesn't change or decreases only slightly the problem is probably in the starter motor or the circuit that supplies power to it. The next step is to measure the voltage between a chassis ground point and the stud on top of the starter motor while you press the Start button and let us know what you find.


View attachment 219083
I found another issue that you mentioned about the "dogbone" fuse and when i was inspecting it, it broke in half and now I have to find a replacement or something better lol. To answer the question when I press the start button:
1) nothing at all, no sounds, no dimming of the lights.

I went on amazon and bought a charger and it charged fully. The next day when I went to check the battery, it still gave me 12.3V.

Photos uploaded for reference in step by step. I can't upload a video but to describe what happens when I push the start button (before the dogbone fuse broke), there's no sound at all. Also I've tried pulling the choke and leaving it out a couple minutes and push it back in and nothing happens. No sounds, no clicking, headlight doesn't dim or flicker.
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Before this broke, I tested it and saw that the oil and neutral light were on. This broke when I removed it the 2nd time sigh 馃う鈥嶁檪锔

I'm lost now. I think maybe the wiring from the start button to the starter motor is faulty or maybe the start button is faulty itself. Need some feedback on this as to what I should check now. Maybe there's an easier step I didn't do before?

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What does the battery show while pressing the start button?
12.3V
In the second picture, the key is turned to the ACC position but your problem is when it's turned to the ON position, right ?
No, he has the key in the ON position. It's been so long since either of my bikes had a stock keyswitch that I had to dig one out to look but the positions are (from fully counterclockwise to fully clockwise) Lock, Off, Accessory, On, Park and the key is definitely one click past Acc in the pic. Besides, the lights wouldn't be on in the Accessory position.

Mecha: In case you don't already know, the Park position is there for the UK and a few other places (mostly former colonies) where vehicles are required to have lights on when parked on unlit roads at night. It turns on the tail light on (plus a small bulb in the headlight where required). In North America it is mostly an easy way to run your battery down overnight ;)

The first thing you need to do is replace the fuse. AFAIK they are still available from Honda but we usually recommend replacing it with a 30A blade type fuse in an inline fuse holder because blade fuses are available anywhere and you may not be able to get to a Honda dealer when you need to replace it.
Here's an old & grainy pic of how I did it (I really should take a better pic one day). I added small ring lugs to the new fuse holder's wires and attached them with the screws that held the original fuse. The sides of the door that covers the fuse will need to be trimmed to let it close (the door on the one in the pic was held closed by a zip tie because the tab broke off)
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It is possible that the battery just doesn't have enough power to turn the starter motor but you should hear the solenoid clicking. Measure the voltage across the battery at rest and when you try to start it and let us know if there is any difference.
Also try measuring the voltage between ground and where the cable connects to the starter motor when you try to start it.
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Update**

checked the continuity between the starter motor's commutator bars and armature shaft there's no resistance between them. My mistake for using emery cloth to clean the bars before reading the manual thoroughly馃う鈥嶁檪锔. Now I need to find a working starter motor. Does anyone know where I can find a replacement that'll fit a 1981 Honda GL500 or similiar or anyone to repair this starter motor?

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