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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I looked at a bike I found along the road for sale this afternoon, I was on the clock so I couldn't give it a real good look but the woman who has it said it belonged to her husband who passed away 5 years ago. She said its electrically dead, it does nothing when the key is turned.
The woman was in her mid to late 80's and wants it gone.
A jump from a jumper pack does nothing, no dash lights, speedo, odometer, nothing.
Not even the horn. She swears it was running the day her husband keeled over. (Her words, not mine).
The bike looks super clean paint wise but the years outdoors haven't done it any justice. Mostly its just chrome damage. Every hose clamp, the head of most bolts, and the luggage hinges are solid rust. The seat looks like squirrels got to it, its faded from black to sort of an orange brown color on top and all the seams are gone.
A Vin search shows me its last mileage record was 27,815 in 2012, he died late in 2013. So the bike has some miles on it but not a terribly high amount.
My main question is something like this even worth messing with? To make it right again, the real battle will be cosmetics. Mostly chrome hardware and bolts.
The forks and bars look ok. The aluminum bits are pretty nice and not all corroded up. Even the paint is close to 100% sans some fade I suppose but nothing I'd mess with. Running wise, it'll need the carbs done, a fresh timing belt, coolant?, tires, a seat, and some new grips.

Something I always wanted was another naked Goldwing, but I never really thought about converting a GL1200 that was fully dressed.
Right off the bat I can see it would take a headlight assembly, four turn signals, a tail light, some exhaust modification, and maybe even a pair of fenders from a standard model. Then there's having to deal with the ton of extra wiring for all the accessories in the fairing.

If I go back for it, it'll likely need a ton of electrical repairs, for one its stone dead even with a jump, so something is wrong right there, it could be anything from a blown main fuse to a loose wire, to something that's gotten wet or chewed while it sat in their driveway under a tattered tarp.

On the other hand, its likely a ton of bits and parts to sell. there's as much good about it I suppose as there is bad.
Having owned one of these back in the day new, I suppose I have a leg up on getting it going but I also can't stand dealing with rust, dirt, and neglect on an old bike. Who ever owned it took care of it but its that 5 year sit outdoors that did the damage.
It would look like a better deal I suppose if I already owned a clean one and needed a parts bike.
The price is less than the cost of a set of tires installed.

Would anyone try to revive one that sat that long outside?
 

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The price is less than the cost of a set of tires installed.
The price is attractive. IMO, it would not be economically viable. The project would
be a 'labour of love'. If you really want an old Wing, go for it.

Would anyone try to revive one that sat that long outside?
Here in Ireland, we always think that we get more rainfall than other parts of
the world. In fact, at 46" per year, New Jersey gets a bit more rain than we do.

There is a good chance that water will have found it's way into one
or more of the cylinders. This would would mean potentially expensive
engine repairs.

Rubber bits would all need replacing: tyres, brake lines, fuel line.

Exhaust, fuel tank, rear swing arm may be rusting from the inside,
even if it looks ok from the outside. Your forum name suggests
you already have experience in this area :smile:

I'm not trying to discourage you, just be aware that the overall cost
of the project could be more than the market price for a Gold Wing
of the same age in good running order.

If you decide to go ahead with it, please take pictures of the
restoration. It is always nice to see another detailed restoration
thread on a bike forum.
 

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Moderator - Loves All Motorcycles
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I wouldn't. At minimum you're looking at cleaning the carbs, replacing a fuse, and new tyres.

What you'll likely end up doing is tracing an electrical issue, cleaning carbs, cleaning the fuel tank, replacing about every rubbery bit, replacing tyres, and then your lighting.

But if you can get it for a low enough price, I suppose you could break even or profit parting it out.
 

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On The Road Again!
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I wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole,
and I love Goldwings.
Sitting out in the rain, water has found it's way into everything. All the switches and electrics are probably shot at this point.
That is a parts bike.
 

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On The Road Again!
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Right. And Goldwings have a LOT of electrics!
Also....
I think that "some" 1200s were fuel injected.
The fuel injection system was problematic when new and they only made a few of them. If you end up with one of those, good luck getting parts for it.


Other than those few, all Goldwings through 2000 had carburetors. Injection didn't become standard until the 1800s came out in 2001.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I've had a few Goldwings over the years, my first was an '84, then a '92, then a '97, and a '98. I never particularly went looking for one, they just sort of found me at good prices. They were always my 'second' bike, never my main ride.

I took a ride this morning to take a better look at the bike and I took a fresh battery and jump pack with me. I pulled out the battery, (dated 1999), and stuck a fresh battery in it but got nothing, not even a dash light. I checked the main fuse, its good, and I checked all the glass fuses in the fuse box and they're all fine.

Its getting no voltage to anything. I even tried adding a jumper wire to the engine and frame for the ground but got nothing. Direct power to the starter relay gets the engine to crank over.

I gave it a really good once over and didn't see any signs of water in places it shouldn't be, the fuse box, glove box, side bags and trunk were immaculate, there are even some papers left in there from the original owner's job that aren't even yellowed or faded.

The dash looks decent, its not new but its a far cry better looking than my 84 was after only 2 years and it was garage kept. My 84 had more buttons and a different style fairing but all the little buttons on the '84 were failing after only 2 years.
This bike has almost no exposed buttons, just five or six knobs across the top and a few buttons on the dash itself.
There is a CB and an AM/FM Cassette radio and speakers. Surpisingly its don't look that bad. There's not a lot of sun fade.
The biggest issue is rusty parts, most of the trim is still perfect, but things like chrome hinges, various screws, washers, and a few allen type bolts are rusty or have rusty washers under them. The aluminum parts are spotless. The bike doesn't look 'worn'. The worst thing I saw is that the battery box is corroded away, to the point it won't hold the battery, but apparently it was like that for some time since someone cut a piece of plywood to support the battery.

I poked around in the fuse box and tried to power things up from there with a pair of jumper wires but got absolutely nothing, not even a single bulb would light. I disconnected various connectors here and there to look for corrosion but they look good. Its as if there's no battery in the bike. I checked for voltage and ground at various points and got nothing beyond the starter relay. (Crossing the starter relay main terminals makes the engine crank but I get no other functions.
It has to be a major ground or a bad ignition switch taking the whole power system out like that.
I left the bike but the woman only wants $100 for it now after I and several others walked away. I'm tempted to just go get it to part it out but at this point I've got no idea how many miles are on it. My guess though is that the bike sat right where he parked it when he died, so it had to be a running bike then. No doubt all the rubber would need to be replaced but I'd be doing that on it even if it hadn't sat for 5 years out doors. If it was outside, I think it may have been pretty well covered up. The seat is gone, the foam is chewed away and the seat is turned to a brown crunchy mess. The paint is darn near perfect though.
Its the unknown mileage thing that bothers me, I know I've seen these things last well over 200k, so it wouldn't surprise me to see this has high miles, but I'm not seeing things like worn buttons, worn paint, worn levers, or worn foot pegs or rubber parts. Those items are like new. I didn't even see any signs of it every having been apart, no marks on any engine hardware or the timing cover, no marked up screws, no scratched chrome, nothing.

I really would have liked to get a mileage reading out of it, and the rusty battery box really concerns me. If that's that rusted there, what are things below it like? The battery box is welded into the frame, so fixing that means stripping that area down and welding in a new battery box, and that's only if the frame itself isn't rusted out.

If it weren't for the rusted battery box area and the fact that I couldn't get a mileage reading, I'd have loaded it right up but if the frame is toast and its got really high miles, there's not going to be much good left to sell on the bike other than the luggage and trim.
 

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Retired twice: Navy and as a govt contractor
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You want the bike you know you do. You want us to talk you out of it. Go back offer her $50 and tell her you will give her another 50 if you can get it running for a reasonable price.
 

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If you are looking a bike to work on over the next 5 years, maybe.....
If you are looking for a bike to RIDE....
Fuggedaboutit!
 

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$100 is screw it money for me...so I won't tell you not to take it. First thing I'd do if I were in this situation is ask my bestie's fiance "hey, think you can shoehorn this engine into a scooter?" :D 1200cc flat four boxer Honda Ruckus. :devil:
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
$100 is screw it money for me...so I won't tell you not to take it. First thing I'd do if I were in this situation is ask my bestie's fiance "hey, think you can shoehorn this engine into a scooter?" :D 1200cc flat four boxer Honda Ruckus. :devil:
I was thinking sort of the same thing, if it can't be a viable bike again, maybe it'll make a really fast go cart or quad, or dune buggy.

The problem is that other than the obvious rusty bits and the electrical issue at hand it doesn't look that bad.
It would be a great parts bike for one that's worse off cosmetically. The ticket would be another bike with good luggage hardware and without the rusty frame/battery box area.

The more I think about it, the rusted out battery box the big deal, and is likely got a lot to do with the no power issue. There's likely a main ground somewhere that's been compromises and the likelihood that the rust is structural is pretty good. The entire battery box and its brackets are rusted away to nothing but stubs and tissue paper thing scaly rusty bits that have been falling down on the top of the swing arm and frame area below it for years. That all didn't happen just in the past 5 years. It likely had an overcharging situation or the last owner overcharged it regularly boiling the battery over for years.
Things like tires, carbs and other rubber items don't bother me, its the rusty stuff that's an issue since its the most expensive to fix and far from my area of expertise.
I'd rather buy a clean bike with a blown engine or trans than one that needs a repaint or one with crash or fall damage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
You want the bike you know you do. You want us to talk you out of it. Go back offer her $50 and tell her you will give her another 50 if you can get it running for a reasonable price.
I wouldn't mind owning another older Goldwing but I don't really want one that's going to cost thousands to revive.
I wouldn't put out that much to buy a clean one either. Every bike I've ever owned has been a bike I got cheap, some were real deals, others not so much but I've never not sold one for a profit when I was done with it. Most came to me with something wrong, either it wouldn't start due to sitting, or it got dumped and had some minor damage, or they were from estate sales. Only two out of over 50 were bought as total unknowns, but they were more trades for labor on other jobs vs. an outright purchase.

The way I see it, buying this bike can have three possible outcomes, first, I get it running, buy a seat cover, two tires, and clean the carbs and run it as a beater bike, and not worry about the rust, or paint the rusty parts silver or black, two, I hunt down all the rusty bits with good used parts, weld up and fix the rusty frame area and still fix the carbs, electrical, and buy new tires, or I buy it and part it out bit by bit with no intention of fixing anything.
I hate option 3, I feel it still looks too good for that option, but mileage would also help determine that. Option two is likely not worth the money or trouble unless the bike has super low miles but I doubt it. Option one is a choice only if the frame doesn't turn out to be rusty beyond the battery box and tabs that hold it in and the electrical doesn't turn out to be a total wreck. I've not seen the dash so much as light up, nor the headlight or running lights.

I'm not sure if I buy into the idea that water will have ruined all the electrical after 5 years, these bikes were built to be run in all weather and having owned one I've never had one experience an issue riding in heavy rain or worse. (I rode my original 1984 GW over 800 miles in almost constant rain coming back from Ohio, other than a ruined wax job, it was fine. I remember being surprised how the cassette player could survive being wet so often and still work, the same with the speakers and such. A few bikes I had with chains however would need a lot of attention after a long ride in heavy rain, it would wash the oil off the chain and I'd have rust by the next day.
I also have had buddies over the years that never once put their bikes in a garage, they sat out in the garage year round, ready to go. Some would cover them, but a few would just park the bike where ever they could in the drive, maybe trying to find some shade or break from the weather by putting it under the eaves of the house or something. Those bikes obviously didn't fair as well as those that were kept in a garage but they never had any major mechanical or electrical failures because of rain. Things like seats, hoses, and tires were what took the brunt of the exposure damage and some colors faded worse than others.

As far as a $50 offer, I doubt it, the woman was pretty much told its worth big money, but the fact that it's stone dead and a dozen people walked away from it at $300, got me the $100 price but even I'm not that ready to jump into a project that could be huge.
I don't mind tires, a carb overhaul, (X4), or even some rusty bits to fix up but the prospect of a rusty frame or severe electrical issues possibly due to someone else's doing maybe trying to get it for less doesn't entice me to want to own it.
Having owned one of these years ago, I'm somewhat familiar with the wiring, I looked at all the places around the batter and fuse box that could kill the bike, and I checked the ignition switch and the control plug ins for the obvious but all of that is good. There's also the chance that if I fix the no crank, no power issue, the carbs are good enough for it to start up on a fresh battery and fresh gas, making it a lot more attractive to another buyer if I just flip it but lately even running bikes aren't selling around here, so I doubt that's worth my trouble either.
 

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You could recover your $100 pretty easy as a parts bike. So it might be fun just to see if you could get it rolling without too much extra expense. So if you don't mind putting that kind of effort in, go for it. Personally, I don't have enough years left in me so I'd pass on it. As would most. Let us know how it goes. You might get lucky which would be great.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I don't suppose it would take all that long to make it run, its the rest of it that concerns me more. mainly the rusty batter box area.
I could always tackle the rusty bits a little at a time but if the frame is compromised with rust, then its junk.
Also if the motor is high mileage, then it'll be a tough sell.
Bikes in general seem harder to sell this spring, I see dozens of very reasonably priced bikes on Craigslist that have been there for months without buyers.
I looked at few but as someone looking to flip one for a profit down the road, they have to be dirt cheap.
I've watched various under $3k turn key bikes go unsold all year. A few are really nice looking rides.
I looked at a few myself but there wasn't enough meat on the bone for me.
For a guy who just wants to ride, there are dozens for sale cheap. Far cheaper than I'd ever let them go for.
Even the two local dealers that usually have used bikes for sale are selling really cheap this year, especially the larger cc models.
The bikes that bring the most lately are smaller. You can't seem to touch a 250 to 500cc bike and anything over 1000cc is going cheap.
I'm seeing 10 year old Goldwings go for under $3k, with under 50k on the clock in good condition. I've seen a few early 80's GW's go around $1500 running.
 

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Aside from that frame rail and welded joint, there isn't much to be ruined under the battery box. You should be able to peel off the side cover and see if there's any damage? AFAIK the battery on the GL1200 is in the same place it would be on a GL1100.

 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The battery box in the pic is like what this bike has, all of the battery hold down is rusted away, only the top screw and clamp are still intact. The frame paint is peeling below and along side the battery, the frame tubes are rusty and pitted.
The tabs that hold the battery in place are rusted thin to the point of being nothing but stubs.
It looks like the battery has been spewing battery acid for a long time. Even the tube above is rusty. There is a lot of rust down on top of the swing arm as well. Its hard to tell whether or not its structural yet or not without digging into it The bike is still sitting in the woman's breeze way for sale.

I pretty much decided to pass on it for now, unless I happen to be back in that area for work or something. If I happen to go back there with a truck or trailer, I'll likely grab it but I don't think I'll make a trip back there otherwise.

The battery acid damage doesn't look like something that just happened over the past few years, its likely been going on for a long time. The bike has one of those battery tender leads hanging out the side so it likely spent a lot of time plugged in to some sort of charger, if not, there's the possibility that this thing has had a charging system issue for some time.
 

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I owned a 1986 GW for a bit that had a lot of battery area rot, the frame wasn't that bad but the lower swingarm area was what took the worst of it. Somewhere along the line someone had eliminated the battery overflow tube and let it run all over the place. The battery box had been swapped out before I got it and the frame was spray painted in that area to cover up the mess but the swing arm was all but seized. I rode it for a month before tracking down the source of a creaking sound, which turned out to be crack in the swing arm itself where the corrosion had thinned down the metal. The left shock was also rusty on the one side. I replaced the swing arm, cleaned it up the best I could and sold it. That bike had 47k on it and lots of cosmetic issues from being stored outside its whole life under a cover in the city. All of the issues were costmetic other than the rust from the battery acid. All the lights, switches, radio, cb, and other items worked fine. It was badly faded as well, the metallic wine colored paint had faded to what more looked like Allis Chalmers Persian Orange on the sides and silver on top with patches of surface rust showing through. I think the guy I sold it to painted it with a spray bomb with olive drag paint and he sprayed all the chrome flat black. He's still running it as far as I know. The last I saw it he had tossed the luggage and rigged a side car to it from an old Harley and was using it as his daily ride. It had sort of a mad max look about it. It wasn't pretty but it did look better like that than with all the rusty bits and faded paint.
 
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