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Discussion Starter #1
I know this "can" has been "kicked" down the curb a number of times in these forums but my '02 that has had the recall ECM mod performed (2003 or 2004) still shows in the RED on the temp gauge after 10 minutes of our glorius Washington DC (495 to I-66) traffic crawl. The P.O. had the left side head gasket let go before the ECM mod so its no stinking joke about the Honda engineering eggheads not considering what "parade" mode riding really is........... TRAFFIC JAMS!

So my coolant type trouble warranty expires 6/2010 (I find it distressing that mother Honda had to be sued to address this very real issue with their "flagship" motorcycle). I've had the bike in the shop twice for coolant leaks (covered under both regular and coolant warranties) First coolant leak was under the fuel cell and the most recent one three weeks ago was a radiator hose clamp. I spoke to the mechanic at the shop about the ECM and continued temperature gauge indicating in the RED readings while in heavy stop and go sub 5 mph riding. The mechanic told me that Honda Co. mantra that if it doesn't puke up coolant then its not overheating.

Forward to this weekend where I got a super deal on a Corbin Masters saddle from a guy who had a new '03 (he sold it last fall for a '05 HD Ultra).We got talking about our goldwing experiences and I told him about my GL temp gauge indictating in the RED during heavy traffic even after the ECM recall. He told me that that was NOT normal and I needed to get it tended to before I warp a head etc.

So my question to anybody out there in GL 1800 land is this: Have any of you who have had the ECM recall done to their 1800 had the bike boil over while you were in "parade" mode? If you have,did the dealer change the ECM and did it fix the overheat problem? Thanks in advance.

These coolant issues and frame crack issues make me wonder if Quality Control were not some of the things that brought Honda motorcycle production back to the land of the "rising sun"?
 

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This does not answer you directly, but I wanted to share my overheat situation. When I first got my 06 it was mid July in the south. Hot as blazes!!! One day the wife and I were out and in some traffic and I happened to notice the temp guage was nearly pegged. Yes the fans were running too, but no "puking"! Later we stopped and I noticed that after it had cooled down and when I turned on the ignition switch the temp guage went straight to normal position.....not the cold position. So after a few temp overheat scenarios throughout the day we got home (with never any "puking"). So from then on I noticed that the temp guage went straight from the cold position to the normal position as soon as the ignition was turned on with the engine cold. I had an infared temp gun from my RC car hobby, so I used that from then on to identify the temp. Seems it was never REAL high...although I can't remember what it read, but it was always the same max....even when the fans were running. So I come to the conclusion that the guage was bad.....it obvoiusly was not reading correctly. I scheduled to have it replaced in the winter and determined that the engine was in no danger.

Sometime later before winter I had the shelter off and after re-installing it what do you know the temp guage worked normally, and has ever since. Can't explain it.....but it happened.

I offer this just FYI in case it in some way can help you.
 

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These coolant issues and frame crack issues make me wonder if Quality Control were not some of the things that brought Honda motorcycle production back to the land of the "rising sun"?
If that is the case then it wont be long before they move ATV production to Japan also. The crap QC they are producing in South Carolina is far worse than what is coming out of Ohio.
 

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I have an 01. Never had an overheating issue before or after the recall at any speed, even in triple digit summer heat.

What gear are you in when this occurs?

I've always kept mine under 2000 rpm at slow speeds. Temp has only went above midrange once. Chicago traffic Jam in July. It went to about 3/4 after 1-2 hours of stop and go.

Good luck -- this issue got a lot of play years ago.
 

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I also never have had any problems before or after the work was done. In fact, I put my old ECM back in a couple of years ago. (my dealer gave me the original ECM).

One more thing.

The OH bulletin WAS NOT A RECALL!!!!!!!!!
 
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Discussion Starter #6
I have an 02 that had the ECM and cyl head coolant volume recalls done. I have never experienced any overheating, even in hot weather parade rides.

Guess that doesn't help you much, but you asked for experiences.
 

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Last summer my GWRRA chapter went on a ride to the top of Mount Baldy in Southern California. It was a warm day, and there was a lot of traffic. By the time we got to the top, my 2003 1800 was in the red. I checked the other bikes, and all the 1800s were hot. They ranged in year from 2002 to 2008. The 1500s were normal. That informal poll showed me there is a problem with the 1800s. :wrong: If I were you, when the warranty is up, I would put in fans that reverse the air flow. That is what I plan on doing. ;)
 

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Had a problem where it showed high temps. The problem ended up a crimp in a hose. I have not thought on this for a while but remember hearing that some connectors loosen over time and hoses crimp. Anyway after hoses and connections checked and fixed I have no more over heating problems.
 

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I get so pissed when my bike overheat in traffic!!


I could take that guy name Honda and squeeze his nuts with a pipe wrench...whata farce...

I have tried everything, last I air pumped the cooling system and replace the Honda coolant with Engine Ice. According to the service mnrg. it makes the crouch rockets cool as cucumbers.

I cannot believe these morons from the Honda corp have not taking care of this problem...ah! who gives a $$$heet about the consumer nowadays anyways...
 
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Reverse fans

When the end of the coolant/engine warranty thing expires in 2010 I'll have to make some sort of choice either the manually switched reverse fans or sell the bike. I cannot envision traffic EVER geting less congested in the DC metro area so the waiting to see if the bike's coolant system implodes while avoiding the cell phoners,texters, and make up appliers during rush hour(s) is just too friggin much. My '93 GL 1500 never had any trouble with staying cool in traffic, PERIOD! And neither does my '08 Suzuki DL 650 Vstrom. Honda outsmarted itself in their way of keeping the engine's heat from inconviencing the rider on the GL 1800. They forgot about or didn't think it mattered what happens at 5 mph.

To all who have replied, thanks. And yes, the mechanic looked the bike over while chasing down the leak for any crimped lines and topped off the coolant reservoir tank. Being that the head gasket was replaced any sort of blockage would have been detected.
 

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Well, like anything else, you have to do what you have to do. The vast majority of GL1800 owners have not had any issues with excessive heat from the bike, so your contention that they screwed up the design is only from your vantage point, and a minority of others.

This issue undoubtedly has reached a point where it really doesn't matter whether the perception is real or imagined. Fact is, the anxiety created over it is real, and sometimes the only way to alleviate that anxiety is to attempt to do something about it. Sometimes that even means selling the bike, which is a shame.

The unfortunate part of this is that of all the people on this website that have panicked over the possibility of their bike overheating, they all continue to wait for an event that has never actually happened. They just fear that it is going to happen.

In 7 years of owning this bike, I have had the opportunity to experience nearly every normal riding condition possible. (I was even stuck in a 3 hour traffic jam in DC once when travelling to the Outer Banks) The coolant temperature has increased at times, as I expect it would when the system is stressed, but then again, it has done the same thing on every other car or motorcycle I have ever owned. Increased engine temperature is a normal occurrence in the life of any engine.

There have indeed been many 1800s over the years that did have cooling system problems that were unique to those bikes. But I think it is innacurate to say that every bike acts the same way due to a design problem, because that is simply not true.
 

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I use to have an 2002 GL1800 and while I rode it, it only went into the red zone. And that was because I wanted to see what most folks were speaking of.

Test - I rode the bike in 1st gear with 3000 RPM for approx 2 miles. Never shifting up to second. The fans came on and the temp gage continued to climb to the red zone. No coolant puke noticed.

Once I got out of 1st with the high RPM's and got up to moving speed the temp gage returned to normal range. So the consenses of the test, was don't ride in 1st gear very long. Shift to second gear or start off in second gear and problem will be diminished.

As far as the gage might be defective on your bike is certainly plasible. I would have Honda change out the gage and see if it makes a difference. To sell a bike over a bad gage doesn't even compute to me. Find the fix and ride it until the thing either blows up or the tires and wheels fall off.

Hope this helps.
 
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I "hear" what your saying Larry. And some GL 1800s didn't get the frame crack(s) either (my GL was rewelded while owned by the P.O.). Out of 400,000+ GL 1800s built I wonder just how many came back to the dealers under warranty/campaign for these coolant overheat issues? Do you think Honda would let anybody know what those stats are?

Once again it brings up the fact that completely new factory has been built in Japan to built not only Goldwing (my dealer tells me that Ohio factory techs went to Japan to assist in training the new factory in fit and finish for the GL) but every other Honda motorcycle too that used to be made in Marysville. Just my 2 cents.
 

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Larry M,

...even my Fatboy did not overheat in traffic during the Summer...

I dont understand why, a person of your knowledge, continue to down play a persistent flaw in 'MANY' of the Goldwings. This motorcycle has design flaws that ought not to be. The ultimate judgment should be place on the lack of regard Honda has exhibited for repairing these consistent problems.

In my view, the burden of effect should not be past on to the 'few' unlucky suckers, whose bikes crack, overheat, wobble, brake shudders, trunk lack problems, suspension bottoms, transmission goes out (late models) etc.

You seem to be on the side of the corp. Not me, I am on the side of the consumer.
 

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How is your German?

Excellent explanation of the problem and several solutions that can be done.

http://www.goldwingtech.de/42359/home.html

Pretty good English website with a simple solution that will take care of the problem.

http://www.wingtechtips.com/overheat.htm

This may be the same article as above but on another website...

http://thehubers.net/goldwing/temperature.htm#Overheating

The problem does exists for a large number of GL1800, my own 2005 included. You can learn to work with it, but the basic airflow design by Honda is just wrong.

It is much improved with the 2006 and newer GL1800 as they have larger radiators and larger fans than previous models. Since the airflow design has not been changed it is only Improved, not eliminated.

The newer models can still get into an abnormally hot condition as the first five model years have; it just takes longer exposure to the conditions that create an abnormally hot running engine to begin with. I am staying away from the term "Overheating" at this point. Overheating as defined by Honda is when the radiator begins puking coolant.

If the radiator is puking coolant the motor was allowed to get too hot, I would like to prevent ever approaching a true overheated motor, with the temperature gauge staying around mid-point nearly 100% of time (once warmed up). This is how it works on every other water cooled vehicle I have ever owned and is how I expect the GL1800 to operate. I do not believe this to be an unreasonable requirement.

An abnormally hot condition occurs commonly under the following conditions: (Of course assuming that all other cooling system components are setup up properly).

Running the bike at a constant 16-25mph (give or take a couple of mph).

This is often called "Parade Mode"; I call it riding in normal everyday Southern California Traffic or as mentioned by another poster, climbing a beautiful steep twisty mountain road at mostly sub 25 mph speeds. Conditions many of us ride in every day. Advice to run the bike below 2,000 rpm (or 2nd gear) seem to delay the problem, but extended operation under this condition will still result in an abnormally hot running condition.

That’s it, at speeds above 16 mph the cooling fans are shut off by the ECM. At speeds over 25 mph there is usually sufficient air volume from the vehicle moving forward to keep the engine coolant temperature in the "normal" range. My idea of a "Normal" operating temperature is somewhere between on mark below mid-point on the temperature gauge to one mark above midpoint.

Honda shuts the fans off above 16 mph because they blow forward, sucking air in through the side mounted radiators and blowing it out towards the front of the bike. The forward motion of the bike creates sufficient airflow that it would cancel airflow created by the cooling fans at speeds higher than about 16mph.

This design was in answer to a complaint from GL1500 owners that were getting hot air blown on them sitting at idle when the cooling fans would kick on. Interesting solution but one that was not tested enough by Honda.

The GL1800 gauge will rise faster under the above condition on its way to "Red" if it is slightly warm to hot outside or the engine is under load such as climbing a winding mountain road in the speed ranges mentioned above. I have also found that riding in cool weather the "abnormally hot condition" does not usually show up. The radiator does not require as much air volume to maintain a normal temperature when the air is cooler.

The GL1800 actually has an excellent cooling system except for the design of the cooling fan operation. It will almost never run hot at speeds over 30 mph or so and does not care if it is 120 degrees outside. But reduce speed to a crawl of 16-25mph and the gauge will begin to rise very rapidly in just a few minutes.

If one continues to operate the vehicle under these conditions it will eventually overheat (as in puke coolant), there is no reason for it not to. It is not receiving enough air volume over the radiator to cool the engine properly. Most riders do not experience actual "Overheating" as we are intelligent enough to read the warning signs (Temperature gauge at or above RED) and either pull over and let the bike cool down as it will cool down rather rapidly at rest as the fans will turn back on and there is no stress on the motor or simply increase speed to create enough airflow to cool the motor down, (If that is possible).

Once the temp gauge reaches close to the red zone I have found it takes a little more speed to begin cooling, 45 mph seems to be the magic number for me, (at least it was on I-15 near Barstow stuck in 20 mph in a single construction lane traffic with 118 degree temperatures). Once the bike has cooled down to "normal" operating temperatures it seems to be able to maintain a normal reading while riding below 45 but above 25mph.

My intent is to install new fans and motors that run in the reverse direction from the factory units, (available from http://www.electricfanengineering.com/ ) I will probably also install a thermostat that will turn the fans on whenever the Coolant temperature rises beyond a certain point. I like the ultimate German fix, but at 800 euros, it is a little too expensive for me.
 

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Very good and informative post, Paul. An automatic switch to turn on the fans above a certain temperature would be nice (assuming the fan-flow has been reversed). My old Honda Shadow had that. I would even be happy with a manual switch to turn on the fans when the situation warrants it.
 

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Larry M,

...even my Fatboy did not overheat in traffic during the Summer...

I dont understand why, a person of your knowledge, continue to down play a persistent flaw in 'MANY' of the Goldwings. This motorcycle has design flaws that ought not to be. The ultimate judgment should be place on the lack of regard Honda has exhibited for repairing these consistent problems.

In my view, the burden of effect should not be past on to the 'few' unlucky suckers, whose bikes crack, overheat, wobble, brake shudders, trunk lack problems, suspension bottoms, transmission goes out (late models) etc.

You seem to be on the side of the corp. Not me, I am on the side of the consumer.
Hmmm

Nando, please don't start on the issue of overheating Harleys and other air cooled engines. The overheating issues with that design are well documented.

I don't necessarily take anybody's side on this. I have just never joined in on the sky is falling crowd. I only comment when someone suggests that the basic design makes all 1800s prone to overheating, which I don't agree with. It's ridiculous to take the attitude that if I don't agree that it is a design problem, then I must be a Honda loyalist.

You are correct that Honda would never make the data available as to how many ECMs were replaced. But I don't know why you would think that knowing this would tell you anything. Most people that took advantage of the settlement did so mostly to get the two year added warranty, to get the gauge recalibration done, and to have the flow tests done. Even I took mine in, although I have since put my old ECM back in the bike.

I do believe that if your gauge hits the red, it does have a problem somewhere, even if it doesn't spew coolant.

One thing to add. Even though Honda's tests showed that some bikes had coolant flow problems, very few bikes were actually found to have bad head castings as a result of the bulletin. I truly believe that the reason for this was because dealers were taking shortcuts, and many of these bikes were never actually tested. I have been in service my whole life, and I know what techs do. The procedure in the bulletin is a pain in the butt, and Honda was not paying the dealers much for this bulletin to be performed. There are probably many bikes out there that have partially blocked passages, and easily overheat as a result. The design is just a convenient scapegoat to place the blame.
 

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Larry,
Just because you personally have not encountered the heating issue, it is real. My bike has gone into the red several times in slow traffic situations we sometimes encounter here in So. Cal. Like I stated in a previous post, the problem still exists with the 2008 models. Next summer, when it is warm, if you were to drive around your neighborhood at, say 10-15 miles per hour, for 15 minutes, I would be willing to bet that your temperature gage would be riding.
Even in 100+ temperatures, though, when riding rairly fast, the bike does not overheat. When sitting idling, the fans cool down the bike.
 
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