Honda Gold Wing Stator Problems? | ANSWERS

What’s the real story on mid-80s GL1200 stators?

Q: My brother-in-law has a 1985 Honda GL1200 Gold Wing that's been sitting in his garage for years. He used to ride it a lot, but one day the battery died. He replaced it and the new one died too. After awhile he heard about an issue with GL1200s that makes them burn out the stator. Replacing it involves removing the engine, so he parked it. He has another bike now and wants to sell the Honda. It's in really good condition and the price is right, but I'm worried. What's the real story on the stator? I've read several explanations and fixes on the Internet, but no one seems to know for sure. Am I getting a deal or just buying someone else's headaches?

Miller Warren / Via email

A: Honda made the GL1200 from 1984 to '88 in several trim levels. It was frequently named the best touring bike in its time and still ranks as a bargain classic today. Some suffered from faulty stators, while others' charging issues were traced to overheating of the stator wiring harness. The problem with the harness was eventually traced to heat buildup in the stator's five-pin wiring connector due to electrical resistance between the pins in the connector. Electrical resistance rises with temperature, so the hotter the pins got the more resistance they had. The spiral of heat and resistance eventually melted the plastic connector block, shorting out the stator.

Honda issued a limited lifetime warranty for GL1200 replacement stators, good for the first purchaser of a replacement stator; it didn’t cover the replacement stator coupler or other related parts. A repair kit is still available for melted connector blocks (Honda part #31105-ML8-305). The workaround for connector burnout is to toss the connectors and solder the wires together in a staggered formation so no two solder joints adjoin. Have a look at the connector block on your brother’s bike. If it’s blackened or melted, you know what to do. But if it turns out the stator itself is faulty, replacing it will require taking the engine out of the frame, which is indeed a headache.