alternator whistle

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  • alternator whistle

    The whistle only happens once the bike is completely warmed up, which if it's the alternator I don't understand. As soon as I give it throttle it goes away and then returns at idle. The alternator that is in it now has about 81,000 miles on it. Is my alternator about to bite the dust? The fans hadn't kicked on yet. The links below are of thebsound it is making. Thanks

    https://youtu.be/5KMJnv5aHSo

    https://youtu.be/J68rHz2D9xM

  • #2
    If you're not sure it's an alternator squeal try the old mechanic's "stethoscope" to locate the source unless perhaps you actually own a genuine mechanic's stethoscope. I think a cheap version can be purchased at a Chicom tool store.

    Press the tip of a screwdriver against each end of the alternator where the bushings should be and press your ear against the plastic handle with the engine running. You should be able to prove it is the alternator and possibly identify the end of the alternator that is noisy.

    I have asked my Goldwing tech about the ordinary service life of a Goldwing alternator. He stated it can happen in a wide range of mileage. I think he used a range of 80k to well over 100k miles.
    Harvey Barlow
    Crosby County, TX
    2010 Goldwing Level II Pearl Yellow (sold at 93,000 miles)
    2014 Goldwing Level II Pearl Blue (sold at 27,000 miles to forum member)

    Comment: (For off-topic replies)


    • #3
      My original alternator bit it at 193,000. I originally thought it was an over heating whistle from a hose leaking or something. I've smell antifreeze from day one but have never located a leak. I added a couple ounces of coolant about 15,000 miles ago and it still shows full. In the link with the side cover off it sure seems like the sound is coming from the alternator, but why only after it warms up?

      Comment: (For off-topic replies)


      • #4
        My Alternator whistles like this when I'm out riding..

        ************************************************** *******
        Maker of the 01-17 GL1800
        "Rocky Tree & Comfort Risers".
        Current bikes.
        1981 CB900C 10 speed (Restored)
        1986 GL1200 SEi
        2004 GL1800

        Comment: (For off-topic replies)


        • CAC
          CAC commented
          Editing a comment
          I guess somehow I made the list? Lol

      • #5
        The sound does not appear to be the alternator. I can't tell where its coming from

        Comment: (For off-topic replies)


        • #6
          The ringing happens at idle and starts when the temperature Guage is just below the 1/2 mark consistently. Last night I left it go until the fans kicked on thinking that the noise had something to do with them. The fans kicked on about 3 or 4 minutes after the noise starts and the fans sound good, but once the fans start the noise goes away and stays away. Any ideas? Thanks

          Comment: (For off-topic replies)


          • #7
            The noise stops when the fans stop. The sound is coming from deep within. I tried the hose and screw driver against every thing I could reach in the 3 or 4 minutes I have before it stops and then I've got to wait for it to cool down to make it happen again. I will grab the manual and see if i can find out where any vacuum lines are but it appears that I'll have to strip the bike down to find the problem. Man I dread this during riding season. I've had 3 mechanics from 2 different shops listen to it and they have had no clue what's going on. I'll do the trouble shooting and hopefully I can find where it is coming from before I take it to the shop if it turns out I can't fix the problem. Again if anyone has a guess I'm all ears, thanks for the input so far. And also for the PM I received.

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            • #8
              CAC its got to be the fan maybe a bearing in the fan motor what a weird problem, not sure a vacuum line would make such a loud winding sound has yours is. Good luck hope find the problem soon keep us informed.
              2018 DCT non tour, Pearl Stallion Brown, Double Darksider #856, Live To Ride, Love my Wing, IBA Member# 63744 Yellowbird Alias Coppertone

              Comment: (For off-topic replies)


              • #9
                C-- The 06 up bikes has a history of "FANS" rubbing the radiators (Think it was left radiator?)

                If left unchecked they will wear a hole in a radiator and puke out the coolant. (Then it will be easy to find out what radiator is rubbing..


                Look through forks in the front of the bike on the right & left of the center black shiny plastic cover with a flash light and see if you can see a wear mark on either radiator.

                .

                ************************************************** *******
                Maker of the 01-17 GL1800
                "Rocky Tree & Comfort Risers".
                Current bikes.
                1981 CB900C 10 speed (Restored)
                1986 GL1200 SEi
                2004 GL1800

                Comment: (For off-topic replies)


                • #10
                  Rocky, will a fan adjustment or rad adjustment fix that, or are new parts required?

                  Comment: (For off-topic replies)


                  • #11
                    Originally posted by bigbird View Post
                    Rocky, will a fan adjustment or rad adjustment fix that, or are new parts required?

                    If you were lucky enough to catch the fan hitting before it wore through the "Tubes". Then yes you could add a couple washers acting as shims to move the fan slightly away from the radiator core.


                    The radiator in the picture I posted would also need the "Fins combed out to restore air flow through them"

                    A small pick would do the trick or bring it to a radiator shop who would have a " Radiator Comb" to do it for you.


                    Radiator combs.

                    https://www.google.com/search?q=radi...FRQwiAod6P8GhA
                    ************************************************** *******
                    Maker of the 01-17 GL1800
                    "Rocky Tree & Comfort Risers".
                    Current bikes.
                    1981 CB900C 10 speed (Restored)
                    1986 GL1200 SEi
                    2004 GL1800

                    Comment: (For off-topic replies)


                    • #12
                      Thank you.

                      Comment: (For off-topic replies)


                      • #13
                        I can't see anything wrong with the radiator and the fans seem to sound and run fine. I'm guessing its the water pump causing the noise ....if it operates the way I'm thinking. The bike gets to a certain temperature and then the thermostat opens and the pump kicks on my noise starts. Fans kick on and cool it down and then the noise stops. The noise comes back again when the temp goes up. Can I reach the water pump wth a screw driver without tearing the bike apart? I still have not seen any antifreeze anywhere, although I have always smelled it. How hard is it to change the water pump if that is my problem.

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                        • #14
                          The noise isn't coming from your Water Pump.. I rebuild the GL1800 water pumps. I have had really bad bearings and the Impeller never touched the water pump body to cause "What you believe" is the source of your noise.

                          The impeller has a ceramic washer that rides on a mechanical seal to keep the water in the pump. if you have smelled to sweet odor of coolant and have not seen a puddle and ALL your hose clamps are tight?

                          Then chances are the water pump is leaking slightly out of the Weep hole on the bottom of the water pump.(Because of a mechanical seal failure)

                          It will pool on top of the clutch cover, and drip when enough of a puddle exist to drip on the Exhaust Cats causing the smell.

                          The only way to see the water pump is to remove the Alternator,

                          Then you can see the water pump (One side of it that is) or if the weep hole is leaking on the clutch cover?

                          If you want to test out your theory? You'll have to remove the alternator, then you'll see the water pump in the middle of the rear of the rear cover. (You can run the engine with the Alt out. just tape the hole in the rear cover so oil doesn't splash out)


                          To replace the water pump. you must remove the following to access the three bolts and get to the three hose clamps.
                          Dash.
                          Seat
                          Shelter.
                          Side Covers.
                          Fuel Tank.
                          Left chrome engine cover.(Covers Alt)

                          Drain Coolant.

                          Water pump is behind the Alt.



                          Water pump is in the center here. (Alternator is removed on the left.)



                          Water pump weep hole is above RED Dot.



                          Water pump Bearings/Mechanical seal/Thermostat.


                          Rebuilt Water Pump with all new parts. (You can see the Three Mounting bolt holes)



                          ************************************************** *******
                          Maker of the 01-17 GL1800
                          "Rocky Tree & Comfort Risers".
                          Current bikes.
                          1981 CB900C 10 speed (Restored)
                          1986 GL1200 SEi
                          2004 GL1800

                          Comment: (For off-topic replies)


                          • #15
                            Alternator brushes make a high pitched singing sound don't they?
                            Harvey Barlow
                            Crosby County, TX
                            2010 Goldwing Level II Pearl Yellow (sold at 93,000 miles)
                            2014 Goldwing Level II Pearl Blue (sold at 27,000 miles to forum member)

                            Comment: (For off-topic replies)


                            • #16
                              Originally posted by Rocky View Post
                              The noise isn't coming from your Water Pump.. I rebuild the GL1800 water pumps. I have had really bad bearings and the Impeller never touched the water pump body to cause "What you believe" is the source of your noise.

                              The impeller has a ceramic washer that rides on a mechanical seal to keep the water in the pump. if you have smelled to sweet odor of coolant and have not seen a puddle and ALL your hose clamps are tight?

                              Then chances are the water pump is leaking slightly out of the Weep hole on the bottom of the water pump.(Because of a mechanical seal failure)

                              It will pool on top of the clutch cover, and drip when enough of a puddle exist to drip on the Exhaust Cats causing the smell.

                              The only way to see the water pump is to remove the Alternator,

                              Then you can see the water pump (One side of it that is) or if the weep hole is leaking on the clutch cover?

                              If you want to test out your theory? You'll have to remove the alternator, then you'll see the water pump in the middle of the rear of the rear cover. (You can run the engine with the Alt out. just tape the hole in the rear cover so oil doesn't splash out)


                              To replace the water pump. you must remove the following to access the three bolts and get to the three hose clamps.
                              Dash.
                              Seat
                              Shelter.
                              Side Covers.
                              Fuel Tank.
                              Left chrome engine cover.(Covers Alt)

                              Drain Coolant.

                              Water pump is behind the Alt.



                              Water pump is in the center here. (Alternator is removed on the left.)



                              Water pump weep hole is above RED Dot.



                              Water pump Bearings/Mechanical seal/Thermostat.


                              Rebuilt Water Pump with all new parts. (You can see the Three Mounting bolt holes)


                              If you don't believe its the pump, I'm good with that and will look elsewhere. What I don't understand is why it only happens when it reaches a certain temperature, consistently just below half on temperature guage, then fans kick on and lower the temperature and when it heats up again the noise starts again. I would think if it were the alternator the noise would be all the time or randomly and not based off of the temperature. This is now officially above my pay grade! LOL

                              Comment: (For off-topic replies)


                              • #17
                                Rocky, while we're on the subject of alternators, what is the real cause of the unique 1800 high pitched whine?
                                I have a friend who has an older GL1800, and he is a retired master auto tech. He says it's the alternator fan. I think it's the gear drive for the alternator. Or is it something else?

                                Comment: (For off-topic replies)


                                • #18
                                  Well it's not the radiator cap either. I had one the same size on my 2000 Honda XR650R, it was worth a try.

                                  Comment: (For off-topic replies)


                                  • #19
                                    I've decided to ride my bike until something let's loose and then fix it. It runs fine and I've found that after a few cycles of the fan the noise tends to leave for the most part. So, I wont let it idle long enough for the noise to start, since with even the slightest bit of throttle it leaves. (maybe I should just turn the idle up?) Thanks .

                                    Comment: (For off-topic replies)


                                    • #20
                                      I think that's the best decision. If we get down on hands and knees and listen to a cold engine idle we'll probably hear several mechanical sounds that mean nothing but can cause us to worry. My 2010 growled at idle. I asked my trusted GW mechanic about it when it was new. He explained it was gears in the transmission. It was still making the same sound 93,000 miles later when I sold it.

                                      "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
                                      Harvey Barlow
                                      Crosby County, TX
                                      2010 Goldwing Level II Pearl Yellow (sold at 93,000 miles)
                                      2014 Goldwing Level II Pearl Blue (sold at 27,000 miles to forum member)

                                      Comment: (For off-topic replies)

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