Starter Clutch -
Hey Jim - All Goldwings are tough as an old boot and with routine maintenance are known for providing their owner a very long and reliable life. Although if you park your bike leaning on the side stand, you can expect a little smoke once started - the motors are rock solid and can be parked on the side or center stand with no ill effects. Like any ground breaking design, the 4 cylinder GW's do have a few quirks as the Honda engineers cut new trail. The close tolerances within the starter clutch assembly can sometimes begin to stick or delay in their release because of an internal sticky residue and build up when (examples):
1 The bike has been parked full of OLD Contaminated oil for extended (many months-years) periods of time.
2 The oil used is a poor quality (off brand-low detergent) and/or NOT changed at the recommended intervals.
The starter clutch on your GW is a simple centrifugal design similar in principle to the clutch used on a go-cart motor. When a Briggs and Stratton engine is at idle the go-cart clutch sprags are retracted. As the motor RPM increases - the clutch internal fingers extend to engage the output hub and chain connected to the drive wheel.
Your GW starter output gear is directly connected to a small chain going up to the starter clutch. The 3 engagement roller pins of the clutch assembly are normally retracted. It's the spin of the starter that throws the engagement roller pins out to rotate the motor. Grit, grim and contamination can cause the starter clutch engagement pins to not retract. (The opposite can happen as well - the starter can spin but the engagement roller pins do not extend outward because they are stuck in the retracted position)
Many times a couple of short interval - back to back warm engine oil changes will resolve the problem. If a sticking starter clutch persists - a couple of oil/kerosene engine flushes (or name brand engine flush products) with a brief run on the center stand can help.
Keep Us Posted and Ride Safe - Michael
Last edited by JK McDonald; 06-27-2019 at 08:21 PM.