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I recently picked up a GL1200, the previous owner was at a loss as to what was wrong with it after putting timing belts on. I found that he had the left side on incorrectly and ended up replacing the cylinder head. I did all this work myself. But now I have few questions about my bike. When I start it, with the choke it smells real bad and hurts your eyes in my garage almost. It seems like it takes a while to warm up before it will run with the choke off. During this period if I take the choke off too soon it wants to back fire slightly. The whole time the bike is louder than I thought, sounds real throaty under the shifter and rear brake pedal area, I thought goldwings were quieter or am I wrong. This same area is where I here a little backfire from til its warming up. Anyone have any feedback on any of this? I have not owned a carbureted bike since the 80's, I presently own two other bikes, both fuel injected. So I may need to learn something about a big carbureted engine like in my GL1200, its an 86 if it matters any. Thanks, Oh yeah, before I bought this bike, I dont think it ran for a while.
 

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hi amanda, if bike has been sitting a while i would try some sea-foam in tank with fresh gas. i presume you have the timing marks all aligned. when previous owner put belts in you say it was wrong. did it bend the valves on that head?
 

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Yes, the left side cylinder heads valves were bent, no compression at all. I replaced the entire head, now I just have a few questions regarding the characteristics of the GL1200 motor.
 

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recheck the timing belts, clean and sync the carbs
 

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Yes, the left side cylinder heads valves were bent, no compression at all. I replaced the entire head, now I just have a few questions regarding the characteristics of the GL1200 motor.
I would say that there's definitely still something off. The engine is pretty quiet, and even in cold weather my choke only stays on for a minute or two. From the backfiring and fumes, it sounds like you're running way rich - unburned gas is building up in the exhaust system, then igniting.
 

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I agree with the above comment about the rich running. My 1200 was a bit cold blooded on cool mornings, but it ran just fine after a couple minutes and sometimes needed a bit of choke for the first bit of riding (like a mile or two). After that it was smooth and quiet (hydraulic valves). Remember the add for the 1200 with the Indian Head nickel balanced on the cylinder head at 2500 rpm (or a $20 gold piece)?
 
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