Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Goldwing Breakdown

Thursday was the longest trip I've taken on the Goldwing for a long time. From Anaheim to El Centro is about 400 miles round-trip.

I didn't have a plan – I was just checking the area out. Departure from home was uneventful; I was able to get on the road at 6:30 AM or so. I was using the GPS and it said I-405 to I-5 to I-805 to I-8, a straight run. But, approaching Carlsbad, I decided to cross over on the CA-78 to I-15 to pick up the I-8.

It was a pretty easy trip and I ran into traffic in just a couple of spots, but nothing serious. The I-5 is on the coast, so the early parts were cool. I had to cross the mountains with a peak of about 4,000 feet, so even though the day was warming up, it stayed comfortable most of the trip. Of course, as I made it to the east side and started down to the desert it warmed up quickly, but even as I approached El Centro at 11:00 it wasn't too hot.

There wasn't much going on in El Centro. I did see some damage that was probably caused by the recent earthquakes. I didn't have a plan, so I could have stayed overnight, but, after lookig around for a while, I decided to head north on the CA-86, through Imperial and Brawley. After that is the Salton Sea and up to the I-10, and home.

As I headed westbound on the I-10, I was surprised to see how many of the wind mills were idle, but didn't slow down to see what the wind was doing. Even the change to the CA-60 was a little strange. The transition is from the left lane, and, in the old days, when about five miles out, traffic sped up to 80 or more. But, on Thursday it was moving more in the 65 - 70 MPH range. Further on, the CA-60/CA-91 exchange has been greatly improved with a nice reduction in the congestion.

Everything was still going good as I left Corona behind, but I started having trouble with the cruise control. It wouldn't hold speed or accelerate. As I was wondering what was going on, the engine died. Fortunately, I wasn't in the left lane, so I eased over to the shoulder. That was pretty much the end of the trip. Fortunately, I have AAA RV & Motorcycle, so a call got a tow truck out.

goldwing alternator holeThe way that it was acting made me think the alternator had died, and some testing confirmed that. The Honda dealer wants $330 for an alternator, so I figured the complete job would be good for close to $1,000 and that means a little DIY.

I have the Honda maintenance manual, which usually provides very detailed instructions, but for some reason is pretty sketchy about the alternator. After a little wrestling, I got it out, and that allowed a closer examination of the wiring Then, time for eBay. For about half-price, I have an OEM on the way. Hopefully, I'll it will go in as easily as the old one came out.

I really can't complain (too much.) AAA got us the last 32 miles at no cost, and it's the first time in over 100,000 miles that the Goldwing has let me down.


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