V65 Sudden Engine Shut Off


I failed to check the oil for a few weeks and let it run low. The oil level safety cut off the engine while I was cruising at 80 mph. I added oil to the correct level on the side of the road, started the engine and proceeded home about 25 miles down the road.

The next day I took the bike out again. It started and ran fine until I ran it at 75 down the road for about 10 minutes. Then, then the engine shut off just like the day before. I checked the oil, and it was at the same level I topped it off at yesterday.

I let the engine sit for about 15 minutes, started it and it ran fine if I kept the speed below 65. Once over 65, it would run for 10 minutes then cut out again.

Now the engine shuts down after about 10 minutes regardless of what speed I run. If I let it sit for 15 minutes, it starts fine and runs again for another 15 minutes or so then cuts out again. Where do I start looking? {John, Washington, USA - 1984 Honda, V65 Magna 1100}


You would probably be right about the oil level safety if the V65 Magna had one. You may be thinking that because your oil indicator light when on right before the engine shut off. But, the oil indicator light on the Magna is just that - an indicator. It has no electronics hooked to it capable of shutting the engine off.

Let’s try to get to the bottom of this.

First, run the bike until it shuts off. Then check these items Immediately: Spark and Fuel.

Test for spark using an additional, loose plug. Test all 4 cylinders, one at a time. You have 2 pulser or pulse generators on the V65, one for each pair of cylinders. If you have no spark on 2 of your cylinders, this points to one of the pulser generators being bad.
1984 Honda VF1100C V65 Magna Pulse Generator Assembly
Honda officially calls it the Pulse Generator Assembly, number 8 in the fiche, part number 16900-371-004, and sells both PGs as one unit. Unfortunately, it has been discontinued by Honda. You will either have to find one used or NOS.

This same PG assembly was used on all US models of the 1983 to 1986 VF1100C V65 Magna and the 1984 and 85 VF1100S V65 Sabre.

When the engine develops heat from running, the pulser generators “kick out” similar to a circuit breaker. The pulser generator "points" heat up & shut off. They come back on once they cool down. This is not an intended safety feature, it is the failure of an electrical component.

If you have spark, test for fuel by opening the carb bleeder screws, located on the bottom of the carburetor float bowls. If you have no fuel (a couple of drips doesn’t count) the cause of the problem could be the fuel filter, relay or pump.

The fuel filter could be starting to clog. Restricting the flow of gas, but not completely stopping it. This will usually give you high RPM trouble. But the bike will run fine at slow speeds, usually.

Has the Reserve Fuel light come on lately? The petcock on the V65 Magna does not have a RES or reserve setting, just on and off. The indicator light comes on to let you know that the bike is using its reserve gas supply.

Over time, a layer of sediment and debris builds in the bottom of your tank. If you ran low on gas and the reserve indicator light came on, the fuel filter could have become clogged with debris from the bottom of the sub tank.

During the off-season you may want to tackle removing the sub fuel tank and cleaning it out. Otherwise, try to change your fuel filter more often.

The V65 Magna has a fuel pump relay and an electric fuel pump. They rarely break down on Hondas. But the bike is over 25 years old so it is possible. I think I have only changed 2 or 3 in my career so the chances of the source of your trouble being traced to the pump or relay are slim.

But, if you do have a lot of sediment in the sub fuel tank, it can damage the fuel pump over time, shortening its lifespan. It is only a matter of time before, that too, is discontinued by Honda.

My first instinct is that one or both of the V65's pulse generators has failed.

Do you have a question about the Honda V65 Magna?
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