Removing the rear wheel on a GL1500 is admittedly a little more involved than on previous models of Goldwings. However, once you have performed the steps involved and familiarized yourself with the mechanics of the various parts, you can appreciate how the Honda engineers put considerable thought into making life easier for those performing maintenance tasks.
There are two different methods of performing this task. One involves leaving the trunk and saddlebags attached to the bike, removing some frame bolts, loosening others, and pivoting the trunk and saddlebags up as a unit to gain access to the wheel. This takes some finesse, and should not be attempted without an assistant. Once the trunk and saddlebags are pivoted up, they must be secured in place (i.e. with an overhead strap). It is very easy to break expensive plastic body parts if this procedure is not done exactly right, and it is also quite difficult to get the bolts realigned in the frame slots when lowering the trunk/bags. Lastly, it involves removal of pneumatic suspension lines.
Therefore, I will present the simpler method of removing the saddlebags to gain access to the wheel. While this method may take an extra 10-15 minutes over the trunk-lifting method, I feel it is easier for the everyday owner to perform, and has far less chance of doing damage to the bike.Wheel Removal
1. Start with the motorcycle on its center stand. The bottom cover of the trunk must be removed. There are four recessed screws along the bottom, near the outer lip. In this picture, I am removing the leftmost screw. Remove all four screws.
2. Gently slide the left side of the lower trunk cover backward to disengage it from the tabs on the bottom of the trunk sidelight/reflector. Be careful, as these tabs are fairly brittle, and easily broken if forced.
3. Pull the tab at the front of the lower trunk cover free from the antenna frame. Repeat the process to free the right side of the lower trunk cover as well.
4. With the sides of the lower trunk cover free, slide the cover forward so that it is no longer held in place by the trunk and saddlebag release levers.
5. Once free of the release levers, lower the lower trunk cover and put it aside somewhere soft where the paint won't be scratched.
6. There are four screw/trim covers that must be removed. They are removed simply by prying them away with your fingernail, or a small, thin, flat-blade screwdriver. They should be tight - if they are loose, it's a good idea to give them a slight gentle squeeze with a pair of pliers to make sure they grip the trim tightly. They can be easily lost if they are not tight enough. Two of the covers are on the back of the bike, at the inner lower edges of the saddlebags.
7. The other two are on each side, just a few inches from the back of the bike.
8. Remove the screws exposed by each of the screw/trim covers.
9. Once the two screws are removed, each lower rear saddlebag cover can be removed. Set them aside.
10. Wiring for the lights will be exposed by the removal of the lower rear saddlebag covers. You may have a simple 3P connector such as the one I am holding, or you could have a rats nest of aftermarket wiring such as is shown in the top of the image. I decided after seeing this mess of wires and vampire clips to cut out and replace all of this wiring. These connectors connect the lights on the saddlebag to the bike's wiring. Because we're removing the saddlebags, these wires need to be disconnected.
11. Open the saddlebags. Inside each saddlebag, at the top, near the rear of the bags, you will find the release mechanisms. It consists of a cable, connected to a nylon piece that snaps over the metal release bar. Unsnap the nylon piece from the bar.
12. Rotate the nylon piece on the cable, and pull the cable free through the slot. Set aside the nylon piece.
13. Here you can see the end of the release cable after the nylon piece has been removed. Squeeze the four locking tabs surrounding the cable and push it through the hole.
14. Remove the four bolts fastening each saddlebag to the frame.
15. Here you can see the saddlebag with the bolts removed. The large circle on the left is an adhesive rubber patch that can be removed to gain access to the rear brake caliper, in order to bleed the caliper without first having to remove the saddlebag.
16. Tip the top of each saddlebag outward and make sure the release cable has come fully out of the bag.
17. gently lift the saddlebags away from the motorcycle. Here you can see the emergency release button on the top of the saddlebag that is accessed from inside the trunk. The right saddlebag also has the compressor air outlet hose which must be pushed through the hole in the saddlebag before the saddlebag is removed.
18. Remove the bolts holding the lower side covers in place on both sides, and remove the covers.
19. With the covers removed, you will be able to see the joint between the exhaust collector and the mufflers.
20. Loosen (but do not remove) the bolts holding the clamps that clamp the mufflers to the collector. It is a good idea to soak this area with a penetrating lubricant such as PB Blaster.
21. Remove the support bolt fastening the back end of the muffler to the frame.
22. The mufflers need to be rotated downward in order to gain access to the wheel axle, as seen here. If the mufflers are able to rotate on the collector, then great - you will have no problems. However, some mufflers are seized onto the collector, as mine were. Rather than damage the rather expensive collector by trying to force the mufflers to rotate out of the way, I elected to simply push the rear of the muffler down an inch in order to gain access.
23. Using a 27mm socket, remove the axle nut from the right side of the axle.
24. Put a couple pieces of thin wood underneath the rear tire to support it. I find it's easier to put the wood on top of a piece of cardboard, to make it easier to slide in and out.
25. Loosen, but do not remove the left lower shock mounting bolt.
26. Loosen the axle pinch bolt on the left side of the wheel.
27. Once the axle pinch bolt has been loosened, the axle should be able to slide out to the left side of the bike. If it needs a little persuading, use a rod (or in this case, a long socket extension), push one end up against the axle, and give the other end a couple taps with a hammer. The axle should break free easily.
28. Pull the axle out from the left side.
29. Remove the washer as shown.
30. Leave the lower shock mounting bolt in place, as it will be providing the leverage on the brake caliper bracket required in order to loosen the brake caliper bolts.
30. Remove the brake caliper mounting bolts, and pull the caliper free. Note: The Honda manual has you removing the caliper and the caliper bracket as an assembly, but in practice, this is next to impossible due to clearance issues. Save yourself a lot of time and frustration by removing them separately as I show here.
31. Suspend the caliper using a bungee or coat hanger. Do NOT allow it to dangle by its brake hose!
32. Remove the lower shock mounting bolt, and pull the brake caliper bracket free. It is held in place with both the wheel axle and the lower shock mounting bolt.
33. Remove the collar from the wheel hub.
34. Slide the wheel left (remember the cardboard?) to free the wheel hub from the final drive.
35. The driven flange has slider pins that slide into the hub. They may be slid outward somewhat as shown in this picture. In order to gain the clearance required to remove the wheel, push the driven flange into the wheel hub as far as it will go.
36. Slide the wood backward, allowing the wheel to drop onto the cardboard. Slide the cardboard to the right, allowing the wheel to tip to the left, removing it from the bike on the right side. Be very careful not to allow the brake rotor to contact the ground, or to allow the wheel to rest its weight on the brake rotor.
37. Pull the driven flange out of the wheel hub as shown, and inspect the wheel hub. There are metal inserts embedded in rubber inside the hub. The driven flange pins fit into the metal inserts. The rubber helps dampen driveline shocks. The metal inserts should be round (not elongated), and the rubber should not have much (if any) movement.
38. Clean the final drive and driven flange of grease and dirt using a solvent cleaner (here I am using non-CFC brake cleaner).
39. Inspect the final drive, driven flange, and wheel hub for condition of the O-rings, and replace as necessary:Wheel Installation
40. The splines of both the final drive and driven flange must be lubricated with grease before reassembly. Because of the rotational forces within the rear drive, regular grease would be slung off the splines. Therefore, special Moly 60 paste
should be used:
41. Lubricate the final drive splines (hopefully not quite as messy as I have shown here!).
42. Lubricate both the inner and outer surfaces of the splines on the driven flange.
43. There are two types of driven flanges: 5-pin and 6-pin. If you have a 6-pin flange, lubricate the pins with Moly 60 paste. If you have a 5-pin flange, do not lubricate the pins - make sure they are clean and free of grease.
44. This 5-pin flange is not lubricated before reassembly. I have not yet lubricated the inner surface of the hub-side flange in this picture.
45. Fully insert the driven flange into the wheel hub.
46. Slide the wheel up under the bike from the right side, and use pieces of wood to lift the wheel to the height of the final drive.
47. Push the wheel hub into the final drive, so that the splines mate.
48. Replace the collar into the wheel hub.
49. Position the brake caliper bracket.
50. Lightly grease the smooth (NOT the threaded) portion of the lower shock mount bolt. Insert but do not fully tighten the lower shock mount bolt - just enough to hold the caliper bracket in place.
51. Clean and lightly grease the wheel axle.
52. Insert the washer.
53. While holding the washer in place, push the axle in place from the left side. Make sure it goes through the swingarm, washer, brake caliper, spacer collar, wheel hub, and final drive (in that order).
54. The axle threads should protrude on the outside of the final drive. Thread the axle bolt in place and tighten just enough to pull the axle fully into place. Do not fully torque at this point.
55. Using a torque wrench, tighten the lower shock mounting bolt to 51 ft-lb.
56. Using a torque wrench, tighten the axle pinch bolt to 23 ft-lb.
57. Using a torque wrench, tighten the axle nut to 80 ft-lb.
58. For lubricating brake components, use a high-temperature grease intended for brake applications.
59. After cleaning the brake caliper with brake cleaner, position it in place over the brake rotor. Be careful not to damage the brake pads while positioning the caliper.
60. Use brake grease to lubricate the smooth portions of the caliper mounting bolts.
61. The upper caliper mounting bolt actually screws into the caliper itself, and the smooth pin portion of the bolt slides into this rubber boot on the caliper mounting bracket.
62. Insert and tighten the lower caliper mounting bolt. The upper caliper mounting bolt/pin is torqued to 20 ft-lb, and the lower one is torqued to 12 ft-lb.
63. Lift the mufflers back into place, insert the bolt, and push the nut into place on the back.
64. Hold the nut in place with a wrench, and tighten the bolt to fasten the muffler in place.
65. Tighten the muffler clamps on both sides.
66. Replace the lower side covers and bolt into place.
67. Replace the saddlebags.
68. Before pushing the saddlebags fully into position, make sure to push the release cables securely into their holes, as well as pulling the compressor hose through into the right saddlebag.
69. Bolt the saddlebags into place with the four bolts on each side.
70. Thread the nylon piece onto each of the release cables, then snap them onto the release bars.
71. Reconnect the tail/brake wire connectors.
72. Replace the lower rear saddlebag covers. There are round, molded pins on each cover that seat into holes in the existing plastic - make sure they seat correctly, or the covers will not fully fasten in place.
73. Replace the screws fastening each cover in place.
74. Push the trim clips back into place. Make sure they are tight - if not, clamp them gently with a pair of pliers to make sure they do not fall off.
75. Lift the lower trunk cover into place. Push it forward to clear the fronts of the release levers, then pull it up and back over the top of the levers.
76. Fastening the lower trunk cover in place takes a bit of finesse - and practice. Position the cover so that ALL of the tabs on both sides are lined up, then push the cover up and forward to lock it into place. You'll find that if you attempt to do one side at a time, the process of locking one side in place will often unlock the other side - an exercise in frustration. Keep in mind the fragile, brittle nature of the tabs!
77. Replace the four screws holding the lower trunk cover in place.