Sleeping beauty says, give me some proof!!


Technical information and Q&A applicable to all years and models of Goldwings
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made2care
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Sleeping beauty says, give me some proof!!

Postby made2care » Tue Aug 05, 2014 11:44 am



So I've completed just about every maintenance check on her except timing belts!
She has 90,000 miles, I do not know if belts have been replaced. The further I investigate this topic of timing belts, the more I realize that there are not too many reports of these belts breaking. There are more posts on how ,why ,when ,where, because of ,needing to ,precautionary reasons , and so on which to me, simply adds to the definition of paranoia!
Surely these belts were designed to last so many miles and then some, but I personally think that all of this could be overkill, regardless of what the manual or other people say.
With all this being said , give me some proof!! Let's see just how many of you have experienced a broken belt, I bet we all will be surprised!!
P.s. What's really interesting, is there appears to be more horror stories of the DIYer going in and replacing the belts resulting in all kinds of problems, as opposed to the breaking of the belt for the first time.



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HawkeyeGL1200
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Re: Sleeping beauty says, give me some proof!!

Postby HawkeyeGL1200 » Tue Aug 05, 2014 2:41 pm

A good friend of mine owned a GL1200 for a long time. He bought it with low miles and kept it until it had nearly 120,000 on it, then sold it to another friend of mine ... all the while I was riding this or that smaller motorcycle(s). When I decided I had to have a Goldwing, I asked him about timing belts. He told me he changed his every 25,000 miles. When asked how they looked, he told me "At 25,000 miles I took brand new looking belts off and replaced them with brand new belts" "At 50,000 miles, I took brand new looking belts off and replaced them with brand new belts"... rinse, repeat for as long as he owned the 1200...

As you mention, I've heard a LOT of warnings in regard to "You better change your belts or" but haven't not read or hear of a single instance of belt failure... I guess I'd like to hear some war stories too :-)
I am wrong as often as I am right concerning what is wrong with someone else' motorcycle without having seen the machine in person. Guessing with limited information, as to the source of the trouble, is sketchy at best.

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Re: Sleeping beauty says, give me some proof!!

Postby virgilmobile » Tue Aug 05, 2014 4:15 pm

Trust me,there are some who have experienced a breaking belt and then trying to decide if its worth replacing the engine or the whole bike.Many just graveyard the bike for scrap parts.
Google it.
And yes I do replace mine every other time I replace the rear tire.
There cheap and take just a couple of hours at max.I do this right after flushing in new DOT 4.Gotta keep the brakes good.
It's just a small part of the complete service one should be doing for the bike.....like grease on the driveshaft coupler.

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HawkeyeGL1200
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Re: Sleeping beauty says, give me some proof!!

Postby HawkeyeGL1200 » Tue Aug 05, 2014 5:07 pm

I do trust you. You know a lot more about these motorcycles than me. It is just I hear a lot about changing the timing belts, but can't recall anyone (present post excluded) ever talking about not changing them and having a failure.
I am wrong as often as I am right concerning what is wrong with someone else' motorcycle without having seen the machine in person. Guessing with limited information, as to the source of the trouble, is sketchy at best.

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Mh434
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Re: Sleeping beauty says, give me some proof!!

Postby Mh434 » Tue Aug 05, 2014 7:54 pm

Interesting topic, for sure! This is something I've been wondering myself. I know there are some who recommend changing these belts twice as often (or more than) as Honda suggests, but that sure seems like overkill to me. A friend of mine insists it's crucial to change oil in his 2013 BMW every thousand kilometers, even though the factory interval is 15,000 miles. I suppose it can't hurt, but is it really necessary? Thankfully no one ever suggested to him that he should get a valve grind at each oil change!

On the other hand, I've read several threads on various Goldwing sites about people changing their belts, making a small error along the way without realizing it, and destroying their engines as a result. Certainly, those folks would have been better off leaving the old belts in place.

Mine currently have about 60k miles on them, assuming they haven't been changed along the way by a previous owner. I'll probably change them this winter during foul weather down-time, though I'm NOT looking forward to it, due to the horrific experiences of many before me. There are those among us, like virgilmobile, who are competent enough to probably do this job in their sleep without concern. For those of us who've never done it, though...the results of any error whatsoever are too horrible to contemplate.

Of course, once I finally break down and do it, I doubt I'll ever need to change them again.

BigBro
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Re: Sleeping beauty says, give me some proof!!

Postby BigBro » Tue Aug 05, 2014 8:22 pm

Well not definitive but at least a comparison.
Cagers that use the timing belt approach have a maintenance service level around 60K miles and there are tons of stories about broken belts. Those engines are similar setup as a GW but they also turn around 3K rpm normally but can go to 5K rpm or so.

A GW engine is usually tighter tolerances and is designed to rev harder and faster than a cage engine and usually turn at a nominally faster rpm. Now add to that the engines usually are not used much and have more off years than on years in terms of running. Since the Fibers and the Materials should be flexible sitting in one spot for a long period of time creates a flat side and a formed side relating to the various apparatus it must rest on for tension.

Usually that resting for long periods will create a somewhat semi permanent deformity that I suppose could work completely out with heating and cooling but it also could stress it.

Think Tires that have sat for long periods with one side down. Even newer tires develop lumps of flat spots (vibration) and then there is always rubber fatigue and degradation, not always visible.

I figure since the belts cost like $30 and some careful time to put it all together. It is cheap insurance in preventing a destroyed engine.
I personally have not broken a belt but I have seen the results on Cage engines. it isn't pretty....

Your call though, it is your ride.

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Re: Sleeping beauty says, give me some proof!!

Postby HALBUDD » Tue Aug 05, 2014 8:53 pm

If you need proof ask Wingadmin to repost the photos of the damage that was done to the pistons and values he posted them before but I cant find them again. But I have seen them and it put a whole right thru the head of the piston. Type in broken timing belt damage in the search box at top of forum you find some pics of a motorcycle motor that broke a belt at highway speed.
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Re: Sleeping beauty says, give me some proof!!

Postby Mag » Tue Aug 05, 2014 10:36 pm

I read the posts, and I am like MH....not as much skill as many others working on their bikes. I have to admit though, the more I do small projects on my bike, the more I am ready to do the belt change (this winter). Now, I know I my screw up the bike, but welcome to learning. I am at least glad it is a $5k bike instead of a $15k bike.....and how do I get over my fears except to try it. I will learn....."wax on, wax off".....gotta try it sometime.

And I would rather here more stories of "the belt did not break" than "the belt did break".....then that means people are being proactive on the maintenance end, instead of reacting to the repaid (reactive) end.

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Re: Sleeping beauty says, give me some proof!!

Postby virgilmobile » Wed Aug 06, 2014 7:07 am

There's a few tricks to replacing the belts that makes it painless.
After exposing the old ones,I rotate the crank by hand till all the marks line up,cam gears say"up" and its "TDC".
You gotta get right eye level with the cam marks.
Then use a marker and highlight the marks.Both cams and the crank.
A silver marker or white out works well.
Loosen the idled and R&R the belts.One cam will move as the belt is removed.
I use a box end wrench to rotate the "moved" cam back into alignment.
Snug the idle pulley and look at the marks before you hand turn the engine.
Turn the engine over by hand 3 full turns and recheck the marks and the belt tension.
Tighten the idlers and check it once again by hand.

Never crank the engine with the starter till this is done by hand.
I also remove the spark plugs to make it easy to turn.

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Re: Sleeping beauty says, give me some proof!!

Postby dingdong » Wed Aug 06, 2014 7:28 am

I have broken a belt on my 76. 36k miles when I purchased the bike. It sat for a number of years but I don't know how long. I am one of those, "I inspected the belts and they looked like new", guys. The age of the belts is more important that mileage. Just like tires they age and break down.

I really don't get this. :shock: After all you have accomplished with rebuilding your Sleeping Beauty, why would you not replace the belts? It seems to me you have convinced yourself that you can't successfully do the job. Am I correct?
I am offering my assistance if you want some moral support. I am in OKC and can ride up almost any weekend. I have changed both of mine as well as assisting with three others for friends who had the same fear of the unknown. Just say the word.

You can do it!!!!!
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made2care
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Re: Sleeping beauty says, give me some proof!!

Postby made2care » Wed Aug 06, 2014 10:24 am

I might take you up on that. I have obviously never attempted a belt change, therefore would not mind one bit to observe someone who has. Simply, it's the fear of the unknown, coupled with the lacking skills. I know this sounds a little ridiculous , but I would even be a little nervous having a mechanic do this. Very difficult to even find a mechanic these days that would work on an old bike. Shhhhhhhh, did I just call sleeping beauty old?? He'll, she might buck me off if I keep this up !!
So I have one person confess, any more out there???

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Re: Sleeping beauty says, give me some proof!!

Postby HawkeyeGL1200 » Wed Aug 06, 2014 10:54 am

I have a car with timing belts. The recommended change interval is 50,000 miles. I KNOW of several vehicles just like mine, which did NOT have belts changed within the recommended interval that eventually (within 20,000 miles or so of the change interval) have had belt failure and it basically wrecked the engine. Changing the belts on a Subaru takes a lot more time and work than changing the belts on a Goldwing, although the actual sequence is about the same... more stuff to remove, etc...

My Subaru is currently sitting in my driveway, waiting on my lazy tail to replace belts (100K miles on her now) and although there is no other reason to not drive it, I'm not taking it as far as the mailbox until the belts are changed again.

Having written that, I'm riding the Goldwing instead of driving the car (mostly because I always ride if I can) and the Goldwing may be past the recommended belt change interval... since I don't know the exact last time the belts were done.

I agree that for no more cost and effort that it takes to do the timing belt change it is probably pretty foolish to take a chance on the belts breaking. I have a brand new set of belts sitting in my shop and have been putting off doing the work because it has been a lot more fun to ride... new rear tire will be required in a week or three, so I'll pull the front end off and do the belts when I do the tire and other things I've been putting off due to laziness..

Thank you all for providing input... it wasn't my question, but I was very interested in the replies.
I am wrong as often as I am right concerning what is wrong with someone else' motorcycle without having seen the machine in person. Guessing with limited information, as to the source of the trouble, is sketchy at best.

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Re: Sleeping beauty says, give me some proof!!

Postby WingAdmin » Fri Aug 08, 2014 9:51 pm

We've had quite a few members report broken timing belts in the last year or so - more than other years, it seems. Like 5 or 6 different incidences.

Someone asked for the broken belt carnage picture, here it is:

Image

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Re: Sleeping beauty says, give me some proof!!

Postby redial » Sun Aug 10, 2014 2:30 am

And dont forget to record it! As my memory gets older, (or the brain gets filled up with useless information), I find it easier to record the mileage, date, (and how long it took), to do the jobs around the mechanical stuff.

In a car, I have had a timing belt go "bang! zzzzzzzzzz. The zzzzzzz part was when the pistons and valves met up. The engine had to be rebuilt, and was never the same afterwards. I am religious about my timing belts, and I know why.
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Re: Sleeping beauty says, give me some proof!!

Postby jdavidsmit » Sun Aug 10, 2014 10:51 am

I have to put in my 2 cents, change them, and use gates, NAPA or Honda. I did a belt on my 2000 Accord and thought I would save a few bucks and use a timing belt kit from Auto Zone. put it all together and drove the car for about 1500 miles and the "new" belt broke and destroyed the motor, of course this was 500 miles from home. I know a car is not the same as my bike but I have seen the damage a broken belt can do to both bikes and cars.

After spending all the time restoring Sleeping Beauty, don't skimp now.
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Re: Sleeping beauty says, give me some proof!!

Postby jandjgoldwing » Sun Jul 12, 2015 5:05 pm

When I bought my '88 'wing, it had 31k miles, the maintenance log was scant, and the words "Timing Belts" weren't on the list. The bike must have sat for prolonged periods of time. The average mileage would be only 97 miles a month. I did have a timing belt fail on a DOHC Dodge Stealth, and the repair cost was nearly as much as buying another Stealth. After reading Wingadmin's instructions, I determined that my skills were up to the task. I bought the parts, and with the moral support of a friend, in his garage, on a typical 93 degree Florida day, we replaced the belts. Nearly every step in the instructions was easily understood. The ONLY area of concern I have is the method used to tension the belt idlers. "Unscientific" is an understatement. This is a difficult bike to work on, and getting back into the timing belts to re-check them after running a few miles is an all day job takes as long as the replacement takes in the first place. Time will tell whether it was worth the effort.

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Re: Sleeping beauty says, give me some proof!!

Postby Old Fogey » Sun Jul 12, 2015 10:47 pm

I think I've posted this before.

When I was selling Quinton Hazel timing belts, I spoke to the tech dept about renewals. Their take was, on a fairly high revving bike like the Wing, 25K miles or 5 years. If sitting without being started for 6 months or more, change them due to them taking a set under tension.
A belt with 25K miles on it will look just the same as a belt with 2.5 miles on it; you simply can't tell how old or how worn a belt is by looking at it.
A tale of woe. A customer of mine went nearly 400 miles to buy a bike. Transported it all the way back to his house, took it out of the van and took off down the road with it. Now, he is not a stupid man normally, but this was stupid as a belt let go, took off the other belt too and wrecked the engine. He was a bit miffed!
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Re: Sleeping beauty says, give me some proof!!

Postby raven41951 » Mon Jul 13, 2015 8:22 am

Use the instructions in the How-To section. I admit I was intimidated but I did not want someone else doing this on my bike. Got all the equipment together and did it. I did it over a two day period as I was extremely careful not to screw up. The biggest problem I had was getting the panels back on. Once I did it in the right order (went back and reviewed instructions) it went right together. All told it was about four hours working time, next time should be about two hours.

My 1500 had only 7,000 miles on it when I changed the belts in April this year. It is also 21 years old and showed no signs of being changed before. I could not tell the difference between the old and new belts other than manufacturer markings (no wear, no set etc.). These belts are stiff and designed to last. Like steel, there is no signs of stress failure until it occurs (I have lost axles on cars).

Having also been a victim of timing belt failure in a Toyota which also had (HAD) an interference engine (pistons and valves interfere with each others "space" so if timing is off they can collide and the result is pictured above in WA's reply). Along with the lack of use, I deemed it best to change them and will continue to at frequent intervals. As I said, I was intimidated but now I am experienced, I am no longer nervous about having questionable belts. If I can do it at 63 yrs young then you can do it.

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Re: Sleeping beauty says, give me some proof!!

Postby robb » Mon Jul 13, 2015 8:45 pm

You get peace of mind with new belts, I did.
Two riders in our group, a 1200 and a 1500 have over 300k with original belts. Very little maintenance, never washed, 25k oil changes and they pull trailers. Both men laugh and say they will ride their 1800's after they wear out the old bikes.
My uncle owned the dealership where my bike was purchased and closed down when the Wing went back to Japan. Said from 1965 - 2012 he had never seen a broken belt, but a few in need of change. When I changed belts at 73k he had Napa send them to be checked for tolerance. Only a few thousands of stretch and no damage to be seen, OK to continue use. He did promote routine service but accepted when someone said they preformed their own service. Accepted that not everyone could afford to pay for deafer service.

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Re: Sleeping beauty says, give me some proof!!

Postby WingAdmin » Tue Jul 14, 2015 8:09 am

robb wrote:You get peace of mind with new belts, I did.
Two riders in our group, a 1200 and a 1500 have over 300k with original belts. Very little maintenance, never washed, 25k oil changes and they pull trailers. Both men laugh and say they will ride their 1800's after they wear out the old bikes.
My uncle owned the dealership where my bike was purchased and closed down when the Wing went back to Japan. Said from 1965 - 2012 he had never seen a broken belt, but a few in need of change. When I changed belts at 73k he had Napa send them to be checked for tolerance. Only a few thousands of stretch and no damage to be seen, OK to continue use. He did promote routine service but accepted when someone said they preformed their own service. Accepted that not everyone could afford to pay for deafer service.


Again...timing belts don't stretch, they are designed not to stretch. As such, they don't crack and wear like regular drive belts. If the tension is wrong, the teeth can wear, but for the most part, belts that are worn look exactly like belts that are fresh. The wear occurs on the fiberglass strands inside that prevent it from stretching.

The belts can, and do break. We've had several people on the site this year alone who have unfortunately suffered from broken timing belts, and the associated engine damage. One of the most common causes is running belts that have been allowed to sit on a bike that has not been run for years.

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Re: Sleeping beauty says, give me some proof!!

Postby jandjgoldwing » Tue Jul 14, 2015 9:27 am

A follow to my previous post:
I would like to see a DIY article on replacing brakes and master cylinders, then bleeding. Maybe there is one, but I can't find it.

I cannot thank WingAdmin enough for the detail and work he put into creating this DIY instruction. It is certainly possible to use the manuals (I have Clymer and a shop manual). However, WingAdmin took me through the entire sequence (excellent pictures), without needing to move from chapter to chapter for each step.

My friend operated, moved, focused a video camera on a tripod throughout the process to the point that the new belts were on. Using video editing software, I was able to run it backwards in areas where I wasn't quite sure how it came apart. Fortunately, the only times I used it was to check the routing of the wiring to the pulse generators and to check the path used to slide the larger cover back into place. Again, I was probably more lucky than talented, because this step went easily once I reviewed the video. I may edit this video (there is a lot of dead space), then put it on YouTube if it will "fit". Will post if I do so.

I have a parts box with small bins, labeled rows and columns like a spreadsheet. I noted which bin contained each small part as it was removed. This is mostly bolts, washers. Everyone who owns a 'wing has probably removed parts to replace something simple, like a cornering lamp, then couldn't remember which bolt went where on the lower cowl and markers. Parts which snap on will not stay on if the wrong bolt is used. My son has been a motorcycle mechanic (AMI) for over 20 years, albeit 1000 miles away. He said he always uses a box like this.

I recognized the absolute necessity to maintain the position of the crankshaft and camshafts when the old belts were removed. I may have been lucky. Nothing moved, and the new belts installed in exactly the same teeth as the old. (Just like many others mentioned, the old belts looked like new, so I took a silver marker and wrote "old" on each one, then put it in the trash.)

The next day, I replaced the sub air and cruise air filters. I had reassembled the scoot so that I could do a progressive test ride, therefore was starting the disassembly from scratch. It was nearly as much work to change these as it was to change the belts. On a Goldwing, there is no such thing as a five minute job! If you do this in Florida and don't have an air conditioned garage, be sure to include a 12 pack of Gatoraid in your parts list.




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