Front-end wobble - Notice to Goldwing newbies


Information and questions on GL1100 Goldwings (1980-1983)
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tonyincny
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Front-end wobble - Notice to Goldwing newbies

Postby tonyincny » Tue Dec 28, 2010 4:19 pm



I am a Goldwing newbie although I have owned 1985 Honda Shadows and a couple of older Harleys. I bought the Goldwing from a fellow who lives about an hour away - I traded my Jeep Wrangler for his 1982 Goldwing.

So, I drove my Jeep out to his house and planned on driving the Goldwing back to my house. Everything went well until I came to my first stop and turn. As I made the turn I thought I noticed a wobble in the front end. But, it wasn't severe so I kept driving. Later, I made a moving left turn and touched the brakes.

Wow, there was a wobble in the front-end. I thought the front wheel was ready to fall off the bike. I stopped and checked the front-end and everything seemed tight and secure. But, that hour long ride home seemed like forever. I thought for sure that something catastrophic was going to happen.

After I got home, I did some research on the Internet and discovered that the wobble is normal. I believe the owner's manual even says the same. I don't know what makes the Goldwing so different from the other bikes I have owned. But, to all Goldwing newbies, don't be alarmed but do check things out - just in case.

Have any of you experienced guys and gals had a similar experience?



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Re: Front-end wobble - Notice to Goldwing newbies

Postby WingAdmin » Tue Dec 28, 2010 5:40 pm

A wobble like that is not "normal" - it's more common among Goldwings, but it is not something that SHOULD be there. My 82 exhibits no wobble whatsoever until about 80 mph, and at that point it's an aerodynamic weave, not anything to do with bearings or looseness.

It can be caused by any number of things:

- Worn front wheel bearings
- Incorrect torque on front axle
- Loose/incorrectly installed front axle caps
- Worn steering bearings
- Incorrect torque on steering head
- Loose triple tree
- Missing fairing weight (on Goldwings with fairings)
- Worn rear wheel bearings
- Incorrect torque on rear axle
- Worn swingarm pivot bearings
- Incorrect torque on swingarm pivot
- Incorrectly installed swingarm pivot pins
- Too much weight in trunk/pannier bags
- Seized front brake calipers (where one side is seized and the other is not) or differential left/right braking on front wheel

tonyincny
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Re: Front-end wobble - Notice to Goldwing newbies

Postby tonyincny » Tue Dec 28, 2010 9:32 pm

I tend to think that it is the last item you mentioned - a seized front brake caliper. The wobble was most pronounced when I was turning AND applying the front brake.

I bought the bike last Fall and put her in the garage. I had hoped to take off all fairings and strip the bike down so I could give her a proper inspection. Unfortunately, I live in Syracuse, NY and winter set in early and my garage isn't heated. I kind of lost my enthusiasm when the temperature took a nose-dive and stayed there. I was also a bit tired after snowblowing my driveway every day for two weeks. At 66, I tend to take the rest of the day off after snowblowing for two hours.

But, we have a break coming this week. So, I will have to get out there and start getting her prepared for a NYS inspection in the springtime. I bet I will find some of the items on your list - especially the frozen caliper. I will be sure to check each item you mentioned.

I also have to install the voltage regulator I bought from you so my dash gauges all work properly. Thanks for the advice.

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Re: Front-end wobble - Notice to Goldwing newbies

Postby WingAdmin » Tue Dec 28, 2010 9:46 pm

Check the condition of the brake pads - if they are contaminated with brake fluid or something else, and are grabbing either alternately or only on one side, it can also produce that sensation.

Time to get a heater for your garage! I insulated mine and put a heater in it a few years back, and it's just...wonderful! :)

I discovered a wobble this past spring when I put some new tires on. It turned out that a previous owner had put the swingarm pivot pins in wrong - the left one on the right and vice versa. The swingarm had free play side-to-side and caused a really uncomfortable wobble that became dangerous at 55 mph and above. It turned out the old rear tire that had worn mostly flat was keeping the swingarm in check - and with the new tire not doing that anymore, it allowed the swingarm to wobble, which caused the whole bike to wobble.

Removing and correcting installing the pivot pins, then torquing them correctly eliminated the wobble.

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Re: Front-end wobble - Notice to Goldwing newbies

Postby keithg64 » Thu Dec 30, 2010 10:09 pm

I had a what they call a 35mph death wobble on my 1100 and I ended up changing the steering stem bearings and this cured the problem. Now on my 1500 I had a bad wobble in the corners when I first bought the bike and found the front tire only had 20psi, added air and that helped out but still a wobble in the corners and some at the 35mph. This winter so far I have changed front wheel bearings and steering stem bearings. The E3's have about 23k on them and are cupped pretty bad so I am also changing tires. With all of this should clear up any wobble I had. Hope this helps.
It's not what you buy, it's what you build.

tonyincny
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Re: Front-end wobble - Notice to Goldwing newbies

Postby tonyincny » Fri Dec 31, 2010 10:24 am

These are all good things for me to check after I get all the fairing stuff removed. Other than the wobble, the bike is pure pleasure to ride. Before, I was always afraid to drive a bike over 50mph. Maybe that was because my bike was a Harley Sportster. I don't remember that much fear on my 1985 Honda Shadow.

With the Goldwing, I was constantly looking down at the speedometer and seeing it up around 70mph. Remember, there was no wobble on the straight roads. In fact, the hour-long drive back to my house on the Goldwing was a lot more pleasant than the trip to get the bike in my Jeep Wrangler.

I sure appreciate all the feedback. It will all get me on the path to having a real pleasure cruiser.

unsteadyrider
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Re: Front-end wobble - Notice to Goldwing newbies

Postby unsteadyrider » Sat Jan 01, 2011 3:36 pm

Both of my bikes are Standards with fairings and bags but not the front weights. The 82 with hondaline allaround and the 81 with Pacifico fairing and Vetter boxs.
The 82 has a wobble below 40mph that is not noticed untill both hands are off the handle bars, then death wobble then one hand on and wobble gone. The 81 is the same except wobble is less intense.

Dwight

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Re: Front-end wobble - Notice to Goldwing newbies

Postby tfdeputydawg » Sat Jan 01, 2011 4:23 pm

A wobble of any kind(except decel, explained later,)is not normal. :geek: IMHO. I have never experienced a wobble in my now 4+yr old Wing(bought new by the way).
If you have any kind of wobble, something is not right!
Suggest run at least 41psi in the front tire.
Make sure the front axle is properly seated.
Lift the front of the ground and push/pull on the front forks. For/aft movement means you have a problem.
Other items already mentioned in previouls posts.
Not mentioned yet is checking the rear area also.
Suggest at least 41/42psi in rear tire.
Cupping of the rear tire-this also indicates a problem, usually improper balance or underinflated.
Just another opinion here, but I use Ride-on in my tires and have absolutly no issues related to cupping or wobble. Some claim Ride-on has attacked their wheels. Hasn't mine and cleans up with water. Can not attest to it's attributes as a sealant-never had a punture using it-but it sure does balance the moving parts of the wheels!
A wobble on deceleration, when some remove their hands from the handlebars, is inherent in some bikes. The rake and trail a bike uses is a contributer to this. Solution-don't take you hands off the grips :roll:

tonyincny
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Re: Front-end wobble - Notice to Goldwing newbies

Postby tonyincny » Sat Jan 01, 2011 6:34 pm

Just so some people don't get confused - DeputyDawg is talking about his 2006 Goldwing, I believe. The book on my 1982 Goldwing calls for 32 psi tire pressure in both tires but allows up to 40psi in the rear tire for a heavy load.

Also, the wobble problems I and several other early 1980's owners have had may be something inherent in those older bikes that has been eliminated by the time the 2006 bikes came out.

But, as the Admin has pointed out, the cause of my wobble is probably due to many factors that should be checked first before assuming that it is a design problem.

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Re: Front-end wobble - Notice to Goldwing newbies

Postby tfdeputydawg » Sat Jan 01, 2011 7:19 pm

Thank you tonyincny, in my haste to impart my vast expertise :lol: I failed to notice OP was talking about a 1982 Wing.
I shall return to my cave to continue my long winter's nap.
Daaaaaaaah on me!
Dawg

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Re: Front-end wobble - Notice to Goldwing newbies

Postby 78AzWing » Sat Jan 01, 2011 7:41 pm

unsteadyrider wrote:Both of my bikes are Standards with fairings and bags but not the front weights. The 82 with hondaline allaround and the 81 with Pacifico fairing and Vetter boxs.
The 82 has a wobble below 40mph that is not noticed untill both hands are off the handle bars, then death wobble then one hand on and wobble gone. The 81 is the same except wobble is less intense.

Dwight

Why, pray tell, are you taking both of your hands off of the bar at the same time? Not a very good riding technique, I have to tell you. The only time I have done that has been an emergency. A big bee flying into your helmet just above your ear is an emergency.
Could not get that helmet off quick enough!
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For thee are Krunchie and taste goode with Ketchup!

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Re: Front-end wobble - Notice to Goldwing newbies

Postby unsteadyrider » Sun Jan 02, 2011 1:04 am

78AzWing wrote:
unsteadyrider wrote:Both of my bikes are Standards with fairings and bags but not the front weights. The 82 with hondaline allaround and the 81 with Pacifico fairing and Vetter boxs.
The 82 has a wobble below 40mph that is not noticed untill both hands are off the handle bars, then death wobble then one hand on and wobble gone. The 81 is the same except wobble is less intense.

Dwight

Why, pray tell, are you taking both of your hands off of the bar at the same time? Not a very good riding technique, I have to tell you. The only time I have done that has been an emergency. A big bee flying into your helmet just above your ear is an emergency.
Could not get that helmet off quick enough!


To test this subject on Steve Saunders site when it came up a couple years ago. And why so excited? The only difference between motorcycle and bicycle is weight, speed and amount of damage done to self, bike and property and people ride bicycles without hands all the time.

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Re: Front-end wobble - Notice to Goldwing newbies

Postby theoj » Sun Jan 02, 2011 11:12 am

I did notice a front- and back-endwobble with my bike the first time I ride it on the hihgway the first time.
perhaps I do not must compare a goldwing with my other bikes. (cx500-650).
first thing to do is to renew a leaking fork-seal.
anyway, happy new year to you all!
theoj

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Re: Front-end wobble - Notice to Goldwing newbies

Postby 78AzWing » Sun Jan 02, 2011 12:15 pm

And how many of them still have their original teeth?


To test this subject on Steve Saunders site when it came up a couple years ago. And why so excited? The only difference between motorcycle and bicycle is weight, speed and amount of damage done to self, bike and property and people ride bicycles without hands all the time.[/quote]


Something my mother used to say comes to mind:

"Just because everybody is jumping off the Empire State Building, means you are going to jump off of it, too?"
It is just not a very intelligent thing to do, that's all.
Meddle not in the affairs of Dragons
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Re: Front-end wobble - Notice to Goldwing newbies

Postby mlsimons » Sun Jan 02, 2011 2:30 pm

Can the wobble be due to rim problems? Maybe hitting pot hole or something. I assume when the dealer puts on new tires they would notice that during balancing? Thanks, Michael

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Re: Front-end wobble - Notice to Goldwing newbies

Postby WingAdmin » Sun Jan 02, 2011 2:51 pm

mlsimons wrote:Can the wobble be due to rim problems? Maybe hitting pot hole or something. I assume when the dealer puts on new tires they would notice that during balancing? Thanks, Michael


I'm pretty sure that if a rim was damaged enough to cause wobble, you'd be able to see it just by looking at it. And yes, they'd notice it during balancing.

tonyincny
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Re: Front-end wobble - Notice to Goldwing newbies

Postby tonyincny » Sun Jan 02, 2011 6:57 pm

My wobble seemed more pronounced when I was making a turn and applying the front brakes. That leads me to believe that the WingAdmin might have pinpointed the problem to a sticking wheel caliper. As I have removed fairing, I see that the front wheel has two rotors and calipers. Perhaps uneven pressure applied to one side is causing the weird wobble I am getting.

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Re: Front-end wobble - Notice to Goldwing newbies

Postby 78AzWing » Sun Jan 02, 2011 7:06 pm

Mine had a pulse on the front brakes that came from the pads sitting in the same position on the rotors for a couple of years.
Every time those spots passed under the pads the whole front end would pulsate (or grab, if you will) and you could really feel it through the brake lever under your hand.
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Re: Front-end wobble - Notice to Goldwing newbies

Postby keithg64 » Sun Jan 02, 2011 11:12 pm

[quote="tonyincny"]Just so some people don't get confused - DeputyDawg is talking about his 2006 Goldwing, I believe. The book on my 1982 Goldwing calls for 32 psi tire pressure in both tires but allows up to 40psi in the rear tire for a heavy load.

The 32psi in the manual on tire pressure is for a stock tire, but with the aftermarket tire you need to go with what the manufacture says on the side of the tire, both front and rear.
It's not what you buy, it's what you build.

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Re: Front-end wobble - Notice to Goldwing newbies

Postby 78AzWing » Sun Jan 02, 2011 11:18 pm

Usually the printing on the side states the maximum pressure for the tire, Which you really don't want to exceed.
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Re: Front-end wobble - Notice to Goldwing newbies

Postby HadCancer » Sun Jan 02, 2011 11:25 pm

I am consoled as I read this thread. I just bought an 82 Golswing that I am having restored. When I saw the first thread that wobble was normal I freaked. The only consolation is I am paying someone to restore the bike, so he will have to test drive it first. I guess I better get it insured.

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Re: Front-end wobble - Notice to Goldwing newbies

Postby unsteadyrider » Mon Jan 03, 2011 12:45 am

HadCancer wrote:I am consoled as I read this thread. I just bought an 82 Golswing that I am having restored. When I saw the first thread that wobble was normal I freaked. The only consolation is I am paying someone to restore the bike, so he will have to test drive it first. I guess I better get it insured.

Had cancer if you put your bike in the hands of a experienced mechanic he already knows about it and how to handle it.
The wobble is normally not severe. If it is severe it is because somthing is very wrong and that mechanic will discover it very quickly and fix it. And charge you. Sorry! Just had to throw that in.

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Re: Front-end wobble - Notice to Goldwing newbies

Postby unsteadyrider » Mon Jan 03, 2011 1:52 am

Overhauling the front forks is not hard and can be done without removing them from the bike.
First thing to do is download the manual. It’s big so may take a while.
Put the bike on the center stand and jack up the front. You only need about 4 inchs from ground to bottom of front tire.
Remove the air hose that goes between the shocks at the top.
Remove brake calipers (they can hang from the hoses), Remove speedo cable from axle, remove wheel, remove fender and then follow the manual on removal of slider.
Upon reassembly use a 4-6 inch piece of PVC pipe that will fit loosely over the upper shock shaft to seat the seal. Cut in half down the length and held together how ever you want as long as the two pieces will slide on the shaft tight but not so tight it takes effort to move up and down (too tight could scratch the shaft)
To refill the shock with oil you will have to do it slowly through the air fittings or with pressure from the bottom or remove the caps from the top (CAUTION: The shock spring lives under the top caps; Very high pressure).
To remove the caps safely and with relative ease replace them, make a tool like I did.
Take 1 ½ inch PVC threaded cap and thread to slip adapter and a 2-2 ½ inch piece of 1 ¼ PVC pipe.
Cut a notch in the pipe so it will fit over the air fitting on the right shock cap.
Use putty type epoxy and glue the pipe in the slip end of the adapter. Let harden (won’t take long).
You now need a piece of wax paper big enough to fit over and around the right fork cap.
Fill the PVC pipe with enough epoxy that when shoved over the right fork cap it will fill the sides and make a solid stop for the cap. Remove and let harden.
Screw the PVC cap on and you now have a tool that your hand can grip and your palm rest upon that you can use to control the cap for removal and control the spring pressure to reinstall.
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HadCancer
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Re: Front-end wobble - Notice to Goldwing newbies

Postby HadCancer » Wed Jan 05, 2011 3:49 pm

unsteadyrider wrote:
HadCancer wrote:I am consoled as I read this thread. I just bought an 82 Golswing that I am having restored. When I saw the first thread that wobble was normal I freaked. The only consolation is I am paying someone to restore the bike, so he will have to test drive it first. I guess I better get it insured.

Had cancer if you put your bike in the hands of a experienced mechanic he already knows about it and how to handle it.
The wobble is normally not severe. If it is severe it is because somthing is very wrong and that mechanic will discover it very quickly and fix it. And charge you. Sorry! Just had to throw that in.


Yes I am having a small case of buyers regret. I am starting to think this restore is going to cost me a small fortune. I probably could have bought a nice 90 something when all is said and done.

tonyincny
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Re: Front-end wobble - Notice to Goldwing newbies

Postby tonyincny » Wed Jan 05, 2011 5:32 pm

HadCancer -

Don't despair. I felt that way, too, when I first encountered the front-end wobble. But, after talking with all these helpful fellas, it seems as if any cause is a relatively simple and inexpensive fix.

Since my wobble was most pronounced when making a turn and applying the front brakes it seems most logical that I probably have a brake caliper that is not working on one side which then applies uneven pressure on the rotor.

Other solutions could be as simple as the front-end weight missing which helps to counteract the wind resistance on the fairing. Also, as Admin pointed out, it would be best to put the bike up on the center stand and check out the wheel bearings and swingarm tightness.

See, things aren't as gloomy as first suspected. I don't know where I got the idea that the 1982 Goldwing had an inherent wobble in the front end. I suspect I read something to that effect somewhere. But what they were probably referring to was the fact that riding a big bike like a Goldwing (with all that fairing on the front end) could cause the bike to handle differently than a smaller bike with no accessories.

Seems logical. A large heavy bike probably has a tendency to oversteer in a turn compared to a small lightweight bike. That is also a logical choice for the cause of my front-end "wobble". I am not used to such a large, heavy bike.




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