Front forks/springs on 83 Interstate


Information and questions on GL1100 Goldwings (1980-1983)
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dwight007fchr
Posts: 434
Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2010 9:43 pm
Location: Culpeper, Va
Motorcycle: 1983 1100 Goldwing Interstate

Front forks/springs on 83 Interstate

Postby dwight007fchr » Sat Jun 04, 2011 6:51 pm



Hello. I just read all of the posts on front forks, but did not see anything specific to my questions. I now have an 83 GL1100 Interstate which I have been performing alot of maintenance/restoration on. I have started driving her, and in my opinion the front feels "choppy" and not as smooth as I would expect for a Wing. She feels fine on back roads under 45mph, but when I get on the open highway and hit 60, she just does not have the smoothness I would expect. Riding with this amount of vibration would wear me out on a long haul.

I checked the air in the front forks a month ago and she was a bit low since the prior owner probably never checked this in the past 2-3 years. So, I pumped her up using a hand tire pump to 21 lbs. I checked today after driving, and she is still at 21 lbs......so, no air leaks in the front forks. There is no rust on the chrome tubes, and apparently no oil leaking. I have not yet checked the oil in the forks (I assume there is a plug that you can check and add fork oil). I will do a search on "How to change fork oil", and see what I can find.

What tips or advice can anyone give me on this choppiness or excessive vibration at higher speeds? Is it possible the tire itself needs balancing? Or, should I lower the air pressure from 21 lbs down to say 10 lbs?

Also, I just logged my first 100 miles and the tank looked lower than what the fuel gauge was reading, so I filled her up and she only took 2 gallons to fill up. So, including some neutral idling and engine testing during my maintenance work, and the fact that the first tank had a dose of Sea Foam, I think 50 miles per gallon was darn good! Hoping to squeeze even more mpg out of her after I sync the carbs and apply a slick coat of turtle wax to the front end....ha ha. Any other suggestions on squeezing more MPG out of a Wing?

Many thanks.
Dwight.



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virgilmobile
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Re: Front forks/springs on 83 Interstate

Postby virgilmobile » Sat Jun 04, 2011 10:25 pm

If changing the oil,checking the wheel bearings,tire pressure,etc doesn't help.The next thing to test is...
OK,I've been posting about shock problems on my 84 and 83.They seem to be in about the same condition.

This is only my opinion ,as I have done this to solve the problem on the 84.My 83 is next.

My first test takes 2 people.
Let all the air out of the front shocks.On level ground,1 person on each side at the front,both slowly push the front down to compress the forks(leave the bike in gear or hold it with the brake),let the bike rise on it's own.
With a magic marker,mark one fork at the dust cap.
Then slowly lift the front end to extend the forks(don't try to lift the wheel up)Then let it relax back down under it's own weight.Mark the shock at the dust cap there.

A normal moving shock should have less than 1/2" difference between marks.Refereed to as "stiction"
My 84 had 3 1/2'' difference.I replaced the teflon slides and straightened one bent fork.It had a runout of .032".Factory limit is .0038".New oil,squaring the forks and these repairs seemed to improve it amazingly.Also,air pressure is measured on the center stand(no fork load).

dwight007fchr
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Re: Front forks/springs on 83 Interstate

Postby dwight007fchr » Sun Jun 05, 2011 7:22 pm

Virgil......OK....I will do that test as soon as I have someone around to help.

Yep, I have read your shock problem postings.....and they have been very helpful......you have been thru alot of pain/suffering in solving your shock issues.

What is the best shock air pressure for a smooth ride? I am riding at 21 psi, and I think the label says to fill to 0-22psi.........so, what is the best pressure for a smooth ride? Would letting the air down to say 5-10 lbs help?

dc

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Re: Front forks/springs on 83 Interstate

Postby tprender » Sun Jun 05, 2011 7:35 pm

Now, I am not expert on shocks. But, could the front wheel be out of balance? You have the forks set up right? This is just an idea.

dwight007fchr
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Re: Front forks/springs on 83 Interstate

Postby dwight007fchr » Sun Jun 05, 2011 9:03 pm

TPrender.....Thanks for your input. You are right, and the front wheel could definately be out of balance. Do you think I can just use a floor jack under the engine frame and lift the front tire off the ground, and then spin it several times and see if it possibly stops each time with a specific part of the tire facing down? If this happens, then the tire/wheel is definately out of balance. Or, do you think this method is not precise enough?

Any idea of the best air pressure in the front forks for a smooth ride? Is 21 lbs too high?

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Re: Front forks/springs on 83 Interstate

Postby WingAdmin » Mon Jun 06, 2011 2:43 pm

dwight007fchr wrote:TPrender.....Thanks for your input. You are right, and the front wheel could definately be out of balance. Do you think I can just use a floor jack under the engine frame and lift the front tire off the ground, and then spin it several times and see if it possibly stops each time with a specific part of the tire facing down? If this happens, then the tire/wheel is definately out of balance. Or, do you think this method is not precise enough?


Easier than that - just put it on the center stand, and have a friend sit on the back seat. It will tip back and lift the front wheel off the ground.

If your bearings are free enough, and your brakes aren't dragging at all, this can be used to check balance. You might also want to check out Dyna Beads.

dwight007fchr
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Re: Front forks/springs on 83 Interstate

Postby dwight007fchr » Mon Jun 06, 2011 5:44 pm

WingAdmin......thanks for the Dyna Beeds info./link......I read the entire "how to", and they seem like an excellent idea.

Thanks for giving your "OK" on the "spin and check" method of seeing if the front tire is somewhat balanced. I will give it a try and report back.

dc

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Re: Front forks/springs on 83 Interstate

Postby DragonRider » Wed Jun 08, 2011 10:41 pm

Maybe I am way off base here but see if this makes sence.. If air pressure is good and oil level is good and fork seals do not appear to be leaking, and if you check and wheel ballance comes back ok could the springs just be so weak they need to be changes out?
My wifes '82 1100 has been sitting lower and lower in the front. We never noticed it till one day I parked my '83 1100 right next to it. within a few days her fork seals started leaking and after shop looked at it told us to replace the seals and put in new springs since these are shop.

dwight007fchr
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Re: Front forks/springs on 83 Interstate

Postby dwight007fchr » Thu Jun 09, 2011 10:44 pm

Dragon........Good point about the front springs wearing out. Would be interesting to get another 83 Wing owner to measure the total distance from the top of the tube to the rubber seals, after rolling and engaging the front brake real hard so the springs compress and then bounce back to "normal". Then, I would have a "standard" to go by and see if mine measure about the same.

You sure your wife isnt storing gold and silver bullion in those front glove boxes, causing the front forks to sit lower and lower? Ha haaaa.

By the way, what air pressure do you run in the front forks.....Im thinking that I should try letting some air out, as it is sitting now at 21 lbs.

dc

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Re: Front forks/springs on 83 Interstate

Postby thrasherg » Fri Jun 10, 2011 2:02 pm

21 PSI for the front forks, sounds very very high!! I suspect you will blow the fork seals before long if you leave it there.. Most service manuals tell you the free length of the fork springs (Remove the springs from the forks, lay them on a flat service and measure the length from one end to the other and see if it is within the allowed service limits).. Having said that, all wings seem to be too soft at the front, so I would still be looking to fit some stiffer springs (Traxxion, etc) to improve the ride..

Gary

dwight007fchr
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Re: Front forks/springs on 83 Interstate

Postby dwight007fchr » Fri Jun 10, 2011 6:13 pm

Thrasherg......The shop manual says front fork air pressure should be from 14 to 21 psi.......so, I had it on the upper end, and let some air out today.....down to about 14. The ride still seems a big "choppy" in my opinion. Guess I need to have another Winger test drive mine and tell me what he/she thinks. I also still need to drain the front forks and put in fresh ATF.......who knows, could be low on fluid. (Is there a way to check the fluid level without actually draining and adding back the exact correct amount?)

Yes.....another winter project "to do"......removing the front forks and measuring the springs, and replacing/upgrading if necessary.

Thanks.
dc

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Re: Front forks/springs on 83 Interstate

Postby DragonRider » Fri Jun 10, 2011 8:11 pm

I run about 18 to 20PSI in my '83. I would measur distance for you but since I know my seals are leaking a bit my measurement would be questionable.
No, The wife is not storing gold in a GOLDwing just factory springs on a bike that gets ridden alot. should be fixed in a week or so (just waiting for $$)

dwight007fchr
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Re: Front forks/springs on 83 Interstate

Postby dwight007fchr » Fri Jun 10, 2011 8:32 pm

Dragon Rider....Thanks for the offer to measure.....I guess you are right....with your leaking forks, the measurement would not be as accurate.

Hey, is there anyway to check the fork fluid level without draining it out? Maybe my forks are empty and that could cause the choppiness in the ride.

No gold/silver bullion in my storage boxes either.....dern it.

dc.

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Re: Front forks/springs on 83 Interstate

Postby DragonRider » Sat Jun 11, 2011 6:10 am

dwight007fchr wrote:Dragon Rider....Thanks for the offer to measure.....I guess you are right....with your leaking forks, the measurement would not be as accurate.

Hey, is there anyway to check the fork fluid level without draining it out? Maybe my forks are empty and that could cause the choppiness in the ride.

No gold/silver bullion in my storage boxes either.....dern it.

dc.


That is a question I cannot answer. Choppiness could be caused by alot of things, including but not limited to Tire air pressure, and make and model of tire (I currently have a Dulap on front with about 45psi in it, but will be trying a different brand when I change it) front wheel balance, belive it or not rear wheel loading weight (too much weight placed over the rear wheel can directly effect the front wheels feel) speed, and road conditions.
With that said my version of choppiness may be different from yours. I have found that my "83 has a real tall windshield and at high speeds (over 80) the front end becomes very light and feels like riding over gravel road, take the windshield off and I can ride thru 100 mph (fastest as I have gone, so far?) with a perfect ride.
I have overloaded the back (the saddlebags and truck have loading weight limits) and that has caused some problems.
I think you need to look at everything over time, start simple check air pressures in tires and tire and wheel conditions, maybe have bearings checked for excess free play,
I dont recall if this is your first "touring bike", with all the fairings and bags? these bikes do ride Just a bit differently than say a VTX 1300 and takes a bit to get used to. you may want to just get out and take a nice long ride to somewhere and see how you feel.
Another thought, though this is way out in left field, could one of the brake rotors be warped slightly?

dwight007fchr
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Re: Front forks/springs on 83 Interstate

Postby dwight007fchr » Sat Jun 11, 2011 8:51 am

Dragon Rider.......Thanks for the info. Seems like there should be a way to check the front fork fluid level without draining the forks, but so far I have not discovered it.

Will continue to analyze the issue, and maybe with time will discover the fork problem.....or as you say, maybe this "choppy" ride is normal. Yes, this is my first touring bike. Had a 750four SuperSport years ago with a Shoei fairing, but it seemed to be smoother than this 83 1100 Interstate......maybe just my bones not as smooth as they used to be?

Brake rotors.....I will check, but the braking seems smooth and constant.....no indication of a condition of warped rotors.

dc.

dwight007fchr
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Re: Front forks/springs on 83 Interstate

Postby dwight007fchr » Fri Jul 01, 2011 8:20 pm

I have an 83 GL1100..........When draining the oil in the front forks, where do you add the new oil? There is no way to check if it is low other than actually draining and then measuring and adding the exact amount?

Thanks
dc




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