New2Me '86 GL1200 Aspencade - some insights?

Information and questions on GL1200 Goldwings (1984-1987)
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Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2010 6:40 pm
Location: East Coast, NY
Motorcycle: 1996 GL1500-SE
1986 GL1200A Aspencade

New2Me '86 GL1200 Aspencade - some insights?

Post by Makman » Fri Apr 02, 2010 1:04 am

Hey, folks - will be bringing home the newest family member, an '86 GL1200A Aspencade this weekend, if all goes well. Am glad to have found this site, and welcome your insight and feedback as possible. Bike is in decent, if not Quite good shape (all relative, I guess), but has 84,000mi on the clock. Things on my mind include:

1) Timing Belts - Amazingly, Bike has the ORIGINAL Timing Belts, which makes me Nervous for the 125mi trip home. Obviously, will do these ASAP. Noticed WingAdmin mentioned that Gates makes the O.E.M. Honda replacements. Does anyone have the Cross Ref/Part# for these? I'd rather have the parts in hand before I pull things apart, and the parts guy doesn't really want to try & measure anything. Thanks.

Was told it was a good idea to change the Idler pulley springs. Any feedback here? Also wondering if anyone has input on the Front Cover gaskets - do they tend to come off Ok, or would they need replacement, too? 25 yrs. tells me Yes, but curious.

2) Thermostat, Upper & Lower hoses + drain/flush/re-fill also on tap. Does anyone have any suggestions here?

3) Oil Filter - had part# for a good Purolator filter that seems to now be discontinued, and Fram (yuch) is out of the question. Does anyone have another choice, other than Honda OEM, which isn’t so great either?

4) Rear Drive – have a friend whose ’81 CB900C I’ve worked on. Bike has Shaft drive like the Wing, and Also has a Grease Fitting on the shaft housing. Is this GL1200A just lubed by the internal gear lube, or is there a fitting somewhere I can’t seem to find?

5) Rear Caliper – have been told it’s “lazy”, so will pull it apart. Was wondering if there’s anything “special” to look for, or if it’s a basically normal rebuild?

6) Rotors – does anyone have minimum specs on these, or suggestions as to what type of longevity they tend to give?

7) Cruise Control – bike has none, and would welcome input as to suggested items to consider. Thanks.

8) Backrest – I am 3rd owner, and bike came from 1st owner without the backrest. 2nd owner had one from Drag Specialties that got stolen. I have a used one coming, but JUST found out thru research that there seem to be TWO O.E.M. Styles of Backrest. Can anyone offer suggestions as to whether they Both work, or is there some way to tell Which one goes with what bike? Does one have advantages over the other? Your input here would be Very helpful & gratefully appreciated.

9) Rear Shocks – was told by local Honda dealer (who owned an ’84 & ’87) that Progressive made a Nice upgrade (air, like O.E.M.) to the stock suspension that would also raise the Max. Load capacity of the bike. I go about 230lbs, so 390lb. O.E.M. Max. Load won’t allow for 2-up riding. Anyone that can relate any experience(s) and/or suggestions on this type of upgrade would be greatly appreciated. Would also be grateful for any input on Front Suspension tie-ins to this type of upgrade, if necessary or advised. Thanks.

10) Tires – rubber seems Ok for now, but have to look closer. Have had input on Continental Milestone’s as very good replacement. Can anyone offer suggestion(s) as to what types/brands they would recommend? Also, has anyone tried to upgrade the Rear wheel to put more “meat” on the road? Has anyone tried going from the 150/90 tire to something like a 170/80? Does anyone know if the O.E.M. rim width would allow for that?

11) Other suggestions – does anyone have anything further that they would suggest I consider in addition to what’s here?

This is what I’ve got on the docket for now. I’m looking forward to having the bike back in good shape and properly on the road again soon. Thanks again for your help, time, and input. I look forward to going over what any of you are kind enough to offer.

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Re: New2Me '86 GL1200 Aspencade - some insights?

Post by tricky » Fri Apr 02, 2010 3:41 am


Idler pulley springs: mine are still original 230,000k

glue the gaskets onto the covers, dont need new unless the old ones are damaged.

Unless your having problems with therm leave be.

Not a bad idea to change hoses.

No grease fitting. use Molly 60 for splines and spider.

On ALL calipers make sure the calipers are floating freely I use never seize on the slider pins. replace dust covers if perished.

Limits FRONT standard and Interstate 4.00mm 0.16in ASpencade 9.00mm 0.35in
Rear 6.00mm 0.24in

I have progressive front and rear good

Tires Dunlop EIII Bias

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Re: New2Me '86 GL1200 Aspencade - some insights?

Post by WingAdmin » Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:10 am

The belt numbers are:

Gates- T070
NAPA- 250070
Goodyear- 40070

Gates makes the NAPA belts, so they are essentially the same thing.

I didn't bother changing the tensioner springs on mine - I may do so the next time, when I'll change the tensioners at the same time.

The front cover gaskets on mine stayed attached, and looked in decent shape, so I left them as is. They aren't critical gaskets, like a gasket holding oil into the engine. They're actually designed to evacuate any water that may leak in there.

I just put Progressive 416 shocks on my rear, highly recommended. The bike rides higher with them. I see tricky has answered most other questions - if you still have questions, ask away!

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1986 GL1200A Aspencade

Re: New2Me '86 GL1200 Aspencade - some insights?

Post by Makman » Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:27 pm

Dear Tricky & Wing Admin – Thanks so much for the prompt and thorough replies. You guys seem to have it zeroed in Quite well, and I Really appreciate it. Some points I’d like to cover:

1) Timing Belts – Thanks again, esp’ly Tricky (for the info and link to the Parts List forum). I’d done some tentative checking, and my
O.E.M. Honda parts (even from an outside source) were up to ~ $300 already. Will hit NAPA or local supplier instead, thanks to you guys. Was wondering – I’ve had good luck with the Goodyear Gatorback belts in the past on cars (although they can tend to “hum” a bit at times), and was wondering if you would recommend the Gates (smooth back) over these, or if it’s a non-issue? Appreciate the point on the Idler Springs, too.

Belt Longevity – was wondering if you guys had a “suggested service interval” on these Timing belts based on your experience with the Bikes? I’ve been used to the 65K to 90K range with Toyota & Honda cars, although I know of many people (myself included one time) that didn’t get to the Accord belts until around 140K. Obviously, with these being 25yrs old, they need to be changed Yesterday, but I was curious if you had any kind of benchmark that you tend to use?

2) Rear Drive – 10-4 on the Molly 60 grease, and Thanks. I actually looked into the GL1100 forums, and noticed quite a bit of
Repair related posts that I’ll continue to go through. Appreciate such accurate and direct knowledge.

3) Calipers – 10-4 also on the Anti-seize. I’ve had good luck with a combo of that & a marine grease that I use; Big difference to just
slapping them together like so many shops do.

4) Rotor Limits – Wow, Seek & yee shall Find. Thanks, guys.
5) Thermostat – Tricky, even after 25yrs, you wouldn’t change the Thermo, just to be safe...? I figured that I’d flush out the system, drop a new unit in with fresh hoses & be up-to-date. I’m curious & interested as to why you’d leave the thermo alone. Thanks.

6) Hoses – what a Great Idea with those NAPA Part #’s for using One hose to make Two for the Wing, not to mention the $$ involved. I
think those 2 hoses from Honda were over $60 combined. GREAT Tip and Thanks.

7) Shocks – amazingly, I was on the Web this morning and checking out the #416 Progressives. Nice to know you feel they’re the way to
go. Question – have you or anyone tried to use more of their capacity towards carrying more GVW on the Bike? I noticed that Honda says 57psi as Max O.E.M. pressure, while the Progressives will go up to 100psi (although I can’t imagine using them that high)? Again, I’m looking to be able to get closer to the “Standard” (GL1200) model’s 500lb capacity. Your input would be appreciated.

Also, has anyone looked to service or rebuild the compressor and/or fittings over the years? The Desicant, maybe? All inter-related, and just trying to do what might be needed to insure reliable usage with a heavier load. Thanks.

8) Driver’s Backrest – again, has anyone had any experience with either of what seem to be Two Different O.E.M. styles of Backrests?
I’m hopeful that I can make one work here, and actually have one on the way, and am wondering if there’s any way to know which one will/might work on any particular bike? I would be grateful to any input that can be offered here.

9) Manuals & Info – I’ve got a Clymer coming, and have a bad .pdf copy of a Haynes. Obviously, there seems to be Some level of
Archived bike-specific info available here, but we seem to get spiralled into the Helm site all the time. Is there, ahem, Any way around this, or is this what the World has come to these days? Let me know when you can, as there are a few that I’d appreciate having.

Thanks again for all of your help and input. It’s Great to have this type of support.

BTW - Wish me Luck, if you can. She should be coming to her new home Tomorrow... :D

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Re: New2Me '86 GL1200 Aspencade - some insights?

Post by tricky » Sat Apr 03, 2010 3:07 am

I use the gates belt, if tightened to tight you might induce hum.

Not sure there is an actual time for changing belts, I think I have done mine 6 times but each time I do it doesnt look like they are worn :) but if they do go, you have zero clearance on the valves... bingo big bucks.

Before you start changing thermostat when you have the bike running just check the temperature, while you have the rad off you could change it, go with your gut feeling. After flushing us Honda type 2 premix available from your local Honda auto dealer

A personal choice as to pressure on the shocks, so long as you dont blow the fork seals by using too much air. the higher pressure the harsher the ride.

Air pump

My backrest is Drag specialties (no longer available) I would think any back rest would suffice.

AS far as manuals are concerned I use a Honda manual which was available here at one time but had to be removed from the site.

Change brake fluid

Check them tire dates ...... 5 years ...... I use Dunlop Elite III, others have their personal choice. a bit noisy tending to howl in the corners.

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Re: New2Me '86 GL1200 Aspencade - some insights?

Post by Mooseman » Sat Apr 03, 2010 10:23 pm

Don't forget to check that stator plug located on the left side of the battery. Plug located towards front of MC. Check for burnt wires and a burnt or distorted plug. I have some photos of my plug I'll post in members pictures. Can be an issue later.
Enjoy the ride. They are all good, just some better than others.

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Motorcycle: 1996 GL1500-SE
1986 GL1200A Aspencade

Re: New2Me '86 GL1200 Aspencade - some insights?

Post by Makman » Wed Apr 07, 2010 1:31 pm

Guys - thanks again for the input. Been busy for a bit & have to steal time to jump on here. Didn't want you to think I didn't care :lol:

Mooseman, thanks for pointing out the Stator plug issue. I'll have to take a closer look (need to actually Find it first), but previous owner said that he "had the Stator done", which I assumed he had replaced, but doesn't exactly speak to the Plug issue. Appreciate your post here. Also, thanks for the discussion on the Desicant - I had actually heard previously that you could Re-heat it and reconstitute it that way. I'll have to check your other post, but do let us know how things work out, and Good Luck.

Tricky, 10-4 on the Tires, but could you help a slightly embarrased guy here with the correct way to Distinguish the dates again? I'm thinking to ultimately change them anyway, since "she" was sitting for a while before we got ahold of her ;)

Your other points:

1) Brakes - will Definitely change the fliud, and Soon, BUT - is there anything I should know about "normal" front brake function on these 1200's...? The reason I ask is that this one seems to kind of Lumber when you apply front brake. It's Very gentle, and the "stopping power" is no where Near what I would have expected. I was wondering if pulling off both of the Calipers with a quick R&R would make a difference? Was also why I asked earlier (thanks again, Tricky) about the Rotor specs., too. I believe the previous owner was Also using Dot 3, and when I mentioned 4 he said No, not required. Obviously, when I went through the Manual, Dot 4 is Exactly what's required. SO - is any of this is Normal, kindly let me know. Any input is always appreciated.

2) Manuals - I pretty much thought that it was the Gestapo that "required" their removal. However, I imagine that there are more than a few of the "Hallowed .pdf's" floating around. I would REALLY Appreciate it if someone would help me out with this more directly, say - through the Back Door, because any & all of that info would be Greatly appreciated. Keep me posted, please :)

3) Backrest - Amazingly, the prior owner had a Drag Specialties, too - which got Stolen. I'd Love to have one of these, since the base level mounting brackets are still on the bike, Unfortunately, Each of the 2 O.E.M. styles seems to have Different mounting styles as well, with somewhat different shapes to the overall designs of the Backrest themselves. Anyone who has more input, please feel free to weigh in. I'll keep you posted from this end, if anyone's interested. Thanks for any further discussion.

4) Remote Oil Filter - I noticed that this was a recent topic, too. I got a kind response from another member that sent me to the site. The adapter that the have there looks Great, and I'm wondering if anyone has anything further to add. I'll check the other post, too - just figured I'd mention it here for continuity.

The actual URL for the adapter is:

Thanks again for all of your input, and I'll look forward to "talking" with you again soon.



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Motorcycle: 1985 GL1200A Aspencade

Re: New2Me '86 GL1200 Aspencade - some insights?

Post by 1985Mistake » Sun Apr 23, 2017 9:57 am

The mechanic/owner at Wings of Gold in Brandon, FL (Mom and Pop shop where I had the tires replaced on my 85 aspencade) said the timing belts should be replaced every 8 years/80 thousand miles. He assumed that my machine showing 31K miles had never had the belts replaced.

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