GL1500 grinding sound at walking speed?


Information and questions on GL1500 Goldwings (1988-2000)
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Mh434
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GL1500 grinding sound at walking speed?

Postby Mh434 » Mon Jun 16, 2014 9:52 pm



I have this strange sound in my '97 1500SE, and it only occurs at walking speed. It sounds like someone lowering the center stand off and on, just long enough to firmly touch the pavement, making a grinding noise for a moment (of course, that's not happening - retract spring is strong, and center stand stays up and out of the way). It happens 2 or 3 times, pretty much every time I'm going really slow, or stopping. Once I'm underway (say, 2-3 mph or more), it goes away completely. It kind of reminds me of a car I had, where one of the springs inside the brake drum would rub against the inside of the drum occasionally - the sound was somewhat similar.

It definitely sounds like it's coming from under (and behind) the left saddlebag.

It's strange, as it's not a steady sound, even if I continue at dead slow speed - it comes and goes, never more than a second or two at a time. It's enough that I can actually feel it through the seat & controls.

The brakes were recently (100 miles or so ago) redone at a dealer, and by a mechanic, that I trust - new pads, rotors checked, fluids replaced, etc. etc. I've looked under there as best I can without removing the rear wheel, and everything looks normal, with no signs of anything rubbing.

Anyone run into this issue before, or have any ideas what the problem might be? :shock:

Thanks in advance, folks...



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Mh434
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Re: GL1500 grinding sound at walking speed?

Postby Mh434 » Tue Jun 17, 2014 12:50 am

I don't know if it matters, but the bike has around 65K miles on it.

At all other speeds, it sounds normal. It doesn't seem to matter if the clutch is in or out, either. Definitely it originates at the rear of the bike, so it's not the alternator, timing belts, transmission, etc. The rear brake rotor doesn't show unusual wear or scoring (it does sound similar to having a small rock wedged between the calliper & rotor, except that it isn't constant, and only occurs at a very specific speed).

At this point, this is the only fault in an otherwise stellar-performing bike...so this issue is REALLY bugging me!! :roll: We just got back from a roughly 800 mile trip, and (apart from a headlight bulb going out) everything worked...except for this loud "groan-grind-graunch" sound. BTW, the sound never happens over OR under about 2 mph...

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Re: GL1500 grinding sound at walking speed?

Postby OnPapasWing » Tue Jun 17, 2014 5:30 am

Does it matter if the motor is running or not? Will it occur if you are just pushing it up your driveway? Does it matter if you are seated on it or going backwards? What's happening at the time the sound occurs, did you just engage or disengage something?

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Re: GL1500 grinding sound at walking speed?

Postby cbx4evr » Tue Jun 17, 2014 8:01 am

The rear caliper is under the left bag and since you have had recent brake work done I think that is what I would be checking. Take it back to your mechanic for a look and listen.
"It´s a friggen motorcycle, it´s not supposed to be comfortable, quiet or safe. The wind noise is supposed to hurt your ears, the seat should be hard and riding it should make you s**t your pants every now and then. "

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Re: GL1500 grinding sound at walking speed?

Postby WingAdmin » Tue Jun 17, 2014 8:13 am

cbx4evr wrote:The rear caliper is under the left bag and since you have had recent brake work done I think that is what I would be checking. Take it back to your mechanic for a look and listen.


I agree. It's possible the brake caliper/bracket/spacer was put back together incorrectly, or that the brake pads are not retracting properly. But the fact that it started after you had rear brake work done, and the sound is coming from the area of the rear brake says that something is not right there with the brakes.

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Re: GL1500 grinding sound at walking speed?

Postby Mh434 » Tue Jun 17, 2014 10:18 am

OnPapasWing wrote:Does it matter if the motor is running or not? Will it occur if you are just pushing it up your driveway? Does it matter if you are seated on it or going backwards? What's happening at the time the sound occurs, did you just engage or disengage something?



I don't know if it happens if the motor's not running, as I haven't tried that yet (I'll give it a shot today). I haven't been able to go fast enough backwards to see if it happens. When it occurs is when I'm coming to a gentle stop, in the last 5-6 feet. It doesn't matter if I'm braking or not - it still happens if I'm coasting to a stop (again, in the last 5-6 feet or so) on a bit of a grade.

That's what mystifies me - it doesn't seem to be related to the brakes, as it happens even if I don't touch the brakes, yet doesn't happen at any other time, braking or not...

This started around 600-800 miles after the brakes were done. Braking still seems completely normal. I'll still get down there and look further, though.

I always get the realllly weird problems!

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Re: GL1500 grinding sound at walking speed?

Postby Mh434 » Tue Jun 17, 2014 11:52 am

Okay, new information -

For those who guessed a rear brake issue, it looks like you win. I tried using the front brake only on my commute this morning (many stops), and the sound never happened. At least this narrows it down. There doesn't appear to be any scoring or unusual wear pattern on the rear rotor, so I don't know if it could be a rock in there somewhere or not.

Does anyone know if the whole rear plastic has to come off (like a tire change), or just the left saddlebag, to get at the caliper? I figure I at least need to remove the caliper (without cracking open the hydraulics, though, if possible) to get a good look at the pads.

So, for those who have messed with their rear pads, any insight on this?

Thanks in advance, folks!

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Re: GL1500 grinding sound at walking speed?

Postby WingAdmin » Tue Jun 17, 2014 12:20 pm

It's just the left bag to get at the brakes. You can see How to remove and replace your rear wheel for details. Most of what is there you won't need to do, but the steps to get the bag off are the same. It also goes over the removal and replacement of the brake bracket and caliper.

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Re: GL1500 grinding sound at walking speed?

Postby Mh434 » Tue Jun 17, 2014 12:49 pm

Excellent, thanks!

The reason I initially discounted the brake as a problem is because I was getting the noise even just depressing the pedal a tiny bit, without seeming to actually do any braking.

It occurs to me now that every time I heard the sound, I was depressing the pedal, at least a little. Braking seemed smooth even so, with no squealing etc. at any speed. I'm guessing that once I expose the caliper the reason should become clear.

My local dealer (well, an hour away) says they show a set of rear pads in stock. Guess I'll be picking up a set.

I'll be sure to update this thread when I finally find & fix the problem!

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Re: GL1500 grinding sound at walking speed?

Postby OnPapasWing » Tue Jun 17, 2014 3:31 pm

Yay! Not so weird after all. Seems you were, indeed, engaging the rear brakes. Keep us posted.

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Mh434
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Re: GL1500 grinding sound at walking speed?

Postby Mh434 » Tue Jun 17, 2014 10:19 pm

Well, it may still be weird. I got down & had a quick look at the rotor, pads, etc. Pads look to be at 100% depth, there's virtually zero scoring on the rotor (darned good, after 17 years!), and I can't see anything that could be rubbing, no areas rubbed clean, nothing abraded, etc.

I guess I'll have to remove everything in the way, pull out the pads, and see if I can find anything amiss.

Anyone know if there are anti-squeal shims or the like in there that could come adrift & rub?

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Re: GL1500 grinding sound at walking speed?

Postby Dusty Boots » Wed Jun 18, 2014 5:47 am

While you have the rear tire off, check that the rear wheel bearings are good!

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Re: GL1500 grinding sound at walking speed?

Postby Mh434 » Wed Jun 18, 2014 9:02 pm

SOLVED!!

Well, I got in to the rear brake. All looked normal - pads at 100% thickness (not even dusty yet), nothing dragging, all retainers & springs in place, etc.

I finally pulled the pads for a look. I was amazed - lots of galling, and wear areas that were rough as a file. I went to my Honda dealer to buy another set, and showed them the ones I took out of the bike. They advised that they are an extreme-duty, heavily sintered "HH" pads, requiring extreme pressure & speed to work. They weren't surprised to hear of the grinding noise - light use (I'm very easy on brakes) causes noise, galling & rotor wear. I do see that the rotor is now slightly concave across its surface, but it's still usable.

The new pads (aftermarket, but OEM equivalent, semi-metallic, specifically for large tourers) went in fine and, after a brief break in, are giving strong, silent stops, with no noise at all, at any speed. I swear, the ones I replaced feel like they're made of tool steel - they act like it, too.

Whew! I was pretty worried there for a bit... :roll:

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Re: GL1500 grinding sound at walking speed?

Postby OnPapasWing » Thu Jun 19, 2014 5:39 am

Excellent! It would have been nice if the dealer would have given you the option, or at least explained what they were using.

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Re: GL1500 grinding sound at walking speed?

Postby Mh434 » Thu Jun 19, 2014 10:44 am

The previous owner had the brakes done, just before I bought the bike. I suspect they offered him the choice between OEM-type pads or "ultra long-lasting, high performance, racing pads that will last a lot longer", without telling him about the downside. If that's what they told him, I might have gone for it too, in his place.

To be honest, I've never previously investigated the types of pads I bought, as I've always gone with whatever the factory recommends. My thinking has always been that they have whole teams of engineers, determined to put out the best compromise of performance, safety and long life they can, and it's unlikely that I can do much better.

In this case, I guess it's a "buyer beware" thing - hopefully, my experience will help others to not make this mistake!

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Re: GL1500 grinding sound at walking speed?

Postby WingAdmin » Thu Jun 19, 2014 10:46 am

For motorcycles, you don't WANT hard pads - you need your pads to be relatively soft. Motorcycle brake rotors are hard and not designed to wear like car brake rotors - and they are VERY expensive. It's far cheaper to replace your brake pads a few times than it is to replace a brake rotor.

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Re: GL1500 grinding sound at walking speed?

Postby Mh434 » Thu Jun 19, 2014 11:06 am

True! I see that Honda rotors are around $250 (although there are aftermarket ones that are cheaper), and if you change rotors you also have to change pads at the same time. All in all, it could be a very costly mistake!

It does occur to me that several times on our trip, I thought that the braking on the bike wasn't what I'd thought it should be, until we were coming back down the Cascades from Rainy Pass, and working the brakes hard & often. I thought it strange that the brakes got stronger, briefly, when normally I'd have expected some fade. I guess that explains it...




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