Front tire wobble (death wobble)


Information and questions on GL1500 Goldwings (1988-2000)
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concrete
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Motorcycle: 1993 GL1500 Aspencade

Front tire wobble (death wobble)

Postby concrete » Mon Feb 02, 2015 7:48 pm



I took my 1993 aspencade out yesterday for a ride. When I got up to about 35 MPH my handle bars were wobbling so bad I couldn't control it. I finally coasted to a stop without dumping it. I checked everything I could such as air pressure in front tire -,tried to shake the wheel to see if it was loose everything seemed fine. I rode it 2 weeks ago with no problems. I headed back to the house and you could feel it starting to wobble again around 25 MPH. Does anybody have any ideas what it might be? I was thinking maybe one of the dual disk brakes on the front tire was hanging up or front bearings. any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.



dennislp
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Re: Front tire wobble (death wobble)

Postby dennislp » Mon Feb 02, 2015 8:16 pm

ck. tire good. if it does it at that slow speed it shouldn't be to hard to find at that speed its got something about to fall apart. look for warped rotors or bad wheel bearings head bearings would almost have to be gone to do that that slow

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Bluewaterhooker0
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Re: Front tire wobble (death wobble)

Postby Bluewaterhooker0 » Mon Feb 02, 2015 8:28 pm

I've owned 4 bikes in my life, and not one of them has ever exhibited the wobble that you describe, or that others on these forums have also described. The 1500 is by far the largest thing I've driven, but wobble issues as described would scare the crap out of me. You say that it was fine 2 weeks ago, and I would assume it has always been fine. The tire pressure is the only thing I can think of that could change quickly. I guess brakes could get stuck, but steering stem problems would, I think, change gradually. Have you done anything to shift the weight distribution from front to rear, or the other way ? I saw an extensive study of wobble problems being caused by weight distribution moved toward the rear of the bike. I have always assumed that the guys posting these problems, had a bike with issues, maybe a previously damaged bike by a PO, a low speed impact that caused some other problem with forks or alignment. You don't seem to match my assumptions. That's when it occurred to me that maybe a separated tire could be a problem, assuming that your tires are in pretty good shape (which can also cause wobbles). I have had a lot of separated tire issues, in recent past, with auto and truck tires. I mean, I went most of my life without separation issues, and have probably had 10 in the past 10 years. And, I'm talking Michelin, Goodyear, and Goodrich tires. Several Michelins, which I had previously considered a premium tire. Anyway, just thought I'd throw that out there, because I know it can certainly play havoc on auto and truck handling. I haven't seen that issue mentioned regarding MC tires at all. Yet they are subjected to similar exposures such as cold/hot cycles, potholes, etc.

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WingAdmin
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Re: Front tire wobble (death wobble)

Postby WingAdmin » Mon Feb 02, 2015 9:10 pm

There are so many things that can contribute to this:

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
- Broken/siezed suspension
- Incorrect torque on steering head
- Loose triple tree
- 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

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Big Blue UK
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Re: Front tire wobble (death wobble)

Postby Big Blue UK » Tue Feb 03, 2015 3:28 am

I have had mild speed wobbles on 1500's but only above 50mph, and only if I relaxed my grip to the extent I almost let go, I have never heard of one that bad at 25mph while gripping normally. I would not take it on the road again that's for sure.

So you rode it 2 weeks ago with no symptoms at all.
It stands for 2 weeks without being touched, and voila you take it out, and it tries to throw you off as soon as you get to 25mph.

Did it happen the very first time you got up to 25mph, or did it suddenly appear while you were riding?.
What exactly did you do with the wing during the 2 weeks apart from wash it?.

To appear as if it were switched on could mean you may have been riding with the fault for some time un noticed, and it has threw its toys out the pram.

I would start with the front wheel and head bearings that may have started to collapse.

Then move on to the rear wheel bearing and swing arm. Being so catastrophic it should be easy to find I imagine.

Then work your way down WA's shopping list, as he said it could be any of those things.

My advice is, if it is a rear wheel bearing, and you have not serviced the drive gear, get the oil and grease, and service the driveshaft and final drive. If you have found the fault elswere I would do this anyway. Every 1500 I have bought, I pop the driveshaft out to see if there are any surprises on the horizon I can prevent.
If at first you don't succeed, hide the evidence.

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WingAdmin
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Re: Front tire wobble (death wobble)

Postby WingAdmin » Tue Feb 03, 2015 3:00 pm

Just keep in mind that the problem could have nothing to do with the front end at all. On my GL1100, the problem was the swingarm pivot pins being installed backward by a previous owner, causing the swingarm to have too much lateral free play. That one took a while to find.

concrete
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Re: Front tire wobble (death wobble)

Postby concrete » Tue Feb 03, 2015 9:48 pm

I want to thank everybody for their suggestions. The bike has sat for two weeks in my garage without touching it. I talked with the Honda dealer today and he suggested the head bearings on the steering or a seperated front tire where it just started happening all of a sudden. He said even the both tires are only 6 months old it doesn't make much sense that there would be a bearing problem of all a sudden. I'll start checking it out hopefully tomorrow. I'll post when I found out more so hopefully it will help someone else.

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Big Blue UK
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Re: Front tire wobble (death wobble)

Postby Big Blue UK » Tue Feb 03, 2015 10:48 pm

WingAdmin wrote:Just keep in mind that the problem could have nothing to do with the front end at all. On my GL1100, the problem was the swingarm pivot pins being installed backward by a previous owner, causing the swingarm to have too much lateral free play. That one took a while to find.


I agree WA, the last one I had thankfully was a rear wheel bearing. The forks are just the easiest and most comfortable place to start :), and should be checked anyway.

I reckon if it is the head or front wheel, and as bad as he says, surely he would feel it through the grips all the time, is that what you are probably thinking too, I have never heard of a tank slapper that bad.
If at first you don't succeed, hide the evidence.

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Big Blue UK
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Re: Front tire wobble (death wobble)

Postby Big Blue UK » Tue Feb 03, 2015 11:16 pm

concrete wrote:He said it doesn't make much sense that there would be a bearing problem of all a sudden.


If it is a bearing or swing arm problem, it would not be all of a sudden as I said earlier, it may have crept up on you un noticed, or even been there when you bought it, so you would not feel the change. If you are lucky enough to go straight to the fault, you should carry on and check everything, I would.

About once a month and before I buy a 1500, I take it up to 50mph, set the cruise, and gradually relax my grip until my gloves just have no contact with the grips for a few seconds,
If at first you don't succeed, hide the evidence.

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Fiberthree
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Re: Front tire wobble (death wobble)

Postby Fiberthree » Tue Feb 03, 2015 11:21 pm

What is in your front tire? Jack up the front to get the wheel off the ground, spin the tire and see if you have a heavy spot. This will also show if your brakes are the culprit.
Ed

WARNING: All posts are subject to influence from an uncontrollable dominant sarcastic gene. Offensive remarks may or may not be intentional.

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WingAdmin
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Re: Front tire wobble (death wobble)

Postby WingAdmin » Wed Feb 04, 2015 9:53 am

Big Blue UK wrote:
concrete wrote:He said it doesn't make much sense that there would be a bearing problem of all a sudden.


If it is a bearing or swing arm problem, it would not be all of a sudden as I said earlier, it may have crept up on you un noticed, or even been there when you bought it, so you would not feel the change. If you are lucky enough to go straight to the fault, you should carry on and check everything, I would.

About once a month and before I buy a 1500, I take it up to 50mph, set the cruise, and gradually relax my grip until my gloves just have no contact with the grips for a few seconds,


With the one on my GL1100, it did start all of a sudden - as soon as I installed new tires. The old rear tire, which was flattened from many miles, had a larger contact patch as a result, which worked to caster the swingarm and keep it from moving laterally. When I put the new tires on it, the rounded profile of the tire presented a much smaller contact patch, which allowed the swingarm to move from side to side much easier. So the problem with the pivot pins was there all along, but it was just being masked by the old rear tire.

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robb
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Re: Front tire wobble (death wobble)

Postby robb » Thu Feb 05, 2015 9:39 am

Couple years back I rode 300 miles in the rain in one day. Bike was flawless, but next morning it was not able to leave motel parking lot. Placed on center stand to check front wheel and found nothing. Rotated rear and heard grinding. Maiden voyage for car tire, never been so glad to have listened to my wife and take my spare rear wheel. Four hours later and next 1400 miles was problem free.

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WingAdmin
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Re: Front tire wobble (death wobble)

Postby WingAdmin » Thu Feb 05, 2015 4:49 pm

robb wrote:Couple years back I rode 300 miles in the rain in one day. Bike was flawless, but next morning it was not able to leave motel parking lot. Placed on center stand to check front wheel and found nothing. Rotated rear and heard grinding. Maiden voyage for car tire, never been so glad to have listened to my wife and take my spare rear wheel. Four hours later and next 1400 miles was problem free.


So what was grinding?

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robb
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Re: Front tire wobble (death wobble)

Postby robb » Thu Feb 05, 2015 7:40 pm

Forgot, wheel bearing was eat up. Day before the leaving bike was serviced, oil filter, rear drive oil and new pads. No sign of problem 1st day of trip when I rotated rear to get to valve stem. I was convinced it was front problem but learned how fast the rear has control.

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hugger-4641
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Re: Front tire wobble (death wobble)

Postby hugger-4641 » Tue Feb 24, 2015 2:41 pm

Last time I had a front end wobble it was from a slipped belt in the rear tire. Wasn't easy to see until I crawled underneath and rotated the back wheel next to my flashlight.

concrete
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Re: Front tire wobble (death wobble)

Postby concrete » Thu Feb 26, 2015 6:26 pm

I'm hoping I found my problem. I put the bike on the center stand and put a piece of angle iron against back tire. The back tire was egg shaped and pushed the angle iron away from the tire. I put the angle iron beside the front tire and it was seperated on one side. I had Shinko tires on it and replaced both with Dunlop Elites. While I had the front end apart I replaced the front wheel bearings. I test drove it and took it up to 70 MPH and let go of the wheel and no shake. Thanks to everyone with their suggestions hopefully I won't have anymore problems. I have ridden the old girl for 3 years with no problems until i put the Shinko tires on about 5 months ago.

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Bluewaterhooker0
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Re: Front tire wobble (death wobble)

Postby Bluewaterhooker0 » Thu Feb 26, 2015 9:26 pm

Glad you found it. Also glad you were able to confirm my suspicions about the tires and separation. As I said, I've had some really bad luck with automobile tires recently, and when they separate, they can introduce some really nasty shakes into a truck or auto steering and suspension. On a bike, I can only imagine it would be that much worse. I hadn't seen anywhere on the forums where that has been identified as the culprit. But, it seems to me to be the first and most likely candidate for problems such as those. Nice to know.

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Big Blue UK
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Re: Front tire wobble (death wobble)

Postby Big Blue UK » Fri Feb 27, 2015 7:18 pm

I assumed the tyres were proper ones, do not recall hearing of anything other than Avon, Dunlop, or Bridgestone on a solo GoldWing. (ok now I have
) :)
The only tyre problem I have ever known personally was when a mate had a blow out doing 90 on a Honda 750 and slid down a dual carriageway about 35 years ago, fortunately he did not hit anything. I remember hearing the comment 'that will teach him to fit cheap Jap rubber'.

The bike tyre lesson I had was riding my Z1000ST to a mates on a wet road about 1981 I think, turning off a roundabout the back end kicked out an inch or two, I was still shaking when I got to my mates who said "you want to get rid of that **** rubber you have had fitted" and educated me on tyres.

The last 1500 I bought had a half worn Bridgestone on the rear and a quarter worn Bridgestone on the front, I replaced them with Bridgestone because they were about 8 years old.

Did you get any money back from the Shinko's

Real glad you kept the shiny side up.
If at first you don't succeed, hide the evidence.

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HawkeyeGL1200
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Re: Front tire wobble (death wobble)

Postby HawkeyeGL1200 » Sat Feb 28, 2015 7:58 am

I completely agree. You could have thrown a wheel weight as well... All you can do is start to systematically eliminate everything on the list Admin provided (I just thought about another one ... cord separation on the tire, which can be checked by lifting the front end and slowly spinning the wheel). Once you've eliminated everything that isn't causing the wobble, you'll find the actual cause. I have noticed that if I carry more weight in one bag than the other, my motorcycles tend to pull (makes sense) to one side... The most common issue I have experienced that causes the front end woes is under-inflation of the tire. Make sure your tire gauge is registering the pressure correctly.

WingAdmin wrote:There are so many things that can contribute to this:

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
- Broken/siezed suspension
- Incorrect torque on steering head
- Loose triple tree
- 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
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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702scottc
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Re: Front tire wobble (death wobble)

Postby 702scottc » Sat Feb 28, 2015 7:55 pm

While I was riding home from work a few months ago I hit a pothole on the interstate and separated a belt on my front tire, didn't cause a handlebar shake but you could sure feel it. Don't know much about shinko tires, ( only on dirt bikes) good off-road tires. I'm on my second Kenda Kruz rear tire. Lost the first one when it went flat on the freeway last year, wasn't the tires fault . All I know is it held together and didn't shred when the bead separated. I replaced the front tire with a Dunlop E3 because that's what was available locally. Kenda tires are a great tire for the cost ( half the price of a Dunlop or Avon). In fact I have another new Kenda rear tire that my friend got me from the Kenda rep. At an endurocross race if anyone is low on cash or wants to try one. Fits the 1500's rear.

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Big Blue UK
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Re: Front tire wobble (death wobble)

Postby Big Blue UK » Mon Mar 02, 2015 1:34 am

When I said "I thought it had proper tyres" it is just a term that I grew up with as a kid that stayed with me. Although amiable and cordial I have a strange way of putting things sometimes.

The mate who had the blowout fitted the same brand tyre, and I did not replace my tyre. The recollections are nostalgic, but neither of us blamed the tyre/pressure/tread depth, and there were no answers to the 'Why's and What if's' that did not happen.

I only asked about getting money back for the Shinko because I believe he should have, not because it was a Shinko :D

I never mean to be condescending or opinionated, not that I think anyone has taken it that way (especially concrete), but occasionally I feel I have to say so, as sadly I never have and may never will ride with any of you outside Europe, which I feel is my loss. Not fair that we only have one lifetime, and my body has done too many miles, and I would miss my family tooo much to be swanning off across America.


If at first you don't succeed, hide the evidence.


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