New Member with question on fork seals


Information and questions on GL1500 Goldwings (1988-2000)
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moreira72
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Joined: Fri Aug 09, 2013 4:31 pm
Location: Clark, New Jersey
Motorcycle: 1998 GL1500SE

New Member with question on fork seals

Postby moreira72 » Thu May 28, 2015 8:59 pm



Hi from New Jersey. I have a new to me 1998 GL1500 SE with 60K miles. I am second owner, and bike is in very good condition aside from a right fork seal leak.
I had two Valkyries in the past. A 98 Tourer and a 99 Interstate. and did fork seals on both bikes. My question is do I really need a tool to remove the fork caps on the Goldwing? I did not need any tool to remove the caps on the Valkyries. Just unscrew and they popped off with the spring popping out of the tube like 1 or 2 inches.
I would hate to buy a tool for $180 bucks that I will never use again. Is there another way to get the caps off? Or is there a member here that has the tool and would rent it? I would pay shipping both ways. Thanks in Advance



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virgilmobile
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Re: New Member with question on fork seals

Postby virgilmobile » Thu May 28, 2015 11:29 pm

I made my own..big bolt..extention and a "T" handle..Any welder can whip you up one ...When I took the caps off...it launched it across the shop...
It took me standing on my seat with all my weight and dexterity to get them back on...Mark the cap and the fork top right where the threads start to grab...I can only get half a rotation with the t handle while pushing the spring back down...

Mine is a 88 and did not have a vent screw in the cap...It does now...made my own...Now I can change the oil without removing the caps.

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moreira72
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Re: New Member with question on fork seals

Postby moreira72 » Fri May 29, 2015 11:00 am

Wow, I didn't know the springs are under that much pressure. when I bounce the front end it doesn't seem any stiffer than the Valkyrie feels. Guess I will try to build a tool or try to find a used one online.
Here's a picture of the Wing and my Valkyrie Interstate


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virgilmobile
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84 GL 1200 I

Re: New Member with question on fork seals

Postby virgilmobile » Fri May 29, 2015 12:18 pm

Yours may be different.mine popped up almost 4".Does yours have any way to add oil without removing the spring?
A bleeder cap in the top?
Mine does now.With the bleeder open,I can pump the fork oil into the bottom of the fork without pulling the spring and pouring it into the top.
Also be aware that your right fork may take just a bit less oil than the left.
Something like 0.2 oz less.Theres a reason for that.Left and right fork mechanisms are different inside.
At least on the 88/89.
Better look at a manual.
If your gonna knock it apart,you might consider replacing the slide bushings while your there.always check with a piece of glass the forks for parallel and follow the torque sequence from the wheel up.Just to keep everything moving smooth.

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moreira72
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Re: New Member with question on fork seals

Postby moreira72 » Fri May 29, 2015 1:10 pm

I have the Honda Service and ETM Manuals, the PO gave them to me with the bike, and I do all the maintenance myself including mounting new tires.

If I am not replacing the springs, can I just remove the bolt on the bottom of the slider and remove the retainer and oil seal and pull apart the tube from slider?

If so, I can do without the tool and then refill the forks thru the Schrader Valve.

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virgilmobile
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Previously owned
78 GL1000
81 GL1100
82 GL1100 I
83 GL1100 I
83 GL1100 standard
84 GL 1200 I

Re: New Member with question on fork seals

Postby virgilmobile » Fri May 29, 2015 3:31 pm

You bet.Thats the reason I drilled my cap out.You may find it easier to remove the fork from the bike and do in on the bench.Easier than trying to set the upper slides seated on the bike.

97serider
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Re: New Member with question on fork seals

Postby 97serider » Sat May 30, 2015 11:12 am

I am pretty sure if you take out those drain bolts without relieving the spring tension you still have a problem but I only just did this for the first time recently. Be aware those bolts have thread lock on them so they may be hard to break. I would refer you to the excellent diy article on how to rebuild your forks listed on this site. I would bite the bullet and buy the tool which works well or make something especially if you have progressive springs in there.

Wingryder1
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Motorcycle: 1994 Honda Gl1500 SE three older goldwings, and a host of other cycles going clear back to High School with a 58 Cushman Eagle.

Re: New Member with question on fork seals

Postby Wingryder1 » Sat May 30, 2015 2:34 pm

If all you are doing is replacing the seals and if you have air valves on the top of the forks.. you do not need to open up the springs at all.

Can be done on the bike but easier off the bike. Either way... springs do not need to come out.

dm

Wingryder1
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Re: New Member with question on fork seals

Postby Wingryder1 » Sat May 30, 2015 4:50 pm

Since my seal replacement is only hours old (well ok a few days) I will chime in and tell you what I learned mainly from virgilmobile on this forum.

1. It took a impact wrench to remove the bolt in the bottom of the forks. Not because it was so tight but the spring inside wanted to turn.

2. Took the lowers off the uppers while still on the bike.. easier to "slam" the lowers down and remove the seal (after clip is out)
3. Tried to reinstall seal and bushing while on bike.per virginmobile,.... but failed.. just loosen three bolts on each side and fork slips out bottom.
4. After all back together I used a funnel and a plastic tube to refill through the Schrader valve.
5. Measure the "air space" from top of oil to top of fork.I used a small wood dowel. I went with 15.5 inches and 10 wt Belray fork oil. Ride just a hair stiff but that's ok. (if you get too much oil in there drop your plastic tube in to the correct dept and suck some out.
Good luck.

97serider
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Re: New Member with question on fork seals

Postby 97serider » Sun May 31, 2015 9:55 am

Good information Wingryder 1, I can see how this would work since there is no tension on the lower. For reinstalling the new seal with the uppers still on the bike would a motion pro seal driver work? Also how did you come up with the 15.5 for the airspace? I remember using 7.6 from the top with the spring out and fork collapsed. Does that account for the difference? I am filing this all away for next time to save some work. Thanks.

Wingryder1
Posts: 52
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Motorcycle: 1994 Honda Gl1500 SE three older goldwings, and a host of other cycles going clear back to High School with a 58 Cushman Eagle.

Re: New Member with question on fork seals

Postby Wingryder1 » Sun May 31, 2015 10:28 am

Not sure on the driver as I don't have. I was using a pvc coupler split in half and tapped in from above with a long extension and a helper. It gave me trouble so I just pulled the fork in question. Then used short length of pvc pipe to seat the bushing and seal (one at a time.. use plenty of oil at each step.). Reading the forums... the air space seems to be 14 to 16 inches depending on the bike year ,type of springs and stiffness desired. And this measurement is with springs installed and forks fully extended. (Front wheel off the ground if you have it all back together) I really think equal air space (oil level) is more important than level itself. Also my springs are the old progressives which are two springs.. one inside the other and I really couldn't find a exact "air" measurement for them.
If you have oem springs or new style progressives.. someone here on the forum has done the math and provided exact levels.

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otto1
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Re: New Member with question on fork seals

Postby otto1 » Sun May 31, 2015 5:21 pm

Before you pull things apart you may want to try cleaning the seal. sometimes there can be a little dirt in the seal and it will leak. This is very common on dirt bikes and I clean my wr250 seals to see if they are just dirty and not worn out. 80% of the time they are dirty. I have cleaned seals on many street bikes as well.

Pull the dust cap off, clean the area around the seal, get a piece of thin plastic about the thickness of 35mm film, I have used a very thin feeler gauge as well. I like to oil the piece of plastic then slide it up under the seal and go around the tube. Check the plastic for dirt and if there is some dirt do it again until it is clean.

Here is a vid on you tube. it is for a dirt bike but fork seals are fork seal regardless the motorcycle. This guy is little long winded but you will get the idea.





Also, if you have stock spring in the forks there is very little force on the cap when you take them off. If there are progressive brand springs they are very stiff, to stiff in my opinion, and can be taken out if you put a good amount of force on the cap as you are unscrewing it. I have removed and installed many fork caps on many bikes, including GL's with progressives, and I have never needed a special tool. Just be smart and prepared for the force when the cap is removed. I prefer to take the forks off the bike and clean them thoroughly and check the bushing as well. Makes no sense to me to do the job half way leaving the sludge and dirt from the previous oil in the tube, fork seals and bushing are cheap and fresh forks are so nice.

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moreira72
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Re: New Member with question on fork seals

Postby moreira72 » Mon Jun 01, 2015 4:48 pm

Thanks for all the input. I will tear into it when the parts come in. I decided to rebuild the whole front end. Ordered new steering stem bearings, front wheel bearings, fork seals and new brake pads. The bike has 60K on the clock and the previous owner never did any maintenance on the front end aside from brake pads. I figure since its apart, I might as well do it.

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otto1
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Re: New Member with question on fork seals

Postby otto1 » Mon Jun 01, 2015 8:33 pm

Sounds like a fun project. When you have the fork tubes off take a good feel of the steering stem. The 1500 has tapered bearing in the stem and they are pretty durable. You may only need to lube them if there is no roughness or pitting upon inspection.

If your bike has the anemic stock springs, just throw them right in the recycling pile. Completely useless when they were new and even more so now. If you put new springs in you may want to consider straight weight spring instead of the progressives. The straight weights can be sized for your body weight and not a one size fits all approach like the progressives. I found the progressives to be very harsh and now that I have the straight weights springs the ride is smooooth as can be. You can go onto racetechs web site and they will size out springs for you body weight, you can call them if you have any questions, nice guys there.. I then bought my racetech springs on ebay and saved a bit of $$. I did not need a spring compressor to put my .95kg/mm springs in my bike. The only thing you have to do is cut a spacer for the preload. they give you directions.

http://www.racetech.com/

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moreira72
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Re: New Member with question on fork seals

Postby moreira72 » Mon Jun 01, 2015 9:05 pm

otto1 wrote:Sounds like a fun project. When you have the fork tubes off take a good feel of the steering stem. The 1500 has tapered bearing in the stem and they are pretty durable. You may only need to lube them if there is no roughness or pitting upon inspection.

If your bike has the anemic stock springs, just throw them right in the recycling pile. Completely useless when they were new and even more so now. If you put new springs in you may want to consider straight weight spring instead of the progressives. The straight weights can be sized for your body weight and not a one size fits all approach like the progressives. I found the progressives to be very harsh and now that I have the straight weights springs the ride is smooooth as can be. You can go onto racetechs web site and they will size out springs for you body weight, you can call them if you have any questions, nice guys there.. I then bought my racetech springs on ebay and saved a bit of $$. I did not need a spring compressor to put my .95kg/mm springs in my bike. The only thing you have to do is cut a spacer for the preload. they give you directions.

http://www.racetech.com/


Thanks for the info on the springs, I haven't taken things apart yet, but did lift front wheel of the ground and when turning handlebars side to side the bearing seems to hit an indent straight ahead. Gonna replace with all balls roller bearings. Just waiting for parts to come in to start. Did you need the tool to remove the fork caps?

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moreira72
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Re: New Member with question on fork seals

Postby moreira72 » Tue Jun 02, 2015 5:53 pm

Update!!! I first want to apologize for not taking pictures, but I was working alone.
So I took the forks off the bike today and took them apart. I didn't need the cap tool to get the caps off!!
I loosened the caps and removed the Schrader valve while the tubes were still in the trees on the bike. I removed the lower bolt to drain the oil. (FYI) if you have an SE with Schrader valves and just want to change the fork oil, you can just remove the bolt on the air dive valves and drain from there without removing wheel.
I then lifted the dust caps and removed the retainer spring off that holds the oil seal. I then gave the sliders a good couple of tugs down and they came off the tubes. I then removed the tubes from the trees, I then held them upright on the floor on a few shop towels not to damage the piston end. I pushed down on the cap with my hand and twisted the tube off the cap as it was stationary in my hand. Caps came off and spring only came up above the tube 1 1/2 inches. I did notice that the oil lock piece and spring retainer that holds it was missing from the right side fork. I ordered a new one from bike bandit.
I don't know if it applies to all 1500 wings, but my 1998 SE didn't need the fork cap tool.

97serider
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Re: New Member with question on fork seals

Postby 97serider » Wed Jun 03, 2015 3:26 pm

There is no oil lock on that side from what I have read elsewhere on this site .

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moreira72
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Re: New Member with question on fork seals

Postby moreira72 » Wed Jun 03, 2015 6:22 pm

97serider wrote:There is no oil lock on that side from what I have read elsewhere on this site .


Why is there no oil lock on the left fork? The internals are identical on both forks aside from the missing oil lock. And the Honda OEM service manual doesn't mention the forks being different or the left fork not having an oil lock.

Page 12-16 in the Service Manual shows all the internals for the left fork, and it shows the oil lock piece. TIA


97serider
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Re: New Member with question on fork seals

Postby 97serider » Thu Jun 04, 2015 4:07 pm

Check out the article called 1500 front end disassembly video on this site by Heidibill. He did the same thing actually making one himself but as dingdong informed him there is only one with the oil lock, that account for the slight difference in oil capacity of the forks. I don't know why honda did it but put them back together like you found them and your fine. Not sure what happens if you put one on both forks. You may want to think about new springs while you have it apart. Good luck.




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