Steering Head Clunk


Information and questions on GL1500 Goldwings (1988-2000)
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shomann
Posts: 30
Joined: Sun Jun 12, 2016 8:36 am
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Motorcycle: 1999 GL1500 Aspencade

Steering Head Clunk

Postby shomann » Sun Jul 03, 2016 8:44 am



Gents -

I've had my bike a couple of weeks now and have most the small projects done.

I get a clunk from the front end when going over bumps that I assume is the head bearings need to be torqued. The steering is smooth left to right and doesn't have any grinding / clicking noises.

Is it safe to ride until I get it in? My service place is backed up until August.



CrystalPistol
Posts: 265
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 9:07 pm
Location: Shenandoah Valley of Virginia
Motorcycle: 1985 GL1200A
1997 GL1500SE Lehman Trike

Re: Steering Head Clunk

Postby CrystalPistol » Sun Jul 03, 2016 9:15 am

shomann wrote:I get a clunk from the front end when going over bumps that I assume is the head bearings need to be torqued. The steering is smooth left to right and doesn't have any grinding / clicking noises.

No reason to assume that it's the steering head bearings needing adjustment. The GL1500 has tapered roller bearings and unless someone has monkeyed with them, they usually hardly wear at all.

Rather than assume .... put the bike up on it's center stand, the rear wheel should be clear of the ground now. Now, with front wheel straight, place a hand up under front steering stem at lower triple tree where a thumb or finger can "bridge" between the triple tree and steering stem tube ..... then with other hand on top of tire, try to roll the tire back towards the bike. If the steering stem bearing adjustment is loose, you'll feel some movement in the finger bridging the lower triple tree and steering stem tube.

Now move your finger from there down to the top of the fork slider at back where you can "bridge" between fork slider top and the hard chrome fork tube and try rolling the tire again. Do it on both sides. You may need fork bushings.

The GL1500 has a lot of plastic, you'll hear noises as you ride, including stuff in the fairing pockets bouncing around.
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Bluewaterhooker0
Posts: 558
Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:27 pm
Location: Tampa, Fl
Motorcycle: 1997 Goldwing GL 1500 SE

Re: Steering Head Clunk

Postby Bluewaterhooker0 » Sun Jul 03, 2016 10:15 am

CrystalPistol wrote:
shomann wrote:I get a clunk from the front end when going over bumps that I assume is the head bearings need to be torqued. The steering is smooth left to right and doesn't have any grinding / clicking noises.

No reason to assume that it's the steering head bearings needing adjustment. The GL1500 has tapered roller bearings and unless someone has monkeyed with them, they usually hardly wear at all.

Rather than assume .... put the bike up on it's center stand, the rear wheel should be clear of the ground now. Now, with front wheel straight, place a hand up under front steering stem at lower triple tree where a thumb or finger can "bridge" between the triple tree and steering stem tube ..... then with other hand on top of tire, try to roll the tire back towards the bike. If the steering stem bearing adjustment is loose, you'll feel some movement in the finger bridging the lower triple tree and steering stem tube.

Now move your finger from there down to the top of the fork slider at back where you can "bridge" between fork slider top and the hard chrome fork tube and try rolling the tire again. Do it on both sides. You may need fork bushings.

The GL1500 has a lot of plastic, you'll hear noises as you ride, including stuff in the fairing pockets bouncing around.


+1
With all the plastic panels, and the associated joints, plus items in the bags, trunk, and pockets, clunks on my bike are the norm when hitting any sharp bump. I don't like hearing them, but sure do like the bike and storage capacity.

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shomann
Posts: 30
Joined: Sun Jun 12, 2016 8:36 am
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Motorcycle: 1999 GL1500 Aspencade

Re: Steering Head Clunk

Postby shomann » Sun Jul 03, 2016 11:23 am

It's definitely not plastic noises.

I get the feeling the clunk is from the steering head. It doesn't feel like it's from the forks, more the center of the front end, only over bumps.

Don't Wings need the steering head torqued every 8K? Can you get a clunk if it's loose?

CrystalPistol
Posts: 265
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 9:07 pm
Location: Shenandoah Valley of Virginia
Motorcycle: 1985 GL1200A
1997 GL1500SE Lehman Trike

Re: Steering Head Clunk

Postby CrystalPistol » Sun Jul 03, 2016 7:48 pm

shomann wrote:Don't Wings need the steering head torqued every 8K? Can you get a clunk if it's loose?


I never said your's didn't need it, I just pointed out that there's no reason to assume that's your noise. If you'll try the test I described it'll tell you if your's has any play in the bearings. If they are loose, then yes .... you can get a clunk. I don't doubt but that the book says it's part of a normal service .... but that's not at all the same as saying they need it so often. I doubt that the vast majority of wings need or get a steering stem bearing adjustment in every 40K.
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MikeB
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Joined: Fri Dec 04, 2009 12:54 pm
Location: Tacoma, WA
Motorcycle: 1998 - GL1500 Aspencade.
2003 - GL1800A

Re: Steering Head Clunk

Postby MikeB » Mon Jul 04, 2016 3:15 am

Check and make sure the axle pinch bolts are tight and the axle nut is tight.

Not knowing what kind of maintenance you or the previous owner has done in the recent past makes it a bit difficult to troubleshoot through the computer.
MikeB
Tacoma, WA, USA

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dingdong
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Location: Oklahoma City
Motorcycle: 1976 gl1000
1993 gl1500
2004 NRX1800 Rune

Re: Steering Head Clunk

Postby dingdong » Mon Jul 04, 2016 7:09 am

Chances of slightly loose head bearings clunking are pretty slim. Do the suggested tests. More likely the forks need rebuilding and or servicing.


Tom

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.


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