GL1800 transmission complaints


Information and questions on GL1800 Goldwings (2001-Present)
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peppilepew
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GL1800 transmission complaints

Postby peppilepew » Tue Dec 10, 2013 8:56 am



I just got the s##t scared out of me. I was reading about four problems with the 1800's. First being poorly designed firmware in the nav system, cold hesitation, wobble and last but not least, the transmission. Still have 6 years on warranty and by then it will be way over 100K. I can live with three of them. I think we should push Honda to make the nav more user friendly. I am sorry I sold the 550. Has anyone here had problems with their transmission? If so, then how many miles before problem surfaced, are you pulling trailer and what is your riding style? Is there a way to avoid the potential problem with shifting style? Just curious.



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jinx
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Re: GL1800 transmission complaints

Postby jinx » Tue Dec 10, 2013 9:24 am

No trany problems with over 160,000 miles on my 06. Didn't have any problems with the drive train until 140,000 miles. After a trip to Coldfoot,Alaska the dealer replaced the driveshaft, one of the bearing caps broke, and then
at 145,000 the dealer replaced the final drive, the seal leaked, four weeks apart. Both under warranty. If you haven't done that ride I can tell you it is very tough on a vehicle.

As far as the Nav to each his own. I like the Nav in my 06. Yes it is limited even compared to yours but it does what
I wanted. When I ask it to it gets me from point A to point B to point C to etc it does. I also have a Garmin 3790 mounted for finding poi and other things but my GL1800 Nav is my primary nav when I need a nav.

Enjoy your new wing. You have the ext warranty so most things will be covered for the next couple of years so
ride and have fun.

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Re: GL1800 transmission complaints

Postby wing rider 2012 » Tue Dec 10, 2013 12:37 pm

I have a 2012 GL1800 level 1, I really don't need a NAVI and I don't have the hesitation issue or the wobble and haven't had any transmission problems, the bike runs great and handles very well. I had a GL1500, the difference between the two is remarkable. I love the 1500 and in my opinion it is the most classy motorcycle built, however, I do like the throttle response and the power of the 1800. We tow a trailer when going camping and I can really tell the difference in power, it is there when you need it. I've read on other forums, won't mention any names, about how terrible the new Goldwings are, I've come to the conclusion that some people you just can not please, if you gave them everything they ask for they would still complain about something. I've made the remark on the other forum, "If it is such a terrible bike, then why do you still have it, sale it and buy something else." Some people will complain if they were hung with a new rope, so enjoy your bike and have fun doing so.
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Re: GL1800 transmission complaints

Postby artgrantz » Tue Dec 10, 2013 2:03 pm

I have an 08 and have experienced none of the problems you mention. The GPS isn't perfect but it is worth it's weight in gold on a stormy night in a strange area trying to find my hotel.

peppilepew
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Re: GL1800 transmission complaints

Postby peppilepew » Tue Dec 10, 2013 2:25 pm

wing rider 2012 wrote:I have a 2012 GL1800 level 1, I really don't need a NAVI and I don't have the hesitation issue or the wobble and haven't had any transmission problems, the bike runs great and handles very well. I had a GL1500, the difference between the two is remarkable. I love the 1500 and in my opinion it is the most classy motorcycle built, however, I do like the throttle response and the power of the 1800. We tow a trailer when going camping and I can really tell the difference in power, it is there when you need it. I've read on other forums, won't mention any names, about how terrible the new Goldwings are, I've come to the conclusion that some people you just can not please, if you gave them everything they ask for they would still complain about something. I've made the remark on the other forum, "If it is such a terrible bike, then why do you still have it, sale it and buy something else." Some people will complain if they were hung with a new rope, so enjoy your bike and have fun doing so.


Most opinions and even facts, depending on the source must be taken with a grain of salt. I know Honda would keep the issues from us at all costs. Don't get me wrong, I loved my 1200, 1500 and now my 1800. I want to prevent, rather than correct characteristic problems, if possible. I know the forum you speak of. Not very friendly either. Act of god to post.

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Re: GL1800 transmission complaints

Postby Fatwing Chris » Tue Dec 10, 2013 3:37 pm

jinx wrote:No trany problems with over 160,000 miles on my 06. Didn't have any problems with the drive train until 140,000 miles. After a trip to Coldfoot,Alaska the dealer replaced the driveshaft, one of the bearing caps broke, and then
at 145,000 the dealer replaced the final drive, the seal leaked, four weeks apart. Both under warranty. If you haven't done that ride I can tell you it is very tough on a vehicle.

As far as the Nav to each his own. I like the Nav in my 06. Yes it is limited even compared to yours but it does what
I wanted. When I ask it to it gets me from point A to point B to point C to etc it does. I also have a Garmin 3790 mounted for finding poi and other things but my GL1800 Nav is my primary nav when I need a nav.

Enjoy your new wing. You have the ext warranty so most things will be covered for the next couple of years so
ride and have fun.


I read about the 1800 tranny problems after I picked mine up this year and it scares the crap out of me.From what I've read there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to the failures or any year that is more prone to it.Some have gone out as early as 30k apparently.Worst part is Mother Honda won't acknowledge it is an issue and hasn't done anything to improve the parts.The best you can hope for is that if yours goes you still have warr.
If I'da known it would last this long,I'da taken better care of it.
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jinx
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Re: GL1800 transmission complaints

Postby jinx » Tue Dec 10, 2013 4:58 pm

Fatwing Chris

Yes some riders have had problems with different things on the wing but remember the forums
tend to magnify the problems. Look up any vehicle forum and many of the post will be people
talking about the problems with their vehicle. If you are really worried about the tranny failing
sell the bike and try to find something better. For my money and riding style I will take the gl1800
over any other bike out there.
You state that some have go out in only 30,000 true but how many have gone over 100,000, 200,000
or even 300,000 with out any tranny problems ?

As stated in previous post I have over 160,000 miles on my wing and I wouldn't hesitate to get on it
and head out on a cross country trip. How many other bikes can you say that about ?

Enjoy the ride life's to short not too.

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Re: GL1800 transmission complaints

Postby peppilepew » Tue Dec 10, 2013 6:20 pm

jinx wrote:Fatwing Chris

Yes some riders have had problems with different things on the wing but remember the forums
tend to magnify the problems. Look up any vehicle forum and many of the post will be people
talking about the problems with their vehicle. If you are really worried about the tranny failing
sell the bike and try to find something better. For my money and riding style I will take the gl1800
over any other bike out there.
You state that some have go out in only 30,000 true but how many have gone over 100,000, 200,000
or even 300,000 with out any tranny problems ?

As stated in previous post I have over 160,000 miles on my wing and I wouldn't hesitate to get on it
and head out on a cross country trip. How many other bikes can you say that about ?

Enjoy the ride life's to short not too.


I think his point is that there is a potential for a serious mechanical failure that can cause the rear wheel to lockup and for us to get stranded somewhere far from home. The point being Honda is aware of this but just like the navi and head bearing they do nothing. It is cheaper to repair the failures than to re-engineer the parts. Failures create opportunity for dealers and the manufacturer to profit. I would not have purchased this 2012 had I know. I just wouldn't have. I put extensive time and money into customizing my bikes and don't want the grief/inconvenience/expense of having to deal with something that should have been corrected long ago. I would have just kept riding the 1500. It may go forever, it may not, it may fail under warranty, it may fail out of warranty. All I know is that my confidence and respect for Honda has been seriously degraded. The japs are still fighting the war. Ethics and money rarely go hand and hand! I now want to sell it but am stuck. I have done too much work to it. What would replace it? Crap shoot. Not whining, just PO that Honda's arrogance and corporate profiteering take precedence over ethics! Fix the F###ing problem with the dog legs once and for all Honda! Correct the Navi firmware and use a set of head bearings that work!

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Re: GL1800 transmission complaints

Postby Wingrider44 » Tue Dec 10, 2013 8:14 pm

There isn't a vehicle manufactured in the world that is devoid of mechanical problems at times. Remember it is a machine and machines break down. It's really that simple. I've owned 8 Goldwings over many years of riding. These 8 encompass every engine size that was offered in the GL, 1000, 1100, 1200, 1500, and 1800. I have not had a single problem with any of them that would make me turn away from Goldwings in general. I've had bikes (GL1500s) that had well over 100,000 miles on them when I traded and later saw the same bike at the dealer once again for sale and it now had 140,000 miles on it and still looking and running great. So contrary to peppilepew's opinion, if I purchase one more bike before I hang up my riding gear, It will be another GL. And before you ask, yes, I have owned other bikes as well. A Yamaha V-Star (fun bike) and a brand new 2013 Victory Vision which I put 8000 miles on and traded it for, you guessed it, a GL1800 Level 3 (2008).
Whoever mentioned the 1500, I couldn't agree more. My 1500s (I had 3) were all great bikes. Comfort wise you can't beat the 1500s. Much more comfortable than the 1800. But oh that 1800 performance is just too nice to not sacrifice a little "cushiness". YMMV......
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Re: GL1800 transmission complaints

Postby peppilepew » Tue Dec 10, 2013 9:37 pm

Wingrider44 wrote:There isn't a vehicle manufactured in the world that is devoid of mechanical problems at times. Remember it is a machine and machines break down. It's really that simple. I've owned 8 Goldwings over many years of riding. These 8 encompass every engine size that was offered in the GL, 1000, 1100, 1200, 1500, and 1800. I have not had a single problem with any of them that would make me turn away from Goldwings in general. I've had bikes (GL1500s) that had well over 100,000 miles on them when I traded and later saw the same bike at the dealer once again for sale and it now had 140,000 miles on it and still looking and running great. So contrary to peppilepew's opinion, if I purchase one more bike before I hang up my riding gear, It will be another GL. And before you ask, yes, I have owned other bikes as well. A Yamaha V-Star (fun bike) and a brand new 2013 Victory Vision which I put 8000 miles on and traded it for, you guessed it, a GL1800 Level 3 (2008).
Whoever mentioned the 1500, I couldn't agree more. My 1500s (I had 3) were all great bikes. Comfort wise you can't beat the 1500s. Much more comfortable than the 1800. But oh that 1800 performance is just too nice to not sacrifice a little "cushiness". YMMV......


I do understand, that is what angers me. Ignorance is bliss. I understand that perfectly good airplanes fall out of the sky because parts fail. Boeing or whoever, changes the design or goes out of business..... I work in the technical field of transmissions. I diagnose, remove and rebuild. I must build a product that lasts or I will be out of business...... I must constantly adapt and improve on the weak points to prevent comebacks that cost my company money and degrade my customer loyalty. Riding a reputation only lasts so long. It eventually catches up. While I love my bike, I can not ignore the arrogance/ethics of making something that has known manufacturing/design flaws. Correct it.... These bikes are expensive, we deserve better. This is not ranting, this is ethically speaking.

Ford Taurus transmissions are a great example. I am using the Taurus as it is well know. Many other vehicles had the same design transmissions. The AXOD/E model transmission has been out since the eighties. Variants continued until recently. Two major design faults with this transmissions were well know by Ford but they continued to make it the same way until 1994/5. All manufactures do this, not just Ford. When the vehicle turned moderately the transmission would just fall out of gear. The dip stick read full. To save an extra quart of fluid Ford made the sump shallow. They kept doing it for years. We would just add an extra quart and solve the problem. The major problem was the forward piston. It was made of cheesy aluminum that either cracked or just flattened. Back in the eighties when you went to the dealer for a new piston it was made of steel. You couldn't buy an aluminum one. I found that aluminum piston in model years up to 1995. They just kept putting a part in with known problems and costing their customers thousands in repair costs. I surmise the reasoning was to sell new cars. What a piece of junk that car was. It rode nice and had plenty of power, but it was junk! Years ago manufactures got away with this. Not today, the internet has educated the customer.

Just fix it and be done with it while it is on the redrawing table. Learn, adapt, correct, charge a little extra but fix it!

I love my 15, it is way more comfortable. Has more storage space. The 18 kills it performance wise. The 15 has a potential 4th gear issue.

Situations like this create opportunities for savvy aftermarket entrepreneurs. Many solutions to manufacturing defects come from the aftermarket. Why not purchase that solution and incorporate it into their unit?

Things are always more complicated than what they seem to be. Any time money and ego is involved the situation creates a conflict of interest..........

I spend my working hours repairing mechanical items, the last thing I want to do is repair my bike because some corporation saved 29.2 cents during the manufacturing of a gear. That just plain PO's me.

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Re: GL1800 transmission complaints

Postby Wingrider44 » Tue Dec 10, 2013 11:11 pm

I understand what you're saying. And perhaps those of us that work in technical fields (I own a CNC Machine Shop) think to much about problems that can occur. I firmly believe that if transmission problems were widely spread, Honda would have had to address it. Plus if it were a widespread problem, the NHTSA would have gotten involved particularly if there was a strong possibility of the rear wheel locking up.
You're right, ignorance is bliss. Conversely, knowing too much can make one a bit paranoid.
If I were you, I would not worry too much about the transmission, the wobble, or the hesitation. Treat the transmission with tender loving care by not stomping on the shift lever when first starting out like I see a lot of people do. For the wobble, keep your tires properly inflated, and don't remove you hands from the handlebars particularly while you are slowing down and your speed is below 45 mph. The cold hesitation? Let it warm up a few minutes before taking off. As far as the crappy navi software is concerned, you are SO right. But I still like mine and it pretty much does what I want it to. It's not as versatile as your (and my) 550s are and I did like you, I sold the 550. BUT I still have a 450 which you can get nothing for. So I'm hanging on to it just in case. The fact that Honda and Garmin don't try to improve on those overpriced navi units is beyond me. They've had six or 7 years to get it right and still haven't. Even the 4.6 version for our pre 2009 is still buggy. Harley Davidson got theirs right on the 2014. THAT is a sweet unit. But I'll still keep my riding my Wing.
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Re: GL1800 transmission complaints

Postby Fatwing Chris » Wed Dec 11, 2013 10:38 am

Wingrider44 wrote:There isn't a vehicle manufactured in the world that is devoid of mechanical problems at times. Remember it is a machine and machines break down. It's really that simple. I've owned 8 Goldwings over many years of riding. These 8 encompass every engine size that was offered in the GL, 1000, 1100, 1200, 1500, and 1800. I have not had a single problem with any of them that would make me turn away from Goldwings in general. I've had bikes (GL1500s) that had well over 100,000 miles on them when I traded and later saw the same bike at the dealer once again for sale and it now had 140,000 miles on it and still looking and running great. So contrary to peppilepew's opinion, if I purchase one more bike before I hang up my riding gear, It will be another GL. And before you ask, yes, I have owned other bikes as well. A Yamaha V-Star (fun bike) and a brand new 2013 Victory Vision which I put 8000 miles on and traded it for, you guessed it, a GL1800 Level 3 (2008).
Whoever mentioned the 1500, I couldn't agree more. My 1500s (I had 3) were all great bikes. Comfort wise you can't beat the 1500s. Much more comfortable than the 1800. But oh that 1800 performance is just too nice to not sacrifice a little "cushiness". YMMV......


I too have had every size of Wing except for the 2nd gen 1800(2-12's,6 in all)) and never ever worried about the tranny before even though people said my early model 1500(89) tranny was destined to fail.It had approx. 110 k miles on it when I sold it this July and I had put about 60k of that on it.Thing is with the 1800 like I said there seems to be no rhyme or reason,year,heel/toe shifter or how it's driven.Sounds like that they will just start ghost shifting and once it does it once it will only get worse.Just like any standard trans,once it starts popping out of gear it will only get worse.I was a tranny guy at a GM Dealer for 15 years.
If I were to drive it like an idiot or if someone said the 04's had a bad tranny and I bought it anyway then that's on me but when just all of a sudden out of the blue it starts popping out or ghost shifting that's just sh*ty on Hondas part.
Yes there are lots that go 2 or 300 k with no issues but there seems to be a higher percentage of 1800 tranny failures then all of the previous years.Can you honestly tell me that this issue is not going to be in the back of your mind when you're a couple of thousand miles from home on a trip with just you and the wife?We shouldn't have to concern ourselves with this kind of thing.JMHO.
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Re: GL1800 transmission complaints

Postby Wingrider44 » Wed Dec 11, 2013 9:04 pm

Breakdowns of all sorts are on my mind to a small degree. I say small degree because if it weighs too heavy on my mind, it will spoil the trip. So my attitude is that I will deal with whatever comes along, when it comes along. I figured out long ago that whatever scenarios I would conceive in my mind, things almost never happen the way it had it figured. Going on a trip in a car you face the possibility of breakdown too. Any breakdown just plain sucks. But I'm certainly not going to obsess about it.....ever.
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Re: GL1800 transmission complaints

Postby jinx » Thu Dec 12, 2013 8:22 am

Fatwing Chris

"Can you honestly tell me that this issue is not going to be in the back of your mind when you're a couple of thousand miles from home on a trip with just you and the wife?We shouldn't have to concern ourselves with this kind of thing.JMHO."

Yes I can honestly tell you that. I have done many many miles in areas of the US and Canada solo with no cell
service and the nearest gas is 80 miles away per the gps and the last thing on my mind is that the wing is going
to let me down.

Life is to short I'm going to enjoy as much of it as possible and not worry about the small stuff.

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Re: GL1800 transmission complaints

Postby Wingrider44 » Thu Dec 12, 2013 10:28 am

jinx wrote:Fatwing Chris

"Can you honestly tell me that this issue is not going to be in the back of your mind when you're a couple of thousand miles from home on a trip with just you and the wife?We shouldn't have to concern ourselves with this kind of thing.JMHO."

Yes I can honestly tell you that. I have done many many miles in areas of the US and Canada solo with no cell
service and the nearest gas is 80 miles away per the gps and the last thing on my mind is that the wing is going
to let me down.

Life is to short I'm going to enjoy as much of it as possible and not worry about the small stuff.



Amen............jinx,I couldn't agree more. :) :) :)
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Re: GL1800 transmission complaints

Postby Fatwing Chris » Thu Dec 12, 2013 10:32 am

It's not so much the breaking down in the middle of nowhere so much as the $3-4k repair cost when you do finally get it home.For someone that just spent all their money to upgrade to an 1800(like me) to have the tranny go south within a few miles or months would be devastating to them to say the least.That bike is most likely going to the back corner of the garage and most likely will be staying there.Someone commented just recently about the price of 1800 motors going way up.Being as reliable as they are do you think that has anything to do with the tranny repairs being so expensive?This to me says that there are a lot more tranny problems with the 18 than most would like to admit.
PS I not the type of person to worry about walking out the back door and getting hit by an airplane wheel or anything like that but just the cost of the parts alone for this repair(being a licensed tech I would be doing it myself)is something that no Wing owner should have to worry about in this day and age.JMHO.
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Re: GL1800 transmission complaints

Postby jinx » Thu Dec 12, 2013 11:36 am

Fatwing Chris

When your tranny goes why don't you post about it here and let very one know.
You can even post a I told you so . I will be looking for it.
In the mean time I think I will go put another 100,000 miles on mine.

Life is to short I'm going to enjoy as much of it as possible and not worry about the small stuff.

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Re: GL1800 transmission complaints

Postby peppilepew » Thu Dec 12, 2013 11:46 am

Fatwing Chris wrote:It's not so much the breaking down in the middle of nowhere so much as the $3-4k repair cost when you do finally get it home.For someone that just spent all their money to upgrade to an 1800(like me) to have the tranny go south within a few miles or months would be devastating to them to say the least.That bike is most likely going to the back corner of the garage and most likely will be staying there.Someone commented just recently about the price of 1800 motors going way up.Being as reliable as they are do you think that has anything to do with the tranny repairs being so expensive?This to me says that there are a lot more tranny problems with the 18 than most would like to admit.
PS I not the type of person to worry about walking out the back door and getting hit by an airplane wheel or anything like that but just the cost of the parts alone for this repair(being a licensed tech I would be doing it myself)is something that no Wing owner should have to worry about in this day and age.JMHO.


I agree, even if it was covered by warranty, I would be very reluctant to have anyone else work on my bike, especially a Honda/general tech. Very few have the work ethic I would DEMAND. Being in the business enables me to know the difference. I just won't take some BS story from someone without putting them in their place. There would be scratches on the panels and chrome, fasteners missing/installed incorrectly and who knows what else. I hear stories about bikes being damaged at dealerships all the time. In many cases it would take months for the repair to be completed. The OEM gears and forks would be re-installed. This is a known problem that requires attention at the engineering level. If enough 18 owners that had the problem got together and started a class action suit, it would get fixed...... Why does it take a class action to get a company to do the right thing? It is just a potential nightmare that can and should be prevented. Hopefully it won't happen. My issue here is about a manufacturer continuing to produce a product with know problems. The nav and head bearings are included in this issue. Again Honda, fix it once and for all! This type of complaining on the internet is hurting your sales Honda. People Google GL1800 Honda goldwing ,and find these threads.

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Re: GL1800 transmission complaints

Postby Fatwing Chris » Thu Dec 12, 2013 4:14 pm

jinx wrote:Fatwing Chris

When your tranny goes why don't you post about it here and let very one know.
You can even post a I told you so . I will be looking for it.
In the mean time I think I will go put another 100,000 miles on mine.

Life is to short I'm going to enjoy as much of it as possible and not worry about the small stuff.


Not saying mine will be one of them but I'd sure be p*ssed if it was and believe me everyone will hear about it.
If I'da known it would last this long,I'da taken better care of it.
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Re: GL1800 transmission complaints

Postby WGM » Sun Dec 29, 2013 5:06 pm

I FOUND IF I SHIFTED EASY EVERY SO OFTEN IT WOULD BE HALF IN GEAR AND HALF OUT AND SOUND LIKE IT WAS COMING APART I HAVE 30,0000 MILES ON HER ITS AT THE DEALER NOW THAY ARE CHANGING SPRINGS,AND SHIFTER PARTS NO BIG DEAL .AS FOR NAV,AND XM PROBLEMS THAY TRIED CHANGING ANTANNAS, NO GOOD . NOW THE UNITS THAT WORKED , IF I WENT SOUTH ON A 4 LANE HWY. I WOULD LOSE XM, BUT GO NORTH IT WOULD WORK FINE, NAV HARD TO EXPLAIN THE BIKE WOULD ARRIVE BEFOURE THE NAV

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Re: GL1800 transmission complaints

Postby peppilepew » Sun Dec 29, 2013 6:47 pm

Sorry for your troubles. Let us know how good of a job the dealer does. :( No reason for this Honda. You know there is a problem, fix it!

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Re: GL1800 transmission complaints

Postby frostypop » Wed Jan 01, 2014 8:42 pm

been riding a goldwing now for about 7 years, this is the first i have heard anyone i have ever talked to about having tranny problems, i think if it was as big a problem as your saying there would have been a recall, like on the brakes a couple of years ago. never heard anything about that until i got a letter from honda telling me to have it inspected. 8-)

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Re: GL1800 transmission complaints

Postby peppilepew » Wed Jan 01, 2014 11:37 pm

frostypop wrote:been riding a goldwing now for about 7 years, this is the first i have heard anyone i have ever talked to about having tranny problems, i think if it was as big a problem as your saying there would have been a recall, like on the brakes a couple of years ago. never heard anything about that until i got a letter from honda telling me to have it inspected. 8-)


Hope your right. Trans is not safety related. They are not required to issue a recall. Brakes are different, frame cracking and anything that can cause a crash are re-callable.

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Re: GL1800 transmission complaints

Postby rpg » Thu Jan 02, 2014 5:41 am

WGM wrote:I FOUND IF I SHIFTED EASY EVERY SO OFTEN IT WOULD BE HALF IN GEAR AND HALF OUT AND SOUND LIKE IT WAS COMING APART I HAVE 30,0000 MILES ON HER ITS AT THE DEALER NOW THAY ARE CHANGING SPRINGS,AND SHIFTER PARTS NO BIG DEAL .AS FOR NAV,AND XM PROBLEMS THAY TRIED CHANGING ANTANNAS, NO GOOD . NOW THE UNITS THAT WORKED , IF I WENT SOUTH ON A 4 LANE HWY. I WOULD LOSE XM, BUT GO NORTH IT WOULD WORK FINE, NAV HARD TO EXPLAIN THE BIKE WOULD ARRIVE BEFOURE THE NAV

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Peteswing
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Joined: Sun May 05, 2013 9:40 am
Location: Wellington, Fl
Motorcycle: 2010 GL1800
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Re: GL1800 transmission complaints

Postby Peteswing » Thu Jan 02, 2014 10:14 am

Same here the only problems I have had have been my fault lazy or improper shifting. I have read about many who have transmission problems and had to have them rebuild and some covered under warranties. I don't think Honda has a problem with them these are pretty dependable bikes. Lots of us get a 100,000 miles on them with out any issues.




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