Tips for stripping your GL1800 engine

Step-by-step tutorials on how to maintain and fix your GL1800
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Joined: Mon Sep 27, 2010 5:05 am
Location: United Kingdom
Motorcycle: 1981 GL1100 INTERSTATE: 1995 GL1500 SE: 2003 GL1800:

Tips for stripping your GL1800 engine

Post by colin.berry »

I recently needed to strip the engine of my 1800...I carried out an oil change and when draining the oil I found some stone chippings mixed in with the oil...obviously some jealous so and so had decided to try and wreck the engine.....I had bought the 2003 GL1800 from a reputable dealer for three grand less than list was sold with no warranty and the dealer gave me a list of what seemed valid reasons as to why (none of them being that there were stones in the oil.)...any way...I decided to strip the engine and make sure everything was ok inside the box...I had experience of stripping car engines many years ago and seeing as the bike owed me nothing I wanted to give it a thorough inspection and keep it rather than palm it off on someone else.....the bike itself was, and still is in immaculate condition so I was up for an engine removal and overhaul. The following is a list of tips that I feel will help immensely if you ever need to strip the engine...its not how to do it as that would take too long and the Haynes manual is not a bad heres the list and I hope its helpful if you ever tackle this mammoth job.....
a word of warning it is a big job...amongst other things you will need to

Remove all side panels,
Remove lower fairings and all exhaust system.
Battery and battery holder
side fairings and front fairing including windscreen
false tank and radio
fuel tank
Air filter and holder
radiators and fans
evap canister

Firstly, the job is really big and you can bank on the bike being out of action for at least two to three weeks.

The Haynes manual is a good pointer but the photographs are poor and some of the torque figures are wrong so watch out when tightening the smaller bolts.

Make sure you label everything you take off, especially the electrical connectors...label both sides of the plug, the one you remove and the one that remains on the bike. make sure the labels are waterproof and the pen you use is a permanent marker...give the label a number and a title and also write it down in a note book make the label a bright colour so that you can see it easily when in the depths of the engine.
Also take photos of everything including these can,t take enough photo,s
Be aware that if you follow the manual you might think you only need to remove around eight connectors....its more like 38 connectors that need removing so don,t think you will be able to remember them because you wont. I gave the label a number, a title, and then wrote whereabouts it was located on the bike in a notebook.

When removing the front fairing its possible to remove it in one piece...but when your replacing it you will need to split it in half so you may as well do it on removal..

you will need special tools, you will need a clutch holding tool ( bought it off ebay) you need two long sockets one being a 40mm and the other 36mm, I bought both off ebay but couldn,t get the 36mm long enough so I sawn it in half and tack welded a piece of scaff tube in between the two halves, you could buy them from the Honda web sites but I only paid twelve pounds for each socket whereas the proper Honda tools are nearer 40 pounds each...I also had to buy a main shaft holding tool from a local dealer..I bought some piston ring clamps off Ebay but to be honest they wouldn,t work because of the restriction of the two halves of the engine, but I did make some from three inch bore plastic drain pipe...I cut three pieces 23mm width then I cut this in half to make two semi circles...I held this around the piston rings and then clamped it by using gardening wire and twisting the wire with pliers until it clamped the rings and piston tightly, I also filed a chamfer on the leading edge of the plastic..i also joined the two semi circles by gluing a piece of Velcro to join them together but only on one joint, this acted like an hinge when I needed to remove the clamp....the gardening wire was left with about 18" hanging out of the side of the engine.
you will also need a block to support the pistons when trying to join the two casings together, I made mine from two pieces of 1" angle iron and then made a wooden support to hold the one piston that's higher than the other two. I could supply photo,s if someone really wanted to see what I mean, but if money,s no problem then you can buy the real deal from Honda, but you,ll really need deep pockets.

I tagged and bagged everything I removed from the bike (believe me its a lot of stuff) and I used bin liners for the larger items and freezer bags for the rest, I put the associated bolts in the bag with the relevant item...

when stripping the cogs and gears I marked all gears and cogs with a yellow marker to show me what way the item went on the shaft...this helped when rebuilding the engine.

you will need a good lifting platform to enable you to lift the bike...the manual suggests you lower the engine then hoist the bike above the engine...I didn,t have the room to do this so I bought a hydraulic lifting platform (forty eight pounds) I lifted the whole bike up and then supported it using the rear crash bars on axle stands that were placed on top of car ramps, the front wheel was supported on a third car ramp and then chocked with wood. the bike needs to be at least 10" off the ground (gap measured under the wheels).

you will need another person to help with the removal and to be honest a third person would be beneficial.

Lower the engine very slowly and be aware that there are a couple of electrical connecters towards the front of the engine that are wrapped around the loom, these will need to be disconnected otherwise you will rip the wiring out.

I left the cylinder heads on (the manual suggests removing them before lowering the engine) this helped with balancing the engine and also when manually lifting the engine from the jack onto a bench. ALSO.. I removed the starter motor, the alternator and the water pump before bringing the engine out of the frame...this helped greatly and was more beneficial when I did the same on replacing the engine.

theres not a lot more I can say...if its something you need to do then don,t be scared of doing it...its a lot of work but if you need to do it then do it....I would emphasise that you can,t take enough photo,s....I took a load firstly on my mobile phone (that didn,t turn out very well) and then loads on my wifes digital camera that all worked out well, I loaded these onto my lap top and then used the laptop when rebuilding the engine..this was especially beneficial when installing the new clutch as the manual actually tells you to fit the spring the wrong way round so the photo I took on removal confirmed whitch way it should go.

I decided that if I was stripping the engine down to its bare bones then I would renew all bearings, piston rings and all honesty I measured all removed parts and there was hardly any wear on anything although a few of the bearings were a bit sticky....I bought all bearings, rings etc from PARTZILLA in worked out cheaper that buying from UK even with import duties....the parts took two days to get from America to Liverpool then they sat in customs for a further two days until they were taken to a local post office depot where they sat for another two still only took eight days to get them...I also bought a main shaft holding tool from a UK dealer and that took three weeks before I received it.
I also used diagrams from the Partzilla web site for reassembling some parts of the engine.....

one final tip is to tighten ALL water hoses, when I started my bike hose leaked but only ones I had not I had to strip half the bike again to sort it out.

Anyway.....once it was back in the bike it started first press of the starter.....engine runs sweet as a nut and purrs like a kitten. ...sounds really good.
if people think it would be helpful I would be willing to write down all the stages and what to look out for but has previously mentioned the Haynes manual is not bad at all..
Wishing you the best of luck if you ever take on this task...

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Re: Tips for stripping your GL1800 engine

Post by collinsa »

Hi Colin
Looks like I need to do mine to repair lay shaft bearing
Dealer price is out of this world
Interested in doing a deal on the tools you made and bought?

Any tips you may have would also be welcome
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Re: Tips for stripping your GL1800 engine

Post by alwims »

First off, I wish you all the good luck in the world with your project, but I did get a good laugh out of this statement, "Firstly, the job is really big and you can bank on the bike being out of action for at least two to three weeks". If I did this you could change the word weeks to years. :)
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Re: Tips for stripping your GL1800 engine

Post by waituntilthebeep »

I will be having to do the same but mine is not rocks, it is 5th gear debris. That gear took leave and that means trans rebuild. Thanks for the heads up and I will make sure to take lots of pics and video and maybe create a Readers Digest version of a YouTube video for the process. If for nothing else, it will create video proof that I am an idiot.
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Joined: Mon Nov 12, 2012 9:55 pm
Location: Taylorsville, KY
Motorcycle: 2002 GL1800 in suspense mode last two years.. engine out for clutch chatter after AGB R&R.. willing to let someone have it as a project takeover must haul plastics and all away.

Re: Tips for stripping your GL1800 engine

Post by Funky2me »

Pulled my engine out of 2002 1800 3 years ago for second time it has been taking up a big area of my detached 4 car garage.. I finally got a junk title when I finally realized I will never put it back together.. initially I had the AGB vibration on first pull got engine back in it was running very good for 900 miles then a chatter from what seemed like the alternator appeared. I replaced than no luck.. So I pulled out engine again.. found what looked like a ball valve in the clutch housing. Went to the dealer service department to see if anyone could ID it.. no one could. Looking at the IPC for the engine seems like it belonged in there.. really no idea and no interest anymore.. anyone want a 2002 1800 project bike let me know! I also have a 2011 Honda Phantom that is the wifes bike she has not rode since I parked my Goldwing.. Nice 750 too small for me runs good and sounds like a Harley.. has a few extras on it also.
Eric Jan
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Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2021 10:11 am
Location: Netherlands
Motorcycle: GL1800A 2005

Re: Tips for stripping your GL1800 engine

Post by Eric Jan »

Hi there, Dutch Winger here with a 5th gear not working.
Dealer says gearbox overhaul and estimates 4k plus, so not really attractive and looking to do it myself.

Question, do you have a listing of parts which is needed for this job?
At youtube you can see them overhauling clutch cylinder, polish valve seats, changing clutch plates etc and a lot of seals...
I can also see in your post a couple of specific tools.
Anything else recommended?

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