78 GL1000 clutch cable replacement


Information and questions on GL1000 Goldwings (1975-1979)
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eightangrybears
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Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2017 12:14 am
Location: New Hampshire, USA
Motorcycle: 1978 GL1000 - "Christine"
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78 GL1000 clutch cable replacement

Post by eightangrybears »



I have been reworking my 78 and changed out the handlebars and rerouted the clutch cable so it didn't swing all up and over the gauges due to the shorter bars. I haven't ridden this bike in a few years, but I always remember the clutch cable being pretty stiff. It is quite stiff now. I may have a little kink in the cable or too sharp a bend but I was looking at where the cable attaches to the clutch itself in case I was going to need to replace the cable. And WOW. I saw the GL1100 how-to on this site and noticed my cable does not attach near the brake pedal but tucked way under the tank in front of the swingarm. I have read some posts of people saying they were able to change the cable roadside, but not how. And I am looking at the spot wondering how on earth they were able to even get at the supposed plate that you take off (I have read you need tiny hands and tiny tools, of which I have neither) let alone take it off roadside without removing the tire and the gas tank.

Currently, the bike does not have the seat or any of the parts of the false tank, which helps with access but I just can't imagine how you gain access to where the cable is routed to without completely dismantling the rear end. I have already done that since I replaced the fuel tank and that was quite a chore to get back in without nicking every bit of frame the bike had to offer. I would love to not have to do that again. Is there a good way to gain access to the area without doing so? I feel like the bike would have to be over my head to even get my arms to bend in a way that would allow my hands in that area so I am just sort of at a loss.

Any suggestions would help a lot. My plan is to reroute the cable directly to the lever first and see if the stiffness was due to the routing. If not, my second bet is the cable. It is probably original and thus, nearly 40 years old. I might try and lube the cable first and then if that doesn't work, probably replace it. And that would be where I could use some assistance.

Thanks a bunch...


1978 GL1000K2 - "Christine" - working on version 3.0 currently
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Maz
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Location: Kent, UK
Motorcycle: 1975 GL1000K1
1976 CB500T
1979 CB750L
1990 Yamaha FJ1200
1993 Suzuki GS500E

Re: 78 GL1000 clutch cable replacement

Post by Maz »

Assuming the '78 clutch is the same as my '75, the clutch mechanism CAN be accessed with the motor in the frame. It's easiest if the bike is lifted, but I have done it at ground level... three times! (Thanks to a cheap cable that only lasted 3 months!)
Ideally you will need a slim 10mm ratchet ring spanner to remove the bolts holding the plate and you can only swing it a small amount at a time, but patience is the key.
Once the plate is off and the cable is slack, an 18 inch screwdriver comes in handy for teasing the cable nipple out of its retainer. Now the cable can be pulled out and the new one pushed in. The 18 inch screwdriver will be needed again to gently ease the nipple into position before a gentle tug on the handlebar end of the cable to pop it into place. Getting the bolts back in the plate is a pain, but patience and the use of fingertips, will get it done. You will have to move yourself around quite a bit to get in the best position for each stage of this.
Last time I did this, it took 45minutes, start to finish. Good luck.
Maz
Ironically, Common Sense is the LEAST common of all senses!
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SnoBrdr
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Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2014 9:01 am
Location: Providence, Rhode Island
Motorcycle: 1978 GL 1000

131K Original Owner

Re: 78 GL1000 clutch cable replacement

Post by SnoBrdr »

Maz wrote:Assuming the '78 clutch is the same as my '75, the clutch mechanism CAN be accessed with the motor in the frame. It's easiest if the bike is lifted, but I have done it at ground level... three times! (Thanks to a cheap cable that only lasted 3 months!)
Ideally you will need a slim 10mm ratchet ring spanner to remove the bolts holding the plate and you can only swing it a small amount at a time, but patience is the key.
Once the plate is off and the cable is slack, an 18 inch screwdriver comes in handy for teasing the cable nipple out of its retainer. Now the cable can be pulled out and the new one pushed in. The 18 inch screwdriver will be needed again to gently ease the nipple into position before a gentle tug on the handlebar end of the cable to pop it into place. Getting the bolts back in the plate is a pain, but patience and the use of fingertips, will get it done. You will have to move yourself around quite a bit to get in the best position for each stage of this.
Last time I did this, it took 45minutes, start to finish. Good luck.
Maz
I have a special wrench, well it's a 10 mm that has its face ground down to thin it out.

Also used on the radiator to remove install the painted pieces.
eightangrybears
Posts: 41
Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2017 12:14 am
Location: New Hampshire, USA
Motorcycle: 1978 GL1000 - "Christine"
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Re: 78 GL1000 clutch cable replacement

Post by eightangrybears »

Also used on the radiator to remove install the painted pieces.
I was just looking at those yesterday wondering how the heck I was going to get them off. I like making special tools but I am A) not the most patient person you've ever met, B) have extra large, meaty man hands (small spaces is not the best place for them) and C) am really hoping that the cable is just pinched or kinked since it sounds like this job that should be relatively simple will give me fits trying to fit my hands in there...better get some quarters ready for the swear jar I guess...

Thanks for the advice though guys...
1978 GL1000K2 - "Christine" - working on version 3.0 currently
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SnoBrdr
Posts: 784
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2014 9:01 am
Location: Providence, Rhode Island
Motorcycle: 1978 GL 1000

131K Original Owner

Re: 78 GL1000 clutch cable replacement

Post by SnoBrdr »

eightangrybears wrote:
Also used on the radiator to remove install the painted pieces.
I was just looking at those yesterday wondering how the heck I was going to get them off. I like making special tools but I am A) not the most patient person you've ever met, B) have extra large, meaty man hands (small spaces is not the best place for them) and C) am really hoping that the cable is just pinched or kinked since it sounds like this job that should be relatively simple will give me fits trying to fit my hands in there...better get some quarters ready for the swear jar I guess...

Thanks for the advice though guys...
If you pull the radiator they come off real easy, if not you need the special tool and a few quarters.
eightangrybears
Posts: 41
Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2017 12:14 am
Location: New Hampshire, USA
Motorcycle: 1978 GL1000 - "Christine"
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Re: 78 GL1000 clutch cable replacement

Post by eightangrybears »

So I managed to get up under the bike and saw the bolts and the plate that need to come off. I have the fortune and misfortune of not having the center stand to have to work around. The misfortune coming in the form of I am reading that people highly recommend storing the bike on the center stand to keep the oil from pooling on the low side while using a kick stand.

Since it isn't there, it appears I will be able to get at those bolts with a thin socket wrench or a box ended wrench at the very least without having to have tiny girl hands or an overabundance of patience. Both of which are helpful to me.

I routed the cable out of the bike and straight to the lever and it seemed much smoother and less stiff. I believe that when I put the tank back in, it bound the cable to the motor mount when it should have probably gone up and over the mount. That was one issue...the bigger issue was that the cable came apart on the low end. The different fittings just sort of slid apart and even if that's "ok" I went ahead and ordered a new cable. Chances are the cable is 40 years old and needs replacing anyways, not to mention there were a few nicks in the sheath near the motor mount issue.

I am going to replace the cable when it comes in but I will still need to get a little fancy with the routing because I have shorter bars and don't want a big swoop of cable up and over the instrument cluster. Anyone have any good tips for tunnels to send it through to take up some of the extra room? Obviously I don't want to kink it again and have issues after routing it for the umteenth time, but someone has to have done this instead of ordering a custom made shorter cable...


1978 GL1000K2 - "Christine" - working on version 3.0 currently
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