1982 GL1100A tear down/rebuild

Information and questions on GL1100 Goldwings (1980-1983)
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Joined: Sun Sep 13, 2020 8:04 pm
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Motorcycle: 1982 GL1100A Aspencade

1982 GL1100A tear down/rebuild

Post by Gathernomoss »

This winter I took on a fun, albeit slightly out of my league project. I picked up a 1982 GL1100 Aspencade with sub 10k miles on it. The owners of the bike (Picked up in Upstate NY) had driven it briefly from 1982-1984 with the longest haul being to Texas and back. They parked it in the garage and it never moved again. They had two other Hondas, a first generation Goldwing and another of similar vintage which was sold before I arrived.

The Project:

Initially I fancied the idea of the bare minimum to get the bike running. That illusion vanished of course and I am taking almost everything off the bike minus the engine.

I'm posting on here to hopefully get the general view if there is anything I am missing that I should be aware of so I don't have to go back after completing work on one part of the bike or another.

As it stands the entirety of the front shields/fairings etc. are removed and wont be going back on. A) I enjoy the naked look B) The entirety of the internals of this are filled with mouse nesting, the wires are literally not existent. Others has been cut prior to my purchase (CB radio connections / antenna)

The Fuel Tank
Has been removed and will be replaced. I tried to save it but 30+ years of a presumable almost full fuel tank did nasty work. The layer of sludge has proven nearly impossible to remove after trying a multitude of options. Removal of some of it unveiled pinhole leaks which I decided spending the cash on an old tank in better condition was a better investment of my time and resources.
Being replaced with this:
Petcock - Fuel Lines - Fuel Filter

The Carbs
Have been removed and are currently bagged waiting on the Randakks carb kit to come back in stock. Though any alternatives would be appreciated as I would like to get the project moving. I understand that I'd be going with a lesser product but I also have intentions of tearing this bike down again in the future.
Being replaced with this:
Everything - Including the float valves (OEM from Honda only if going this route) if they prove as damaged as the fuel tank given the rot and waste of time.

Air Ride Suspension
Is going away. The compressor lines are rotted and chewed on. The wiring was also a mess. After much debate I chose to swap this out with Progressive 412s for the front and rear. This will be my first time rebuilding forks as well as converting from the Air ride so any hints or tips would be most appreciated.

Not sure what I'm getting here yet. I live in the North East where we have lots of varied class roads but also enjoy longer highway drives so hopefully looking to find something that is a best of both worlds.

With the back tire off I plan on replacing seals on and around the final drive.

Complete over haul with intent to replace the original lines with the stainless braided set from Randakks and to rebuild the master cylinders as well. There is potential that this will be given off to a shop at the end so A) It is confirmed done appropriately / no anxiety to it B) They can do a once over and see if I dropped the ball anywhere else ( I try to live with the rule of "Trust, but Verify")

Timing Belt - Will be following the guide on here. I made sure to get Japanese made from Dimecity

Water Pump - Seals and pump rebuild. The radiator as some point failed and leaked across the lower parts of the bike rotting out bolts along the way. When pulling and draining the oil / oil filter the seal was completely eroded on the top where the radiator leaked onto it. Intrusion into the oil filter was noted with mixed oil. Interesting enough the only milky oil was present within the filter itself. The draining of it proved to be mostly clear so I'm hoping this indicates the seals in the head are not also gone from this world.

Air filter / Box Seal - Airbox, like everything else was a mouse nest. Will replace filter and seal.

Diagnosing the Radiator is my next step on a warmer weather day to see what exactly has failed and if the radiator itself is intact / its just the hoses that need to go.

I eventually need to find or fabricate a mounting bracket for the forks to accommodate the headlight taken from the fairing.

Flushing the engine - I've seen lot of debate about what to use to flush out gunk from the engine. Would love to hear more opinions on this topic.

All instrument cables as well as brakes and throttle


My apologies for this massive wall of a post. I hope the formatting is alright. Thanks for taking the time to take a peak and have a wonderful weekend!

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Re: 1982 GL1100A tear down/rebuild

Post by WingAdmin »

It sounds like you're going to have a like-new bike that will give you years of pleasure!
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Re: 1982 GL1100A tear down/rebuild

Post by Earl43P »

I agree you should flush the engine from all those years of sitting.
Fill the crankcase WAY overfull with kerosene and let that sit for as long as you can.
Bonus if you can elevate the engine nose-up such that the back case gets completely submerged, goal being to thoroughly flush the starter clutch.
They tend to "stick" causing the starter to freewheel instead of turning the engine.

Despite the "low mileage" and considering that "some" coolant mixed with the oil....I'd recommend replacing both cylinder head gaskets (and ALL that that entails).
Besides the water pump, they are the likely bad actor for milkshake oil.
While the heads are off, lap the valves, replace the valve guide seals (very cheap) and set the valve lash upon reassembly and replacing the timing belts.
Liberally lube the cam journals on reassembly. Assembly lube is good for that. Add new cam seals.
Inspecting the intake and exhaust springs' dimensions is also warranted.
New valve cover gaskets, INCLUDING each bolt's seal is a good practice (thank me later). They're bound to leak at that age.

Once you get it running, I would sacrifice the first oil fill with a full can of Seafoam in it (some say to use a pint of ATF), riding it lightly for a few warm up cycles (20-50 easy miles ought to suffice).
Draining that oil through cheesecloth and cutting open the filter might be enlightening, but hope for uneventful.

I'd also flush the coolant system, using a Flush product and distilled water after installing a new thermostat (and your WP).

Headlamp ears from another model (or generic) can work, depends on your bucket choice and the fork tube dimensions.

I have Wrench Therapy envy of you!
When all else fails, RTFM!

2008 Goldwing Navi
21 KTM390A “Hootenanny”
99 Valkyrie Interstate, “Favorite”
82 GL1100 Sold 3/17 (miss that ticket getter)
93 GL1500I Sold 3/20 (Meh, but put 56k miles on it)
04 ST1300 Sold 4/22 (Fast, fun, never “loved” it)
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Re: 1982 GL1100A tear down/rebuild

Post by Chewy »

Gathernomoss wrote: Sat Mar 06, 2021 11:30 am

As it stands the entirety of the front shields/fairings etc. are removed and wont be going back on. A) I enjoy the naked look B) The entirety of the internals of this are filled with mouse nesting, the wires are literally not existent. Others has been cut prior to my purchase (CB radio connections / antenna)

do you still have the cb, radio and connections? if so, i am interested in them.
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Re: 1982 GL1100A tear down/rebuild

Post by tomos »

You are doing great job . Engine has a low milles which is great but many ,many years.Literaly all engine gaskets,seals must be replaced,as functionality is not existant any more.There is a gasket that MUST,MUST be replaced if you do not want oil and coolant mixing up once you start engine .Fuel pump is annather MUST item to be replaced,OM only!I am sure that once taken apart you will be happy you did it , you will find rust on ball and nedle bearings that are above oil level.Ruber dumpers are gone as well,dry and hard ,will start falling apart as soon as you start engine.There are two sets of those and available to by.Ball bearings can be sourced for far less then OM,but do not cheep out .

SKF,TOYO ,NACHO,are excelent replacement and fair priced.Take info from each bearing and with that info ask for a new .That way you will get proper and safe replacement.Do not try one supplier.All this told is from my experience.
Good luck and enjoy.
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Re: 1982 GL1100A tear down/rebuild

Post by Manyakus »

Your project seems similar to mine, I bought a working 1982 from the original owner and I also bought 1983 that has been sitting in a shed for 6 years (this bike is for parts).

I am tearing down my 82, repainting it, rebuilding carbs, master cylinder, springs, etc... everything you are mentioning in your post is very similar to what I want to do :D

Will be looking forward on your achievement and hope we can help each other with tips and tricks.
My project will start this winter once Winter hits us.


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Motorcycle: 1982 GL1100 Interstate

Re: 1982 GL1100A tear down/rebuild

Post by arnoldsq »

I didnt see it in your post, but if you haven't tried to spin the engine yet you should. I just finished one that sat for 15 years, and the cylinders with the valves open had a surface rust on them that I had to break free. If that is the case then it all depends how bad for what maintenance you need from there.

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