86 GL1200i death wobble~!


Information and questions on GL1200 Goldwings (1984-1987)
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gravygrabber
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2013 10:08 pm
Location: NorCal
Motorcycle: 86 GL1200

86 GL1200i death wobble~!

Post by gravygrabber »



I found an 86 GL1200 and when I went to look at it the previous owner explained it would need some work done to the forks he thought and it has a bad wobble from the front end when braking at slow speeds. Okay I think to myself and I buy it and take it home. Today I get a new battery in the bike and check it over and go for a quick ride to check it out. The wobble isn't bad it's a death wobble like I've never experienced. The wobble was so bad I thought about dumping it on it's side for a second in an attempt to save myself from being thrown off :o I grabbed the handlebars so tight in an attempt to control it I was reving the engine up as the throttle turned. I pulled in the clutch and rode it out until it went away and that was it. Off came my CB750 project and on went this wing onto my motorcycle lift for repairs.
My question is though what is causing this? I notice oil on the fork tube, caliper, rotor, etc.. The fork dust seal is wet. The right side is completely dry and the tire (which is bald) has more wear on the left side. I'm thinking the fork seal is shot maybe causing the left fork to lean in a little and wear that tire more on the left. The oil on the brake pads and rotor is causing the brakes to grab when applied and causing the bike to wobble. I'm not sure if the brake caliper is leaking at this point it's just too wet to tell. I just came inside after spraying the crap out of the brakes with cleaner to get rid of the grease.

Anyone rebuild the forks on one of these? Mine say "TRAC" on the side and the left fork looks like it's part of the caliper somehow.



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WingAdmin
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Re: 86 GL1200i death wobble~!

Post by WingAdmin »

The oil seal can't cause the tire to "lean" for two reasons: 1) the axle is bolted in the forks keeping them even, 2) it's the fork springs, not the oil that keeps the forks extended. The oil just dampens the movement.

That said, there are so many different things that can cause this problem. It's usually caused by looseness somewhere - like loose bearings. Anything from wheel bearings, steering head bearings, swingarm pivot bearings. Lift the bike up and see if you can find any kind of movement where there shouldn't be.

gravygrabber
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2013 10:08 pm
Location: NorCal
Motorcycle: 86 GL1200

Re: 86 GL1200i death wobble~!

Post by gravygrabber »

I think its from oil and grease on the brake pads. They are saturated on the left side. Since it only happens when braking it makes sense

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artgrantz
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85 GL1200 I
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Re: 86 GL1200i death wobble~!

Post by artgrantz »

The reason you get the wobble when braking is probably because the weight shifts to the front wheel during braking. This is when you will notice problems caused by worn bearings. I don't see how the brakes could cause it, but I'm not an expert.
Good luck with your new Goldwing.

gravygrabber
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2013 10:08 pm
Location: NorCal
Motorcycle: 86 GL1200

Re: 86 GL1200i death wobble~!

Post by gravygrabber »

grease and oil on the pads and rotor causes them to grab when braking. I could be wrong but we'll see. The whole caliper is a mess. The rubber bushings on the caliper pins are pretty much soaked in oil and have literally "melted"

skooter lovin bob
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Apr 15, 2013 6:32 pm
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Motorcycle: 1984 gl1200 interstate

Re: 86 GL1200i death wobble~!

Post by skooter lovin bob »

I read on this post that the leaking front fork seals can't cause a wobble. I don't mean to contradict but the same thing happened to me on an 81 wing a few years ago. Wife and I coming down a slight grade at about 50 mph., started to wobble for no apparent reason. Hit the foot break and slowed to about 30mph. wobble went away. went back to 40mph, started to wobble again. So for safety sake, creeped the rest of the way home. Looked the bike over, only thing I could find was oil on one fork seal. I replaced the seals and dust boots, not the springs. Took it out for a ride. Got up to 85mph and back to 0, not a hint of wobble. I rode it for another season and just fine. Mabey something else got fixed in the disassembly and reassembly that I don't know about. Any way, Just my two cents.
Can any one tell me how or where on this sight to get to the answer to questions???? I posted a question about a stuck clutch and don't know where to go for a reply to my question. Could someone please send info on "how to" thru my email.
bobbyg202024@yahoo.com
Much thanks in advance
skooter lovin bob

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speedymph1000
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Apr 13, 2013 11:46 pm
Location: Birmingham, Al
Motorcycle: 1987 GL1200A Aspencade

Re: 86 GL1200i death wobble~!

Post by speedymph1000 »

gravygrabber wrote:I found an 86 GL1200 and when I went to look at it the previous owner explained it would need some work done to the forks he thought and it has a bad wobble from the front end when braking at slow speeds. Okay I think to myself and I buy it and take it home. Today I get a new battery in the bike and check it over and go for a quick ride to check it out. The wobble isn't bad it's a death wobble like I've never experienced. The wobble was so bad I thought about dumping it on it's side for a second in an attempt to save myself from being thrown off :o I grabbed the handlebars so tight in an attempt to control it I was reving the engine up as the throttle turned. I pulled in the clutch and rode it out until it went away and that was it. Off came my CB750 project and on went this wing onto my motorcycle lift for repairs.
My question is though what is causing this? I notice oil on the fork tube, caliper, rotor, etc.. The fork dust seal is wet. The right side is completely dry and the tire (which is bald) has more wear on the left side. I'm thinking the fork seal is shot maybe causing the left fork to lean in a little and wear that tire more on the left. The oil on the brake pads and rotor is causing the brakes to grab when applied and causing the bike to wobble. I'm not sure if the brake caliper is leaking at this point it's just too wet to tell. I just came inside after spraying the crap out of the brakes with cleaner to get rid of the grease.

Anyone rebuild the forks on one of these? Mine say "TRAC" on the side and the left fork looks like it's part of the caliper somehow.
Pm sent... 8-)

Jnorthcbr
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2020 2:24 pm
Location: Dayton, OHIO
Motorcycle: 1984 GL1200A Aspencade

Re: 86 GL1200i death wobble~!

Post by Jnorthcbr »

skooter lovin bob wrote:
Thu May 16, 2013 6:06 pm
I read on this post that the leaking front fork seals can't cause a wobble. I don't mean to contradict but the same thing happened to me on an 81 wing a few years ago. Wife and I coming down a slight grade at about 50 mph., started to wobble for no apparent reason. Hit the foot break and slowed to about 30mph. wobble went away. went back to 40mph, started to wobble again. So for safety sake, creeped the rest of the way home. Looked the bike over, only thing I could find was oil on one fork seal. I replaced the seals and dust boots, not the springs. Took it out for a ride. Got up to 85mph and back to 0, not a hint of wobble. I rode it for another season and just fine. Mabey something else got fixed in the disassembly and reassembly that I don't know about. Any way, Just my two cents.
Can any one tell me how or where on this sight to get to the answer to questions???? I posted a question about a stuck clutch and don't know where to go for a reply to my question. Could someone please send info on "how to" thru my email.
bobbyg202024@yahoo.com
Much thanks in advance
skooter lovin bob
I have the same issue on my 84. Only shakes when decelerating around 40-45 mph. I have air ride suspension in the front? Any idea how to replace the seals on those. It leaks air pretty fast. I’m afraid to have my wife ride with me because of it.

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LeMaitre
Posts: 104
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2017 8:03 pm
Location: NE Minnesota
Motorcycle: 1985 GL1200A Aspencade
1975 CB550F Super Sport

Re: 86 GL1200i death wobble~!

Post by LeMaitre »

I have experience the wobble twice on my 85 GL1200A. Both times I was in lane position 2 rolling at 30 mph. Moved my weight backwards in both cases and the wobble stopped.

-Mark
1985 GL1200A, MN SS1K
1975 CB550F, Lake Superior SS1K, 45-90 SS1K, All in Yooper SS1K

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CrystalPistol
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Re: 86 GL1200i death wobble~!

Post by CrystalPistol »

Brakes don't cause it, wheel bearings don't cause it, leaky seals don't cause it neither. Even a lack of good grip of pads on one side doesn't, many bikes have only one front brake.
It's caused by a shift in weight dropping the front slightly which affects the rake of the forks/stem in relation to earth and a change in trail which is reduced.
It's a fine balance, too much trail results in heavy slow steering but makes for more stability in straight line, too little results in lighter & quicker steering but at a cost to straight line stability. To combat it, try more air in front forks, less air in rear suspension, sitting back, and keeping both hands on the grips.
Make Courtesy your "Code of the Road" …

… & Have a Safe Trip!
:)

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PAPete
Posts: 59
Joined: Sat Apr 17, 2010 9:39 pm
Location: Kennett Square, PA
Motorcycle: 1985 GL1200-A
1982 GL1100-I

Re: 86 GL1200i death wobble~!

Post by PAPete »

How much air pressure is in the tires?

Don't go by the owner's manual because tires have changed enormously since the manual (and service manual) were printed. Today, most of us (I think) keep 38-41 psi minimum, in the tires - some even more.

I once made the mistake of trying to ride my 85-1200A without checking the pressure after it had sat for several months, and got reminded of my neglect by a near tank-slapper at about 30 mph. Increasing the air pressure fixed it.


Pete
82 GL1100-I
85 GL 1200-A

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