1200a Preventative Maintenance


Information and questions on GL1200 Goldwings (1984-1987)
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Rocketman574
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2016 9:09 pm
Location: Dallas, Tx
Motorcycle: 1985 GL1200 Aspencade

1200a Preventative Maintenance

Post by Rocketman574 »



Howdy!

I recently was given a 1985 1200 Aspencade from my father-in-law. He kept it running and rode it a few times a month. It starts right up, seems to run well, and overall doesn't appear to have any problems. However, he isn't mechanically minded and wasn't real great about doing any preventative maintenance beyond oil changes. I have very little service history - the only thing he has receipts for is front fork seal replacement, stater wire replacement, and installation of a steel front brake line. The odometer stopped at 108k and it's been driven well beyond that, so it could be in the vicinity of 150k miles. The only thing that I might find questionable is that it smells like it's running rich (slight fuel smell in the air) when I'm stopped for more than a few minutes.

I've got a few days off around the holidays and I want to spend some time going over the bike so that I can ride it worry-free once it warms up again and hopefully keep it running for a long time. What things would you recommend that I inspect, clean, and replace?

Thanks!
Scott



pixel288
Posts: 80
Joined: Tue Jul 15, 2014 11:29 pm
Location: Brighton, Ontario
Motorcycle: 1985 GL1200 Aspencade
1982 GS400E Suzuki
2009 CBR 125R HRC colors (daughter's bike)
1982 GL1100 Interstate

Re: 1200a Preventative Maintenance

Post by pixel288 »

Replace timing belts... that's a must. A moderately sized job, but if you can follow the clear instructions found here (use the search function) you can do it in a couple or 3 hours. You'll change the coolant too, you have to drain it to pull the rad anyhow doing the belts. I'd change the thermostat while in there, and pick up the correct Honda coolant from the dealer (a no silica type) to refill it with. Oil and filter if you don't know exactly when it was done. Inspect the tires, and most especially the valve stems. The stems don't always get changed with the tires for some reason and they will rot or crack, usually at a rather inconvenient time. Pick up a set of 90* STEEL valve stems. You'll thank me later. Wingadmin has a good link for those, use the search. Check the tires' age, again, there is an article on how to find the year of manufacture, and change 'em if they are too old. Blowouts on two wheels can end badly.
Even if the bike is running well, I would definitely do a Seafoam treatment, just to clear any shellac on the carbs. Sync the carbs, this will make it feel like a new bike. Might also cure that rich smell you have. Check the push/pull cables on the throttle, if either seem sticky, lube well, or replace them too. Also the choke cable. Brakes, of course, make sure they are in good condition, with lots of pad left, and if the brake fluid is dark, it should be changed for sure. Both front and back. Stator plug. Cut, remove and solder if it hasn't already been done. Dogbone fuse has to go. Replace with a 30 amp blade fuse and holder.
I'm sure you will find more stuff as you read and learn here on the best Goldwing Site there is, but that is a really good start. Don't be intimidated by these things, most of them are relatively small, just tackle them one at at time. Use your time doing this stuff to gain familiarity with your new bike, both you and it will benefit immensely. And most of all, ENJOY!

Phil

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offcenter
Posts: 707
Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2012 2:10 pm
Location: Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey
Motorcycle: 99 Gl-1500 SE
76 GL-1000
77 Honda Trail 90

Re: 1200a Preventative Maintenance

Post by offcenter »

TIMING BELTS!!!!
If one of those old belts breaks, kiss your engine goodbye.
Use GATES belts.
George in Jersey.
99 Goldwing GL-1500 SE
76 Goldwing Gl-1000
77 Honda CT-90 "Trail 90"

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Rusty Bike
Posts: 376
Joined: Sun Feb 28, 2016 1:55 pm
Location: New castle, PA
Motorcycle: 86 GL1200 SEi, 98 Valkyrie Std, 78 Yamaha XS750SE, 86 Honda XL125, 4.5 HP belt drive Minibike my dad built, foot clutch!

Re: 1200a Preventative Maintenance

Post by Rusty Bike »

You might want to do a compression check before spending money on it just to see how healthy it is. Check brake calipers for stuckness. Is that a word? Best to remove calipers and clean n lube Trac system pivot points. Flush all hydraulics with new Dot. 4 fluid. Change front fork oil. Is the bike fuel injected, you do not say which model you have. Pull rear wheel and molly grease the splines and drive pins. Front of drive shaft has splines that need moly lube also. Rear wheel bearings are a problem on these bikes, definitely check those. Change FD lube. Search here and the web for more info. Good Bike, good luck...Rusty

Rocketman574
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2016 9:09 pm
Location: Dallas, Tx
Motorcycle: 1985 GL1200 Aspencade

Re: 1200a Preventative Maintenance

Post by Rocketman574 »

Thanks for all the suggestions! I've done basic work on a car, but this is my first motorcycle. It's a '85 1200 Aspencade and is not fuel injected.

If the compression check doesn't turn out well, are there any options beyond pulling and rebuilding the engine? I've been riding it for a few months and it seems strong - are there other indications that I would be noticing if there was low compression?

The first thing I did with the bike was put on new wheels because the old ones were in bad shape. The shop I took it to whined about it the entire time they had it and told me that they'd charge me double if I brought it back in because they hate working on bikes with all the extra fairings and equipment that the GW has.

The stator plug was removed when they replaced them.

I'll start with the timing belts, coolant, and thermostat. I should also be able to do the oil, brake fluid, and check the pads and rotors. I've heard mixed reviews on Seafoam, but that's always been for cars. Does it work well on this model of bike?

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WingAdmin
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Motorcycle: 2000 GL1500 SE
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2007 Aspen Sentry Trailer

Re: 1200a Preventative Maintenance

Post by WingAdmin »

It depends on what is causing low compression.

If compression is low in one or more cylinders, you can try squirting a tablespoon or so of oil into the cylinder, cranking it over a few times, and measuring it again. If the compression goes up, this indicates the low compression is due to worn piston rings (the oil helps seal them up, which makes the compression go up).

If the compression stays low with oil in the cylinder, it indicates the cause is a valve seat, or more likely, a valve seal. The valve seals in these bikes tend to dry out over the years. They can be replaced relatively easily, without removing the head or the engine.

If it is rings that cause low compression, sometimes this can be from a bike not ridden for some time. Riding it for a few hundred miles and then testing again, a lot of the time the low compression will have fixed itself, as the rings re-seat into the cylinder bores.

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julimike54
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Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2015 12:21 pm
Location: Euless, Texas
Motorcycle: 1986 GL1200A original owner
2016 HD FLTRU

Re: 1200a Preventative Maintenance

Post by julimike54 »

Bleed clutch hydraulics, just like brakes. If Seafoam doesn't work, mix 4-6 ounces ATF into every tankful of fuel, seems to cure a lot of ails!
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Riding anything is a good day!
Mike

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Rusty Bike
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Motorcycle: 86 GL1200 SEi, 98 Valkyrie Std, 78 Yamaha XS750SE, 86 Honda XL125, 4.5 HP belt drive Minibike my dad built, foot clutch!

Re: 1200a Preventative Maintenance

Post by Rusty Bike »

I hate to disagree with Admin but I don't think bad valve seals will effect compression. The valve seats and valve face being worn, pitted, coked up, badly grooved or poorly aligned, will cause a drop in compression. Bad valve guides and weak valve springs will also effect compression. Bad valve seals will not effect compression but they will cause the engine to use more oil. As for Sea Foam, it may help clean up carbs, and remove carbon deposits in the combustion chamber but it is not a miricale worker. If the carbs are plugged, they need taken apart and cleaned. In your case, a few tanks treated with Sea Foam will probably help.

These bikes are old, you basically need to learn how to maintain them yourself. Working on them seems like a daunting task but they are well engineered. Each job consists of several steps which are each relatively simple. I personally do not trust others to work on my bike, most are hacks, and that goes for the dealers also. BUY THE MANUALS and supplements, they are invaluable!! Readily available on Ebay as are many parts.

I would say if you Dads bike is running good, go thru it, update all maintenance items, make it safe to ride and enjoy it. Put fuel stabilizer ( Sta-bil) in the tank and carbs any time that it will set unused for more than a month. Ethanol in our fuel will cause more problems than you care to chase.

I recently did everything to my 86 GL1200 SEi that was mentioned above. I am very happy with the outcome. Good luck...Rusty



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Rednaxs60
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Location: Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Motorcycle: 1985 GL1200 LTD
1995 GL1500 SE CDN Edition
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Ontario 1985 GL1200 LTD (sold)

Re: 1200a Preventative Maintenance

Post by Rednaxs60 »

Rusty Bike - nice SEi.

Back to the issue at hand. You have to be a jack-of -all trades with these bikes mainly because the skill set and knowledge required to work on older vehicles is becoming rare. Mechanics today are ensconced into the plug and play aspect, no fault of their own.

The information on this and other forums is invaluable. It takes a bit of time to research possible issues, gathering together what you may want to do for initial and follow on maintenance, but it is all there.

Purchase the service manuals and supplements (if applicable) and like carpentry - measure twice/cut once, read the information several times and then do the work.

You don't have to do everything at once, but you should make a plan and then implement it. In doing this, you should achieve trouble free motoring with the caveat that things ma happen regardless of whether the bike is new, fairly new or older.

Keep track of your costs. If you are on a budget you may have to make choices, but always keep safety in mind. To bring one of these older/vintage bikes back to almost new condition (as is the purpose of any refurbishment) can be costly. Older bikes are not the answer to cheap transportation, can be, but not something to bank on. The bonus is that the bike will give you a lot of miles of enjoyment.

Just a few thoughts on buying and owning.

Good luck.
"When you write the story of your life, don't let anyone else hold the pen"

Ernest

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WingAdmin
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2012 Suzuki Burgman 400 (wife's!)
2007 Aspen Sentry Trailer

Re: 1200a Preventative Maintenance

Post by WingAdmin »

Rusty Bike wrote:I hate to disagree with Admin but I don't think bad valve seals will effect compression. The valve seats and valve face being worn, pitted, coked up, badly grooved or poorly aligned, will cause a drop in compression. Bad valve guides and weak valve springs will also effect compression. Bad valve seals will not effect compression but they will cause the engine to use more oil. As for Sea Foam, it may help clean up carbs, and remove carbon deposits in the combustion chamber but it is not a miricale worker. If the carbs are plugged, they need taken apart and cleaned. In your case, a few tanks treated with Sea Foam will probably help.
Nope, you're totally right, I don't know what I was thinking. I got started thinking about oil leaks...if the valve is sealed tight against its seat, then no way air can escape past through to the stem seal.

Rocketman574
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2016 9:09 pm
Location: Dallas, Tx
Motorcycle: 1985 GL1200 Aspencade

Re: 1200a Preventative Maintenance

Post by Rocketman574 »

Thanks for all the suggestions.
Rednaxs60 wrote:You have to be a jack-of -all trades with these bikes mainly because the skill set and knowledge required to work on older vehicles is becoming rare. Mechanics today are ensconced into the plug and play aspect, no fault of their own.
I'm sure. Like I mentioned in a previous post, the shop near me, although highly rated on Yelp and probably a good shop, doesn't want to work on my bike. It's probably a combination of the age and difficulty. I'm an electronics engineer by trade, so I'm excited about having some time to really learn how it all fits together.
Rednaxs60 wrote:Older bikes are not the answer to cheap transportation, can be, but not something to bank on. The bonus is that the bike will give you a lot of miles of enjoyment.
If I end up sticking with motorcycles for a few years, I'll probably end up buying something a bit newer. However, I don't really see myself getting rid of this one - I was born in 1985, so there's a special appeal of riding and maintaining a bike that's the same age as me. Plus, it's cool to be able to say that the bike is 30+ years old and still running strong.



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