Removing the trunk side lights on 1994 GL1500SE

Information and questions on GL1500 Goldwings (1988-2000)
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1994 Honda GL1500SE Special Edition

Removing the trunk side lights on 1994 GL1500SE

Post by HawkFlyer »

My ‘94 GL1500SE has side lights installed on the sides of the trunk what’re many goldwings have reflectors. One of the bulbs is burned out on the right side. As advised in the manuals I removed the bottom panel on the trunk and while the manual did not mention any bolts to be removed; it is clear that there are two cap nuts that must be removed in order to take the light strip off the bike to get at the bulb.

These cap nuts require an 8mm wrench. I have tried to remove them and they do turn with some difficulty; but they do not actually unscrew. It appears as though the bolts are part of the fixture and may be mounted somehow in the plastic fixture in such a way that the heads can turn. I took the bike to the local dealer to see if he could get them off; no joy. I thought about trying a “nut Cracker” but I am not certain it would work on these nuts as they have a skirt on them. As a last resort I am thinking of using a small hole saw and drilling out the trunk around the nuts and then using flat washers on reassembly. Before I do that I thought I would ask the forum if any of you had seen this issue and might have an idea for removing these cap nuts. Any help would be welcome.

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Re: Removing the trunk side lights on 1994 GL1500SE

Post by ct1500 »

The judicious use of a die grinder with cut off wheel for nuts will do the job without destroying the trunk.
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Re: Removing the trunk side lights on 1994 GL1500SE

Post by Rambozo »

Often an air or electric impact wrench will remove nuts where the head of the bolt is turning.
You can also remove the lens, but I'm not sure if it will come off while the light is installed. There are clips along the edge and some glue or sealer.

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Re: Removing the trunk side lights on 1994 GL1500SE

Post by Charlie1Horse »

Try putting a nut driver in your cordless drill and turn the clutch all the way down to where it takes very little resistance to make the drill hammer. It may be able to break those nuts loose.

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Those who say it cannot be done should try not to interrupt those who are doing it.
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Re: Removing the trunk side lights on 1994 GL1500SE

Post by WingAdmin »

The studs on which the nuts screw onto are mounted into the plastic - they're actually molded into it. The studs have a base that is ridged, with the idea that the ridges "bite" into the plastic and keep it in place and prevent it from turning.

The problem is that when it's overtorqued, those ridges shear the plastic when you try to loosen them, with the result that the stud just spins inside the plastic instead of holding tight.

A method to fix this that has worked for some, instead of tearing the light apart, is to apply heat to the nut. You want it hot enough to melt the ABS locally, but not so hot that the ABS becomes soft and the stud falls out. The idea is to get it hot enough that the sheared-off ABS re-bonds to the surrounding ABS. Once this occurs, and you let it cool, the stud (in theory) will be re-fixed in place, and you can remove the nut.
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Re: Removing the trunk side lights on 1994 GL1500SE

Post by CrystalPistol »

Been a good while since I had mine off. I do recall the bulbs being small and in rubber holders that just press into the holes, maybe they can be reached in place with "bent needle nose" small pliars?

Failing that, maybe unbolt the trunk from support and tilt it up?

Those nuts are closed. and as I recall, originally they had a washer under them as well so the nut didn't bottom out on tip of stud. Mine has thin clear deviders fastened on each side under the nuts as well, with no washers (I left washers off because of added thickness of deviders when I installed them a few years ago). I can see how eliminating the washers without adding back thickness would allow the closed nuts to bottom out on stud and leading to your issue. If someone tighten the nuts on the studs like that, not good.

MAYBE a cutoff wheel in a Dremel tool and just cut the top rounded over part of nut off would help to free them?
Wouldn't hurt. Then, you can get replacements in metric nut & bolt dept. at Ace Hdwr. , Lowe's, etc.

Just thinking. A few years ago, I had all my trunk's lights off to replace after removing screwed & stuck on chrome metal trim that left some small screw holes in the originals. On rides, several told me that the chrome trim on the trunk kind-of hid the brake lights on trunk in day's light.

I took it back to like OEM and then used some 1/8" and some 1/4" trim around outside of all tail lamps. I recall that I found a good deal on ebay for the several trunk lights. Lights had all same holes for bulbs, a little polish, looked great. Lights do show up better I'm told.

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