'93 Aspy refurbishment

Information and questions on GL1500 Goldwings (1988-2000)
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Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2012 7:34 pm
Location: Gig Harbor, Washington
Motorcycle: 1964 CA95 Benly Touring (Baby Dream)
1984 VT700c Shadow
1987 GL1200I
1993 GL1500 Aspencade

'93 Aspy refurbishment

Post by gre_lauren »

RE: New (to me) GL1500 1993 aspy

So an update is in order. I bought the Aspencade and rode it home 45 miles. The bike had belonged to the owners father who passed away in 2016. The owner rode it to his home from Montana after taking care of his fathers estate. It then sat inside his garage until I bought it. He would occasionally fire it up and take it for a putt to keep it alive. Odometer reads 49K and it is indicated most of those miles were from trips to various motorcycle gatherings like sturgis.

First impressions now that I had the time to really go over the bike once i put it up on my lift:

Battery - Was dead when I first looked at the bike. The battery is a standard lead-acid and is most likely sulfated from sitting too long. I plan on replacing it with a motobatt.
Mismatched tires - Dunlop E3 on front and E2 on the rear. Owner said that his dad hit an object in the road and had to replace the E2 front tire.
Brakes - felt soft at first but braking action improved as the miles added up. Pad material is still thick front and rear. Hoses look very good and the fluid needs changed.
Throttle - Felt really stiff and hard to turn. Also seemed to loosen up as I rode home. Foam grips don't help at all. Cables definitely need a lube.
Carbs - Bike ran great from the get go. A little bit of surge at idle when warm but hardly noticeable. The bike was stored with a full tank of fuel. I plan on draining the tank and seafoaming the fuel system.
Grips - They are the metal cased foam type. Absolutely horrible as they give a mushy feeling during riding. I would like to put the stock grips back on but how to get the existing ones off?
Bags and Trunk - Were originally not closing all the way. I adjusted the catches on the lids and now they click closed nice and tight.
Windshield - The bike has that Tulsa Tall windshield. I can now see that the curvature and angle of the plastic acts as a magnifying glass in direct sunlight. Especially if the sun is behind you I could see the focus lines show up on the instrument cluster depending on sun angle. Might want to go back to the stocker to save my dash.
Water Pump - I smelled antifreeze when I parked it. Once up on the lift I saw that the seal between the two halves of the water pump was leaking coolant. Pump replacement is in order.
Aftermarket Gizmos - The PO had a hitch installed at the dealer when the bike was new. Also had a KRISS Star-Tron trailer box installed for the trailer lights. I know nothing about the box so maybe someone could enlighten me about it. The PO also installed some plastichrome radio knobs and chrome stick on guards(?) on the panels. There is these 'wing' devices on either side of the bike that turn in or out to direct airflow. They are in fairly good shape. There is a backrest that is really nice but complicates mounting and dismounting since you cannot swing the leg across the seat anymore. The tall windshield keeps me from leaning forward to gain leg altitude to clear the backrest. The bright side is I get to practice new yoga moves now.
Service Records - I discovered a service diary in the owner's manual back page. The bike has been maintained fairly regularly all the way up to 2016 with oil changes and tune ups and minor repairs as they were needed. The fluids were all changed out the last time in 2014 and the belts were checked at the same time. A few coolant hoses were replaced (overflow and bypass) at the same time. The Bank Angle Gizmo was replaced under recall. The last service done in 2016 (before the owner passed) was a full dealer service, new battery, brake fluid change, fork seals, and a replacement front tire due to road damage (Dunlop E3)
Exhaust - Engine sounds great but at highway speeds the right muffler (aftermarket turn-down) has an awful B-flat drone that drills into your skull. I had to stop to put in earplugs just to keep sane. The pipes look great but obviously something is wrong with the right one. Maybe go back to the stock muffs?
Engine guards - The PO dropped the bike in a parking lot when he stepped into a hole. The left front guard shows a dent where it hit the kerb. The rear guard has a slight tweak to it where the space between trunk and guard is slightly reduced compared to the other side. No other damage to the bike is seen anywhere else. Should be easy to replace the guards if I want to.

Smooth powerful motor. Short first gear and then successively taller gearing as you climb toward OD. Nice for traffic compared to the tall gears of my Gl1200 which force me to constantly slip the clutch. The dreaded forth - fifth shift issue is not on this bike. Shifting is precise and smooth. I plan on installing a shift brace if it does not have one.

The seat is oh so nice. I can see myself getting into trouble this seat is so comfy.

Reverse gear is a godsend. I no longer have to plan my park job so I face downhill. Its slow enough I can easily walk with the bike as it moves even on tiptoe.

Low height is nice for me. Its actually lower than my 1200. At 5' 4" I can almost be flat footed at a stop. The trade off is that I will scrape on a speed bump if I'm not careful.

There is a dealer installed trailer hitch with a plug for trailer lights. Almost no wear on the ball itself. This bike is an excellent candidate for motorcycle camping.

Luggage is very nice and roomy. The bike also came with a factory rain cover.

Radio is clear and crisp. Intercom is the same. There is four speakers and a fader control.

What I plan on doing: I have bought the factory service manual.

Changing out all fluids except the fork oil. I am going to use the Honda antifreeze. I would like suggestions as for the motor oil to best use. I will use WIX oil filters.
Replace the leaking water pump.
Replace the existing vacuum lines with color coded silicone ones. I don't want to ever change them again as it is going to be a pain to get to them all.
Replace the coolant hoses with either silicone or regular rubber. I am not decided on this one as it is said that the silicone hoses can 'weep' water through the material wheras rubber ones don't.
Change out the tires. I want tires that stick in the rain. A long time ago I had a bike slide out from under me on a wet road (I was riding conservatively) and ever since then I have a very hard time trusting tires in the wet. I am not a fan of E3's as they are noisy on the road (worse when leaned over) and seem to slip a little when wet. Please give me some ideas.
Change out the rear drive fluid with Amsoil gear lube. The stuff works. Before I switched I could not touch for very long the rear drive after a ride when 2-up it was so hot. After adding Amsoil the drive was significantly cooler after a run and much quieter.
Change out the headlights and install the LED bulbs
Change the timing belt. Maybe the tensioners too if they are rough or noisy.
Check and replace if necessary the air filter. Replace the sub filters.

The help i need:
Vacuum hose size for the various hoses. They have a color band plus numbers on the hoses. I plan on using colored silicone hoses to replace them so they will not leak or crack. Orange band=orange hose, pink band=pink hose and so on.
Oil type. I know this can be a headache with all the opinions out there. What im looking for is the why you use your oil type. ( quieter running, better mileage than brand x, better change intervals). I am driven more by facts than opinions when I make purchasing decisions.
Tire brand. I spelled out that I need wet traction. What has your experience been with brand x tire on the GL1500. Your riding style and ambient conditions play a large part too. I guess I am looking for that tire that instills confidence when things get rainy (I still ride conservatively dry and wet)
Any other advice you can give me would be appreciated. Plus any humor you would care to share.

Thank you guys.

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1980 GL1100 STD Vetter (2005-)
1993 GL1500 Aspencade (2017-)
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1972 CL350 (1980-1988) sold
1978 Suzuki GS550 (1985-2005) sold
1977 GL1000 (2002-2006) sold

Re: '93 Aspy refurbishment

Post by DenverWinger »

Hi George,

Sounds like you got a sweet one there.

Not sure where to source vacuum hoses, haven't had to do mine yet (but I know just a matter of time). But that will likely fix your idle surge.

For Oil, I always used to use Valvoline MAX-Life 10w40 (Synthetic blend, no friction modifiers) in EVERYTHING around here, cars (they are older ones), bikes, even the lawnmower. When I got my '93 Aspy the P.O. said he was using Shell Rotella T6 5w40. Never a big fan of stocking multiple oils in the garage, now using the Rotella in everything. Reason for the switch - the MAX-Life 10w40 is getting harder to find at a good price (local Walmart) and they regularly stock the Shell Diesel synthetics (T4, T5 and T6) at an even better price than the Valvoline. All three are wet-clutch compatible and the extended mileage of a synthetic means I only have to change oil once a year regardless of miles driven (within reason). The cars will like 5w40 in the winter. So four reasons for my T6 choice, price, availability, suitability, and durability.

When I got this bike 2 1/2 yrs ago it had a pair of Dunlop E3's on it, rear at about 60% wear, and front at 25%. The rear was cupped, howling in curves, and had a slow leak (pinhole in the tread), I had to air it up daily. Replaced the rear with an E4 (they had just come out) so my tires are currently mismatched. No handling issues to report though.

2 yrs ago going down the Eastern Colorado Interstate (Speed limit 75, I was going 80, top of the cruise control) 2-up and pulling fully loaded camper trailer, we'd been gone 2 weeks and were ready to be home, I ran into an hour's stretch of rain, I cut my speed to 65 and kept on truckin'. At that speed the tires felt sure, even with the trailer.

Since then many members here and over on Saunder's site have installed the E4's, I've heard many good reports and no bad reports. The E4 supposedly has a harder compound in the center of the tread (for more tire life) graduating to a softer compound away from center for cornering traction.

I can't report on an E4 in the front, still has the E3 with decent tread, but it will get an E4 after the E3 wears out.

As to your water pump, unless it's a severe leak don't be in a big hurry to change it yet, you might put a few more miles on it and see if it seals itself back up. I've noticed and other members have reported these bikes tend to leak a little coolant if left sitting for a long while. First start of the season I noticed a coolant drip under mine, and I left a trail of coolant backing it out of the garage. But after a 15 mile warm up I returned home expecting to try to find the leak, but there was none, the dripping stopped never to be seen again! Never did find what was leaking....
♫ 99 Little Bugs in the Code, ♪
♪ 99 Bugs in the Code. ♫ :(
♫ Take one down, Patch it around, ♪
♫ 127 Little Bugs in the Code. ♫ ♪ :shock:

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Re: '93 Aspy refurbishment

Post by minimac »

Congrats on buying one of the best motorcycles ever made. It is time to change your timing belts. NOW! It doesn't matter if they are still in spec, they are really OLD! You'll be pulling the front plastics to address the hoses and water pump anyway. The hose replacement is pretty straight forward, but there is one that is a real PITA to get at near the carbs. Do a search on this site's DIY section. As far as oils, There is plenty of reading, if you want, or just go with a quality dino with a high zinc content-and NO friction modifiers for best results. A lot use a good synthetic in a 10-40(myself included), but after an interesting conversation (and show and tell) with a long time GL1500 mechanic, I'll be switching back to a motorcycle dino oil, and not a Napa filter. There IS a difference. You might want to check the date codes on the tires, regardless of how they look. I've switched to radials on mine and the difference was substantially better. Don't forget to grease up the splines when doing the rear tire! Good luck!
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