Going on a trip - what should I check?


Information and questions on GL1500 Goldwings (1988-2000)
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Adomis63
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Motorcycle: 1994 GL1500A Aspencade

Going on a trip - what should I check?

Post by Adomis63 »



Hello all!

I'm a relativity new owner of a '94 GL1500A, with 21k on the clock. I got this bike because I plan on taking a longer trip sometime in the near (Chicago - Dallas) future and I wasn't about to make me, or my VF500C magna do that. So I figured I would get a bike designed to eat up miles. I hope a '94 is still that road worthy. Anyway, I'm hoping some people here could provide me with some pointers on what to check on/do to the bike to prepare for this trek since it is the winter months here and I have time to wrench while there is snow on the ground.

I bought the bike in late September and have already done these things:
- replace oil+filter with rotella 15w-40
- replace final drive gear oil with proper synthetic weight
- replace timing belts with napa/gates belts (which was suspiciously easy given the way it was portrayed by some folks online)
- drain and replace coolant (with the belt job)
- sprayed some buttons and switches on handlebars with contact cleaner. they seemed to stick sometimes, and also seem to be getting better with use.
- new air filter (wow that was an experience)
- new spark plugs. old ones looked fine, but I already had them out for replacing the timing belts.

Some particular things I have questions about/plan on doing yet:
- new tires. Admittedly, I rode an hour home on these 9 year old Elite 3's - but they didn't look cracked and still have tread, but they're too old. They do make a "whirring" noise around 30mph like how a car needs its tires rotated.
What are good tires to be putting on this beast in 2020? I plan to take the wheels to a dealer so they can install/balance/dispose.
- How do I check wheel bearings? When I turn, the whirring seems to become more noticeable, but I don't know if maybe its just the tires.
- Fuses and Relays...
I have heard that I should have some of these on backup. What should I keep handy considering I still have the original ones in place? All of the electronics work as of now, though I think the headlight relay might be sticking slightly. Sometimes it doesn't switch right away.

However, the previous owner did say that this bike had been downed before on the right side. The right engine guard has a good bit ground off. They did also mention that the bike was repaired by a dealer and provided paperwork to back it up. They also did all their maintenance through the local dealer as well. With all that said, the bike runs and idles great! Everything works on it!

I'd love to hear what you all have for suggestions. I've lurked here for a while and this really is a wonderful forum.

Christopher


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blupupher
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Re: Going on a trip - what should I check?

Post by blupupher »

I have a '94 also, and would have no qualms about a 2000 mile trip today.

Tires need to go NOW. 9 year old tires are an accident waiting to happen, regardless of how they look.
Elite 4 are kind of the go to tire now days (it is what I have on mine because that is what it came with, but I will be going darkside when time comes to replace the rear, not sure on the front).

Wheel bearings, just replace them when you do the tires. not that expensive in the grand scheme of things and will bring you years of worry free riding.

Lube your driveshaft spline when the rear tire is off as well.

Check your brake pads when the tires are off also, and replace if questionable (not that expensive, and again, one less thing to worry about if you don't know the age of them).
Don't forget to bleed/replace the brake fluid and clutch fluid.

If the headlight is not coming on right after starting, it is probably a sticky starter switch.
Spraying down the switches from the outside may help, but will not fix it. They need to be taken apart and cleaned and lubed. Not that hard, just a lot of small parts (here is a how to on it). Here is one for the turn signals

Have you done the sub filter and cruise control filter?

For the relays, You can just buy one or 2 spares and keep them on the bike if needed, or as I plan on doing is replacing the #3 relay (this one has a lot of power going through it and tends to be the one that fails) and the #4? I think and keeping the old ones as spares.
I also replaced all fuses and applied some di-electric grease to them before re-inserting.

If you really want to get into it, you could remove your air pump and dry the desiccant, and also pull the rear air shock and drain and replace the fluid in it.
Same for the front forks, who knows how long that oil has been in there for.

I would also look at getting the shifter brace (e-bay is cheapest place to get it)

If your cruise control has a lag when you set it, follow this guide, and if you want your cruise to set higher than 80 (and in Texas you will want that), follow this guide.

Lots of other how to things in this link.
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Solo So Long
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Re: Going on a trip - what should I check?

Post by Solo So Long »

blupupher wrote: Mon Jan 04, 2021 10:36 pm Tires need to go NOW. 9 year old tires are an accident waiting to happen, regardless of how they look.
Yeah, what HE said.

It sounds like you already know that, from the way you mentioned the old tires, but consider that you will be doing about 100 feet per SECOND on a couple of patches of rubber about 1 foot long COMBINED.

That's not a lot of margin for your life, much less TWO lives.
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DenverWinger
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Re: Going on a trip - what should I check?

Post by DenverWinger »

Hello Christopher, and Welcome to the Forum!
Adomis63 wrote: Mon Jan 04, 2021 10:11 pm They do make a "whirring" noise around 30mph like how a car needs its tires rotated.
- How do I check wheel bearings? When I turn, the whirring seems to become more noticeable, but I don't know if maybe its just the tires.
Ya, that noise is the tires, when I got my '93 four yrs ago it was doing the same thing. The Elite 3 on the rear was cupped, about 3/4 worn and had a slow leak. A New Elite 4 on the rear fixed it. The E3 on the front still had plenty of life in it so I left it. 44psi Rear / 41psi front (these are HEAVY bikes) will help prevent the cupping that causes the noise. When the tires are changed have them install 90 degree stainless steel valve stems.

A lot of good tips from @blupupher above... You won't regret the shifter brace, I installed one, and the cruise/sub filters are likely "dust" now.

I wouldn't be that concerned about wheel bearings, age doesn't wear them out, just miles, at only 21k yours are still just about new.

That summer '17 we went on a 4500 miles cross-country trip pulling a fully loaded camper trailer, no issues whatsoever. The only thing I had to do to the bike was put fuel in it. Avg only 24 MPG but that was 2-up with 550# hanging onto the trailer hitch and a Tulsa Tall windshield. At the end of the season there was no evidence it had used ANY oil at all thru the entire season, dipstick still showed right at the "full" mark! Mine has 52k miles on it now. Without the trailer I can plan on 32-36 MPG (sometimes 40) depending on how/where I'm riding.

I still haven't changed sparkplugs, this past spring I unscrewed one of them, looked at it, and screwed it back in. :lol:

Looking forward to another cross-country this coming summer, probably 3500 miles with the camper again. Due to various life factors I haven't put a great number of miles on since the last trip and that front E3 still has decent tread. But at this point I need to check the date code, that tire is four years old that I know of and if the date code shows 6 yrs or more (it likely does) I'll replace it before the trip.

You'll find your trip to Dallas to be an absolute Joy. On our 2017 trip we logged 850 miles the first day, we had a schedule to keep, a reservation crossing Lake Michigan from Manitowoc WI to Ludington MI on the S.S. Badger, we wanted to get the bulk of the miles behind us so the second day we would easily make Manitowoc on time. That 850 mile segment left us a little tired, but not "beat up" like riding some other bikes would do...

Your "New" '94 should give you MANY years of riding pleasure... :D
♫ 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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joeincalif
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Re: Going on a trip - what should I check?

Post by joeincalif »

Check the age of the battery, if it is over 3 years old replace it
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Re: Going on a trip - what should I check?

Post by offcenter »

On a 26 year old bike that has only 21,000 miles on it?
I'd check EVERYTHING!....TWICE!
That bike has been sitting way too long.
That's less than 1000 miles a year since it was new!
Many of us can put that many miles on our Wings in a weekend!
George in Jersey.
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4given
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Re: Going on a trip - what should I check?

Post by 4given »

offcenter wrote: Tue Jan 05, 2021 8:27 pm On a 26 year old bike that has only 21,000 miles on it?
I'd check EVERYTHING!....TWICE!
That bike has been sitting way too long.
That's less than 1000 miles a year since it was new!
Many of us can put that many miles on our Wings in a weekend!
I’d take it.😀👌
“Fight the fight and do what is right“
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kwthom
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Re: Going on a trip - what should I check?

Post by kwthom »

Adomis63 wrote: Mon Jan 04, 2021 10:11 pm <...>
I'd love to hear what you all have for suggestions. I've lurked here for a while and this really is a wonderful forum.
Those with more familiarity with the GL1500's unique quirks have checked in and will continue to do so (for your sake, I hope...) with those things that could be an issue on that specific machine. All bikes, as you know, have them. It's learning about them and understanding them that's key.

Unfortunately, your location of northern IL means you'll not have much in the way of rideable weather until...March? April? So, now you have the next few months to worry about all of those things either being okay, needing to be fixed between now and then, -or- fixing them between now and then.

I see the challenge being...once all of those things are managed (fixed, replaced, reviewed and deemed satisfactory...) are you still going to feel comfortable getting on that machine and pounding out hundreds or thousands of miles?

Sure hope you have time to get all of that done *and* get in a thousand miles or so of rides close(r) to home before your big ride to the Dallas area. That way, you'll have peace of mind. Important on a long ride away from home.

Luck to ya!
• "If I can't fix it, I'll fix it so nobody can!" ● Wait...I no longer have to fix it - I'm retired! :lol: ● Ken (IBA#50030) ● "Get busy living, or get busy dying." -Andy Dufresne, The Shawshank Redemption 1994 ● My blog
Adomis63
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Re: Going on a trip - what should I check?

Post by Adomis63 »

Wow! Thanks all for the advice. This is EXACTLY what I was hoping for! I will need to put together a shopping list and get started it seems. I didn't even know there was a such thing as a sub filter or cruise control filter!

As for the headlight not turning on - it only happens sometimes when I switch from high beams to low beams. It seems to either take a second to switch, or if I toggle it a couple times it'll go. And I'll need to figure something to keep the front of the bike up while I have the wheels off. This might be my excuse to get that motorcycle jack from harbor freight... if I can find the garage space.

Once I get most of or all of this sorted out I also need to look into getting a couple plastic trim bits and some essential long trip accessories. But these types of things are lower on the list.

Thank you for linking to useful articles with your suggestions, Its mind blowing how much information is in this forum!
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blupupher
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Re: Going on a trip - what should I check?

Post by blupupher »

Adomis63 wrote: Wed Jan 06, 2021 11:42 pm Wow! Thanks all for the advice. This is EXACTLY what I was hoping for! I will need to put together a shopping list and get started it seems. I didn't even know there was a such thing as a sub filter or cruise control filter!

As for the headlight not turning on - it only happens sometimes when I switch from high beams to low beams. It seems to either take a second to switch, or if I toggle it a couple times it'll go. And I'll need to figure something to keep the front of the bike up while I have the wheels off. This might be my excuse to get that motorcycle jack from harbor freight... if I can find the garage space.

Once I get most of or all of this sorted out I also need to look into getting a couple plastic trim bits and some essential long trip accessories. But these types of things are lower on the list.

Thank you for linking to useful articles with your suggestions, Its mind blowing how much information is in this forum!
Yup, the amount of info on this site is impressive. I spent quite a while looking through the DIY page, and a few more days doing some of them, and have plans in the future to do more.

The sub filter and cruise filter are overlooked by most. They guy I bought my bike from had everything done at the dealer, and had a folder full of receipts, but those two filters had never been touched in 81,000 miles of dealer service.

Here is my reply in the how to thread on that, you can see the sad shape they were in.
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Re: Going on a trip - what should I check?

Post by FM-USA »

Hummm... what to check.
Tires? Brakes? Oil?
Oh, A FULL BANK! ;)
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Re: Going on a trip - what should I check?

Post by dingdong »

Just in case you don't have a service manual. Download free here. https://www.manualslib.com/manual/81794 ... l1500.html
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Re: Going on a trip - what should I check?

Post by AZgl1800 »

dingdong wrote: Fri Jan 08, 2021 8:14 am Just in case you don't have a service manual. Download free here. https://www.manualslib.com/manual/81794 ... l1500.html
that is a lousy example what with having to go through pages like that.

send me a PM with your email address and I will send you the PDF version of the manual
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dingdong
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Re: Going on a trip - what should I check?

Post by dingdong »

AZgl1800 wrote: Fri Jan 08, 2021 11:34 am
dingdong wrote: Fri Jan 08, 2021 8:14 am Just in case you don't have a service manual. Download free here. https://www.manualslib.com/manual/81794 ... l1500.html
that is a lousy example what with having to go through pages like that.

send me a PM with your email address and I will send you the PDF version of the manual
John, just need to download the entire manual. Not one page at a time. At least it lets me do it that way. I have downloaded it to all my devices.
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Re: Going on a trip - what should I check?

Post by WingAdmin »

I'd suggest a couple smaller trips to iron out any bugs you might not be aware of before setting off on your epic journey!
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Re: Going on a trip - what should I check?

Post by Adomis63 »

Thank you all for the advice again! I do have the entire service manual in pdf format that I scroll through on my greasy garage laptop and it helps tremendously. This beast sure does look funny with all the plastics, cases and both wheels off. It's mostly back together now and tempting me to try it out. This is gonna be a looooong second half to winter here in the midwest...
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Re: Going on a trip - what should I check?

Post by Rednaxs60 »

All good information being posted here. Long trip, older bike, but very dependable when all the work/maintenance is done and kept up. New to you bike. Do all the maintenance/work suggested. If you are planning additional work such as rebuilding the clutch slave, clutch/front brake MC, do before you leave. If you are thinking about doing something but tell yourself it can wait until you return, do it before you leave. Long distance and finding a dealership to work on your bike may not be that easy. I mention this because the reality is that you won't be working on this bike on the road, just the reality of touring. When you have gone over the bike with a fine tooth comb, VISA and a good roadside package is needed. Knowing that you have done as much work/maintenance as possible/practical before you leave will give you peace of mind, and trouble free motoring.

If the trip is you alone, you can take a few bumps in the road trip. If this trip is you and your partner - whomever, a few bumps in the road trip can be unpleasant. This is a very important consideration.

Good luck.
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Re: Going on a trip - what should I check?

Post by captdecker »

On my GL1800 I run the E4's for my GL1500 I like the feel of the K177's.

I put on the https://cyclemax.com/inc/sdetail/gl1500 ... /86/159787 with irim plugs one range hot and get a lot better MPG with that set up. You have already done the belts as that would have been the time to do the wheel too, oh well.

blupupher gave a LOT of good info.

Enjoy , many happy miles.
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Re: Going on a trip - what should I check?

Post by newwingrider »

I have a 1992 and replaced everything you mentioned plus I rebuilt the clutch master cylinder, replaced all the bleeders with speed bleeders, flushed all clutch/brake fluids and rebuilt the rear brake caliper and installed new pads. Installed Elite 4 tires. Also installed a shifter brace. Good as new with 90,000 miles.
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Re: Going on a trip - what should I check?

Post by Spence »

My experience was with a 2010 1800 with only 1700 miles on it. I also changed the tires and all the fluids then a year later and about 7k miles on it my fuel pump quit. Luckily it happened at home and not somewhere on the road. I can only assume the PO did not treat the fuel while it sat all those years in his garage and the ethanol had it's way with it. I don't know if there is any way the pump could be tested but it's something to think about.
Good luck,
Dave
Adomis63
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Re: Going on a trip - what should I check?

Post by Adomis63 »

Rednaxs60 wrote: Mon Feb 01, 2021 11:00 am If you are planning additional work such as rebuilding the clutch slave
Funny enough I actually did rebuild the clutch slave cylinder. I bought a kit to rebuild the one on my magna and discovered that they used the same parts. Actually, the rebuild kit for these slave cylinders fit a TON of these older Hondas... and even some newer ones. I didn't plan on doing anything with the masters though as they seem to function fine and they were still clean on the inside.

The dealership that I had the tires replaced at hooked me up with some bridgestones, which is what they said they usually offer for these bikes. They were notably cheaper and from what I've seen they seem "okay". I'm sure I will be able to draw my own conclusions after a while.
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Re: Going on a trip - what should I check?

Post by Swagonmaster »

Along with everything above I will add this, as WingAdmin said, take some shorter trips to see if you are comfortable as is. Since you don't have a picture showing this is a guess, a backrest and highway footrests are in my mind a necessity for a longer trip. I had E3's on my bike originally and they would cup on the sides due to the sipes (grooves on the sides) as they would squirm during highway turns and wear and caused noise when turning as you described. I went to Avon Cobra tires (great traction over the E3's and fewer sipes) and have been very happy. As to the fuel pump I don't know if I would take one or not (how much storage and money do you have?) but would definitely take the part number of the pump I hear can be bought at a parts store and is rather common.
I take some windshield cleaner and a rag with me always and make sure to have a tinted face shield dark enough to face into the sun. I grew up in Chicago and lived in Dallas for 11 years and neither one of them are somewhere you want to be and not be able to see!
As you can see my bike is a '90 model w/144k on it and I would happily take the trip.
Try to learn from the mistakes of others..... you won't live long enough to make them all yourself!
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llenryb
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Re: Going on a trip - what should I check?

Post by llenryb »

A few years back I did the Sturgis trip starting from central Alberta.
On the way back my radiator cap spring started to go. This was on a 1989 Goldwing.
I had to buy coolant and add coolant on an ongoing basis, especially with the heat that we were encountering.

With very few Goldwing dealers and it also being on the weekend I had very few options.
I finally found a place in Missoula Montana that was open and managed to get a replacement radiator cap.

So, my recommendation is to carry an extra radiator cap with you as well.


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