Is it the dreaded 4th gear issue?!


Information and questions on GL1500 Goldwings (1988-2000)
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LeYak
Posts: 32
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2020 1:12 pm
Location: Nederland
Motorcycle: 1994 GL1500 Aspencade, 1995 VFR750, 2001 GSX-R 750, 2013 Triumph Bonneville

Is it the dreaded 4th gear issue?!

Post by LeYak »



Hi all,

I've been experiencing some non-ideal shifting into 4th gear, and the worry that it may be the dreaded 4th gear issue is driving me up the wall a bit, especially as I can't seem to find my specific symptoms matching closely with the articles/posts that I can find on here.

What happens is this: My gear shifts are generally a bit clunky, but I don't mind that given that it's a bit agricultural of a transmission anyway, but going from 3rd to 4th (and basically only there aside from the occasional neutral instead of 2nd gear), it sometimes 'chatters' in a way that I can feel through the shifter, as if something in the transmission is failing to align properly and bouncing between positions. This can range from a a 'ca-clunk' to a fast tick-a-tick-a-tick-a-tick... It doesn't always do it. It basically never does when changing into 4th below 2k rpm, but often does above 3k rpm when not preloading the shifter and being very precise with shifting. Above 4k, it happens more often than not, despite my best efforts, but the extent can differ (from feeling slightly rattly to a second-long chatterfest). Rarely, sloppy gear changes will simply not reach 4th and remain in 3rd after the chattering.
As mentioned, all of this happens less often when preloading and trying to be quick with the shifter, although this doesn't completely eliminate the problem. Once well in 4th, though, no slippage and no issue whatsoever with 5th.
Downshifting is not an issue anywhere.
I get no ticking or rattling when running in neutral or in gear on the centerstand with the nose down, so I don't have that typical symptom of the '4th issue'. Nor do i have the slipping out of 4th.

Some details about the bike:
1994 GL1500A, 45.5k miles
I installed a gear shifter pivot brace, so no more play in it (there was before)
No floorboards or heel/toe shifter
10w40 semisynth racing oil, filled to the top line on the dipstick
Bike was in a bit of a delapitated stae when I bought it last year and has seen a decent transformation since, but one thing I haven't refurbished is the clutch master and slave cylinder. I've checked the brass bushing in the clutch lever, and I don't know if it's shot, but it hasn't worn through or anything. The rubber on the master cylinder was half gone though, so I've ordered the parts to refurbish the system. Prob a lot of crud in the slave at least. However, the bike doesn't want to creep forward when in gear with clutch engaged or anything.

So, what do you think? Is this the beginning of losing my 4th gear, and if not, is this chattering bad for my transmission? :shock:


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blupupher
Posts: 313
Joined: Sun May 17, 2020 5:47 pm
Location: Katy, Republic of Texas
Motorcycle: 1994 GL1500 SE

Re: Is it the dreaded 4th gear issue?!

Post by blupupher »

Are you riding my bike? It does the same thing, and is not the dreaded 4th gear issue.

From what I have read, it is just the sloppiness of these transmissions.
You have found the solution, preload when shifting into 4th, be very intent when you shift, especially when in high rev's.

I don't think mine has ever done it when I shift below 2500 rpms, but when I get on it and am sloppy, it does it quite often.
1994 GL1500 Goldwing SE
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LeYak
Posts: 32
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2020 1:12 pm
Location: Nederland
Motorcycle: 1994 GL1500 Aspencade, 1995 VFR750, 2001 GSX-R 750, 2013 Triumph Bonneville

Re: Is it the dreaded 4th gear issue?!

Post by LeYak »

I assure you, I got this bike fair and square ;)
But thx for some reassurance, so this can actually happen without it meaning that my engine is doomed!That's a relief. Where there other factors that seemed to influence this for you? Oil/clutch/Etc.?
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blupupher
Posts: 313
Joined: Sun May 17, 2020 5:47 pm
Location: Katy, Republic of Texas
Motorcycle: 1994 GL1500 SE

Re: Is it the dreaded 4th gear issue?!

Post by blupupher »

I have read of some riding with this "issue" for over 100,000 miles with no ill from it.

Also, one way I have found to never have an issue is if I do a clutchless shift.
1994 GL1500 Goldwing SE
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AZgl1800
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Location: Lake Oologah Indian Territory USA
Motorcycle: 2009 Piaggio MP3 250cc https://imgur.com/foGDjgv

'02 GL1800 lives in Dawsonville, GA now.
My son is going to enjoy it for many years to come.

Re: Is it the dreaded 4th gear issue?!

Post by AZgl1800 »

2 suggestions, change the oil to Rotella T6 5w40
that made an immediate change in the shifting on my bike.

on my 94SE, I just make it a habit to "back off the throttle" as it slid into 4th gear, to make darn sure it was in solid.

rode it lots of miles after that, and never did anything else....

unfortunately, I did not get to ride it as much as I wanted to



~John

2009 Piaggio MP3 250cc

https://i.imgur.com/4SOFPYS.jpg
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LeYak
Posts: 32
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2020 1:12 pm
Location: Nederland
Motorcycle: 1994 GL1500 Aspencade, 1995 VFR750, 2001 GSX-R 750, 2013 Triumph Bonneville

Re: Is it the dreaded 4th gear issue?!

Post by LeYak »

@blupupher The clutchless shift doesn't really work for me, unless again in the lower rev range. Above that, the clatter is back and pronounced :roll: But At least it's possible to suppress it when riding a bit more calmly. But again, good to hear that bikes can last a long time with this.

@ AZgl1800 Diesel oil, interesting :p Also, not sure if that's available here in Europe. But I can have a glance at more local forums for alternatives. At least the oil is a promising route for some improvement at least.
Holy moly, that looks scary! :o Sorry about the bike, but were you okay at least?

Thx guys!
Sunshinenomad
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Location: Ft lauderdale
Motorcycle: 2000 Honda Valkyrie Interstate

Re: Is it the dreaded 4th gear issue?!

Post by Sunshinenomad »

I have the same issue with my ‘01 Valk and have been worried about it. I switched to T6 but it didn’t help for long. I have shifted w/o clutch but not on this bike. Gonna give it a try btwn 3-4.
01 Valk Interstate
21000 miles.
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AZgl1800
Posts: 2825
Joined: Thu Oct 30, 2008 2:46 pm
Location: Lake Oologah Indian Territory USA
Motorcycle: 2009 Piaggio MP3 250cc https://imgur.com/foGDjgv

'02 GL1800 lives in Dawsonville, GA now.
My son is going to enjoy it for many years to come.

Re: Is it the dreaded 4th gear issue?!

Post by AZgl1800 »

LeYak wrote: Thu Jun 24, 2021 4:30 am @blupupher The clutchless shift doesn't really work for me, unless again in the lower rev range. Above that, the clatter is back and pronounced :roll: But At least it's possible to suppress it when riding a bit more calmly. But again, good to hear that bikes can last a long time with this.

@ AZgl1800 Diesel oil, interesting :p Also, not sure if that's available here in Europe. But I can have a glance at more local forums for alternatives. At least the oil is a promising route for some improvement at least.
Holy moly, that looks scary! :o Sorry about the bike, but were you okay at least?

Thx guys!
I was off work for six months,
on desk duty for 1 year, and then the fire department retired me with full benefits.

10 days ago, I took my last ride on the 1800, I over heated and nearly ran off a curve, and right there, I hung up my spurs.... I and trailering it to Dawsonville, GA in 3 weeks and giving it to my son, he is going to restore the trailer back to the way it looked on the day I took this picture.




~John

2009 Piaggio MP3 250cc

https://i.imgur.com/4SOFPYS.jpg
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LeYak
Posts: 32
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2020 1:12 pm
Location: Nederland
Motorcycle: 1994 GL1500 Aspencade, 1995 VFR750, 2001 GSX-R 750, 2013 Triumph Bonneville

Re: Is it the dreaded 4th gear issue?!

Post by LeYak »

AZgl1800 wrote: Thu Jun 24, 2021 11:03 pm
I was off work for six months,
on desk duty for 1 year, and then the fire department retired me with full benefits.

10 days ago, I took my last ride on the 1800, I over heated and nearly ran off a curve, and right there, I hung up my spurs.... I and trailering it to Dawsonville, GA in 3 weeks and giving it to my son, he is going to restore the trailer back to the way it looked on the day I took this picture.


adH5MZ1.jpg
Damn, at least they seem to have treated you well enough with the retirement, but 6 months off work implies some serious recovery needs :shock: I'm glad to hear that you are at least well enough to have ridden after the incident. So is this the end of motorcycling for you or just your big Wing days? I hope it's the former, but understand if it's the latter. It's a judgement only you can really make after all.

I have an uncle who used to ride relatively big bikes too (BMW GS, Guzzi Cali 3, etc.); but sold all of them and just bought a Royal Enfield Bullet. He says it's not fast and it's not luxurious, but it's exactly the kind of motorcycling he needs rn :D
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LeYak
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Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2020 1:12 pm
Location: Nederland
Motorcycle: 1994 GL1500 Aspencade, 1995 VFR750, 2001 GSX-R 750, 2013 Triumph Bonneville

Re: Is it the dreaded 4th gear issue?!

Post by LeYak »

Sunshinenomad wrote: Thu Jun 24, 2021 5:58 pm I have the same issue with my ‘01 Valk and have been worried about it. I switched to T6 but it didn’t help for long. I have shifted w/o clutch but not on this bike. Gonna give it a try btwn 3-4.
01 Valk Interstate
21000 miles.
Oof, 21000 miles would be very premature for transmission problems :? Keep us posted!
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wingdings
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Location: mells , England, United Kingdom
Motorcycle: Honda Goldwing gl 1989

Re: Is it the dreaded 4th gear issue?!

Post by wingdings »

Hi there saw your post - A old Goldwing machinic - Showed me a trick to test for the dreaded fourth gear problem - lean the bike over on the LeftHand side - Listen for a fast-ticking noise unmistakable if you hear it, you know then the shifter fork is either bent or worn out. worst thin is now they dont make the part anymore either !!... :? :? :? :? :? :?
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LeYak
Posts: 32
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2020 1:12 pm
Location: Nederland
Motorcycle: 1994 GL1500 Aspencade, 1995 VFR750, 2001 GSX-R 750, 2013 Triumph Bonneville

Re: Is it the dreaded 4th gear issue?!

Post by LeYak »

wingdings wrote: Wed Jun 30, 2021 10:00 am Hi there saw your post - A old Goldwing machinic - Showed me a trick to test for the dreaded fourth gear problem - lean the bike over on the LeftHand side - Listen for a fast-ticking noise unmistakable if you hear it, you know then the shifter fork is either bent or worn out. worst thin is now they dont make the part anymore either !!... :? :? :? :? :? :?
Nice, thanks for the advice. Scary to think the parts are no longer made :?
So, does this mean that I should be able to hear that ticking when it's on the sidestand? Because if so, I don't think it's there.


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