Clutch Worn?


Information and questions on GL1500 Goldwings (1988-2000)
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Wingerdinger1500
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Joined: Fri May 07, 2021 2:41 pm
Location: West Palm Beach, florida
Motorcycle: 1984 GL1200 Aspencade
2000 GL1500 SE

Clutch Worn?

Post by Wingerdinger1500 »



Hey All, I'm looking for answers on a particular Clutch issue that I can't get any results on searches in the forum, so thought I'd ask you directly here.. I bought a 2000' SE 1500 in Seattle with 50k on it,and headed back home to Florida with it riding 2 up and loaded down this past May of 2021. The Bike runs perfect and got us Home in 6k miles of travel bliss. However the clutch had me worried by the time I left Colorado in which we traveled extensively from Denver to Ouray and everything in between.
Until then I had full clutch lever action with the friction zone and full engagement zone where they should be. But as you can imagine, I had done a lot of time in the friction zone with all the maneuvering in slanted parking lots and roadside pull-offs with a myriad of slope conditions.
So by this time the rest of the trip home was done with the engagement zone quite far out with not much friction zone to use, thus making it kinda touchy! But never did have any clutch slippage at all and still don't at 58k miles on it.
Also the condition didn't seem to come on gradually, but rather suddenly over an afternoon as best I can recall( my brain was rather frozen at times..lol)
So my inclination tells me I lost material on my clutch plates. I still have a normal feeling clutch lever when depressing it (as far as having the right amount of freeplay at full out, to when you start feeling resistance when depressing the lever).
I started out the trip with a fresh oil change using the oil of choice that Iv'e used in all my Wings (3 different 84' 1200's and a 99' Valkyrie); which is the Mobile1 15W-50 that has the added Zinc.(no friction modifiers) Mid Trip, I did an oil change using the Mobile1 10w-40 Motorcycle oil ( thinking maybe my viscosity was to high for the cold temps we were in.)
So #1, does this sound like my issue? ,and #2, what is the best choice for aftermarket clutch plates? And #3, should the bearing for the clutch basket be replaced at the same time?


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DenverWinger
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Re: Clutch Worn?

Post by DenverWinger »

50k miles is still young for a Goldwing clutch. I'd suspect you have hydraulic problems instead, namely a plugged return port in the clutch master cylinder, thus moving the friction point out to the end of lever travel.

Look for a little tin three-legged cover in the bottom of the clutch lever fluid reservoir, the return hole is under the little tin cover, You can clear it by poking it out with a fine wire.

You will likely find the inside of the reservoir full of gunk that "Used to be" DOT-4 brake fluid. That being the case you will probably want to service both the master and slave cylinder.

viewtopic.php?f=14&t=23715
♫ 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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dingdong
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Re: Clutch Worn?

Post by dingdong »

My first thought is the slave cylinder needs to be removed, and serviced. That's a common problem with the symptoms you describe. read this "How to".
viewtopic.php?f=14&t=23715&sid=023d2665 ... 793c578b61
Wingerdinger1500
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2000 GL1500 SE

Re: Clutch Worn?

Post by Wingerdinger1500 »

Well Thx for the reply's fella's.
I wholly agree that it's way early for any need of a new clutch at this low mileage. But this bike also may have done a lot of sitting with this low mileage in 20 years.
I sure would do a happy dance if that's all it is, but I'm curious to know; if such were the case that the little hole was plugged and not letting the fluid back fill in the piston, wouldn't it leave me with a ton of free-play in the lever? As stated, I have have full range of lever motion with constant pressure, and just the right amount of free-play at lever full-out..
Wingerdinger1500
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2000 GL1500 SE

Re: Clutch Worn?

Post by Wingerdinger1500 »

Hey DenverWinger, I just noticed that 77' Wing in your avatar! I had a 77 also! love it man. I noticed those ole Vetter
bags and fairing right off! Good stuff they were!
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Re: Clutch Worn?

Post by WingAdmin »

I agree with the others - there are GL1500's with 250,000 miles and more still on their original clutches. The clutches in these bikes are hugely overbuilt.

Most likely it's the master or slave needing rebuilding. Not too tough to do. It could also be a failing clutch line, where the rubber inside the line starts to close off and doesn't allow the fluid to return.
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DenverWinger
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Re: Clutch Worn?

Post by DenverWinger »

Wingerdinger1500 wrote: Fri Dec 17, 2021 7:26 pm Hey DenverWinger, I just noticed that 77' Wing in your avatar! I had a 77 also! love it man. I noticed those ole Vetter
bags and fairing right off! Good stuff they were!
Thanks for noticing :)

Photo in the avatar is my '80 1100 and the '93 1500, I miss the '77, sold her in '06 after riding her four years.
Photo of the '77 below.

The '77 Wing
The '77 Wing

I bought the '80 in '05, it had not run in 12 years. Fuel had turned to varnish, rusty tank, etc, but finally got 'er runnin' good and still have her today. Sold the '77 in '06 because I couldn't fit two 'Wings in the little shed I built when I bought this house in '04 (had no garage). So one of the bikes had to stay out in the weather!

The original idea on the '80 was just parts, I was told the engine was bad, only gave $400 for the bike, and thought I'd transfer the full Vetter kit to the 1000 and part out the rest. Wanted trunk and saddlebags. Well, turns out the 1100 Vetter mounts won't work on a 1000. All the mount points are off by a half-inch here and an inch there and positively won't bolt up. So I thought I'd try to fire the 1100 engine to see what happened. Hooked an off-board fuel can to the fuel pump, borrowed the battery from the 1000, and 15 minutes later the 1100 was running. Running very badly, but nonetheless running. So I decided to fix her up.

One thing I did swap between the 1000 and the 1100 was the front engine guards. I was forever busting my shins on the 1100 crash guards and didn't like them, they wrapped around the rear of the valve covers. So in these two photos, you see the GL1000 with 1100 crash bars on it, and the GL1100 with the '77 crash bars. Perfect fit for both.

Today the 1100 has 102k miles and five cross-country trips, the last two of them pulling the Trav-Lite camper I acquired in 2010.

In the photo you'll notice the aluminum "wings" attached to the Vetter trunk. I had a friend of mine make these custom speaker boxes of aluminum sheet to bolt to the trunk. With some nice Pioneer 6" speakers and a 60 watt amp I have tunes I can easily hear at highway speeds, the little 4" speakers in the Vetter "Cycle Sound" were just not enough.

I bought the '93 'Wing in spring of '17, now two more cross-country trips logged on the 1500 with the camper. So again I have two 'Wings, but I built a big garage 8 years ago, can now fit both wings, the camper, and even squeeze in two cars if I arrange things just right. So no pressure to sell the 1100.

The '93 and '80 Wings
The '93 and '80 Wings

♫ 99 Little Bugs in the Code, ♪
♪ 99 Bugs in the Code. ♫ :(
♫ Take one down, Patch it around, ♪
♫ 127 Little Bugs in the Code. ♫ ♪ :shock:

~Mark
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DenverWinger
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1972 CL350 (1980-1988) sold
1978 Suzuki GS550 (1985-2005) sold
1977 GL1000 (2002-2006) sold

Re: Clutch Worn?

Post by DenverWinger »

I just noticed in my post above that it was my post # 2021 at his moment :D and this is post # 2022 :lol: A little early, but Happy New Year!

Sorry to Hijack the thread, I'm done and you can have it back - We'll get back on topic :oops:
♫ 99 Little Bugs in the Code, ♪
♪ 99 Bugs in the Code. ♫ :(
♫ Take one down, Patch it around, ♪
♫ 127 Little Bugs in the Code. ♫ ♪ :shock:

~Mark
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Swagonmaster
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Re: Clutch Worn?

Post by Swagonmaster »

Wingerdinger1500 wrote: Fri Dec 17, 2021 7:15 pm Well Thx for the reply's fella's.
I wholly agree that it's way early for any need of a new clutch at this low mileage. But this bike also may have done a lot of sitting with this low mileage in 20 years.
I sure would do a happy dance if that's all it is, but I'm curious to know; if such were the case that the little hole was plugged and not letting the fluid back fill in the piston, wouldn't it leave me with a ton of free-play in the lever? As stated, I have have full range of lever motion with constant pressure, and just the right amount of free-play at lever full-out..
If fluid can't get into the piston area you get free play, if it can't get out you get a lever with no slack or even a slipping clutch.
Try to learn from the mistakes of others..... you won't live long enough to make them all yourself!
Wingerdinger1500
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Re: Clutch Worn?

Post by Wingerdinger1500 »

That's my thinking too. And I have neither one! No slipping and no extra free play. Just a different engagement point.
Of course I'll make the easiest checks first and go through the process of deduction to get to the problem. Will see once a bust out the tools..

Thx
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Swagonmaster
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Re: Clutch Worn?

Post by Swagonmaster »

I think that I used the wrong wording. The free play is mechanical, past the point that the clutch lever contacts the clutch master cyl. What would be affected is as you said, the engagement /release point. As the others have said, I think that you will be able to fix your issue with a little clean up or rebuild of the clutch hydraulics.
Try to learn from the mistakes of others..... you won't live long enough to make them all yourself!
Wingerdinger1500
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Re: Clutch Worn?

Post by Wingerdinger1500 »

Thank you for the post. I did try to get every detail I could in my original post, but I think there is one more thing to note, and that is that I have no problem with disengagement of the clutch. No difficulty shifting or finding neutral and No fluid loss and all those sorted issues.
And also that I can feel full movement of the slave depressing the clutch spring throughout the whole movement of the clutch lever as though it where a brand new machine..
And I must note that with the engagement point being out close to the end of "lever release" it also takes very little lever movement to disengage as well..
Just hoping this gives a little bit more focus as well..Thx
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DenverWinger
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1972 CL350 (1980-1988) sold
1978 Suzuki GS550 (1985-2005) sold
1977 GL1000 (2002-2006) sold

Re: Clutch Worn?

Post by DenverWinger »

Wingerdinger1500 wrote: Mon Dec 20, 2021 12:12 am And I must note that with the engagement point being out close to the end of "lever release" it also takes very little lever movement to disengage as well..
Indicates a plugged fluid return port in the master cylinder, especially if it did this suddenly. The fluid return port is supposed to relieve any pressure in the hydraulics when clutch lever is fully released and give you a little bit of lever travel from "full out" before actually working the clutch when you pull the clutch lever.

Being unable to relieve pressure could cause clutch slippage under heavy load if there's residual pressure in the hydraulics and the fluid expands any due to heat.

If you get the fluid return port unplugged you might get away with just flushing the fluid in the clutch system (which should be done every few years anyway) without needing to do any rebuilding.

I use a "My-T-Vac" - available from Harbor Freight and other places, first suck out all the fluid from the reservoir with the My-T-Vac, then fill with fresh DOT-4, then crack the clutch bleeder open and attach the My-T-Vac to the bleeder valve on the slave cylinder. Work the My-T-Vac and suck fluid out of the slave cylinder, this will pull fresh fluid from the master cylinder. Don't let the fluid run out in the master, keep adding more to the master and sucking more from the slave until the fluid runs clear.

This should be done to your brakes, too. The foot pedal works the rear brake AND the left caliper on the front wheel, do the front wheel first on that.

Highly recommended to put a large trash bag over the shelter and fairing on the bike to protect from any drippage of brake fluid on the tupperware while you are doing this, even a single drop of brake fluid can literally destroy the plastic. Eats it for Lunch. And the damage is unstoppable.
♫ 99 Little Bugs in the Code, ♪
♪ 99 Bugs in the Code. ♫ :(
♫ Take one down, Patch it around, ♪
♫ 127 Little Bugs in the Code. ♫ ♪ :shock:

~Mark
Wingerdinger1500
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Re: Clutch Worn?

Post by Wingerdinger1500 »

Thanks Mark, I should be able to take a look at it today.
Note: that little bit of "travel" in the lever you mentioned is what I was refering to as " free play"
Which has not changed from original.
Will post my findings...
Wingerdinger1500
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Re: Clutch Worn?

Post by Wingerdinger1500 »

Update: popped open the master and cleaned out the reservoir.while I didn't find the port clogged up, yes it was dirty inside. Typical..went ahead and bled the system good, and there does seem to be a marked difference. So I have a slave kit ordered up and will do that for good measure. Will post results here probably after Christmas
Thanks for your time fellas..
Merry Christmas and a happy prosperous new year to all. :)
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DenverWinger
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1972 CL350 (1980-1988) sold
1978 Suzuki GS550 (1985-2005) sold
1977 GL1000 (2002-2006) sold

Re: Clutch Worn?

Post by DenverWinger »

Happy new year - and good to hear of success....

Be sure to give the brakes a good fluid flush, too.... especially on a "new-to you" bike, hard to say when last done, and as stated above should be done every couple years anyway.

Good maintenance will prevent (or at least delay a long time) any future repairs due to failure.
♫ 99 Little Bugs in the Code, ♪
♪ 99 Bugs in the Code. ♫ :(
♫ Take one down, Patch it around, ♪
♫ 127 Little Bugs in the Code. ♫ ♪ :shock:

~Mark
pizzap
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Re: Clutch Worn?

Post by pizzap »

I had a similar situation. I Have a 1994 Goldwing Trike. Trailered from Wisconsin to Nashville year before last for Wing Ding at that time it had about 19200 miles. Always was concerned of how to trailer in gear or out of gear (neutral) Rode around Nashville Then took a trip to my brothers in Elizabethton TN. About 600 miles round trip. I drove the bike back onto the trailer which is a chore in itself being careful not to hit the side rails. So, it consists of more than normal throttling and clutching. I got it on the trailer and needed to pull forward another six inches against the front rail so I could tie it down. The bike would not move. I brought it back to Wisconsin took it to a nearby motorcycle shop only to have them call me to say they did not have the tools to work on Hondas. So, I trailered it to where I had the Trike conversion kit installed. I insisted they install a new slave cylinder and a flush out first That didn't work so they went on to the clutch and yes it was shot. I couldn't believe this at less than 20000 miles. I did read that the clutch system is supposed to be flushed every two years. I probably had it done once in 25 years. Nobody could explain why this happened. I do know that Honda should highlight their owner's manual reflecting the need to flush out the clutch and brakes system every two years. Cost me $1100 + to repair.
Wingerdinger1500
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Re: Clutch Worn?

Post by Wingerdinger1500 »

Happy New Year Everyone!! Here's the follow up on my clutch issue:
I rebuilt the Slave cylinder and yes it of course it needed it like all have said;It just gets crummy in there with oxidation of the dissimilar metals and condensation occurring in the system. So while it didn't seem to show a drastic
change in the operation of my clutch, it's all good because as I have stated, my clutch was never slipping, and never had issues with changing gears (disengagement)..
So here is a possible theory..Maybe the slight change I felt in my clutch operation was that it maybe had been a little sticky in the slave cylinder from non use before I picked up the bike in Seattle.

So All's Good to go and I just feel better about having got the clutch system clean and green!!

Wile the slave cylinder job was a breeze; Getting the goofy Evap canister out of the way from behind the slave cylinder was the most aggravation!

So thanks all for the great post. Ride-On!!


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