Buying a 1998 SE


Information and questions on GL1500 Goldwings (1988-2000)
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Hearn660
Posts: 33
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2022 5:40 pm
Location: Palm City, FL
Motorcycle: 1998 GL 1500

Buying a 1998 SE

Post by Hearn660 »



I am a newbie to the Goldwing family. I have always admired them from a far. I am about to purchase a 1998 SE. the seller tells me that the rear brake is hydraulic. I thought I knew what that meant. I thought it meant that it was a closed system and should act according to that methodology. Meaning that the brakes should not need to be pumped up or worked to work properly. I went to look at it this past weekend and he gave me the opportunity to ride it. He told me to pump or depress the rear brake pedal while riding it and it would eventually get enough pressure. I am curious if this is a normal occurrence on these older GW’s or should I be concerned? I did not see any leaks after the quick ride. The rear brakes sounds like they were not metal on metal but they sounded louder than I expected. I am some what mechanically inclined as I have owned a couple of crotch rockets back in my younger day.

Also it’s a 1998 SE with 14,000 miles on it and he is asking 4500 dollars from what I have seen on FB marketplace and CL with that milage I believe it’s a solid buy but just curious. Please help a newbie out if ya can. I love the 1500 as it was the coolest thing rolling through the small town I grew in at night with all the lights slipping through town like gohsts….. so cool! Thank you!


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Rambozo
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Re: Buying a 1998 SE

Post by Rambozo »

The rear brake should not require pumping. The brake most likely needs bleeding or it might need other repair. It is a linked brake system with the rear pedal operating one front caliper as well as the rear. You can search here for bleeding procedures or check the service manual. Noise in the brakes is usually bad news.
That age with that low mileage means it has been sitting most of it's life. Prepare for much service. First thing is to change the timing belts, ASAP.
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Swagonmaster
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Motorcycle: 1990 gl1500 SE

Re: Buying a 1998 SE

Post by Swagonmaster »

Agree with Rambozo on that one, the brakes should not make any more noise than the ones on your car, that is nothing .On a bike that has been sitting it could be mostly rusted rotors and bleeding or rebuilding the master cylinder isn't unusual on older bikes.The timing belt is a 100% recomendation, rubber doesn't last forever and the results of a belt not doing its job could cost you half as much as buying the bike. There are a lot of little things that need some attention but if you can do your own work it is mostly fun and time.
My own bike (1990) I bought at 138K and it had been sitting for at least 5 years because that's how old the brand new tires on it were and aside from maintainance it hasen't been a problem (except when the alternator decided to die when I was 50 miles from home, that wasn't fun). You will love it so enjoy!
Try to learn from the mistakes of others..... you won't live long enough to make them all yourself!
Solo So Long
Posts: 581
Joined: Thu Mar 26, 2020 4:07 pm
Location: Northern Nevada
Motorcycle: 1999 GL1500 50th Anniversary SE
1989 GL1500 FOR SALE
A pack of Super Cubs
Z50A (pre-headlight)
Formerly (in order):
Honda Super Cub (bought 1968, sold ?)
Kawasaki Coyote (early 1970s)
Honda 350 (mid 1970s)
Kawasaki KZ900-PS (1977)
Honda Super Cubs (various years)
Kawasaki KZ1000C (1978)
Kawasaki KZ1000P (various years, 1980 - 2005)
Honda 360 (1983)
BMW R1150RT-P (2001)
BMW R1200RT-P (various years 2007 - 2018, NEVER AGAIN)

Re: Buying a 1998 SE

Post by Solo So Long »

Many of us believe that the GL1500 is the best one they made until about 2 or 3 years ago, when the GL1800 finally caught up. I have passed offers to swap, straight across, my 1999 for a 2009 and 2011.

TIMING BELTS are the one real weak point.

The brake pedal operates the rear caliper AND one of the two front calipers. As such, softness is often an issue on a bike which hasn't been ridden much -- and this certainly fits the bill. If you aren't seeing leaks, it probably just needs to be bled (which is a great time to install Speed Bleeders).

The price seems about $1000 high to me, but markets vary, and it does have a low number on the odometer. However, Goldwings run ten times that mileage without showing much age, so the low odo is less of a selling point than it would be on a lesser bike. Currently, here in the Nevada/California market, a GL1500 that age is running between $2500 and $3000, so add some for the low miles and I would expect to see $3500 to $4000 obo in the ads. Based on the soft and noisy rear brake, and the low miles, I would say that it's been parked a while, so would either talk him down or look around some more before buying this one.

Assuming that it's in good shape, there are many many many happy miles ahead of it.
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Hearn660
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Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2022 5:40 pm
Location: Palm City, FL
Motorcycle: 1998 GL 1500

Re: Buying a 1998 SE

Post by Hearn660 »

Rambozo wrote: Sun Jul 10, 2022 2:52 pm The rear brake should not require pumping. The brake most likely needs bleeding or it might need other repair. It is a linked brake system with the rear pedal operating one front caliper as well as the rear. You can search here for bleeding procedures or check the service manual. Noise in the brakes is usually bad news.
That age with that low mileage means it has been sitting most of it's life. Prepare for much service. First thing is to change the timing belts, ASAP.
Thank you. I agree with my previous bikes the rear brakes were not linked but never needed pumping. As for the timing belts how much should I except to pay to replace them? I know there is a DIY article on here but for curiosity reasons I wonder what shop would charge.Is changing the belts a job a shade tree mechanic can do? For that matter is 4000 a good price for the bike?
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Hearn660
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Location: Palm City, FL
Motorcycle: 1998 GL 1500

Re: Buying a 1998 SE

Post by Hearn660 »

Solo So Long wrote: Sun Jul 10, 2022 4:56 pm Many of us believe that the GL1500 is the best one they made until about 2 or 3 years ago, when the GL1800 finally caught up. I have passed offers to swap, straight across, my 1999 for a 2009 and 2011.

TIMING BELTS are the one real weak point.

The brake pedal operates the rear caliper AND one of the two front calipers. As such, softness is often an issue on a bike which hasn't been ridden much -- and this certainly fits the bill. If you aren't seeing leaks, it probably just needs to be bled (which is a great time to install Speed Bleeders).

The price seems about $1000 high to me, but markets vary, and it does have a low number on the odometer. However, Goldwings run ten times that mileage without showing much age, so the low odo is less of a selling point than it would be on a lesser bike. Currently, here in the Nevada/California market, a GL1500 that age is running between $2500 and $3000, so add some for the low miles and I would expect to see $3500 to $4000 obo in the ads. Based on the soft and noisy rear brake, and the low miles, I would say that it's been parked a while, so would either talk him down or look around some more before buying this one.

Assuming that it's in good shape, there are many many many happy miles ahead of it.
This is why I love forums and not social media pages thank you for your honesty. Here is south Florida. The market is pretty thin on the GL1500 thus the ones with low milage, good plastics, and left kinda stock are a bit pricey. I typically do my research on stuff but this was just a nostalgic buy. Do you guys have good source or online stores for buying parts? If you could share some links possibly?
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Hearn660
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Location: Palm City, FL
Motorcycle: 1998 GL 1500

Re: Buying a 1998 SE

Post by Hearn660 »

The seller is the second owner. He is selling because he says he is doesn’t have time to ride it. I asked him to leave the bike cold and he did. When I got to his house the bike was cold. I ran the truck about half way and it fired up. I let it run choked for about 30 seconds around 1300RPM. Turn the choke off and it idled not rough but not super silky. I assumed it was because maybe it had been sitting. Once he offered me a test ride I took him up on it. The temperature gauge ran into the normal range. Once in the throttle is was like a sewing machine. It shifted flawless the clutch felt great the front brakes were perfect. It was the rear brake that concerned me. I checked the oil it was between the line and clean. Do y’all think the not so smooth idle should be something to worry about or would that possibly clear up after a couple good rides. Maybe some fuel cleaner or seafoam? I am going to pick it up next weekend is there anything else I should look for or at before giving him my hard earned cash? Also i was thinking of riding it home. It’s about a two hour ride and it does have the original timing belt. I don’t have a trailer. But if you guys suggest to get one I will. Thanks again for taking your time to help out a new guy.
Solo So Long
Posts: 581
Joined: Thu Mar 26, 2020 4:07 pm
Location: Northern Nevada
Motorcycle: 1999 GL1500 50th Anniversary SE
1989 GL1500 FOR SALE
A pack of Super Cubs
Z50A (pre-headlight)
Formerly (in order):
Honda Super Cub (bought 1968, sold ?)
Kawasaki Coyote (early 1970s)
Honda 350 (mid 1970s)
Kawasaki KZ900-PS (1977)
Honda Super Cubs (various years)
Kawasaki KZ1000C (1978)
Kawasaki KZ1000P (various years, 1980 - 2005)
Honda 360 (1983)
BMW R1150RT-P (2001)
BMW R1200RT-P (various years 2007 - 2018, NEVER AGAIN)

Re: Buying a 1998 SE

Post by Solo So Long »

Seafoam may be the difference between night and day. Or you may need carbs resynched, adjusted or rebult. Start with the Seafoam.

Checking CL and FB here in Nevada, I see GL1500s running from $2000 - $3200, though none with miles under 20K. Low mileage on an older bike isn't necessarily a Good Thing -- your bike has averaged about 10 miles per week. I dunno how long the snow season is in Florida, but I'm figuring that cold weather wasn't the reason that it sat so much . . .and even when I was in Salt Lake City, I averaged about as many miles per week on Kawasakis as your bike got in a year. Stuff ages, even when not used -- sometimes MORE when not used.

That said, if you are prepared to go through it and replace the belts, hoses, fluids, grease etc, 14K is about as fresh as a GL1500 could be. Plan to spend another $1000 (not counting tires) and two weekends tearing it apart, IRAN of everything disposable or expendable, and taking your time putting it back together.
Solo So Long
Posts: 581
Joined: Thu Mar 26, 2020 4:07 pm
Location: Northern Nevada
Motorcycle: 1999 GL1500 50th Anniversary SE
1989 GL1500 FOR SALE
A pack of Super Cubs
Z50A (pre-headlight)
Formerly (in order):
Honda Super Cub (bought 1968, sold ?)
Kawasaki Coyote (early 1970s)
Honda 350 (mid 1970s)
Kawasaki KZ900-PS (1977)
Honda Super Cubs (various years)
Kawasaki KZ1000C (1978)
Kawasaki KZ1000P (various years, 1980 - 2005)
Honda 360 (1983)
BMW R1150RT-P (2001)
BMW R1200RT-P (various years 2007 - 2018, NEVER AGAIN)

Re: Buying a 1998 SE

Post by Solo So Long »

Belts, battery, filters etc are on Amazon. So are JIS (Japan Industrial Standard) screwdrivers -- DO NOT use a Phillips screwdriver!!!

You will spend around $25 for each belt. Not hard to do, you just need to take it slow and pay attention to the how-to at each step of the way. You will want to pull all of the Tupperware necessary to replace hoses, filters, etc. Figure a couple of hours to take off and another couple to put back on.

Oil MUST meet JASO MA-1 standards, or your clutch plates will be history.

DOT4 fluid for brakes and clutch.

You also want a bottle of moly paste (Loctite 51048) for driveline splines and anti-sieze for the spark plugs, oil plugs, etc.
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Swagonmaster
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Re: Buying a 1998 SE

Post by Swagonmaster »

And before you totally freak out about cost and time involved consider that you can take the project in sections. Decide what you want to do and break it down into "must be done now" and "needs to be done". It would be recommended to only take the plastic off once if possible as it can be a chore so do the jobs that need "under the hood" work at one go. Altogether I took 6 or more months to get all of my list of things done since a lot of them were more preventative than needed right then.
Try to learn from the mistakes of others..... you won't live long enough to make them all yourself!
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Hearn660
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Location: Palm City, FL
Motorcycle: 1998 GL 1500

Re: Buying a 1998 SE

Post by Hearn660 »

Guys thanks for all the info! I am going to pick it up in New Smyrna this Saturday. I can tell you all the shops I spoke to wouldn’t touch it. Said it was to time consuming and a pain. I got ahold of an old friend who rides a vtx and he referred me to a guy in the next town I did a little research on the guy and he seems legit. He was an old factory mechanic at a local Honda shop. I read the DIY on timing belts and it looks easy enough. I don’t have a lift nor a concrete slab to work on here at my house. So for the first run I figured I should have pro for through it all. Timing belts coolant flush spark plugs and a oil change. Check all the vacuum lines. I can’t wait to get it back and go on my first ride. I think I will go across the peninsula. Again fellas thank you for your info and insight!

Is there a page on transporting a gl1500 you know on a trailer, tie down points and such and maybe a tutorial? With my street bikes it was simple and easy with canyon dancers on the handle bars and straps on the rear pegs. Thanks fellas!
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blupupher
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Re: Buying a 1998 SE

Post by blupupher »

Hearn660 wrote: Wed Jul 13, 2022 8:31 pm...

Is there a page on transporting a gl1500 you know on a trailer, tie down points and such and maybe a tutorial? With my street bikes it was simple and easy with canyon dancers on the handle bars and straps on the rear pegs. Thanks fellas!
viewtopic.php?f=14&t=14030


Current ride: 2013 BMW K1600GT

Former rides: 2002 GL1800A, 2001 CB750, 1994 GL1500 SE, 1994 VT1100C , 1984 VF500F, 1982 CB750C, 1982 GS250T, 1981 CB900C, 1978 CB125s, 1976 TS185
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