HELP ASAP!! Air shock rebuild fail. Can you ride with a blown air shock?


Information and questions on GL1500 Goldwings (1988-2000)
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Quick Cal
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HELP ASAP!! Air shock rebuild fail. Can you ride with a blown air shock?

Post by Quick Cal »



I rebuilt the air shock on my 1500. On the test ride I seen fluid all over and went home. It has leaked out all of the atf. I'll get into specifics of why this happened in a bit.

What I need to know is can I ride the bike with a blown shock. I initially put 50psi in it yesterday. This morning it has 25psi, so I'm sure all the air and oil will leak out.

Why ride it like this you ask? I do have a new seal on the way, but I won't have it until hopefully by the end of next week. Who knows. So why ride it? Well I have a friend getting ready to head this way on a 1,000 mile trip. He was going to bring his Harley so we could go riding. He will only be here a short time. So if it is a bad idea to ride my bike like this, he won't bring his bike. But he's getting ready to load up so I need to know.

So ride or no ride? Thanks

Not what you want to see after working on your bike. BTW. Will work on bikes for free. Evidently I need the practice,,,lol.




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Re: HELP ASAP!! Air shock rebuild fail. Can you ride with a blown air shock?

Post by WingAdmin »

Quick Cal wrote: Sat Sep 10, 2022 11:35 am I rebuilt the air shock on my 1500. On the test ride I seen fluid all over and went home. It has leaked out all of the atf. I'll get into specifics of why this happened in a bit.

What I need to know is can I ride the bike with a blown shock. I initially put 50psi in it yesterday. This morning it has 25psi, so I'm sure all the air and oil will leak out.

Why ride it like this you ask? I do have a new seal on the way, but I won't have it until hopefully by the end of next week. Who knows. So why ride it? Well I have a friend getting ready to head this way on a 1,000 mile trip. He was going to bring his Harley so we could go riding. He will only be here a short time. So if it is a bad idea to ride my bike like this, he won't bring his bike. But he's getting ready to load up so I need to know.

So ride or no ride? Thanks

Not what you want to see after working on your bike. BTW. Will work on bikes for free. Evidently I need the practice,,,lol.

20220910_074000[1].jpg
The stock GL1500 has one air shock and one conventional spring/damper shock. If this is still how your bike is set up, you are riding by yourself, and don't have a lot of weight on the bike, you will likely be OK with just the spring/damper shock. It might make a mess, but it's basically equivalent to riding with no air pressure in the air shock.
Quick Cal
Posts: 110
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2015 3:24 pm
Location: Mid West
Motorcycle: 1989 1500 Goldwing

Re: HELP ASAP!! Air shock rebuild fail. Can you ride with a blown air shock?

Post by Quick Cal »

WingAdmin wrote: Mon Sep 12, 2022 8:39 am
Quick Cal wrote: Sat Sep 10, 2022 11:35 am I rebuilt the air shock on my 1500. On the test ride I seen fluid all over and went home. It has leaked out all of the atf. I'll get into specifics of why this happened in a bit.

What I need to know is can I ride the bike with a blown shock. I initially put 50psi in it yesterday. This morning it has 25psi, so I'm sure all the air and oil will leak out.

Why ride it like this you ask? I do have a new seal on the way, but I won't have it until hopefully by the end of next week. Who knows. So why ride it? Well I have a friend getting ready to head this way on a 1,000 mile trip. He was going to bring his Harley so we could go riding. He will only be here a short time. So if it is a bad idea to ride my bike like this, he won't bring his bike. But he's getting ready to load up so I need to know.

So ride or no ride? Thanks

Not what you want to see after working on your bike. BTW. Will work on bikes for free. Evidently I need the practice,,,lol.

20220910_074000[1].jpg
The stock GL1500 has one air shock and one conventional spring/damper shock. If this is still how your bike is set up, you are riding by yourself, and don't have a lot of weight on the bike, you will likely be OK with just the spring/damper shock. It might make a mess, but it's basically equivalent to riding with no air pressure in the air shock.

Scott, thanks for the reply.

I may not need to ride it as my friends trip is delayed a bit so I might receive the new seal in time. That being said, it all ready made a mess on the test ride. ATF all over my brand new E4. I hope I can just use brake cleaner on a paper towel to clean it off. Any better ideas? I haven't rode it. But I keep adding air that is slowly leaking out hoping it will flush out the atf? Then if I do need to ride it I might not get the mess.

So here's the story on what happened.

The only dealer in my area that had the seal just happened to be the closest one to me. My brother actually works there. When I picked up the seal I seen the package looked older than dirt. I inspected the seal and thought it might be a little stiff, but didn't have anything to compare it too,, so I bought it. I made the joke that "Ya know this aint no good". My brother wanted to charge me above list price for a "Rare Vintage Part".

When it came time to install it is when I should have stopped,,,lol. Obviously the seal was old and hard. I had a hard time even getting it to slide onto the shock. Had to tap it on with a hammer. The whole install process did not go smooth. But I got it done. It sat on the center stand for several day's with no leaks under air pressure. I thought I was good.

After the failure on the test ride I dug out the manual this time. It says you should put tape around the bottom of the shock when you start the seal. There are you grooves there that can damage the seal. Well there would have been no way I could have started the seal with tape on there,,,lol.

So lesson learned.

Now I had the dealer order the seal from Honda. I wonder if it will be fresh, or 30 years old? I wonder if I could do anything to soften/restore a seal if it was hard. I have read on the jug that RuGLYDE tire lubricant it can "clean and dress up" rubber. If the new seal seams hard or tight maybe I should try this. But hopefully it won't be an issue.
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Re: HELP ASAP!! Air shock rebuild fail. Can you ride with a blown air shock?

Post by Rambozo »

Also a dunk in boiling water can make seals a lot easier to install.


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