Is my steering head/stem bent/damaged?


Information and questions on GL1500 Goldwings (1988-2000)
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reddeth
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Is my steering head/stem bent/damaged?

Post by reddeth »



Howdy y'all! I'm replacing my steering head bearings to try and remove some vagueness and pulling-to-the-left in the steering, and I'm pretty sure this thing is bent... But I'd love some opinions from the folks more knowledgeable than myself before I just order a stem off another bike and hope for the best lol.

I've disassembled the steering stem and removed the lower bearing, after cleaning it up it _looks_ weirdly off center and almost bent? Here's the best picture I've got, with some lines added to (hopefully) help convey what my eye is seeing specifically:


A few more pictures, but this surely isn't "normal"? The bike has no other evidence that I've seen that it was in any kind of front end wreck, and the weld on the top of the clamp (welding the stem to the tree/clamp) doesn't show any cracks or signs of stress like it was damaged. I recognize that this part was welded together in a jig so it might not "look" quite right as long as it's all aligned, but uhh, it really doesn't look aligned lol.


The stem is off-center in the hole of the clamp, there's a large gap towards the "back" (if it were installed on the bike)...


...but no space in the front


The stem looks almost like it bends off to the left in here (I recognize there's a lot of other factors like the fact that everything from my floor to my hands ain't level lol, but it just really doesn't "look" right to my eye?)


And the threads on the top of the stem almost seem "skewed" or bent themselves?

I've got no problem replacing the steering head/stem, I assume they're pretty interchangeable among the years, right? I found one from a '92 that's in nice shape.


1988 GL1500 the Trashwing
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reddeth
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Re: Is my steering head/stem bent/damaged?

Post by reddeth »

I've just gone ahead and bought another steering head assembly, found one on eBay from another 1988 that (supposedly) was pulled from a non-wrecked bike. The more I look at/share the pictures to friends and mechanically inclined individuals the more I'm like "Yeah this thing is bent" lol
1988 GL1500 the Trashwing
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Re: Is my steering head/stem bent/damaged?

Post by WingAdmin »

Good decision. That definitely is not right.
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reddeth
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Re: Is my steering head/stem bent/damaged?

Post by reddeth »

Finally got the Trashwing reassembled, the new steering head fit in perfectly and, while none of the pictures I took turned out well at all, comparing the two it's definitely clear to me that the original steering head/stem was bent.

With the bike reassembled and on a test ride it feels great! Steering is a little less "floaty" and the bike has less of a tendency to wander and want to dive into ruts in the road, I believe replacing the bearings themselves helped here, as there were small grooves worn into the races of the old bearings, definitely enough to cause some floaty steering. And, I believe thanks to the new steering stem no longer being bent, I don't feel like the bike wants to pull to the left constantly!

For anyone who happens to land here in the future looking at my original pics wondering if they have the same problem, definitely replace the steering head if it looks bent at all! Mine was most certainly not right!


1988 GL1500 the Trashwing
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