Checking oil on a GL1800


Information and questions on GL1800 Goldwings (2001-2017)
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Gitpickin Winger
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Checking oil on a GL1800

Post by Gitpickin Winger » Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:46 pm



OK...don't laugh everyone :mrgreen: but how do most of you check your oil on your Wing? The instructions in the manual more or less say to run the engine for a while, shut it down and after a spell insert the dipstick WITHOUT screwing it in to check oil level. This seems wrong to a non-mechanic like me. On my automobiles, I don't insert the dipstick part way to check it! All these years of Winging, I check mine this way: On a cold engine, I remove the dipstick, wipe it off...then screw it in all the way, remove it and check the level. Doesn't this make the most sense? (without screwing it in all the way, a 'cold engine' oil check barely registers any oil at all on the stick!)



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Re: Checking oil on a GL1800

Post by WingAdmin » Wed Sep 05, 2012 1:25 pm

Gitpickin Winger wrote:OK...don't laugh everyone :mrgreen: but how do most of you check your oil on your Wing? The instructions in the manual more or less say to run the engine for a while, shut it down and after a spell insert the dipstick WITHOUT screwing it in to check oil level. This seems wrong to a non-mechanic like me. On my automobiles, I don't insert the dipstick part way to check it! All these years of Winging, I check mine this way: On a cold engine, I remove the dipstick, wipe it off...then screw it in all the way, remove it and check the level. Doesn't this make the most sense? (without screwing it in all the way, a 'cold engine' oil check barely registers any oil at all on the stick!)
That's incorrect. On every Goldwing that has a dipstick (GL1200, GL1500, GL1800), the dipsticks are calibrated to be read when the dipstick is NOT screwed in at all. You remove the dipstick, wipe it off, place it back in the hole until it stops, but do NOT screw it in. Wait a few seconds, then remove it and check the level.

If your oil check barely registers any oil at all on your dipstick when you don't screw it in, it means you are running your motorcycle with a dangerously low level of oil!

From the GL1800 owner's manual:

Check oil procedure
Check oil procedure


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thrasherg
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Re: Checking oil on a GL1800

Post by thrasherg » Wed Sep 05, 2012 3:18 pm

What wingadmin says above, it is the same for almost every motorbike I have ever owned.Start the engine to get the oil distributed around the engine (and fill the oil filter and Cam lobe oil baths) then stop the engine and check the level. The engine is still cold really, but oil is where it is meant to be and you are just checking that there is enough left in the crankcase to lubricate the gear box and maintain a correct operating temperature..

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Re: Checking oil on a GL1800

Post by redial » Thu Sep 06, 2012 3:40 am

If you start the engine to circulate the oil already there, arent you in danger of overfilling the oil? I was always taught to check the oil without having started the motor, so that you get the oil that is 'at rest', rather than scattered all around the galleries?

Inquiring minds would like to know.
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Re: Checking oil on a GL1800

Post by WingAdmin » Thu Sep 06, 2012 9:07 am

You don't want the oil filling up tappets and all over the engine - but you also don't want the engine bone-dry because it's been sitting for hours. So you should do both what thrasherg and the Honda manual above say: Run the engine for at least 3-5 minutes, shut it off, wait 2-3 minutes for the oil to drain back to the sump, then check the level. This coats the various parts with an oil film, but lets any excess drain back to the sump.

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Re: Checking oil on a GL1800

Post by thrasherg » Thu Sep 06, 2012 11:03 am

I am also a strong believer that you can never have too much oil!! :D I don't mind if I have a bit more than maximum in my engine, as long as it's not blowing out the crankcase breather pipe I doubt it will harm anything, and the larger the quantity of oil, the cooler it will stay!! But as wingadmin says, follow the instructions and let the engine stand for a few minutes before taking the measurement and it will be good.

When I was a pilot, the saying was "the only time you can have too much fuel is when you are on fire!!". Keep the oil level high!!

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Re: Checking oil on a GL1800

Post by WingAdmin » Thu Sep 06, 2012 11:27 am

If there is too much oil, the crankshaft can whip the oil into a foam, which not only insulates heat (instead of carrying it away), but lubricates very poorly. Enough excess oil can cause enough pressure to blow out seals.

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Re: Checking oil on a GL1800

Post by thrasherg » Thu Sep 06, 2012 12:22 pm

Thanks Wingadmin, I knew seals could get blown if the oil level was high enough to block the crankcase breather, but I am assuming in all this discussion we are at the max level on the dipstick or a couple of mm close to it, so there should not be an issue.. I still follow the manual, but always try to keep as much oil as possible.. Just trying to make the point that everyone should keep the level near max not min.. Sorry to hijack the thread. :P

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Re: Checking oil on a GL1800

Post by C-dub » Thu Sep 26, 2019 6:49 pm

In my other thread about the service manual I asked this question. I tried changing the thread title, but it didn't take so that it would be obvious the direction I was taking. And I just found this thread, so reviving it.

My question is regarding the position of the motorcycle when measuring the engine oil level. My manual, which has sections, states everything in the above image, but adds in to support the motorcycle upright before measuring the level. It does not say on the centerstand. So, should it be level on two wheels or on the centerstand?

I figured more people would read this thread for my concern than the other thread that was mostly about where to find a manual other than from Helm to start with.
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Re: Checking oil on a GL1800

Post by MikeB » Thu Sep 26, 2019 7:09 pm

Page 3-12 of the Honda Service Manual tells you how to do an oil level check. It is done with the motorcycle on the center stand.

In the 2017 Gold Wing Owner's Manual:

Engine Oil and Filter (page 178)

1. Park your motorcycle on its center stand on a firm, level surface.
2. Remove the right engine side cover (page 168).
3. Start the engine and let it idle for 3 – 5 minutes. Make sure the low oil
pressure indicator goes off. If the indicator remains on, stop the engine
immediately.
4. Stop the engine and wait 2 – 3 minutes.
5. Remove the oil fill cap/dipstick and wipe it clean.
6. Insert the oil fill cap/dipstick until it seats, but don’t screw it in.
7. Remove the oil fill cap/dipstick and check the oil level.
• If the oil is at or near the upper level mark — you do not have to add oil.
• If the oil is below or near the lower level mark — add the recommended oil until it reaches the upper level mark. (Do not overfill.)
8. Reinstall the oil fill cap/dipstick.
9. Reinstall the right engine side cover.
10. Check for oil leaks.
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Re: Checking oil on a GL1800

Post by Viking » Thu Sep 26, 2019 8:42 pm

As the OWNERS MANUAL states to place the motorcycle on the center stand to check the oil, that is what I would do. If the SERVICE MANUAL happens to say to support the motorcycle in an upright position, I would place the motorcycle on the center stand, which would support it in an upright position and check the oil. It is possible to be too anal about some things. When checking my oil, I do not often have someone handy to hold the motorcycle in an upright position, and besides that, I do not trust anyone - ever - to hold a half ton motorcycle in an upright position while I am in a position to check the oil and perhaps have the motorcycle fall over upon my head.
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Re: Checking oil on a GL1800

Post by C-dub » Fri Sep 27, 2019 5:44 am

Viking wrote:
Thu Sep 26, 2019 8:42 pm
As the OWNERS MANUAL states to place the motorcycle on the center stand to check the oil, that is what I would do. If the SERVICE MANUAL happens to say to support the motorcycle in an upright position, I would place the motorcycle on the center stand, which would support it in an upright position and check the oil. It is possible to be too anal about some things. When checking my oil, I do not often have someone handy to hold the motorcycle in an upright position, and besides that, I do not trust anyone - ever - to hold a half ton motorcycle in an upright position while I am in a position to check the oil and perhaps have the motorcycle fall over upon my head.
The mistake was all mine. I incorrectly determined my exact model, which lead to my confusion.
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Re: Checking oil on a GL1800

Post by joeincalif » Wed Oct 02, 2019 10:24 am

Well I will be honest here. When I buy a new or used bike, I will check the oil lever a time or two. And I have never had one that used oil, so after I never check it again, I just change it every 2 - 3000 miles.
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Re: Checking oil on a GL1800

Post by GoldWingrGreg » Thu Oct 03, 2019 12:13 am

On a 5th gen Wing, the oil level is checked why it is still dripping into the sump area. It is called a dynamic read. Be sure to follow Honda's instructions completely.

- put it on a center stand
- start and run 3-5 mins
- check the level between the 2-3 min mark

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Re: Checking oil on a GL1800

Post by alwrmcusn » Thu Oct 03, 2019 7:33 am

JMO: I wish someone would offer a side panel that allows me to remove the dipstick and check the oil without having the pull the entire panel.
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Re: Checking oil on a GL1800

Post by WingAdmin » Thu Oct 03, 2019 9:00 am

GoldWingrGreg wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 12:13 am
On a 5th gen Wing, the oil level is checked why it is still dripping into the sump area. It is called a dynamic read. Be sure to follow Honda's instructions completely.

- put it on a center stand
- start and run 3-5 mins
- check the level between the 2-3 min mark
That's not right, Greg. You don't check it while it is running.

From the 2008 owner's manual:

1. Park your motorcycle on its center stand on a firm, level surface.
2. Remove the right engine side cover.
3. Start the engine and let it idle for 3-5 minutes. Make sure the low oil pressure indicator goes off. If the indicator remains on, stop the engine immediately.
4. Stop the engine and wait 2-3 minutes.
5. Remove the oil filler cap/dipstick and wipe it clean.
6. Insert the oil filler cap/dipstick until it seats, but don’t screw it in.
7. Remove the oil filler cap/dipstick and check the oil level.
  • If the oil is at or near the upper level mark you do not have to add oil.
  • If the oil is below or near the lower level mark add the recommended oil until it reaches the upper level mark. (Do not overfill)
8. Reinstall the oil filler cap/dipstick.
9. Reinstall the right engine side cover.
10. Check for oil leaks.

From the 2018 owner's manual:

1. If the engine is cold, idle the engine for 3 to 5 minutes.
2. Turn the ignition switch OFF and wait for 2 to 3 minutes.
3. Place your motorcycle in an upright position on a firm, level surface.
4. Remove the dipstick and wipe it clean.
5. Insert the dipstick until it seats, but don't screw it in.
6. Check that the oil level is between the upper level and lower level marks on the dipstick.
7. Securely install the dipstick.

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Re: Checking oil on a GL1800

Post by GoldWingrGreg » Fri Oct 04, 2019 11:15 pm

GoldWingrGreg wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 12:13 am
On a 5th gen Wing, the oil level is checked why it is still dripping into the sump area. It is called a dynamic read. Be sure to follow Honda's instructions completely.

- put it on a center stand
- start and run 3-5 mins
- check the level between the 2-3 min mark
Thanks WingAdmin for catching my error. It looks like my instructions set is missing an important set. After the engine is run 3-5 mins, it must be turned off, and then check the level after waiting 2-3 mins.

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Re: Checking oil on a GL1800

Post by Wingsconsin » Tue Oct 08, 2019 10:16 am

joeincalif wrote:
Wed Oct 02, 2019 10:24 am
Well I will be honest here. When I buy a new or used bike, I will check the oil lever a time or two. And I have never had one that used oil, so after I never check it again, I just change it every 2 - 3000 miles.
Over the course of having several Goldwings I only found ONE that used a little oil between changes -
I use Synthetic oil and change it every 5000 miles on my 1500's and 1800's - always with a new filter as well.
On my 1100 and 1200 I used regular dino oil and changed it at 3000 miles -
ONLY the 1100 used a bit of oil in those 3K miles - typically less than 1/2 a QUART -


Every bike uses a little - but the Goldwing seems to run so well and uses so very little --


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