This is the most difficult bike I have ever worked on.


Information and questions on GL1500 Goldwings (1988-2000)
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oldmopars
Posts: 159
Joined: Sun Jun 16, 2013 9:25 am
Location: Selah, Washington
Motorcycle: 1996 GL1500 SE
1989 GL1500 parts bike
1984 GL1200 Aspencade FOR SALE

This is the most difficult bike I have ever worked on.

Post by oldmopars » Fri Jun 14, 2019 6:34 pm



I know I am venting, but this thing is a royal pain. I got this 96 SE just under a year ago and from shortly after I got it I smelled a coolant leak. Not a lot, no drips, but slight smell. I spent some time tracking it down and found out that it is coming from the T-Stat housing. The gasket for the T-Stat is seeping, very small leak. So, I rode it that way and just kept an eye on it till I had the time to fix it. Well, now it is time to fix it.
I also purchased new timing belts, oil change stuff, spark plugs and air filter as long as I am in there.
Getting to the T-Stat requires pulling out the radiators. Half the plastic needs to come off for this and even when it is off the T-Stat is still near impossible to get off. The 3 bolts that hold it on are a mile long and you can only get to one of them. So much stuff is in the way that it took a half an hour to get it out.
Now, I have an associates degree in Auto and Diesel Technology from UTI, and I have spent almost 30 years as a mechanic on everything from cars, to trucks to heavy equipment and even 14 years in the Air Force on Heavy Airlift C141's and C17's. I am no novice mechanic and have a shed full of tools. The GL1500 is one of the most difficult machines I have ever worked on, and I used to own a BMW K1200LT.
[Rant off/]
On the plus side, I know that many have broken the 3 bolts to the T-Stat housing doing this job, and mine came out without breaking. This is also forcing me to do maintenance that I may have otherwise pushed off for "later". I still have not fallen in love with this bike. The handling is poor, its heavy, and just does not "Fit" me. I think it may have a for sale sign in its future.
My other bike is a 1984 GL1200A that I am converting into a Naked street/scrambler/adventure bike. The only plastic on it are the GL1100 shelter and side covers. I love working on it. It may replace the GL1500 as my bike of choice.
OK, I am done complaining.



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RockportDave
Posts: 390
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 9:39 pm
Location: Rockport Texas
Motorcycle: 1999 GL1500 SE
Previous bikes:
1969 Honda CL90 “bobbed” before it was cool
1981 Yamaha 850 Triple w/Windjammer
1981 GL1100 Interstate
1985 GL1200 LTD
1988 GL1500
1988 GL1500

Re: This is the most difficult bike I have ever worked on.

Post by RockportDave » Fri Jun 14, 2019 6:50 pm

This is my 5th Goldwing and 3rd 1500 and your right, they are a sometimes a PITA to work on. It pays to plan everything you can do while the plastic is off, and even wait for new parts if other problems arise.
I have small a garage to work in with a large shop fan, a Pitbull motorcycle lift, and acquired a lot of special tools to work on mine.
20 someodd years ago, I had a buddy with a bike shop and we had everything we needed to work on them. Even after working on quite a few, without this site it would be many times harder. It’s nice to have all the information in one place to do maintenance and repairs and a whole bunch of folks who have already been through it and posted the “how to’s”.
I feel your pain. But in the end, you have a bike that will take you for many miles of carefree riding and comfort.
Dave
1999 GL1500SE 5th Goldwing through the years

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Happytrails
Posts: 858
Joined: Wed Sep 04, 2013 6:13 pm
Location: Natrona Hgts, Pennsylvania
Motorcycle: 1991 Goldwing 1500 SE

Re: This is the most difficult bike I have ever worked on.

Post by Happytrails » Fri Jun 14, 2019 7:02 pm

The place where I take my goldwing to get inspected always says the same ominous warning to me. "its so old we probably can't get parts to fix it if we find something wrong!" Which I find just a little amusing the way they say it every time (my bikes are well maintained). The people working there really are nice about it so I always go back when inspection time rolls around. I just want the inspection and they never have to wrench on my bike. The techs generally work on expensive harleys.

RockportDave wrote:
Fri Jun 14, 2019 6:50 pm
It pays to plan everything you can do while the plastic is off, and even wait for new parts if other problems arise. But in the end, you have a bike that will take you for many miles of carefree riding and comfort.
Dave


Good point, something I try to do but doesn't always work out that way. I had my goldwing in pieces for 3 weeks once waiting on parts to arrive from Japan. But I feel the same way, once you've caught up on maintenance stuff the bikes are built so well you rarely have to take tupperware off unless its to upgrade/farkle something. :)



1991 GL1500 SE Anniversary Edition
Sun Flare Gold Metallic
Vallant Brown Inset

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bellboy40
Posts: 572
Joined: Fri Nov 27, 2009 1:13 pm
Location: Brewton, AL
Motorcycle: 2000 GL1500SE Candy Spectra Red
1994 GL1500SE Pearl Bermuda Green

Re: This is the most difficult bike I have ever worked on.

Post by bellboy40 » Sat Jun 15, 2019 7:10 am

They sure look a lot different with all their clothes off don't they? Wires, connectors and vacuum hoses everywhere. :lol:

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minimac
Posts: 685
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2012 9:25 am
Location: Oswego, NY
Motorcycle: 1993 GL1500 Aspencade
2006 Burgman Executive
2007 Yamaha Majesty
2006 Yamaha Morphous

Re: This is the most difficult bike I have ever worked on.

Post by minimac » Sat Jun 15, 2019 8:24 am

If you research the site before doing the work, you'll find it's not really all that bad. Yes, you have to take off some tupperware, but it isn't any harder than a few screws and unlocking a few tabs usually. Almost every part you could ever need is available online. My GL1500 is a snap, compared to a few of my scooters!

oldmopars
Posts: 159
Joined: Sun Jun 16, 2013 9:25 am
Location: Selah, Washington
Motorcycle: 1996 GL1500 SE
1989 GL1500 parts bike
1984 GL1200 Aspencade FOR SALE

Re: This is the most difficult bike I have ever worked on.

Post by oldmopars » Sat Jun 15, 2019 11:35 am

I know, most stuff on this bike is do-able. I did spend 3 days doing the clutch and some other items on my BMW. The dealer, the only one willing to work on it, wanted $3000 to do the clutch. I got the parts, everything listed in the manual for under $400 and bought a Harbor freight lift and still saved over $2000.
One of the reasons I waited to do the T-Stat is that I knew I needed to do the timing belts, spark plugs, air filter, etc. I was just saving money till I had what I needed and could do it all at the same time.
I have not found parts hard to get, the opposite seems to be true. Plugs I got at the local parts store, NGK. The filter, belts (Gates) and fuel filter (Honda) I got off Amazon. T-Stat and gaskets I got from Partzilla.
I could have got it all at one place, but I saved a bunch doing it this way and still got good quality parts. That was a down side to the BMW, part sources were more limited and the prices were much higher. I always got what I needed, but there was not much shopping around or saving money. It was what it was, you paid or didn't get it.
My other bike is the GL1200. At first I hated the thing and only got it because it came with another bike I did want. I think the 1200 is one of the ugliest bikes ever made. Now that I have stripped off all of the 80's looking junk and made it a naked bike, I am loving it. All the parts I replaced I got off Amazon, other than the 1100 shelter. I am thinking of calling the bike Amazon, because without it, the bike would not have been built.
Well I am going to Yellowstone from Yakima Wa. on the GL1500SE. By the time I get back I will either love the bike or stop on my way home to buy a for sale sign. our trip will be close to 2000 miles. The main reason for all the work.

oldmopars
Posts: 159
Joined: Sun Jun 16, 2013 9:25 am
Location: Selah, Washington
Motorcycle: 1996 GL1500 SE
1989 GL1500 parts bike
1984 GL1200 Aspencade FOR SALE

Re: This is the most difficult bike I have ever worked on.

Post by oldmopars » Sat Jun 15, 2019 12:50 pm

Well, I just replaced the timing belts. Glad I did. Original Honda belts and the left one was really loose. It had almost an inch of flop in it. Would not have taken much for it to have jumped a tooth or several.
Good to go now.

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CrystalPistol
Posts: 666
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 9:07 pm
Location: Shenandoah Valley of Virginia
Motorcycle: 1985 GL1200A
1997 GL1500SE Lehman Trike

Re: This is the most difficult bike I have ever worked on.

Post by CrystalPistol » Sat Jun 15, 2019 6:29 pm

minimac wrote:
Sat Jun 15, 2019 8:24 am
… , but it isn't any harder than a few screws and unlocking a few tabs usually. …
I don't mind the screws, small bolts, it's them chrome plastic caps on the screws that need to be glued back on if they are to be retained, and those tabs up front where parts come together under the radiators that I fret over. Have a few zip ties hidden now. :lol:
Image

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Fiberthree
Posts: 601
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2012 4:06 pm
Location: Behind the windshield
Motorcycle: Black 1999 GL1500SE

Re: This is the most difficult bike I have ever worked on.

Post by Fiberthree » Sat Jun 15, 2019 6:56 pm

I had to replace my thermostat also. I was convinced Honda put the thermostat on the floor and then built the bike around it!
Ed

WARNING: All posts are subject to influence from an uncontrollable dominant sarcastic gene. Offensive remarks may or may not be intentional.

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T_birdman
Posts: 126
Joined: Wed May 12, 2010 7:53 pm
Location: Arcadia, CA
Motorcycle: 1975 GL1000 (gave to a friend)
1981 GL1100I (Blew up engine @ 231K Mi./ My fault)
1985 GL1200A (Burned)
1999 GL1500A (Burned)
1993 GL1500A (Red Recently in Accident))

Re: This is the most difficult bike I have ever worked on.

Post by T_birdman » Sat Jun 15, 2019 8:13 pm

Lol! Funny how we love our bikes until we have to work on them! Many moons ago I blew an engine on my 81 GL1100, yanked out the engine, got replacement parts needed, and started putting the engine back together. After it was all over and done, I promised myself a trip to Japan. I told myself I would find the engine designer and kick his ass up and down the street until I felt better, and if he was dead, I'd find out where he was buried and piss on his grave! Never did take that trip, but felt that way a long time, LOL!

Rodzim
Posts: 59
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2018 1:24 pm
Location: Smyrna, ga
Motorcycle: 1994 gl1500 se

Re: This is the most difficult bike I have ever worked on.

Post by Rodzim » Sat Jun 15, 2019 10:23 pm

I dont know what the fuss is with the gl1500. Yes, you have to remove a lot of stuff to get to things, but it really is not that time consuming.
The problem arises when you try to cut corners, trying to not remove something thats on the way because you can get to whatever you are trying to get at twisting your fingers and wishing you had an extra joint in your arms.
I learned this lesson the hard way many years ago, i work on pretty much anything with an engine in it, from cars to trucks to boats to bikes. The biggest lesson i learned after a while was that the more components you remove to make room and make your job more comfortable, the less of a pain in the ass said job will be. Try it next time you have to get to something difficult to get at. It makes any job a lot more enjoyable.



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