Bikers Workshop Series

Bleeding a Honda Goldwing Clutch

By Steve Saunders.


Bleeding the clutch on a Honda Goldwing can be a nightmare. Bleeding it by the book and seeing nice clear brake fluid coming out of the bleed nipple on the slave cylinder often mysteriously results in no pressure at the clutch lever. This page show how I overcame this problem on a Honda GL1200 Aspencade. The same procedure works on all GL1200, GL1500 and GL1800 Goldwings. I made a video clip of the GL1200 clutch bleeding, it is at the end of the page.

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Let us assume that like me, you bled your Goldwing clutch by the book. You got nice clean brake fluid out of the bleed nipple at the clutch slave cylinder. No more air bubbles in the fluid, excellent. But the clutch lever is still soft. So you bleed it again, and again and go through a bottle of brake fluid in the process. Still the lever is soft. This is often caused by air being trapped in the Goldwings master cylinder on the handlebars. This air needs to be bled out at the banjo bolt on the master cylinder.


Cover up the paintwork, this job is messy.



Off with the clutch fluid reservoir cap.




Make sure the reservoir is topped up. Don't overfill it.



Now press the clutch lever in all the way and crack open the 12mm banjo bolt, just enough to break the seal. Brake fluid and air bubbles will ooze or squirt out of the joint. Lock the bolt, release the lever and repeat the process. Then squeeze the lever a couple of times and see if it is firm. If it is (in this case it was successful), just do a last bleed of the slave cylinder at the back of the engine, top up the fluid and finish up.




If the above still didn't give a firm clutch lever, then it is time for the next step. This time I will remove the banjo bolt completely and bleed the air out. Don't lose the two washers, one either side of the banjo fitting.




With the banjo bolt removed and the brake fluid topped up, place a finger firmly over the end of the threaded hole in the Goldwings master cylinder. Squeeze the clutch lever and hold it in, slightly releasing your finger from the threaded hole when you feel a pressure build-up. Then press your finger firmly on the hole again, release the clutch lever and squeeze it fully in again. Release your finger pressure slightly again to let more fluid and air back out. Two times is usually sufficient to get the air out. So now while still squeezing the clutch lever so air can't get back in. replace the banjo fitting and bolt (remember the washers) and tighten it up. Having a helper do this for you will make it easier. I did it alone as you will see in the video, but it was very awkward and a helper is a much better idea. Once the bolt is tightened, check that you have a firm lever. If so, do a last quick bleed at the slave cylinder end. You may get away with not doing that, it's just a reassurance that all the trapped air is gone.



A last bleed at the slave cylinder end. Get someone to squeeze the clutch lever, while you open the bleed nipple and let any remaining air out.





A last bleed at the slave cylinder end. Get someone to squeeze the clutch lever, while you open the bleed nipple and let any remaining air out.




When finished, top-up the brake fluid to the reservoir level line visible here. You can see why I covered up the Goldwings paintwork, the brake fluid gets everywhere.