Bikers Workshop Series

Fitting new GL1500 Mufflers.

By Steve Saunders.


The stock mufflers on the GL1500 Goldwing tend to rust after a few years. It doesn't really matter how much you clean them because the design means that they tend to collect condensation which turns into water, then the dreaded tinworm rots them from the inside out. There is a drain hole in each muffler (near the front) to allow some water out, but the hole is really in the wrong place as the mufflers almost always rot at the ends near where the tailpipe is welded on.
Replacing mufflers on the GL1500 Goldwing is easy enough and you really don't need a tutorial for the task. But I did have a camera handy on the day I did the job so you may as well have the benefit of the images.

Click the thumbnails for a bigger image.


This is a common sight on a GL1500 Goldwing. The mufflers rot from the inside out and eventually the ends just blow off. Believe it or not, these mufflers are on a 1997 GL1500SE with only 7,700 miles that was always stored in a dry garage! I replaced them in April 2004 and they had been almost as bad as this since 2002, but the owner of the Goldwing wasn't using it much so he didn't bother replacing them until 2004.

First thing to do is remove the two side undercowls. The small bolts to remove are highlighted here, same on the other side of the bike.

The bolt holding the muffler to the frame. The actual nut is not welded to the frame, so you will need to get a 12mm spanner to it in order to prevent the whole lot turning. Tip; Make sure and note that the lug on the muffler sits on the INSIDE of the mount on the sub-frame. Lots of folks have mistakenly refitted them with the lug on the outside and the view from the rear looks rather silly!

The clamp holding the left muffler to the collector box. The bolts often break when trying to remove them, use plenty of WD40 or similar. It's a good idea to buy a pair of clamps just in case the rusted ones fall apart. When you get the bolts out, spread the clamp a little bit.

Gently rock the muffler from side to side, then swivel it outwards and pull it off. Tip; While you have access to the collector box, clean off any visible rust with a wire brush or steel wool. Then spray some Very High Temperature (VHT) paint on as much of the box as you can get to. This simple step may extend the life of the (very expensive to replace) collector box by several years.

The right side muffler being slipped on. A new gasket and lots of WD40 helps. The old clamps were salvaged for re-use on this Goldwing. After you swivel the muffler into position and put the frame bolt into its slot, put the bolts into the clamp and tighten them up. Using copper grease on the bolts may slow down the rate at which they will seize up later on.

New mufflers fitted. Replace the cowls, using copper grease on the bolts.