Bikers Workshop Series

GL1500 Engine Oil and Filter Change.

By Steve Saunders.


Changing the engine oil and filter on your GL1500 Goldwing is an easy job and shouldn't take very long to do. The procedure shown here is the same on all GL1500 Goldwing models, regardless of year and model variation.

Click the thumbnails for a bigger image.


First put your GL1500 Goldwing on the main stand on a level surface and pull the right-side engine cover off. You can see the engine oil filler cap and the dipstick highlighted in the second picture. Start the Goldwing engine and let it warm up for a couple of minutes so the oil will drain out faster.

The 17mm sump bolt is on the bottom of the engine, on the right side. Make sure you don't lose the metal crush washer when you take the bolt out to drain the oil. OEM Honda oil filters for your Goldwing sometimes come with a spare washer, but the aftermarket filters usually don't come with a washer so if you have to reuse the old one, make sure it isn't damaged. This GL1500 Goldwing was well overdue an oil change.

Note that the oil filler cap has a rubber 'O' ring, make sure it isn't damaged or falls into the engine when you unscrew the cap. The dipstick also has an 'O' ring.

Now for the oil filter. Tip; You can easily get to the filter from below the Goldwing engine through the cut-out in the cowl, without removing the cowl. But if you want to remove the cowl to clean around the Goldwing engine, then read on.

To remove the cowl, first pull the panel above it by pressing it in at the top centre and then pulling upper left and right side tabs from the grommets in the cowl. Then remove the three Phillips screws from the cowl, one in the centre and one at each side.

If your GL1500 has cornering or fog lights fitted in the cowl, remove the rubber cap, bulb holders and bulbs before completely pulling the cowl away. If you have halogen bulbs fitted, don't get greasy finger marks on the glass or they will probably develop a hot spot and blow before their time. If you do happen to get a finger mark on the bulb, wipe it off with some petrol on a soft cloth.

With the cowl removed, you will have good access to the oil filter and area around it. The second picture also shows the water pump cover and I've highlighted the coolant drain bolt which is located at the bottom of the water pump. This is useful to know for when the time comes to replace the GL1500 coolant. Unscrew the oil filter anti-clockwise (looking at it from the front of the Goldwing) and take it off the engine.

It's good practise to clean the mating surface that the oil filter sits against.

By this time all the old oil should be drained, so replace the sump bolt now in case you forget later on and end up standing in a pool of new oil when you are refilling. The torque setting for the sump bolt is 27 ft-lb.

Put a light smear of grease or clean engine oil on the new filter rubber ring, this gives a good seal. Put the filter on and if you don't have access to a torque wrench, make sure you tighten the filter well by hand. The torque setting is 7 ft-lb.

Oil-fill time. The "what oil should I use in my Goldwing" question is an age old one with no single answer that satisfies everyone, it really comes down to personal choice. The oil I used for this job was supplied by the owner of this GL1500. According to the Honda Goldwing workshop manual, the oil capacity after an oil and filter change is 3.7 litres. You may need a bit less depending on how much old oil is still trapped inside the engine and I usually put in 3.5 litres into a GL1500 first and top-up after the initial startup.

When you put the new oil in, start the Goldwing engine and let it run for a minute. Check for leaks around the sump bolt and the oil filter before switching the engine off. Allow a minute or so for the oil to drain back into the sump, then check the level with the dipstick. Don't screw the dipstick in, just rest it in place as shown in the first picture. The oil level should be at the upper mark on the first segment of the dipstick, as shown in the second picture. Don't worry if the level is slightly above the mark, a little bit extra oil is better than too little. Replace the panels on the Goldwing and that's the job finished.