Bikers Workshop Series

Fitting a Progressive 450 Shock to a Honda GL1500 Goldwing.

By Steve Saunders.



90,000 miles. That is how long the rear left side shock lasted on this Honda GL1500 Goldwing. Now it was time to replace it and the owner decided on a Progressive Suspension 450. Not a big job and no special tools needed.

Click the thumbnails for a bigger image.


First put your GL1500 Goldwing onto the main stand and remove the left cover. You don't need to remove the saddle, I already had it removed for other work. The left saddlebag needs to be removed to get at the old shock. To do this, the lower trunk cover first has to come off the GL1500. Remove the four Phillips screws from the lower cover.

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Be careful removing the trunk lower cover, the tabs in the trunk side reflectors are easily damaged by the ham-fisted. With the four Phillips screws removed, pull the cover down gently, then slide it towards the rear of the Goldwing...

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Remove the metal trim clips from the GL1500 saddlebag corner piece...

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...then remove the Phillips screws under each trim clip...

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...and remove the corner piece from the Goldwing.

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Disconnect the left saddlebag light connector underneath the corner piece.

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Now pop the plastic clip on the end of the left saddlebag release cable off the bar and remove the plastic clip from the end of the cable so the cable can clear the saddlebag later.

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Here is a closer look at the clip, you can see the slot for removing it from the cable.

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The saddlebag is secured to the GL1500 frame by four bolts.

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With the bolts removed, pull the saddlebag away, remembering to pull the release cable out.

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Remove the 14mm lower shock bolt, which also goes through the rear brake caliper bracket.

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Now remove the 12mm top bolt...

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...and take the shock out of the GL1500.

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New Progressive 450 ready to fit. The 450 is produced especially for the GL1500 Goldwing.

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Old and new shock side by side. Note that the Progressive 450 fits in the GL1500 upside down compared to the OEM shock. It isn't possible to fit it wrong way up as the top and bottom bush holes are different sizes and won't allow you to make a mistake.

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A closer look at the Progressive 450 shows a large loose washer on the shaft inside the spring.

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Here is a closer look at the washer. After you fit the Progressive 450 to your GL1500, you will hear a rattle when you go over bumps. When I figured out where the noise was coming from, I checked with Progressive and they told me that the washer eventually settles in the rubber damper and the noise goes away. Yeah right I thought, where have I heard that one before? But to my surprise, the owner of this Goldwing told me the rattle went away after about 1,500 miles.

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Fitting the Progressive.

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You might need to jockey the rear wheel when fitting the Progressive a little as it usually drops a bit when you remove the old shock.

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New shock fitted.

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The Progressive 450 is a fairly stiff shock and I'd advise you adjust it to setting number three for the test ride. Take the GL1500 for a short ride to see if this setting works for you, before refitting the saddlebag.

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