Bikers Workshop Series

GL1500 Steering Bearings Replacement.

By Steve Saunders.



Replacing Honda GL1500 Goldwing steering bearings, instructions and photos. Honda Goldwing GL1500 steering head bearings have a lot of work to do, due to the weight of the Goldwing. When they start to wear excessively and cause wobbly, loose or stiff steering in your GL1500, it is time to replace them. Previous experience of setting steering head bearings torque helps, but isn't absolutely essential if you are used to working on your Goldwing.

Click the thumbnails for a bigger image.


First thing is to secure your GL1500 Goldwing so it doesn't fall when you pull the front end out. Having the GL1500 front wheel an inch or two off the floor will make it easier to roll the wheel out later.

gl15onblocks.jpg (165957 bytes)


Pull the Goldwing fender rear trims off.

gl15fendertrimoff.jpg (149920 bytes)


Remove the 8mm bolt here...

gl15rotorcoverbolt.jpg (124929 bytes)


...and the two here...

gl15rotorcoverbolts.jpg (139256 bytes)


...don't lose the spacers from the bottom two...

gl15rotorcoverspacer.jpg (80634 bytes)


...and pull the rotor cover off. Do the same on the left side.

gl15rotorcoveroff2.jpg (149090 bytes)


Pull off the ignition cover and the two plastic console fillers.

gl15ignitioncover.jpg (132805 bytes)

gl15tunnelpiece.jpg (117879 bytes)


Remove the two brake caliper bracket Allen bolts and pull the whole bracket/caliper assembly away from your Goldwing.

gl15caliperbracketbolt.jpg (136845 bytes)

gl15caliperoff.jpg (113467 bytes)


Remove the large axle bolt.

gl15axlebolt.jpg (109007 bytes)

gl15axleboltout.jpg (98169 bytes)


Loosen the two 12mm lower pinch bolts on each fork leg.

gl15axlepinchbolts.jpg (115552 bytes)


Now push the axle through and remove it.

gl15axleout1.jpg (132413 bytes)

gl15axleout2.jpg (127611 bytes)


Don't lose the right side spacer when you roll the wheel out.

gl15fwheelspacer.jpg (108172 bytes)


If you decided to leave the speedometer drive connected to the cable, unhook it from the bracket and let the drive and cable dangle with the rear fender when you remove that later.

gl15speedocable.jpg (130007 bytes)

gl15speedodrive.jpg (120766 bytes)


A closer look at the GL1500 speedometer drive...

gl15speedocablescrew.jpg (112942 bytes)

gl15speedodriveout.jpg (106416 bytes)

gl15speedodrive2.jpg (112312 bytes)


...and where it is driven from in the wheel.

gl15speedowheeldrive.jpg (155885 bytes)


Time to roll the wheel out of the Goldwing.

gl15fwheelout.jpg (174730 bytes)


Pop the fork trim cover bolt caps off and remove the two Allen bolts and the trim.

gl15forktrimcap.jpg (121069 bytes)

gl15forktrimbolt.jpg (117274 bytes)


Don't lose the spacers.

forktrimboltout.jpg (83643 bytes)


Now remove the four bolts which go through the fork legs and fender...

gl15fenderbolts.jpg (137980 bytes)


...and into this bracket.

gl15fenderplate.jpg (123352 bytes)


Remove the two 10mm bolts holding the lower part of the front part of the fender to the fork legs...

gl15fenderlowbolts.jpg (122176 bytes)

gl15fenderrlegbolt.jpg (101652 bytes)


...and remove the front part of the fender.

gl15fenderfrontoff.jpg (128183 bytes)


Now remove the 10mm bolt from each side and remove the rear part of the front fender.

gl15fenderboltrear.jpg (117543 bytes)


Looking up under the fairing, remove the two Phillips screws holding the plastic guard...

gl15forkshield.jpg (98868 bytes)


...and let it slide down the brake and speedometer cables.

gl15forkshieldoff.jpg (112345 bytes)


Loosen the 10mm pinch bolt at the top of each fork leg...

gl15forkbolt1.jpg (121656 bytes)


...and the two Allen bolts lower down...

gl15forklowerbolts.jpg (105120 bytes)


...and slide the fork legs out.

gl15forkout.jpg (141923 bytes)


Before you remove the handlebars, it's a good idea to measure the clearance between the top of the brake or clutch reservoir and the windshield, so that you will get it right when refitting the handlebars later.

gl15handlebarposition.jpg (127463 bytes)


Remove the four 12mm bolts and two handlebar clamps.

gl15handlebarbolts.jpg (166774 bytes)


I usually move the handlebars back and rest them on a wooden or other support on the radio console, using plenty of padding. The brake and clutch reservoirs should be as upright as possible to minimize the risk of brake fluid leaking out and ruining your paintwork.

gl15hbarspropped.jpg (159951 bytes)


From below the lower steering yolk, remove the three Phillips screws holding in the turn signal canceller unit...

gl15tscanceller2.jpg (113134 bytes)


...then from above pull the rubber cap up and slide it as far along the wire harness towards the dash as you can. You need to disconnect the canceller unit from the harness which is tricky because the connector block is inside the steering stem tube. Push as much harness slack as you can down into the steering stem tube, and from below use a long thin screwdriver to disconnect it.

gl15tsignalrubber.jpg (102172 bytes)


The harness disconnected...

gl15tscancelconnector.jpg (165991 bytes)


...and the turn signal canceller unit removed from below the steering stem.

gl15tscancellerout.jpg (112137 bytes)


Now remove the 30mm centre nut holding the top bridge in place...

gl15yolknut.jpg (142846 bytes)


...and lift the top bridge away.

gl15topyolkoff.jpg (117349 bytes)


You will now be looking at the steering stem locknut and steering adjustment nut below it, with a lock washer in between. Straighten out the lock washer tabs and remove the lock nut...

gl15yolklocknut.jpg (148051 bytes)


...with a purpose made steering stem tool or a home-made one like in the picture below.

gl15steeringbearingtool.jpg (155106 bytes)

gl15yolklocknutoff.jpg (157735 bytes)


Lock nut removed, lock washer visible...

gl15yolklocktab.jpg (143506 bytes) remove the steering adjustment nut, and get someone to support the steering stem from below so it doesn't fall out and hit the floor.

gl15yolknutmain.jpg (149076 bytes)


Steering adjustment nut removed. Put it away safely as it is easily damaged.

gl15topyolknutoff.jpg (121257 bytes)


Lowering the steering stem out of the tube. That isn't me in the picture, I roped in a volunteer in work for this.

gl15loweryolkout.jpg (104624 bytes)


Upper bearing removed...

gl15topsbearingold.jpg (123091 bytes)


...followed by the upper bearing race which can be easily tapped out from below...

gl15upraceout2.jpg (141738 bytes) this.

gl15upraceout.jpg (124180 bytes)


The lower bearing race is a bit trickier to get at and I had to scratch my head and think about it for a minute. An old large flat head screwdriver bent near the tip should get you into the gap between the race and the tube...

gl15lracelower.jpg (119696 bytes)


...I found it easier with a long piece of bar (8mm but this isn't important) bent and with a bit filed off near the end like in the picture...

gl15racetool.jpg (73875 bytes)


...the filed out part allows the bar to fit snug in the gap and you can easily tap the lower bearing race out from above.

gl15racelowerout.jpg (121191 bytes)


With the steering stem in a vice (protected with old rags) tap off the old lower bearing. The dust seal will more than likely be butchered when you do this.

gl15yolklbearingoff.jpg (131827 bytes)


Here are the remains of the old bearings...

gl15steerbearingsold.jpg (104822 bytes)


...and the old dust seal, now only fit for the bin.

gl15steeringseal.jpg (145186 bytes)


New bearings ready to fit.

gl15steeringbearingsnew.jpg (224412 bytes)


Tap the lower bearing race carefully and straight up into the tube...

gl15steeringlowercup.jpg (167429 bytes)

gl15steeringlowercup2.jpg (189292 bytes)


...and do the same with the upper bearing race from above. You need to drive them home until they are fully seated.

gl15steeringuppercup.jpg (184445 bytes)


Fit a new dust seal to the steering stem...

gl15steeringseal2.jpg (146037 bytes)


...and apply a smear of grease.

gl15steeringseal3.jpg (138386 bytes)


Now ease the new lower bearing down the steering stem until it reaches the thick part...

gl15steeringbearinglower2.jpg (138236 bytes)


...then use a hammer and a piece of pipe longer than the steering stem to tap the new bearing down onto the seal. I used the inner part from the old bearing between the pipe and new bearing as shown below.

gl15steeringbearinglower3.jpg (149246 bytes)


Grease the lower bearing...

gl15steeringbearinglower4.jpg (154356 bytes)


...and push the steering stem back up the tube.

gl15steeringyolklowerin.jpg (211642 bytes)


Have a helper hold the steering stem in place while you put the new greased bearing in place...

gl15steeringbearingupperin.jpg (151070 bytes)


...and the steering adjuster nut

gl15steeringnut.jpg (158126 bytes)


Check the Honda manual for the correct steering adjuster nut torque, on this 1992 model it is 14ft-lbs (1.9kg-m) for the final torque. It may be identical for other or all GL1500 models, but I don't know for sure so consult your manual. Now first torque the nut to 29ft-lb (4.0kg-m) and turn the steering stem fully lock to lock a few times to seat the new bearings. Loosen the adjuster nut until it is hand-tight, then torque it to the final setting, in this case it was 14ft-lbs (1.9kg-m). Turn the steering stem fully lock to lock a few more times and recheck the adjuster nut torque. When turning the steering stem from lock to lock, make sure it doesn't feel too tight or loose. Some previous experience of this work helps and any tight spots or slop means you need to adjust the adjuster nut again. When you are satisfied...

gl15steeringnut2.jpg (151116 bytes)

gl15steeringtorque.jpg (127000 bytes)


...put a new lock washer (or the old one if it is in good shape) in place. Hold the steering adjustment nut while you...

gl15steeringlockwasher.jpg (130469 bytes)


...refit the lock nut so that the tabs on the lock washer line up with the slots in the locking nut and the adjuster nut. If they don't line up, turn the lock nut up the other way and tighten the lock nut. Make sure the adjuster nut doesn't turn while you tighten the lock nut.

gl15steeringlocknutin.jpg (143759 bytes)


Slide the two fork legs back up in place, nipping up a lower Allen bolt on each side of the lower stem to hold the forks while you...

gl15forkout.jpg (141923 bytes)


...reinstall the top bridge and torque the 30mm nut to 72ft-lb (10.0kg-m). 

gl15topyolkoff.jpg (117349 bytes)


Refit the fender, wheel, brake calipers etc. in reverse order to the way I explained earlier.