Bikers Workshop Series

Replacing a GL1800 Air Filter.

By Steve Saunders.


Most of the basic service tasks on the Honda GL1800 Goldwing are straightforward enough. Spark plugs, brake pads and even rear wheel removal are all easier to do on a GL1800 than on previous Goldwing models. However, replacing the GL1800 air filter causes many owners to think twice about doing the job themselves because the top shelter has to be removed to get at the filter. This tutorial shows the procedure I used to do the job.
If you need more than just the pictures and instructions here, go to the end of the page and download the video clip of me replacing the air filter on another (blue) Honda Goldwing GL1800!

Click the thumbnails for a bigger image.


First it's off with the Goldwing side panels and saddle. When you remove the Allen bolts, firmly push the riders backpad rearwards until the two white tabs at the front of the saddle clear the shelter bracket, then look under the front part of the saddle and ensure that the lug under the saddle is clear of the bracket. Then just lift the front up and away. Check that the rubber spacers under the saddle (where the bolts go through) are still in place. Tip; Use plenty of soft cloths to cover any panels that are even remotely at risk from falling bolts, screwdrivers etc.

The front shelter has to be removed from the GL1800 next. Start by taking out the two fairing pockets. The right one is held by two self tapper screws and two clips. Push the centre of the clip in and then just lift the whole clip out. Unhook the lock cable from the right pocket. Tip; When reassembling, don't forget to put the cable back or you won't be able to open the GL1800 pocket. If you do lock it with the cable disconnected by mistake, you don't need to remove the top shelter again. Just remove the trim piece and the lockable panel and then work your paw up to the white lock clip shown in the picture, then just pull down on the part that the cable sits into.

Pop the Goldwing speaker grilles out from the top. Tip; When refitting the grilles later on, remember to give them a firm push downwards after they are clipped in, otherwise you may lose them one day while out riding. The middle picture shows the concealed Allen bolt being removed, there is one under each speaker grille. From the ignition key area, pull the meter panel backwards (towards the rear of the bike), NOT upwards or you will break the tabs that sit in the four hidden rubber grommets (two in the clocks and two below the ignition switch). Reach under the right side of the ignition switch and free the connector shown in the third picture here. Then just pull the panel clear.

The fairing trim is easily removed from the GL1800 without tools. Just start at the bottom inside part and pull outwards, then work your way up the whole trim as shown in the first of these four pictures (when refitting the trim pieces, always start at the top and work down). Then (as shown in the five pictures that follow) remove the nut on each side of the shelter rear, the Allen bolts under the trim pieces each side and also each side (just under) of the clocks. Don't forget the two screws (last picture) just below the ignition switch. Also in the last picture, you can see the rubber grommets that the meter panel sits into. The grommets either side of the LCD display usually come away with the meter panel, so make sure you put them back in place like in the third picture. Also in the third picture you can see the thick wire harness passing under the shelter. When you fit the long CB wire, cable tie it along this harness (and the frame rail above the right side panel) and make sure that the shelter doesn't pinch them when refitting! Tip; The Allen bolts under the trim are several different sizes, make a note of where each one goes.

Lift the rear of the GL1800 shelter up, then release the antenna wire from the rear left of the audio unit and also the two connectors from the front of it. These are easy to see with the shelter up. Then just lift the whole shelter away. It's fairly light so you won't need any assistance here, just be careful you don't scratch your paintwork.

This is the view of the GL1800 ECM with the reverse/cruise module piggybacked on top of it.

After removing the two connector blocks from the reverse/ cruise module and the three from the ECM, gently pry the tabs on the mounting housing up and slide the reverse/cruise module out to the left.

Now pry the single tab at the bottom middle of the housing down and slide the ECM out to the left.

Now push the wires out of the way and remove the four 10mm headed bolts (two on right and two on left side) from the ECM base. Also remove the two Phillips screws (at the top of each picture) and pull off the two air inlet ducts from the filter box lid.

Remove the connector from the sensor on the filter box lid, then pull the whole ECM base and wire up out of the way. Just leave them on the handlebars and you will have plenty of room to get at the filter box lid.

Loosen the seven screws in the lid and remove the lid. No need to take the screws out all the way, the lid comes out evenly and the screws will stay in place as you lift it up (less chance of dropping them into the abyss this way).

  The old Goldwing air filter exposed. This one had 20,000 miles on and was well overdue for changing. Just take it out and clean out the filter box with a clean rag. Put in the new GL1800 air filter and reassemble everything. Before replacing the GL1800 plastics, it won't do any harm to initialize the ECM. This will ensure that the bike runs properly from the very start. To initialize the ECM, start the engine and allow it to warm up to it's normal operating temperature and stay running for at least 90 seconds after. If you are not sure what the normal operating temperature is, just wait until the fans come on and wait the 90 seconds after that before switching off the engine. It's very important that you don't operate the throttle during this time, otherwise you will need to repeat the process. That's it boys and girls, a nice new air filter installed. Replace the plastics and saddle and away you go. You won't need to face the GL1800 air filter job for at least another 8,000 miles!







You can also download the video clip directly;

Air filter fitting video tutorial (Windows WMV format). 6 minutes, 58 seconds playing time. 11.7 megabytes file size.