Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Frazier Park, CA USA
Make: GoldWing GL1500
Just purchased 1989 GL1500 - has some issues
Hi everyone, I just bought a 1989 GL1500 with 45,000 miles. I made a great deal with the seller by trading him my 1977 Born Free Motorcycle Utility trailer which I had owned and towed behind my 1978 GL1000 and my 1986 GL1200SEI for over 12 years. This 1500 is a very smooth ride, with straight pipes and very well tuned to that setup. It has a few issues though, and I would like some feedback on the issues I'm not as familiar with.
Issue #1: At 35 mph, the speedometer itself starts to HOWL. Sometimes when it's up about 65 it smooths out and quiets down, which allows me to use the Cruise Control without it canceling itself, but it will howl at its leisure on and off until I ultimately decelerate to below 30 mph. I have purchased a new speedometer CABLE, it arrived today, will attempt to install soon. Since the howl and vibration is coming from the speedo head itself, it might not be the cable, but a new cable certainly won't hurt. Perhaps where the cable screws into the speedo has worn out, maybe I need a new speedometer. I don't know yet.
Issue #2: The tachometer does not work at all. When I pull the cluster to work on the speedometer, I will try and trace the problem.
Issue #3: Several of the indicator lights on the dash don't work: The OD indicator light, the high beam indicator light, and the gauge lights are so dim that I can't really see the gauges at night. I want to replace them all with LED bulbs if possible. Does anyone know if there's a quality made WHITE GAUGE KIT available for the GL1500?
Issue #4: The housing for the speedometer cluster has melted from years of heat and sun exposure. I've found some pieces on eBay that would solve that problem, but with the speedometer howling at me, I'm thinking seriously about looking for a good replacement cluster that comes complete, something that has been proven to be 100% working, including the tachometer.
Issue #5: Needs new rear brake pads, those came today as well. I sold my only GL1500 service manual a few years ago when I sold my last 1500, a 20th Anniversary 1995 GL1500 model. So until I can order a new service manual, I'll be searching the forums for the best mechanical process to fix these things. Will I need to bleed the rear brakes as a matter of standard pad change, or should I see how it feels after I install the new pads first?
The history of the bike is kind of funny. The guy I bought it from had previously sold it TWICE and bought it back twice from the people he sold it to. Maybe it's a love affair, maybe it's a "Christine" or maybe the buyers didn't really want a GL1500 after they drove it for a bit. I don't know. It still has a clear title, though! When the last owner bought it, it had been owned by an older gentleman. That owner had removed the fairing and tank covers and side covers, then taken the bike to a shop for some unspecified maintenance. While the partially disassembled bike was in the shop, the bike owner's garage burned down, destroying the fairing and other bike parts. So the bike shop reassembled the GL1500 with other parts salvaged from other bikes and ebay. So the bike is wineberry red from the seat on back, but the side covers are black and the fairing is a tasteful mix of wineberry red and a deep opalescent "purple" or "blue" and it makes the bike look very nice...even "custom" could be applied to this creative reassembly. It's not even really noticeable unless you're really looking closely. No one on the road would be able to tell as I whiz past them.
Once I fix these (minor) issues with the bike, I'd like to try and flip it again...I started with a 2005 SilverWing and I'm trying to flip my way up to a GL1800. I'm hoping that the color scheme won't put off too many potential buyers.
I've had 26 GoldWings over the past 25 years. Got my first one at 16 years of age when my grandpa gave me his 1976 GL1000. I had been driving it all over the mountain community I grew up in since I was only 12!!! I'd only had one other GL1500, and never had to tear into it. Most of my experience is in the structural and cosmetic restoration of GL1000's and GL1200's, I've always taken them to a shop for engine, electrical, fuel and drive train issues. However, that's not in the budget anymore since having kids...waaaahh. Any advice about the above listed issues? I would rather not try and reinvent the wheel if any of you have the experience to help me make these repairs as painless as possible. Thanks in advance, and keep on riding!
1978 GL1000 Café Racer 26K miles
1986 GL1200 Aspencade
1986 GL1200 Interstate