ďHandlingĒ Problem - GL1000 - Steve Saunders Goldwing Forums

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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-07-2019, 09:13 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Gaithersburg MD
Year: 1978
Make: Honda
Model: GL1000
Posts: 10
ďHandlingĒ Problem - GL1000

Firstly - thanks for all the help youíve given me as Iíve lurked in the background getting my 78 GL1000 fixed bit by bit.

Well, after a number of electrics/ignition fixes, rewiring, oil and coolant changes, tank de-rusting, a new front tyre and so on I took Gladys down for the State Inspection... and failed. Actually all the stuff I worked on went well, but she failed on ďhandlingĒ. Gutted.

The first guy who road tested seemed to think she pulled to one side on acceleration and thought it may be the back end (like a wheel misalignment, swingarm or similar) and the second mechanic who took it out afterwards thought it was the front end !

Long and the short of it is neither of them thought she was holding a straight line. I didnít really notice anything but havenít done a lot of miles or indeed ridden much in (20) years.

The bike
- Has had multiple owners and I donít have full traceability
- Has passed a MD state inspection in the recent (last 18 months) past according to the last owner...could have been a generous tester... who knows?
- Doesnít seem to have frame damage beyond a few scrapes (no major dents) but I suspect sheís been dropped based on a scratch on a fork.
- I have not touched the forks beyond painting. Front end seems a bit soft but I used to ride sports bikes so itís all relative. No leaks.
- No unusual movement in steering when front wheel is up so I had assumed bearings were ok
- New front tyre bead is seated as it should be. Spins ok, but I noticed it catches a little on a brake pad in one spot. Eyeballed the tyre when rotating and no noticeable wobble.
- Tyre pressure was 35psi front and back
- Rear tyre is 2014 manufacture date (the front was 2008 when I purchased a few months ago, but has been replaced)
- Rear shocks are new and aftermarket (previous owner)... Progressive (412 series?)...335mm bolt hole centre to centre on both sides with same settings. I recall he said he had asked for heavier springs as he had planned to do 2-up riding. Installation appears symmetrical.
- Front has been lowered by 25mm on both sides evenly (presumably to match the shorter rear caused by aftermarket shocks).
- No record of swingarm bearings replaced
- No obvious impact damage on swingarm or drive hub

Taking the feedback from the mechanics, they think there is a tracking issue and the Honda manual suggests:
Bent forks
Bent frame
Forks installed incorrectly in triple crown
Axle installed incorrectly
Bent swing arm
Wheel installed incorrectly

Iíll start by reinstalling the front wheel with even more care to ensure the brake pads donít catch, but not sure how much this would contribute to the issue.
Iíll put the forks back to factory setting (i.e. not lowered)
I have string to check for wheel alignment but itís not easy to do - thereís a lot in the way between the front and back ! Iíll have a go in daylight tomorrow.

So... my question to all you gurus is... where would you start to look and in what sequence? What diagnostics and checks can reliably be done in a home garage (I have a bike lift)?

Could shorter aftermarket shocks cause a problem? I couldnít find the original bolt hole dimensions in Haynes or the Honda Manual.
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-07-2019, 09:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robbo View Post
Firstly - thanks for all the help youíve given me as Iíve lurked in the background getting my 78 GL1000 fixed bit by bit.

Well, after a number of electrics/ignition fixes, rewiring, oil and coolant changes, tank de-rusting, a new front tyre and so on I took Gladys down for the State Inspection... and failed. Actually all the stuff I worked on went well, but she failed on ďhandlingĒ. Gutted.

The first guy who road tested seemed to think she pulled to one side on acceleration and thought it may be the back end (like a wheel misalignment, swingarm or similar) and the second mechanic who took it out afterwards thought it was the front end !

Long and the short of it is neither of them thought she was holding a straight line. I didnít really notice anything but havenít done a lot of miles or indeed ridden much in (20) years.

The bike
- Has had multiple owners and I donít have full traceability
- Has passed a MD state inspection in the recent (last 18 months) past according to the last owner...could have been a generous tester... who knows?
- Doesnít seem to have frame damage beyond a few scrapes (no major dents) but I suspect sheís been dropped based on a scratch on a fork.
- I have not touched the forks beyond painting. Front end seems a bit soft but I used to ride sports bikes so itís all relative. No leaks.
- No unusual movement in steering when front wheel is up so I had assumed bearings were ok
- New front tyre bead is seated as it should be. Spins ok, but I noticed it catches a little on a brake pad in one spot. Eyeballed the tyre when rotating and no noticeable wobble.
- Tyre pressure was 35psi front and back
- Rear tyre is 2014 manufacture date (the front was 2008 when I purchased a few months ago, but has been replaced)
- Rear shocks are new and aftermarket (previous owner)... Progressive (412 series?)...335mm bolt hole centre to centre on both sides with same settings. I recall he said he had asked for heavier springs as he had planned to do 2-up riding. Installation appears symmetrical.
- Front has been lowered by 25mm on both sides evenly (presumably to match the shorter rear caused by aftermarket shocks).
- No record of swingarm bearings replaced
- No obvious impact damage on swingarm or drive hub

Taking the feedback from the mechanics, they think there is a tracking issue and the Honda manual suggests:
Bent forks
Bent frame
Forks installed incorrectly in triple crown
Axle installed incorrectly
Bent swing arm
Wheel installed incorrectly

Iíll start by reinstalling the front wheel with even more care to ensure the brake pads donít catch, but not sure how much this would contribute to the issue.
Iíll put the forks back to factory setting (i.e. not lowered)
I have string to check for wheel alignment but itís not easy to do - thereís a lot in the way between the front and back ! Iíll have a go in daylight tomorrow.

So... my question to all you gurus is... where would you start to look and in what sequence? What diagnostics and checks can reliably be done in a home garage (I have a bike lift)?

Could shorter aftermarket shocks cause a problem? I couldnít find the original bolt hole dimensions in Haynes or the Honda Manual.

Based on what you have provided, I would start with making sure the forks are correctly aligned (including correct torque values).

I see you are in Gaithersburg. I rode a '77 GL1000 for quite a few years back in the day.
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-08-2019, 06:02 AM
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a lazer at northern tool are relative cheap,to check alignment.or a long level have you cheched the swing arm bearings. front axle bearings? raise the front tore off the ground and pin the tire. neck bearing. is the road your testing on new if possible. what happens when you take you hands off of the handle bars
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-08-2019, 06:48 AM
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The shocks are not significantly shorter than stock - I'd return the fork tubes to normal height to restore trail. Check forks properly installed, and check the head bearings which an cause the front to pull to notches if worn. They are fairly easy to swap to All Balls tapered roller bearings. Also check that your handlebars aren't bent - that can give an impression of poor alignment. After that, if it feels right to you take it to a different shop that isn't trying to sell unneeded repairs to pass inspection.

"Love 'em all... Let God sort 'em out!"
'52 wife - '69 daughter - '83 daughter
ex '86 SE-i
ex '77 GL1000
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-08-2019, 08:31 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: Gaithersburg MD
Year: 1978
Make: Honda
Model: GL1000
Posts: 10
Thanks for the replies. I’ve adjusted the forks back to stock and reinstalled the front wheel. I noticed the brakes dragging a on the LHS a little. I can spin the wheel - you can hear a little on the right but when the LHS caliper is installed it’s more noticeable. I guess this could cause a pull to one side no?

Any recommendations on where to get a master cylinder rebuild kit (assuming it’s the cause) and a swing arm bearing kit?
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-08-2019, 08:34 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Gaithersburg MD
Year: 1978
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Forgot to mention - they are new bars. Definitely not bent, and alignment with front wheel position looked ok before I refitted everything and after as well.
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-08-2019, 09:54 PM
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Disk dragging on one side will not cause it to pull to one side - only overheat disk and use up power. There is a procedure for mounting the front wheel to center the calipers over the disks. It is in the manual and must be followed. Basically you tighten the axle holders on the non-axle nut side, tighten the big axle nut, tighten the axle holders on the axle nut side (front first, then back - torque ~15 ft-lbs), loosen the axle holders on the other side and bounce the front suspension a couple times to let the forks self-center, torque the axle holders on the non-axle nut side. Then check clearance from caliper to disk with feelers from the tool kit (0.7mm as I remember) and loosen/adjust non axle nut holders if necessary (I've never had to do that, they have always cleared Ok). The axle nut side is not adjustable. If still dragging, you either have a warped disk or brakes not releasing. That is usually due to a TINY hole in the master cylinder being plugged. You can unplug it with a bare steel guitar string. There are two ports in the MC - one for supply to the plunger, and one to relieve the pressure when released.

"Love 'em all... Let God sort 'em out!"
'52 wife - '69 daughter - '83 daughter
ex '86 SE-i
ex '77 GL1000
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-09-2019, 07:32 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: Gaithersburg MD
Year: 1978
Make: Honda
Model: GL1000
Posts: 10
Thanks for wheel install detail - I followed the process in the manuals and used my torque wrench like a good boy although you have an extra bit of detail in there I hadít seen. Might give it one more go before I start to plan a brake overhaul. Replacing one of the brake lines (too long) and doing the master cylinder/calipers was suppose to be a project for winter but I guess I may need to have it it sooner. I found all the parts I needed (K&L branded stuff).

Less successful on the swingarm bearing parts - thatís going to be a difficult one to source if I need to. Iíll take a look at the back end at the weekend. I have a feeling there may be swearing involved - not one for a weekday evening.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-09-2019, 07:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robbo View Post
Thanks for the replies. Iíve adjusted the forks back to stock and reinstalled the front wheel. I noticed the brakes dragging a on the LHS a little. I can spin the wheel - you can hear a little on the right but when the LHS caliper is installed itís more noticeable. I guess this could cause a pull to one side no?
No it couldn't

Terry

Don't own a Vanagon.
Don't work at Boeing.
Life is good.

1970 CB750
1975 GL1000
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2002 VT750
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-09-2019, 08:36 PM
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The only way the front wheel can cause the bike to run out of line is if the frame is twisted at the steering head. Then it's still not really the front causing the issue.
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