On my 1999 I could feel a rough spot at the straight ahead position as I moved the handlebars from side to side with the wheel off the ground. If you feel that I think you will have to replace bearings and races. I went with All Balls bearing kit from Cyclemax.
I found when I torqued to the service manual it was way to loose. I had to go back in and tighten a bit more.The best way I found was just to move the front wheel back and forth with the tips of your fingers(on the wheel)and get it so it will move easy but not too easy. When you push it from side to side you want it to continue to move after a gentle push but not too loose that it moves to the end of travel and hits the stop.
That worked for me. I did have to tighten a bit more after a season of riding. I have not touched them now for 3 years and have no problems.
I agree. Tightening them rarely works, and can cause more problems like stiffening the steering up too much.
We have a forum how-to on GL1500 steering bearings replacement that might help you: http://www.goldwingfacts.com/1500steering.htm
When I got to the bearing nut it was less than hand tight.
I hand tightened it and the knock went away. I pulled the upper bearings out and the bearings and race look good to the eye. I have to get a tightening tool, but Im thinking I torque it down and see how it goes. Does that sound dumb? The bearing nut,lock washer and lock nut were tight against each other but hand tight, whats up with that?
Thanks for the feedback, guyes.
The harness can be loosened from its mounts on the frame and there's about a foot of slack in there if you work at it... I'd suppose that leaving the harness fastened to the bike requires some other approach.
The "Lock nut" (castellated nut between the bearing's nut and the tripple tree top) shouldn't be tight at all. Generally 1/2 to 1 thread above the bearing's nut -- just enough to engage the locking ring -- this nut will be jammed inplace when the tree-top is torqued on (chrome hex nut - 72ft-lbs - typical).
For reference -- I kinda follow Mike Nixon's approach (as 'borrowed' from Honda Service Letter #126) Here's a good link -http://www.motorcycleproject.com/motorcycle/text/shucking.html - and this approach will allow you to validate bearing preloading prior to installing the tree-top so you can affect changes without a lot of re-work.