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HEY WINGERS. I am looking at buying a 1996 1500 SE anything wrong with them, or good.
 

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Wild Rhino - Canadian
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You should be getting lots of advice here soon.....
Your main problem will be the 4th gear shifting fork, lots of info here on the forum.
how well was it maintained, records???
The shifting fork is expensive to fix, or some will recommend just dropping a newer motor into the bike, also an expensive option.
 

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HEY WINGERS. I am looking at buying a 1996 1500 SE anything wrong with them, or good.
The biggest issue I had with my '96 SE was the alternator..not a good year for them. Replace with a Compufire..no issues since!
 

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I'm not sure about when the change for the 4th gear deal was corrected, but issues with most 1500's are small "pain in the a%$" stuff. Hitatchi Alternators made in China are terrible, no-one ever changes the "sub-filters", which when let go, turn into cookie crumbs in your carbs, cruise control switches stick,lightbulbs, no matter where located, are a pain to get to, the caliper pins get filthy, and will cause wierd front brake problems....stuff like that. I love 1500's, as they are pretty bullet proof if maintained strickly. Someone will chime in on the exact year Honda fixed the 4th gear thing. I would NOT even consider one of the failed years! The fix is chronicled here on the forum, by a BRAVE member, and it is NOT a job for mechanically inclined idiots like me! Good luck, hope you find a dream bike! jimsjinx
 

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I think I remember reading somewhere that 97 was the first year for the better transmission.... That'll probably be a future project for me... All kinds of fun to look forward to!
 

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I believe I've read that '97 was when they went with the Valk transmission.
The 1500 is a wonderful motorcycle. Buy the nicest, lowest mileage, best maintained example you can find and definitely go with the SE if you can..it has all the goodies. BUT...make sure all the goodies WORK before you buy, some of them are expensive to fix/replace. Previous care by prior owners is the key on these bikes.

Pre-Valkarie trans: 4th gear problems
Alternators: Unhappy, especially if you add too many accessories
Switches: Like to stick and aggravate you
Reverse: A wonderful feature if you're not strong as a bull and tall
Overall lighting: GREAT! See and Be Seen ... this is about as good as it gets
Parts availability: Everything you could need is out there somewhere
Comfort: Nothing else ever built is better, or maybe even not as good
Ease of riding: A real handfull in parking lots, stop/go traffic, etc. Great otherwise
Reliability: It's a Honda, 'nuff said.
 

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I'm not sure about when the change for the 4th gear deal was corrected, but issues with most 1500's are small "pain in the a%$" stuff. Hitatchi Alternators made in China are terrible, no-one ever changes the "sub-filters", which when let go, turn into cookie crumbs in your carbs, cruise control switches stick,lightbulbs, no matter where located, are a pain to get to, the caliper pins get filthy, and will cause wierd front brake problems....stuff like that. I love 1500's, as they are pretty bullet proof if maintained strickly. Someone will chime in on the exact year Honda fixed the 4th gear thing. I would NOT even consider one of the failed years! The fix is chronicled here on the forum, by a BRAVE member, and it is NOT a job for mechanically inclined idiots like me! Good luck, hope you find a dream bike! jimsjinx
So what you are saying then, one should not even consider a GL 1500 between 1988-1996? I wonder what the real percentages are in 4th gear failure throughout these years? The last few years of the 1500 were considered not as good the first years per the :Steve Saunders: Buying a used GL 1500...
 

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Oh - THAT guy...
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3,275 Posts
I may be of the minority on this, but frankly 4th gear, bad alternators, etc are something to CONSIDER but should not SCARE you away from various models. Dozens of riders of all years have hundreds of thousands of worry free miles under their belts. I refreshed my stock alternator last year at 89k just because I wanted to. It was a Chinese model. Never had one inkling of an issue. That said:

There may be issues with various years, yet there are MANY who have never had the advertised problems. It does not take a super high percentage of problems to prompt a manufacturer into issuing a bulletin about an issue. If you are considering a '96 with the potential, keep it in mind when buying. Check it out the best you can, pay attention to its condition (a hint of how it was really cared for) and maintenance history. If the last few years of 1500 were not as good as the early years, then why is it the early years have the transmission issue? Every model, every year has potential issues. That is what determines its resale price.
Since I am over 97k on my 2000SE (the last year made) maybe I should get ready for it to explode?

Now watch- next week something will blow (I am going to pull the drive shaft for the first time-I hope those splines are still good. If not, my fault for never pulling the bugger out). Oh wait- it is used with miles- that can happen to anything-car, bike, boat, truck, ...

Buy a Goldwing, maintain it, and ride happy!!

Want 100% risk free? Walk.

This post NOT meant negative, please no hurt feelers intended at all- it just bugs me when folks get scared off because there might be a future problem. Yes, buy informed, but buy if you want the experience of whatever it is you are interested in. I would also be interested in the ACTUAL percentage of issues for a given bike versus the number made/sold.
 

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Premium Member
2000 GL1500SE
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3,349 Posts
rpeters549 put it very well! I feel the same way as he does about the potential problems with any used bike. Sure some have had a particular problem that was addressed by the manufacturer in a later year. That doesn't mean every bike made prior to that has the problem. I know several guys that own the earlier models and have had excellent service from them. I presently own a 94 model that is one of the suspect years according to some, but it is one of the best bikes I have ever owned. It definately is the smoothest and best shifting one and I have had every Goldwing series except the 1800.
The main thing is to check it out well before the purchase. If it has been maintained well and looks good then you will likely have only minor issues with it as pointed out earlier.
 

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Oh - THAT guy...
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3,275 Posts
Thanks!
I was hoping not to come across too negative- I come from a car business family (Dad was shop foreman at the local Ford dealer 'till he retired, I grew up doing mechanical work on vehicles and our farm equipment, etc). I just hate to see someone who really wants what is more than likely a great bike to get cold feet over something that is a valid concern, but should not be a 'run-away-and-hide'. Not saying those who bring it up are doing that- most just want buyers to be aware. I get that. I just think it needs to be tempered with reality. Hence the poll I started in the general forum here about this very thing. As of yesterday 75% of owners with affected years have not had to address the issue. Is it an issue? Yes. Should we necessarily avaoid? I say no.
Opinion is mine of course.
 

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Premium Member
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2,998 Posts
I may be of the minority on this, but frankly 4th gear, bad alternators, etc are something to CONSIDER but should not SCARE you away from various models. Dozens of riders of all years have hundreds of thousands of worry free miles under their belts. I refreshed my stock alternator last year at 89k just because I wanted to. It was a Chinese model. Never had one inkling of an issue. That said:

There may be issues with various years, yet there are MANY who have never had the advertised problems. It does not take a super high percentage of problems to prompt a manufacturer into issuing a bulletin about an issue. If you are considering a '96 with the potential, keep it in mind when buying. Check it out the best you can, pay attention to its condition (a hint of how it was really cared for) and maintenance history. If the last few years of 1500 were not as good as the early years, then why is it the early years have the transmission issue? Every model, every year has potential issues. That is what determines its resale price.
Since I am over 97k on my 2000SE (the last year made) maybe I should get ready for it to explode?

Now watch- next week something will blow (I am going to pull the drive shaft for the first time-I hope those splines are still good. If not, my fault for never pulling the bugger out). Oh wait- it is used with miles- that can happen to anything-car, bike, boat, truck, ...

Buy a Goldwing, maintain it, and ride happy!!

Want 100% risk free? Walk.

This post NOT meant negative, please no hurt feelers intended at all- it just bugs me when folks get scared off because there might be a future problem. Yes, buy informed, but buy if you want the experience of whatever it is you are interested in. I would also be interested in the ACTUAL percentage of issues for a given bike versus the number made/sold.
Totally agree.There are considerably a lot more older Wings out there without tranny problems than there are with them.Also the older Wings had better Alternators from the factory.Mine has been out once(175k klm's).Could have gotten away with a good cleaning,but opted for new brushes and a rear brg.
Saying all that if everyone gets scared off the older Wings it will just meen that there will be a lot more cheaper Wings around for me.:claps:
 
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