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This site has been so helpful. Thanks all.

No need for "welcomes" though, several have already welcomed me.

I bought an 86 Interstate on e-bay and know nothing of its history. It starts easy (smokes like a fiend for 1 minute after being parked on the centerstand) and runs good. Shifts are sometimes a bit notchy, though I don't have any way of knowing how a Wing should shift. It seems to be a good bike.

I want to ride to the FL Keys during a 2-week vacation I have in December. I'm about out of money and have virtually no time between now and then. To make matters worse, I'm known for turning 3 hour wrench jobs into 8 hour debacles.

I will change the motor oil and gear oil before my trip.

Is suspension work necessary or just somethig I ought to do.

The bike rides like a tank. The rear suspension is virtually gone and the front is pretty bad too. I know full well the dangers of riding (or driving) with bad suspension.

Changing the front fork fluid seems to be a pretty big job (thanks for those who have posted how-tos) and if I tackle a big job before my trip, it ought to be the timing belt (57k) (Big thanks for the FANTASTIC how-to complete with pictures.)

Any suggestions? I know the best answer is to not head 1000 miles south on a bike that isn't maintained, but I'm ok with taking a gamble, but don't want to do something that's just plain dumb.

What must I do before I go vs. what should I do?
Are there other maitenence things I've overlooked (other than the charging system.)

I must buy some warm clothes. I should have extra money for a bus ride home in case the timing belt goes.

I'm pretty young so doing dumb stuff is still acceptable. Riding my V-Star to FL would be dumb. I'd freeze and need back surgery to ever get right again. Hopefully there's a way to get the Wing roadworthy without spending a fortune.

Thanks for the advice, and thanks for the hundreds of pages of great information.

PS - I smiled for days when I realized my bike has self-cancelling turn signals. That is so cool! And the bike is 21 years old! Amazing!
 

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Monkey with a Football
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Check the tires. Check the wheel bearings for smooth rotation, check the brakes and fluids and be sure to take your jacket.

Hit the road and have a good time.

If you are willing to face a blown belt and a bus ride you are ready for anything.
 

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Check the connections from the stator to the regulator. Make sure they are hard connected/soldered instead of using the spade connectors.

Me personaly, I'd wait and get her into better shape before I tried that ride but to each his own! Lotsa luck and welcome to the site!! Hope it's a great trip!!
 

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:waving::waving: Welcome to the World's Greatest Goldwing Site Sly! :waving::waving:

Only proper to welcome a new member, glad to have you here. You'll undoubtedly hear from the resident curmudgeon out in the Aran Islands in Galway Bay, Ireland soon.

I'd bet on the bike making the trip but you may not enjoy the ride. If the suspension is bottoming out in the rear it's going to feel pretty uncomfortable after a couple hundred miles. Have you tried pumping up the rear shocks to see if they will hold air? If they leak down over a day or two buy a small bicycle pump so you can pump them back up again when needed. If the front end suspension is out of oil and won't hold air I don't know that I'd be willing to ride very far with the bike in that condition. It can make handling especially in corners pretty squirrelly. Being a young fella you ought to be able to take the beating on your V Star, ride it and get the 'Wing into shape before you make a long trip on her. It would be sad if you had a bad trip with the 'Wing before you got to know her and appreciate what a fine machine it really is.
 

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Been there, done that...

Just look for obvious loose things as mentioned above. Especially the electrical connections. Test the fuse box leads for snugness.

Get a cheapo rain suit from Wally world, couple of bucks, makes a good windbreaker too. Buy a box of fig bars, cheap food on the road and will last you the whole trip. Don't forget to take bottles of water with you. That's an easy slip to make, but if you start walking you will rue the mistake.

I used to ride from the military base home on the freeway 160 miles each way on the weekend....on a Cushman Eagle motorscooter. That wasn't smart either.

Enjoy your trip.
 

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Hi Sly,

I'm in Hickory, NC so welcome to a fellow NC Winger. The only other things I might add would be some extra fuses and a quart of oil. Do you have a service manual in case you get stuck somewhere and perhaps could figure out a quick temp repair to get you to a mechanic? Good luck. If I was a young fellow I would go with you!

JimC in NC
 

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hey sly, dont forget to throw a punture repair can in trunk, or get it put in the tyres before you go,and maybe join AAA, its not an quick job taking the back wheel out,

have a safe ride, and let us know if you've made trip ok,

ed
 

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and another tip sly, get and angled valve stem, its makes it a lot easier to blow the tyres up, dont forget to take it off when youre done,if you dont,it will cause drag on the valve and break it, i know a few who its happen too,

ed
 

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I'd like to wish you a safe vacation to the keys . As to the smoking at start up it may be overfilled on oil but if your going to change the oil and filter you should take care of that ( if its an overfill problem ). For the belts I'd plan a day and be happy if it went faster. ReRead the how to for belt changing just before you attempt this ,might want to print it off so you can have it handy at the bike when doing the job.

I am not sure about the 1200 suspension as I have an 1100. My bike had air leaks and replacing the Schrader valve seemed to stop the leaks for me .

Have you read about preloading your shifter before pulling the clutch in ? Apply a slight amount of presure to the shifter,then pull the clutch while continuing to move the lever to the next gear . That seems to help many of us gain a smoother shift.

As for roadside help I dont think I can offer much since I am on the west side of Fl. I hope all goes well for you . Enjoy the time off .
 

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Thanks OWaP --> I hadven't heard about preloading. It sounds a bit strange to me, a bit like clutchless shifting. However, I'm here to learn so I'll give it a try.

You're right about shortening my trip a bit so as to have time to change the timing belt and check the charging system.

It's not what I wanted to hear, but what I needed to hear. Thanks
 

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Again welcome to the greatest forum on the planet.

I second the timing belt change, If that belt lets go while going down the road you could be in serious trouble; mechanically and physically.

Safe riding and letus know how the trip goes.

Another member in the great state of NC!
 

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Welcome to the board.

I would think twice about that long of a trip on an un-tested and as you stated un-documented machine. You say it smokes after being on the center stand? Is it an oily smell or does it smell like anti-freeze? Either could indicate engine problems that could worsen with mileage.

If you insist on going the timing belts would be a must. Not only because of the potential for catastrophic engine failure but if the motor locks up while you're tooling down the road, the rear wheel stops suddenly and down you go unless you're quick on the the clutch.

I can understand your eagerness in wanting to ride your new "toy" but if you have a bad enough break-down on the road you're going to have to figure how to: 1.Find someone to work on it, not knowing their track record and how much they're going to charge you to fix it. This would scare me as you would be open to being taken advantage of by an crooked mechanic/shop Not only that, but from what I've read, most Honda dealerships refuse to work on that old of a bike. Plus, getting parts is also part of this equation.
2.Ship it back home for a sizeable fee and the hassle of finding a shipping company that would do this. 3. Leave it home and use another mode of transportation.

I know this isn't what you wanted to hear but I'd like you to be able to enjoy your wing down the road,sort to speak.

Whatever your final decision, I wish you good luck and great riding experiences.

Regards,

Hobie
 

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Hey Sly, I bought a 1985 interstate 1200. The loser that had it before me said he always maintained it. yeah right. I flushed all the fluid brakes, clutch. and antifreeze. they looked like chocolate puding at the bottom of the resevoirs. bled the heck out fo the bleeders to make sure it was really clean. change the oil and filter. Mine smoked like crazy too until I change the engine oil to full synthetic oil. ( sorry I dont mean to start the oil war again:shock:). The other thing i changed was the secondary air cut off valve under the car manifold. pretty easy job for a $20. part. check the yellow wires to make sure they have been fixed and you should be trouble free for a long time. Oh yeah, check the brass bushing in the clutch handle, mine had 40,000 mile on it and the push rod for the piston in the master cylinder wore a hole right through it. $15. later the clutch was like new. the othr thing to ckeck is the timing belts, like everyone says here, if they break, kiss that engine good bye. enjoy your ride be safe.

Don
 

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Don - Thanks man. That's a good list of stuff. I'm scared about messing with the clutch as I have a serious bit of corrosion on my old V-Max from a few drops of stay Dot 3. I'll be careful and replace that bushing. Transmissions aren't fond of 7k rpm clutchless shifting after losing clutch pressure.

The manual says to run a solvent through the radiator and then flush twice with water before refilling. I've never done that to my cars, is a simple drain and fill ok if the fluid isn't too bad?

I'll check the stator wires and do the timing belt.

Thanks everybody.
 

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that should be fine, check the old fluid for dirt, if its brown, or pieces of rust, that would indicate a more thorough inspection. when I put the 10w40 synthetic oil in my bike it really did make a difference and it seems to shift better. I try not to put too many miles on her before changing oil no matter what kind i use. make sure you use the dot 4 for the brake and clutch though. solder the yellow wires together right by the battery if it hasn't been done yet. you will never find more usefull info than on this site, good luck.

PS: just don't ask which oil is best to use :cheeky1::shock:
 
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