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blkhawk611,



I had exactly the same symptoms on my ’87 Aspencade last Fall and did a head gasket replacement to fix it.

Mine only leaked when the engine was cold as well, which adds to the confusion. It turned out to be a head gasket leak at the back edge of the #3 cylinder. When the engine was cold it would leak just a little. The antifreeze would run down and onto the exhaust pipe header making it look like it was the exhaust pipe header gasket that was leaking. As soon as the engine warmed up the leak would stop. The thermal expansion of the parts was obviously just enough to get the head gasket to seal again. Eventually it got worse and would leak a bit even with the engine warmed up.

I remember that it took way longer than I thought it would take to do the work. I spent a total of several hours over a couple of weekends at it, but I was really taking my time and not rushing.

What I specifically remember is that LOTS of stuff had to be removed to get the job done. Particularly the radiator and the timing belt covers. So, you have to drain the coolant out of the engine and you may as well also replace both timing belts while you are in there. They are probably old. That also means that you will have to learn how to time the engine in order to put the belts back on properly.

Long story short, you're gonna need a service manual with pictures unless you are already really experienced working on a GL1200

The most meticulous part of the job, and really necessary, was removing all of the old head gasket material from the head and the engine block sealing surfaces. If you don't get it all off and have nice clean metal surfaces, your new gasket will leak and all of your work will be for nothing. Buy a spray can of gasket remover. This is the best way to get the old baked-on gasket material softened up and loose enough to scrape it off. Only use wooden or plastic scrapers. If you use metal, you may gouge and damage the metal surfaces. I think that properly cleaning the old gasket material off took me the better part of an hour or more. Soak, scrape, soak scrape, repeat... until clean enough to eat your lunch off of!

One other hard part was getting the head off after all the head bolts were loose, You will have to pry up and suspend the entire carburetor assembly and intake plumbing on the affected side far enough to pull all the parts that mate to the head free. This includes the coolant pipes too. I used some twine to hold mine up in place once the head was ready to be removed.

You will also need lots of new o-rings and gaskets! Every thing you remove from the head has an o-ring or gasket of some sort to seal it. Look at the Honda parts microfiche illustrations on any of the online parts suppliers web sites to identify them and order them.

Make sure you torque the head bolts to spec when reassembling. If not torqued to spec, the gasket won't hold.

My best advise: take your time and don't rush.
 
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