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GL1200 Final Drive Issue

3967 Views 17 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  msierra3333
So first let me say hello to everyone. I'm new to the board and a somewhat new Wing owner and GWRRA member. So "Hello all"!
My issue today has to do with the installation of the final drive on my 1200. I swapped the final drive from a second 1200 (same year 84') that I have for parts.
I installed the drive reattached everything and started her up while she is still on the lift. Problem is....the wheel is not spinning. I shut the engine off and rotated the tire by hand. Sound like it is grinding inside the shaft.
So a little background on my issue and what exactly I did;

I was getting a clunking sound when I would release the clutch in first gear. This would happen only when starting from a dead stop. I took the wing to a local Indy guy with alot of wing experience and be rode it and lifted it and said it was for sure the final drive. Likely a worn bearing inside the drive. So since I had a spare bike I thought I would give it a stab. :)
So I tore down the rear end, removed the brake, brake pads (replaced those as well) and removed the tire and disconnected the four bolts on the housing for the final drive and pulled it out.
I then took the donor final drive (used moly on all the areas that looked like they required it) and slipped it back into the housing. I then reinstalled the four bolts, reattached the tire, brake and axle. Gave it a start and here I . No spinning tire :)

Did I miss something simple or do I need to tear it down again? Any ideas or suggestions? They would be appreciated! Thanks in advance!


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Since you had the final drive out, the driveshaft most likely came out with it?
Make sure that the universal at the engine side of the driveline is connected. (Under the accordian boot.
Since you are new to gl's, you may not have gotten the rear wheel assy far enough to the right to engage.
Check the u-joint first.
Thank you for the fast reply.

I just want to be clear as to what you are describing. I have take a couple pictures of the original (now off the bike) final drive.

When you say "the drive shaft most likely came out with it". Do you mean the gear that matches up with the part I am pointing to in the first picture?

The part that you are describing as the "universal" on the engine side of the "accordion boot". Is this what is in picture 2?


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Picture 2

(From my parts bike...just for reference)


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Thank you for the fast reply.

I just want to be clear as to what you are describing. I have take a couple pictures of the original (now off the bike) final drive.

When you say "the drive shaft most likely came out with it". Do you mean the gear that matches up with the part I am pointing to in the first picture?

The part that you are describing as the "universal" on the engine side of the "accordion boot". Is this what is in picture 2?
The part you're pointing to is the drive shaft that glhonda referred to.

The universal joint is inside the boot between the engine and the swingarm.
It can be difficult to get the drive shaft splines you're pointing to mated with the u-joint and sometimes the u-joint will pull off the engine output spline.

You will have to pull the final drive and with the boot pulled back re-install it making sure the u-joint mates both with the drive shaft and the engine output shaft.
Ok I have disassembled it again. The splines are very difficult to mate for I look down the boot I can now see the u-joint and the receiving splines.
Insofar as the spines possibly coming off the engine output. Do you mean that they will literally come out of the boot or will the u-joint and receiving splines become dislodged inside the boot?
I ask this as the u-joint seems to be extremely loose inside the boot. I can send a plastic stick down there and position it and it stays put. But as I manipulate the u-joint it just seems like it is not connected to anything at all.
So the follow-up question then I completely FUBAR'd if this is the case?

Trying to get ready for Run For The Wall next month. So I have a couple weeks to play with. Just hope I have not made a very costly mistake by swapping this now.
If you can wait a few minutes, I'm editing some pictures that will make this process much easier. Relax, you're okay at this point. See ya soon.
As glhonda said you've done nothing that is going to cost you more money.
Just wait for his etch-a-sketch drawings:ROFL: and all should be clear.

This is what you have.
The ujoint probably came off the engine. The accordian boot has a spring to hold it tight to the engine case. Roll the spring forward onto the engine and pull the boot back. You should now be able to manipulate the driveline and ujoint into place. But don't do it yet, more pictures to follow.
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Ok I'm following you guys so far.

Ill stand-by for the pics.

Thanks so much!
Sorry, ran out of sand....

I know you've seen this end. The red arrow shows a seal. Make sure this seal is intact. Not deformed or torn.

The seal rides against the inside of the barrel on the diff. The yellow arrow indicates two holes that allow diff gear lube into the bell area to lubricate the splines. If the seal is torn, fluid will travel up the driveline to the boot you just pulled back and leak all over.
Pack these two holes with the moly 60 you used to lubricate the diff gear teeth. Lubricate the rear splines well. If there is a reasonable amount of moly lube, and the seal looks okay, then it is not "necessary" to replace the seal. You also need to lubricate both ends of the ujoint with the moly.
Lastly, tighten the axle to the correct torque, and THEN tighten the four bolts that hold the diff to the swingarm.
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Checking your first post your expert may have been wrong.
If the output splines on your old drive are badly worn that may have been the source of the clunking.

If the splines on the donor drive and or the splines on the drive to wheel coupling you used are are worn it's likely it will still clunk.
I cannot thank you guys enough. This was exactly what I needed. Once I got the boot pushed back I found that the u-joint did in fact come off. Once I got it back on there getting it reassembled was a snap!
Thank once again. Your assistance was above and beyond. I truly appreciate it! :)
Good deal. Now zip over to Sutter's Mill and buy me a cherry coke. And when you get back, let us know if the noise is gone, or has changed.
Glad you got it. It can be a pain to get the U-joint, engine output shaft, and driveshaft together, but there is a lot more room to work on the GW after you pull the rubber boot back than there is on most shaft drive bikes. I would replace that oil seal. Even if it looks good, if it leaks it can allow the oil to drain out of the final drive housing and into the swing arm. Other than a problem inside the final drive, the main cause of the clunking sound is the aforementioned output splines on the final drive, that engage the driven flange on the rear wheel. That should be lubed good with moly paste whenever you take the wheel off to replace a tire. And if that is worn (which pretty much ruins the final drive assembly) I would check the splines on the driven flange as well, they may also be worn, and if they are, they can cause rapid wear of the good splines on the final drive. The driven flange is pressed into 5 rubber dampers on the rear wheel. It can be pulled right off, though it usually requires a bit of persuasion. Check the rubber in the rear wheel as well. If these are bad, there is no easy way to fix them, they are molded into the wheel. Good thing is they rarely ever fail.
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So I initially took it for a slow ride around the block (without a helmet). I wanted to hear everything and anything. Boy did I ever. I never ride without a helmet so all the sounds that I heard were completely foreign to me. But the major score was that there was absolutely no "clunking"!
I then returned to the house, got my helmet, and took it a little further and then on the highway. Wow it runs even smoother than before (I didnt think this was possible).

So to recap I used a very liberal amount of Molly on the joint and splines inside the boot. I actually tore the boot during the "pull-back" step. So I guess I will be disassembling this again once I get a replacement boot.
I molly'd the heck out of the splines and spring on the final drive shaft. I removed the studs from the wheel hub and Molly'd the heck out of the splines inside there. I drained and refilled the final drive fluid. Changed the brake pads (still trying to bleed the brakes completely (they are about 70% there). A little mush still felt).

Just about ready for RFTW in a couple weeks! Oil change and spark plugs a couple days before departure and the Wing will be ready for the cross country mission.

Thanks again for the help. I hope that I will someday be able to be of as much assistance, to someone else, as you all were to me.

GLHONDA.....above and beyond my friend. BIG thanks!
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After you get your current problem solved, this might lead you to an answer to the original problem:
Greetings, I am a new member as well as new to my '84 GL1200 with 88K miles which rides extremely well for it's age. I'm not sure if protocol requires that I post a new string or if I could request a little advise on the same subject: I discovered few drops of black oil forming on the bottom of the round aluminum final drive housing. I cleaned it and stopped after 30 miles and discovered drops have formed again. I also feel a slight clunk or could be movement of swingarm bearings or wheeel bearings at times when I take off from a stop , especially making a left turn.

Anyway, I am very mechanically inclined and capable, but my question has two parts: 1) the oil leak appears to come from axle seals on the inside of the housing, has anyone replaced those and are they fairly straightforward ?
2) If I tear it apart, should I have the bearings on hand and are they hard to find ? I plan to replace the wheel bearings while I have the wheel removed anyway.

Is it just easier to just find a slightly used final Drive and swap the whole thing out ?

Thank you for any advise provided as I rather ride than spend weeks in the garage
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