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I've clocked almost 3000 miles since I bought my first wing almost three months ago. I discovered yesterday the bike will shake violently while taking my throttle hand of the handle bars. It wasn't a slight wobble I almost lost it and came close to hitting the curb. I was going approx. 25 mph, both tires at 41 psi and no free play in steering. Any ideas?

I also get a dime spot of oil on the left side near the shifter if it sits more than one day. I haven't pulled any plastic yet but I think it may be the seal at the shifter shaft. Can I pull this seal out and carefully install another without too much hassle?
 

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Torque the steering head bearings probably will get rid of the wobble.

If the 1500 shift seal is similar to the 1200, youshould be able to remove the shifter and carefully dig out the seal and replace.
 

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Low speed head shake isn't uncommon on any Goldwing. Bad head bearings or improper torque on the bearings is a possible cause but a worn front tire us even more likely in my experience. On my '93 with Dunlop E3s the wobble would disappear with a new front tire and then around 6000-7000 miles on it would gradually reappear. Put on another tire and it was gone again. Normally the head shake only happens when you take both hands off the handlebars around 35mph or a bit lower. Usually a couple fingers on one of the grips will stop the shake. It's also more pronounced when decellerating than at a steady speed or accelerating.

If you are experiencing the wobble with a hand on at least one grip then I'd be going after the head bearings. There is a specific method of adjusting the tension on the bearings, too loose and you can get the wobble, too tight and accelerated wear and a wandering bike can be the result. You really need a copy of the Honda service manual available from Helm Inc. or the Clymer manual available from Amazon among others for the proper method of adjustment.
 

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The shifter seal is easy to replace. Put a wrap of tape on the shaft splines so you don't damage the new seal when fitting it.
 

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When you get that low speed front end wobble with one hand, the throttle hand, off the bars it is usually a cupped front tire. I know :(
 

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I had my bike for several years with no wobble but one similar to what you described developed over time. Nothing had been changed and the tire didn't show any excessive wear or cupping. I found the steering head bearings had loosened up. While I was working on that, I went ahead and changed to Progressive fork springs and changed the fork oil. Tire was good, so I didn't do anything to it.

Not sure which of the things I did fixed the problem but the problem was gone when I finished. 8,000 miles since and the wobble never returned. I can remove either or both hands at any speed (steady or decelerating) and have no wobble.
 

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I have a brand new E-3 front tire and I have a slight wobble at around 35mph so tire cupping is not the culprit. 88 Gl 1500 with 22,000 miles.
 

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The dreaded steering wobble, or shake. It has a lot to do with the geometry of the front end of the motorcycle. Lots of bikes experience it. Some old models even went as far as to incorporate a steering dampener shock. I've seen them on some older small bikes. Goldwings seem to be prone to it under certain conditions. Probably because it's a heavy bike, so it puts more weight on the steering head.

Most people that experience it, complain of it while decelerating between 35 mph and 25 mph. Especially if they take both hands off the handlebars at the same time. Almost always, if at least one hand is on the handle bars, it dampens the steering enough that you won't get a wobble. But on one occasion I experienced a force strong enough that required both hands to stop it. (I was run off the road and I jumped a curb going back on the road.)

There are lots of opinions as to what causes it, but it has to do with the self righting forces of the motorcycle (hence the geometry). When something pushes the wheel off center, the bike wants to re-center itself and the wheel goes back to center, but it over corrects and then it's pointing to the other side. So it re-centers itself but over corrects again. It sets up an oscillation and the wheel goes back and forth. Depending on the conditions, the oscillation can grow worse with each swing of the wheel, that is unless another force is there to dampen it. Without something to dampen it, you get the tank slapper. If nothing else is there to stop it, your hands are your last defense. So when you take both hands off the handle bars, all it takes is a small bump and away it goes.

The first time it happened to me, it scared the daylights out of me. I wasn't ready for it and I thought the bike had a major mechanical problem. I talked to an experienced friend at the Honda shop. I was embarrased to admit that I was riding no handed. She laughed and told me to keep my hands on the handle bars. Then she explained that actually it's a common thing and many many people had told the same story before me.

Several things are known to affect it.

First check your tires. Tires that are abnormally worn, or out of balance are more likely to set up the wobble conditions. It doesn't happen as often with new tires. But you shouldn't have to replace your tires early just to stop the wobble. The tires don't cause the problem, they just set up that bump that is needed to start the shake. And the worse the tires, the more often you will feel it.

Because of my own experience, I am a big believer in the importance of the adjustment of the steering head bearings. It's probably the best thing you can do for the situation. I'm not saying loose steering head bearings cause the problem, and I'm not saying tight steering head bearings solve the problem. But I am saying that it makes a big difference. If they are too loose, it's just that much easier for the wheel to swing back and forth. If the steering head bearings are well adjusted, they will offer some dampening to the steering, and help overcome the bikes tendency toward the steering wobble.

My personal experience with my 1200 was that it wobbled rather easily. I just learned to live with it. I didn't know much about it at the time. After a couple years, when the bearings wore out, I knew they needed to be replaced because I could feel a "notch" in the steering, so I replaced them. I did it myself, and I muddled my way through the job. I didn't know how to properly torque them so I did it by trial and error. It took three tries. The first time they were too tight, and the bike tended to wander as the steering was too slow to return to center. So I loosened them up and then it wanted to wobble really easily. So I tightened them a little bit and I think I got them pretty well right. The bike felt really good, and I didn't experience a steering wobble again for about 2 years. That notch I felt means the bearings are shot. They will be loose long before they are worn out. Maybe by a few years. So if your front end is loose, that doesn't mean you need to replace your bearings. It could just be time to tighten them up a little bit.

If you want to test it, get out on a side road where there isn't any traffic at all. Go about 25-30 mph. Take both hands off the handle bars and then lightly slap one of the hand grips. If it starts to wobble and the wobble grows quickly, it's time to make some adjustments. If it's really loose, it will wobble really bad, really quickly so be ready to grab the bars. Intentionally inducing a shake isn't exactly one of the safer road test items you can do, so be careful. Be ready to grab your handlebars quickly with both hands.

Somebody posted an article here once, a really good write up about how to tighten them correctly to ensure the bearings reseat properly. I saved the link for just such an occasion:

http://www.motorcycleproject.com/motorcycle/text/shucking.html
 

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Just a note that if you do get slow speed woble just blip the throttle the wobble will instantly stop.
wilf
 

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The wobble could indicate thepreload of the bearings is incorrect. The adjustment nut should be torqued to 14 ft-lb. Recheck after turning the steering stem from lock to lock five time--this will seat the bearings. The steering stem top nut torques at 72 ft-lb. After this, hook a spring scale to the fork tube and measure the head bearing preload. The preload should be within 4.00-4.85 lb for right and left turns. If you are not within this range, then readjust. Note from service manual: Incorrect steering head bearing preload may cause handlebar oscillation...
 

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I found alot of wings will do this at that speed. If you call the factory they will tell you not to remove hands off the bars. Not kidding!!!
 

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I have never had a wobble at low speeds as long as you adjust steering head bearings the way WINGING describes. My last front tire had 23K on it, and no steering head wobble.
Tom Bishop
`98 S.E.
 

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A couple of things I had a simular problem and the tire was fine. Adjusted the steering head bearings bam it went away. But another thing that really seems to help is a fork brace. There are two kinds on EBAY both are great one is cheaper. The one you see under the Fender is not one it just holds the fender on. After I put one on my bike (it was the cheeper one) a lot of the problems I had with low speed wobble have never resurfaced. So it's up to you but I do recommend the fork Brace...
 

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Welcome to the forum Keith
Also, change the fork oil(yearly) to 15 wt fork oil.
 

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is there a link with images on how to adjust the steering bearings?
i`m new at this and i`d like to know if its something i can do myself.
1984 aspencade
Appreciated
 

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Checked everything over and fitted new wheel bearings but noticed on the right hand brake caliper rubber no 19 in the picture had disintegrated.



Without this rubber the caliper was moving back and forth, under braking it was pulling the wheel and fork back and forth.



Replaced the rubber and now ok.





Hope this helps someone.:)
 

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