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Premium Member
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
ok guys, need some advice on my wing.......

I have a 94 SE that has just under 34k on it. I'll have the seat off being rebuilt (getting a russel day-long :) ) and they'll have it for a couple weeks. I'm already planning on pulling the final drive and making sure all the driveline splines are properly lubed, pulling carbs and checking all the vacuum lines, re-working them as necessary.

this leads to my question: if you had an almost 20 year old bike with 34k on it, would you replace the timing belts? The bike's previous owner kept it garaged, so it was pretty much out of the AZ heat for the past several years, and the bike runs pretty well (has a flat spot coming off idle, which I assume is a bad line under the carbs), I'm just concerned about timing belts that old. how big of a job is it to replace them?

thanks in advance,

Happy Holidays!!!

Jeff K
"DJ Kaz"
Phoenix, AZ
 

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At the age of your bike and no information on it's maintenance I'd highly recommend replacing the belts. These engines are interference engines which means a mis-timed valve train can cause the pistons and valves to attempt to occupy the same space in the cylinder at the same time. Very bad.
It's a pretty simple job but one that is critical to do correctly. There's a lot of information here on the forum including a pictorial of how to do the job. You can also find a less expensive source of belts than Honda as well in the biker's workshop section. The 1500 is the easiest of all Goldwings other than the 1800 (which has a timing chain) to replace.
THE ONE THING YOU MUST REMEMBER WITHOUT FAIL IS TO HAND TURN THE ENGINE WITH A WRENCH ON THE CRANK BOLT AND ALL THE PLUGS OUT AT LEAST TWO FULL TURNS BEFORE TRYING TO TURN IT OVER WITH THE STARTER.
With reasonable attention to the job this isn't a difficult thing to do correctly and doesn't require any special tools.
 

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Senior Member
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I would chance them , - only 2 to 3 ours if you take it easy and include coffee .
After that i didnt have to ride around , constantly wondering iff they will last !
 

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I can tell you it's not a hard job, and I'm not a mechanic by any means. If you follow our tutorial here, on belts, it's simple. But you have to pay attention to what you are doing. I had my laptop at hand, the shop door locked, and the phone off. No interruptions allowed! It runs great, and the hesitation I had is gone, along with the "wondering" if those old ones are gonna break.You absolutely must be dead on with the timing marks and rotation of the engine with the spark plugs removed. jimsjinx
 

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I'll offer a different perspective. I've replaced timing belts on many wings, all years. With the exception of the 1000's, I've never seen a belt that looked bad. Example...previous summer I replaced belts on an 82 GL1100, approx 75K. The bike was original owner and original belts. The belts I removed looked fine.

Now granted, it's easy enough to do...but if you read through these forums I think you'll find that enough people have had an issue doing it. I think were I you, replacing the belts would be a low priority. BTW, on the 1500's there's an inspection cover on the right side that's easily removable with 3 bolts. I suggest removing that and the center pulley cover and inspecting instead of automatically replacing.
 

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1993 gl1500, 1976 gl1000
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Please don't take a chance on breaking a belt. I "inspected the belts on my 76 and they "looked new". Famous last words. A week later I was rebuilding the left head. It is the cords inside that fail not the rubber on the outside. It is not worth it. Replace the belts.
 

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The vast majority of us who newly get into Wing ownership worry about changing the belts. The result is usually the same i.e. If you're unsure then, yes, they should definitely be changed and secondly, a lot of us take on the job ourselves and have been surprised by how easy it was to do. Even by those of us with very limited experience. And once you have done it you will have a great feeling of pride and satisfaction that it is done.
 

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Any GL1000 is a concern for timing belts...You could make a case for the 1100 and 1200 because of age. A 94 GL1500 with 34K will be fine for many years and miles.
 

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2000 GL1500SE
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Well there you have it Jeff. Most, including me, think you should go ahead and replace the belts while you have it stripped down anyway. Some don't seem to think it is a big deal. It is not a big deal until one breaks and then it is a really big deal. For about $35-40 for the belts and a half day of your time at the most and you are done. As has been stated above, you cannot tell anything about how good a belt is by looking at it. If you are mechanicly inclined, you won't have any trouble at all with the job. Since you are talking about taking the carbs off and replacing some vacuum lines you must have some good mechanical skills. That is much harder than replacing the timing belts.
 

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Still Learning
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Wild Rhino - Canadian
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Althought the belts are highly recommended to be changed to ease your mind
I would put the air filters at a higher priority
Air
Cruise
Sub
They fall apart and get sucked into places your don't want the crap to go
also empty the two plasctic hoses on the left side of the engine
Lube the drive line (Moly 60 only)
Lube the final drive
Lube the Rear splines (Moly 60 only)
Check the radiator hoses
Check the shifter seal
Well you get the idea, you need to get a list going and start checking these and several others. You will get a good familiarity with the bike and will know that all these things are done and not likely to fail.
Good Luck
 

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Well, there you have it djkaz! :confused: Two schools of thought with merit on both sides. I'll agree the odds of the current belts failing are quite small. For me if I didn't change them I'd be wondering everytime I rode the bike. Just that niggling little thought in the back of my mind. I changed mine but probably didn't change the chance of failure much either way. Kinda like buying a lottery ticket. The odds of winning change very little whether you buy a ticket or not.:?
 

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Vintage Rider
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If the bike is going to be down for a while I would automatically replace the belts. They are cheap enough and it is an easy enough job to do. There is a good chance they are still ok, and if it involved tearing down the engine, I would take that chance. But not with it being such an easy and inexpensive job. It would be sad indeed if you destroyed your engine a short time later just because you didn't change those belts.

The timing belts are one of my favorite aspects of the Goldwing design. Most motorcycle engines are taken out when the non replaceable chain fails. I don't know if the chains on an 1800 are replaceable or not, but if they are I would replace them just like the belts. I have seen many car and motorcycle engines destroyed because the cam drive chain or sprocket failed.
 

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Answer Seeker & Kibitzer
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I did mine at 105,000 miles and 14 years old..
They LOOKED really good...But just before I did them I spent several months worrying about them as I put on miles KNOWING that IF they break my engine is junk -- for WHAT..?
To save a dollars...?

Change them and KNOW they will be fine for another 10 years or 100,000 miles....

So in other words...WHY NOT ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Excellent advice everyone, thanks for all the responses!!!

Since I'm pretty handy (I've got tools that can fix tools!!) sounds like I'm gonna do the belts just so I dont have that 'little naggy thought' in the back of my mind while I'm on a long ride.

Thanks again everyone!!!!

Happy Holidays and Safe Rides to All!!!
 

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Master Sgt. USAF Retired.
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I'll offer a different perspective. I've replaced timing belts on many wings, all years. With the exception of the 1000's, I've never seen a belt that looked bad. Example...previous summer I replaced belts on an 82 GL1100, approx 75K. The bike was original owner and original belts. The belts I removed looked fine.

Now granted, it's easy enough to do...but if you read through these forums I think you'll find that enough people have had an issue doing it. I think were I you, replacing the belts would be a low priority. BTW, on the 1500's there's an inspection cover on the right side that's easily removable with 3 bolts. I suggest removing that and the center pulley cover and inspecting instead of automatically replacing.

This is one of the belts that came off of my 99 GL1500SE with a little over 70,000. The other belt had the same deterioration, but not as severe.
 

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Answer Seeker & Kibitzer
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My removed belts

Belts taken off at 105,000 miles - likely OEM as I have owned this bike since 43,000 miles and this is the first change at 15 years old. Maybe not needed but peace of mind for a few $$'s was worth it...Now I am good to go to 200,000 miles...





 

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Nobody You Know
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Rule of thumb I've see occasionally is 100K miles or 10 years, whichever happens first. Did mine at 37K and 14 years. They still looked good, but a wise old mechanic once told me that in his experience they either looked good or are broken - and you don't want to see one broken...
 

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Premium Member
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Jeff, just to add to the encouragement, I'm no great mechanic by any means and changed mine earlier this year, took me almost 4 hours but one of that was trying to get the dumb cover back on. Scared to death I'd ruin something but the directions they provided you are great. Gates belts on Amazon were about $32 for two of them.

BTY, I had recently purchased my '94 1500 with 30K on it and saw pretty consistent advice about going ahead and changing them. The ones I took off were Honda brand so probably original and looked great, but as mentioned looks aren't everything. Hope the job goes as well for you as for me - even four hours to save a few hundred bucks isn't a bad way to spend a Saturday :)
 
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