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Hope someone has an answer for me.. I have a 1998 gl1500 goldwing Se model.. The problem I'm having with this machine is that every 3rd summer I have to replace the rear bearings.. Any suggestions on what the problem could be causing the bearings to go? I replaced the whole wheel 3 summers ago due to a bearing problem back then and another prior to that. The only thing that wasn't replaced was the axle or shaft.. Any help would be greatly appreciated.. Thanks... At my wits end here...:praying:
 

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Improper installation? (eg Damaged bearing upon install)

Use of a pressure washer? (eg Removing grease from bearing when cleaning)

Not filling the bearing seal with grease, during wheel installation? (eg Allowing water to intrude)


Are the bearings rusty upon removal?
 

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ALEX BERECZKY wrote:
Improper installation? (eg Damaged bearing upon install)
There's also thrust loading of the bearings which most ball bearings don't like.

Fully seating both bearings is often a mistake. Fully seating the right one then seating the left one just until both inner races contact the spacer prevents thrust loading the bearings.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
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I have never used a pressure washer on my bike, and the wheel was a factory wheel with bearing already in it.Bought the whole wheel, with tire and all..Yes the axle was greased when the wheel was put back on, this has really got me baffled. What else could be worn.. Not sure where to look or go from here... Thanks for the responses..
 

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Which bearing is failing, left right or both?
 

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Right now I am not sure.. I haven't the bike apart yet.. I am assuming it is the bearings once again for it crackles at low speed and it has a whining sound just like the other 3 times that they had to be changed.. I am so hoping it is not the bearings but then what could it be? So baffled!!
 

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Take it apart, clean everything, dry assemble out of the wheel, use a micrometer to measure ID and OD and depths. Measure the rotating parts individually looking for unevenness, out of round and differences in material hardness via a punch, feel. If metals are fatigued, loss of hardness. Check ball bearings with a magnifying glass.

If in doubt after looking try taking to a tool room and ask if they can flux the core materials.

If you are not doing something wrong, you may have a bad component that is common to all repairs that you have done.
 

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If you're going to replace the bearings with new ones you need to inspect them prior to installing them. Use a sharp scribe and gently pry off the seal on each side. You'll probably see that there is very little grease on the inside. You'll need to pack grease into the bearings. Put a ball of grease in the palm of your hand and push the grease into the bearing one side at a time. When it's packed with grease you can pop the covers back on and install the bearings into the wheel.

That will probably take care of the pre-mature failure.
 

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You could do that but I've never had a problem with a sealed bearing and I've been working with them for a lot of years. When the bearing was manufactured it was in a pristine condition as was the grease. Add to that I rode my 1500 for over 120,000 miles to a total of 175,000 miles when I sold it and it had the original sealed bearings in both wheels, still going strong, smooth and no slop. If you have rear bearings going out there's something wrong. I'd suspect the possibility of the inner spacer being out of spec, possibly grease in the recess preventing the bearings from fully seating or wrong spacers out side of the bearings. It really sounds like something's wrong or the installation isn't quite right. I've never heard of failures like that. If the parts are good and installed properly they gotta work.
 

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Not sure it applies here but on some VTX bikes the hubs were machined a bit tight, and it caused early failure.
 

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RandyHut wrote:
Not sure it applies here but on some VTX bikes the hubs were machined a bit tight, and it caused early failure.
No problems with the 1500 I have ever heard of.

JD
 

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exavid wrote:
You could do that but I've never had a problem with a sealed bearing and I've been working with them for a lot of years. When the bearing was manufactured it was in a pristine condition as was the grease. Add to that I rode my 1500 for over 120,000 miles to a total of 175,000 miles when I sold it and it had the original sealed bearings in both wheels, still going strong, smooth and no slop. If you have rear bearings going out there's something wrong. I'd suspect the possibility of the inner spacer being out of spec, possibly grease in the recess preventing the bearings from fully seating or wrong spacers out side of the bearings. It really sounds like something's wrong or the installation isn't quite right. I've never heard of failures like that. If the parts are good and installed properly they gotta work.
+1
Some people see a single sealed or a unsealed bearing with lots of grease in it to protect it and amuse that a double sealed bearing should be packed full.

It isn't so, a double sealed bearing has the correct amount of grease in it and adding more may even shorten it's life.
 

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What you may want to consider is when you get this set out, cut 'em open. Find a local bearing supplier and they should be able to inspect the guts and tell you what the wear patterns say. Or just post pics on here... I'm sure some of the gurus on here could identify the wear patterns just as well. That would at least give you a starting point.
 

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AS I understand his posting this has now happend with 2 seperate rear wheels. That should eliminate the spacer or hub being machined to improper tolerance . Also , no idea how many miles/age of the replacement wheel .

I dont see how many miles are on the bike or yearly miles riden . Though bearings should last much longer than 3 seasons anyhow .



darbie , have you ever changed the bearings in your wheels ? Did the originals go bad and you purchased a used wheel and now they have gone bad ? If you never have replaced a set of bearings it may just be bad karma going on . I'd pop out the old units and take them to a machine parts house and purchse a new replacement set of good quality bearings ,not the bargan brand. Then go on about riding knowing that this time they are new bearings and should last a long time .
 

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I only have experience with one GL1500. When i bought it it only had 32k mile on it. The tire was a year 2000 and the bike had about 8k on it since 2003.(Looking at oil change notes)
The outer side bearing was so far gone that the balls fell out of the bearing when i remove the axle. The outer spacer had been acting like a bushing and was also worn.
What i don't know is HOW the bearings were when the tires were changed somewhere after 2000.
It does seem that like the VTX (actually the drive hub) some maybe having earlier bearing failures than others?
I am keeping my eye on this set. I installed them using the old race as a river, after sanding the OD to allow it to slip out of the machined area they are pressed in. I am also lucky to have equipment available to measure the bores for size and roundness. Mine was round, straight and only had a .001 press fit.
I am from Manufacturing background, and can tell you that not every part used is always 100%.
 

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I only have experience with one GL1500. When i bought it it only had 32k mile on it. The tire was a year 2000 and the bike had about 8k on it since 2003.(Looking at oil change notes)
The outer side bearing was so far gone that the balls fell out of the bearing when i remove the axle. The outer spacer had been acting like a bushing and was also worn.
What i don't know is HOW the bearings were when the tires were changed somewhere after 2000.
It does seem that like the VTX (actually the drive hub) some maybe having earlier bearing failures than others?
I am keeping my eye on this set. I installed them using the old race as a river, after sanding the OD to allow it to slip out of the machined area they are pressed in. I am also lucky to have equipment available to measure the bores for size and roundness. Mine was round, straight and only had a .001 press fit.
I am from Manufacturing background, and can tell you that not every part used is always 100%.
 

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exavid wrote:
You could do that but I've never had a problem with a sealed bearing and I've been working with them for a lot of years. When the bearing was manufactured it was in a pristine condition as was the grease. Add to that I rode my 1500 for over 120,000 miles to a total of 175,000 miles when I sold it and it had the original sealed bearings in both wheels, still going strong, smooth and no slop. If you have rear bearings going out there's something wrong. I'd suspect the possibility of the inner spacer being out of spec, possibly grease in the recess preventing the bearings from fully seating or wrong spacers out side of the bearings. It really sounds like something's wrong or the installation isn't quite right. I've never heard of failures like that. If the parts are good and installed properly they gotta work.
I never would have thought it but I installed some bearings for a buddy and popped the seals off. The bearings had a 'spray' of grease on them. Barely any at all. I come from an Automotive background in the late 60's and the wheel bearings we where taught to install are about the same technology as then as now. Pretty simple. These new bearings needed more grease than they had and I feel satified that my buddy won't have another failure due to lack of lubrication.

Sounds like there might be something wrong with the installation…. it's really easy to lose the spacer and that causes all sorts of problems. If the wheel locks up when the axle nut is tightened that's a sure since the spacer is missing.
 

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Rayworx, you are right on. Bearing failures are from dirt or lack of lubrication. With working on different machines over 50 years some that rotated at 100,000 RPM dirt or lack of greases was the major issue with lack of life span. Nothing to do with how fast it spun.

Learning to grease up bearings we were taught the palm full of grease and wiping the bearing through it to fill it at 50% or 75% according to the RPM. The higher the rotational speeds the lower amount of grease the more room within the bearing for expansion.

Moderation, too much or too little is not always good. Failed bearings often cause further failure of the structure around the bearing so all components will need to be checked and tested as to specification.
 
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