Technical Questions and Answers
Getting the Shaft
In your 1500 video, you grease the splines at the end of the drive shaft but you don’t do anything to the splines at the other end (the end with the spring). Should I do anything here? I am working on a 1998 GL1500 with 50,000 miles.
Orland Park, Illinois
I’ve never seen anything I’d call excess wear occur up there but it certainly couldn’t hurt to lube it.
Thanks for the quick response on greasing the shaft. I have worked for about four hours to get the shaft in as you describe in the 1500 video on the drive train. I can look inside the swingarm and I guess I can see the universal shaft (I think that’s what it is). It is resting on the bottom of the arm. I got it raised one time with a 1-inch rod and tried to insert the shaft again but no good. I tried to get it to stay raised again but now it keeps falling to the bottom of the arm again. I have looked inside the swingarm with the shaft in place and it seems to be aligned ok but still won’t go into the universal shaft. I can gently twist the shaft when it is in as far as I can get it and can feel the splines rub against the splines in the U-joint but I can’t get it in any farther. (It protrudes about 1/4 inch outside the flange, and is supposed to be about 1/2 inch inside the flange, I think). I don’t quite understand what you did when you did something to the U-joint in the video, but on my bike (1998 GL1500 SE) I can’t get at the U-joint. It is on a motorcycle jack with the back bar on the center stand and the front bar on the engine. With your two videos, your articles in Wing World and Motorcycle Consumer News, and of course the Honda shop manual, I have always been able to successfully work on my bike. But this time I am stumped. Any ideas? Thanks for all your help to all of us amateur mechanics all these years. Couldn’t thank you enough.
Orland Park, Illinois
When the U-joints get really floppy, they can present issues like this. If I understand you correctly, you have the swingarm fairly horizontal. Look up in there with a strong light to see where the end of the joint is. Angle the drive shaft as you install it so that the male and female splines meet, even though they’ll be at an angle to each other. You should then be able to use the drive shaft to pry the slip joint up while turning to engage the splines. If that fails, remove both shocks from the swingarm, and let the swingarm dangle as far down as it can. You may need to install the drive shaft partially before dropping the swingarm to allow it to clear your work surface. Now, that floppy slip joint and the swingarm will both be pointing down, so the drive shaft should engage easily.
Go to for manuals
I enjoy Workbench every month. It’s the first place I go to. I just wish I could remember which months I need to see for information on purchasing manuals for my 2006 Wing. I purchased the bike after my ’99 1500 was wrote off a couple years ago in an accident. The previous owner is not healthy and put the bike up through a dealer but didn’t give them the manuals. I purchased the unit and no manuals with it. I am looking for the owner/operator manual as well. I would like to purchase a service manual. I remember reading sometime ago that these can be purchased from a printer or some place other than a dealer. I just can’t remember where you had advised others to go. If you could help out my memory I would be grateful.
I recommend purchasing the relevant service CD from Helm Inc. It includes the service manual, owners manual, parts catalog, electrical manual and service videos. Find it at www.helminc.com.
Count me as one of your regular readers! My 2008 Gold Wing also has “frozen headlights.” They weren’t frozen before I changed the left headlight bulb. So, it was probably something I did or didn’t do right. I read with great interest your response to Roy Jessop in the June issue (page 33), but when you got to “I’ll walk you through some testing,” the article ended. I have a voltmeter and would like to know the testing to which you referred.
Overland Park, Kansas
Unfortunately, things sometimes disappear during the editing process. Sorry that happened. When you say, “frozen,” I’m assuming you mean they won’trespond to the headlight raising and lowering control. The control circuit (except on the airbag-equipped model) gets its ground through the oil pressure indicating circuit, so it won’t work unless the engine is running. If it doesn’t, get back to me. This time, you’ll get the personal treatment.
Bone Yard List
I would like information on motorcycle salvage yards, where they are and how to get in contact with them. I need a factory seat and backrests for a 2003 1800 Honda Gold Wing. My seat is also heated.
Every salvage yard in the country, or just the ones on your side of the Mississippi? You might try this link – http://motorcycleviews.com/maintain/boneyards.htm. I’m sure they can’t possibly know about every little mom and pop yard in the U.S., but their info is a lot more comprehensive than anything I might offer.
Magic Motorcycle Search
I was just wondering if you know of anyplace that has rod bearings for a 1978 GL1000? I will even take used ones if in good shape.
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
Try these folks. They have all five selective fit colors in stock, but in very limited quantities. Other than that, Google is your friend … which is how I found that link in less than 20 seconds. Most folks don’t realize it, but if you type a Honda part number into a Google search window and press enter, all kinds of magic happens.
Cranking but Won’t Start
I have a 1994 1500 bought used with 70,000 miles on it. The only history on it is what I’ve done to it.
One day, I was riding over a bridge and it lost power as if I ran out of fuel. I tried to restart it but nothing happened except it cranked over. After pushing it in a safe place, I tried it again. Nothing happened except it cranked after it sitting for 15 minutes. I was able to restart it the same day and rode home.
After it sat for two hours, I got on it, fired it up and started to take off and it started to die again. I pulled the choke on and it stayed running but then died a few minutes later.
After that, I had no issues. I replaced the fuel filter and ran some Sea Foam and injector cleaner through it. It ran great. Then today, I started the bike up, pulled it out of the garage and after running for three to five minutes it died just as if it ran out of fuel. I looked at the filter, which is a glass filter, and it had a half of filter of fuel. It would not restart so I left it all day. When I came home, I turned to key on, cranked it for 45 seconds or so, and it fired up like nothing was wrong.
My mechanic thinks the tilt switch is bad so we started the bike up and tilted the bike all the way over as if I dropped it. It kept running.
Another mechanic said the coils could be bad. So where do I begin? I don’t want to keep replacing parts, hoping each is the fix. Money is hard to come by. Any ideas from your end? Thanks.
This symptom has become so common, I’m surprised you haven’t heard of it. The most likely cause of your problem is a worn out fuel pump. You can replace it with an original, or you can follow the lead of many others who have used a less expensive replacement pump from NAPA, which apparently fits and works properly. To find information on the NAPA pump conversion, browse around on either Steve Saunders Gold Wing site or Goldwingdocs.com.
Reverse the Issue
I love reading your Workbench section. I especially enjoy reading your answers but I now find myself in the unfortunate situation of having a problem that has confounded my Honda dealer.
My 2014 GL1800 started showing various intermittent symptoms of a malfunctioning reverse within the first 1,000 miles. Originally it worked well and only faulted rarely. On occasion it would reverse, but with a very weak torque, eventually coming to a stop and with the reverse light blinking.
Now it has settled into a very consistent error. With engine running, in neutral, stands up, I depress the reverse button and the Reverse Shift Arm rotates but the reverse light does not illuminate. I then press the starter switch and the reverse light begins to blink. To rotate the Reverse Shift Arm back to normal position and unlock the rear wheel, I must disengage the reverse button and turn the key off. When I turn the key back on, the Reverse Shift Arm rotates to disengage the reverse gear.
I have the Honda service manual but the troubleshooting in section six – Starter/Reverse System – is lengthy, complex and confusing for the average computer engineer. The actor on Gunsmoke, 40-some years ago, could have been referring to me when he said, “He’s not dumb, just a might slow to grasp.” Would you be willing to share a portion of your wisdom and expertise?
West Fargo, North Dakota
The first time I was faced with this symptom, that series of decision diagrams in the ETM led only to dead ends. I finally found the problem. Now I’m not saying this is also your issue, but it proved to be on the two occasions I saw. The reverse cable actuator is composed of two parts; the motor that does the actual cable pulling, and a three-wire switch known as the Reverse Position Switch. Each part has its own small wire harness and plug. The position switch (three-pin red connector) receives power in on the brown wire, while power goes out on either white/blue or black/ white, depending on whether the cables are pulled into the full neutral or full reverse position. The switch itself is a fragile, blue micro switch internal to the housing and is not serviceable. The thin solder tabs on that switch can break, causing the position signal to the rest of the system’s electronics to fail. If that’s the case with yours, replacement of the complete actuator is the cure.
To test for this condition, remove enough components for access to the two-actuator wiring plugs near the throttle body, and unplug both connectors. Using a spare battery and jumper wires, briefly jump the blue/red and blue wires of the actuator motor on the actuator side of the connector. The pulley should rotate around 45 degrees and stop. Reversing polarity of the jumpers should cause the pulley to rotate back to its original position. Having now confirmed operation of the motor, repeat the test with an ohm meter connected between the brown position switch wire and either of the other two. There must be continuity between brown and black/white only with the pulley rotated in one direction, and between brown and white/blue only in the other direction. My hunch is your actuator position switch is going to fail this test.
Radio Trouble with 2001 Models
I own a 2001 Gold Wing with a Leman trike conversion that has a problem. While riding it will show CHG MECH / ERROR, and the CB/RADIO/CD will stop working. When I stop and shut it off and restart, it will work again and work for awhile. Also, I only have 23,500 miles on it, and it only had 18,354 when I traded my Harley for it. I had to spray electronic cleaner on some of the hooks up to get them to work continually. I do not know what might be the cause of this … HELP!
I mentioned the problem to one of my CMA / GWRRA friends and he said that the problem was in the CD player, and that I should
remove the CDs, clean it, and it will work better. I have and it seem to be working better.
Some of the early 2001 models with CB radio had an issue that caused this problem. Honda upgraded those radios. One of our Members had his repaired a couple of years ago by an electronics technician familiar with the Gold Wing radio. Failing that, replacement of the CB with one from a later model GL1800 should clear up the problem. Before sourcing another CB, I suggest contacting Jeff at Sierra Electronics for suggestions. He and his folks are extremely familiar with these audio systems and may have the cure you need.
As to CDs, who needs CDs anyway? You can put enough music on a small flash drive to fill 50 CDs or more.
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