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Discussion Starter #1
Ok...I'll admit I have lurked since Adam was a boy and thanks for allowing me to do so.Now metinks time to repay you all with my own input.
I purchased my 2001 wing with 30,000 kls on the clock.The other arf made me do it! And...she reckons the wing has a better passenger seat than my loved FJR. Can't argue with that.
Since day of purchase I was never happy with the wings front suspension, indeed I thought it was shocking, literally! Dealer consistently said it was " NORMAL" and who am I to argue with qualified mechanics?
In the first month it blew the LH fork seal which was subsequently replaced along with new oil in both forks. Dealer was asked to o/haul the ADV at the time as well. There was no improvement to the harsh ride after all this and the dealer still said the ride was normal....grrr!
I disabled the ADV(btw it was stuck!).....much improvement on susp. travel and ride quality but still had radical "jolting" over rough surfaces.
Only recently I got fed up with the "shocking" ride.The bike now has done an additional 40,000 kls(bringing the total kls travelled to 70,000). Rail lines, manhole covers, road bumps....grrr....all offered up a jolting/jarring effect on the handlebars! Also the bike had developed the low speed front end wobble!
I decided enough is enough and decided to strip the headstem down.
What I found was extremely interesting.
Headstem adjusting nut......only finger tight
Upper bearing....grease almost non existant
Lower bearing....totally clean....NO sign of grease!
-yet surprisingly clean,no dust/grit etc.
Action
clean and check bearings, races
Re-grease with HP Extreme pressure grease
re-assemble and re-torque to 20 ft/lb
Conclusion
The wing now rides like it should have in the first place....smooth and with no jolting. I had considered progressive springs and fork brace but now with the 100% improvement have shelved that idea.
Comments
I am now of the opinion that on purchase of the bike the suspension never worked properly and the dealer/mechanics had no idea what they were talking about.(from 2 different dealers both honda approved specialists?)
I would recommend that the headstem torque be checked on all wings regularly...don't rely on your service centre if you can do it yourself.
That from manufacture the bike had little, or, in the case of the lower bearing,NO grease put on it.(I find it hard to understand why this was bone dry.....not even a sign of leakage/dust around the underside of the lower fork clamp)
The ADV was indeed siezed....but I intend to keep it disabled.
The front wheel wobble no longer exists! And that is with an Dunlop Elite crossply on which has covered 20,000 kls.
My wing now rides smooth, straight and true...no complaints...and even my gal reckons the ride is so much better!
I guess my post now conflicts with many opinions on the front suspension of our wings and of course there are many variations for causes of the problems previously posted.
All I can say is my personal observations are true.In some ways my own ignorance was caused by my belief in so-called Honda dealers/mechanics "experts". I am fortunate that my mechanical skills were sufficiant to finally find the true causes.
At the same time of the h/stem o/haul I changed the air filter...time consuming but not difficult.
Sorry I lurked for so long....but once again thank you all for your input of extremely usefull advice!
Cheers from oz
Jay
 

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Three years ago I bought a 2002 with 28,000 miles ... last year tore down the front end ... changed out the fork fluid ... installed "All Balls" tapered roller bearings ... you are correct, Honda wastes no money putting any grease in the steering bearings. Having the steering head properly torqued and lubricated does feel good. Now at nearly 60,000 miles I'm thinking about rebuilding the forks.

Glad you came out from the lurker's nest ... :thumbup:
 

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Ok...I'll admit I have lurked since Adam was a boy and thanks for allowing me to do so.Now metinks time to repay you all with my own input.
I purchased my 2001 wing with 30,000 kls on the clock.The other arf made me do it! And...she reckons the wing has a better passenger seat than my loved FJR. Can't argue with that.
Since day of purchase I was never happy with the wings front suspension, indeed I thought it was shocking, literally! Dealer consistently said it was " NORMAL" and who am I to argue with qualified mechanics?
In the first month it blew the LH fork seal which was subsequently replaced along with new oil in both forks. Dealer was asked to o/haul the ADV at the time as well. There was no improvement to the harsh ride after all this and the dealer still said the ride was normal....grrr!
I disabled the ADV(btw it was stuck!).....much improvement on susp. travel and ride quality but still had radical "jolting" over rough surfaces.
Only recently I got fed up with the "shocking" ride.The bike now has done an additional 40,000 kls(bringing the total kls travelled to 70,000). Rail lines, manhole covers, road bumps....grrr....all offered up a jolting/jarring effect on the handlebars! Also the bike had developed the low speed front end wobble!
I decided enough is enough and decided to strip the headstem down.
What I found was extremely interesting.
Headstem adjusting nut......only finger tight
Upper bearing....grease almost non existant
Lower bearing....totally clean....NO sign of grease!
-yet surprisingly clean,no dust/grit etc.
Action
clean and check bearings, races
Re-grease with HP Extreme pressure grease
re-assemble and re-torque to 20 ft/lb
Conclusion
The wing now rides like it should have in the first place....smooth and with no jolting. I had considered progressive springs and fork brace but now with the 100% improvement have shelved that idea.
Comments
I am now of the opinion that on purchase of the bike the suspension never worked properly and the dealer/mechanics had no idea what they were talking about.(from 2 different dealers both honda approved specialists?)
I would recommend that the headstem torque be checked on all wings regularly...don't rely on your service centre if you can do it yourself.
That from manufacture the bike had little, or, in the case of the lower bearing,NO grease put on it.(I find it hard to understand why this was bone dry.....not even a sign of leakage/dust around the underside of the lower fork clamp)
The ADV was indeed siezed....but I intend to keep it disabled.
The front wheel wobble no longer exists! And that is with an Dunlop Elite crossply on which has covered 20,000 kls.
My wing now rides smooth, straight and true...no complaints...and even my gal reckons the ride is so much better!
I guess my post now conflicts with many opinions on the front suspension of our wings and of course there are many variations for causes of the problems previously posted.
All I can say is my personal observations are true.In some ways my own ignorance was caused by my belief in so-called Honda dealers/mechanics "experts". I am fortunate that my mechanical skills were sufficiant to finally find the true causes.
At the same time of the h/stem o/haul I changed the air filter...time consuming but not difficult.
Sorry I lurked for so long....but once again thank you all for your input of extremely usefull advice!
Cheers from oz
Jay
Jay,

You sure do talk (type) funny....:joke: :lol:
A little dig at ya....Everything you did sounds awesome to me...Nice work!:thumbup:

Mark
 

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the lack of grease doesnt supprise me , honda has been saving .$50 each unit for years on swing arms and head bearing grease . I question if the adv isnt whats pounding the neck bearings out of the wings . Coming from the sport bike world many bike owner that wheely there bikes often find neck bearings pounded out . bottom line is ball bearing dont like hard impacts.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the replies.Actually I told a white lie.I was registered a while back as "Jay" but work has kept me out of the loop and when I tried to login again it all went tiswas.
I did input a while back about the saddlebag locking mechanism. That cure to the problem has not failed yet and I have also used it on friends machines with total success. (no more stuck saddlebags or broken green clips)
Re; ADV
I did over 130,000 kls on FJR's and so am kinda used to a heavy bike diving under brakes, even to the point of having the rear wheel leave the black stuff(ashfalt). So it is no big deal disabeling the ADV for me. I think that the critical point is to know it is disabled and ride accordingly. One recent panic stop I had caused me no concern. It will stay disabled for me.
Mark.....I tried to use a little more decorum typing.....'cos If I used ozzie slang I would probably get thrown out of the forum 'cos few would understand me...LOL!
cheers from under tha southern cross....Jay
 

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There are several problems with the front suspension on the GL1800. The two biggest issues are the problematic anti-dive valve that sticks, and the the improper front fork spring rates. The stock GL1800 has over 3 inches of sag on the stock springs, and just 5.5 inches of total fork travel. This is unacceptable by anyone's standards.

Another problem is that the GL1800 uses two totally different style fork legs, and I'm told they aren't even made in the same country (one in US and the other in Japan). The left leg is an old 1950's style damper rod fork leg, while the right leg uses a more modern damper cartridge. The old damper rod fork on the left side does not provide much damping force at all, so the majority of the damping is actually done in the right leg.

I think many of us have found the lower stem bearing totally dry. I took apart my 2009 with 1,000 miles on it and found just the very lightest coating of grease on the lower bearing. It wouldn't even have lasted 5K miles. Many of us have replaced the OEM bearings with All Balls Tapered roller bearings with good results.

Here is a look at the lower bearing on my 2002 at about 32K miles. Note the total lack of grease on it and the resulting damage to the race.



Another problem with the front end of the GL1800 is the amount of flex in the forks. You can really feel it at slower speeds in parking lot type maneuvers. The best way to fix this is with either a Traxxion or a Kuryakyn fork brace (but steer clear of any two piece braces like the SuperBrace).

Your options for increasing the spring rates are Progressives (which give about 2 inches of sag) or Traxxion (which give a bit over 1 inch of sag) or Race Tech (I haven't measured theirs).

Traxxion really has the best solution, as they totally rework the forks and put a matching (AK20) damper cartridges in both fork legs that are matched to their stronger springs. They also disable the anti-dive valve, and with the proper springs in the bike, you won't miss it.

While the Traxxion set up isn't cheap, it really is the best solution out there. It totally transforms the front end of the GL1800. They also have an excellent upgraded shock for the rear of the bike.
 

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front suspension

I totally agree with Fred. I had the A20 front cart done
at wing ding in Nashville several yrs ago, but not the rear shock. After riding back from Nashville to Atlanta
the ride was rather harsh but over the years i got
used to it.....let us forget about the past and move on
to today Mar 11, 2009. I am fortunate that im less than
an hour away from Traxxion in Woodstock, Ga. Since the
bike has over 23K miles on her since the front forks were
Traxxionized, i figured it was time for some fork service
from Traxxion. In addition to having the forks serviced,
i had them to put on their fork brace (a very good looking quality peice by the way) and the rear shock
upgrade. Let me tell you guys. the bike handles like
you cant believe. When they service the forks, they
replace everything....no more harshness at all...zero
none, natta. Its as smoth as silk and handles like
it was on rails and im not kidding...you would have to ride it to believe it!!! Its not cheap, but in my opinion
well worth the $$ If you can afford the full monty GO
FOR IT you wont be dissipointed. The rear shock
makes a huge difference in the way the bike handles.
Mike at traxxion and Lee the tech are super and very
knowlegable, its a first class operation, very professional and willing to please. I am so fortunate to be as close as i am to them and to the smokies!!
 

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My "American Flyer" ball bearings fell out all over the garage floor when I took down the GL1800 steering stem. There's probably a few still under the toolbox if you need them. No sign of grease (what's grease?) The cage was mush as were the races. This in only 15K miles. The pavement here in NE Ohio is quite wrinkled where trucks stop in hot weather and full of holes from the freeze/thaw cycle in cold (might be 75° one day an 29° the next) all built on good old Ohio clay. Apparently, Honda only tests these bikes on concrete roads built on bedrock (I've ridden the test track at Marysville).

What prompted the change to All Balls was a blown left fork seal. I knew I should have disabled the ADV first time it rode in my driveway from the dealer.....

Progressive springs $100 - All Balls $40 - 7 wt fork oil $10 I like the stock seat and the stock back shock and now the front end. No wigglies in slow turns and no drifting at 120. Sometimes you don't have to put $$$$$$$ into it - I weigh 190 which might have something to do with it. My teeth are still intact because the ADV is history.

For the OP from the land of OZ - An Amercian Flyer was a heavy duty bicycle back in the day which had stem bearings like the 1800 OEM. Balls in a cage. They lasted though because they were suited for a 40 pound bicycle - not a 900 pound behemoth.

PS: I love you guys down there. There wasn't a meaner set of guys in Vietnam than the Aussies. Your countrymen saved my butt and our whole company one fine day in the monsoons.... I feel I owe ya.

An American Flyer:
 
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Well you boys are finding the faults, no doubt. You ever wonder why those faults accure? Big business likes to push things and they push hard. Most often quantity overrules quality. Put em on the line and push em out the door as fast as you can. On those build lines they have "floaters". They are the ones who take your place when you have to go pee, vacation or other. When line people get pushed that hard they can come up with bad attitudes (bad attitude = bad product) but if there's incentives involved (ie, profit sharing) or it could be a case of their gonna do their very best to make sure that product gets out no matter what. "I'm a newbee and have no idea what I'm doing" could be another cause.

Fortunately we have people on this forum capable of finding the built in bugs and screw ups from the factory and I give kudo's to all of you who share that info with the rest of us. Makes for a much better product. My hat's off to all of you. :bow:
 

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Super Brace

What's wrong with the Super Brace?
Ron

There are several problems with the front suspension on the GL1800. The two biggest issues are the problematic anti-dive valve that sticks, and the the improper front fork spring rates. The stock GL1800 has over 3 inches of sag on the stock springs, and just 5.5 inches of total fork travel. This is unacceptable by anyone's standards.

Another problem is that the GL1800 uses two totally different style fork legs, and I'm told they aren't even made in the same country (one in US and the other in Japan). The left leg is an old 1950's style damper rod fork leg, while the right leg uses a more modern damper cartridge. The old damper rod fork on the left side does not provide much damping force at all, so the majority of the damping is actually done in the right leg.

I think many of us have found the lower stem bearing totally dry. I took apart my 2009 with 1,000 miles on it and found just the very lightest coating of grease on the lower bearing. It wouldn't even have lasted 5K miles. Many of us have replaced the OEM bearings with All Balls Tapered roller bearings with good results.

Here is a look at the lower bearing on my 2002 at about 32K miles. Note the total lack of grease on it and the resulting damage to the race.



Another problem with the front end of the GL1800 is the amount of flex in the forks. You can really feel it at slower speeds in parking lot type maneuvers. The best way to fix this is with either a Traxxion or a Kuryakyn fork brace (but steer clear of any two piece braces like the SuperBrace).

Your options for increasing the spring rates are Progressives (which give about 2 inches of sag) or Traxxion (which give a bit over 1 inch of sag) or Race Tech (I haven't measured theirs).

Traxxion really has the best solution, as they totally rework the forks and put a matching (AK20) damper cartridges in both fork legs that are matched to their stronger springs. They also disable the anti-dive valve, and with the proper springs in the bike, you won't miss it.

While the Traxxion set up isn't cheap, it really is the best solution out there. It totally transforms the front end of the GL1800. They also have an excellent upgraded shock for the rear of the bike.
 

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Now I will state it up front that I am NOT saying the Race-Tech Gold Cartridge Emulator upgrade is equal to or better than the Traxxion upgrade, but I WILL say it is way cheaper and it does improve Gold Wing front fork performance significantly.
http://www.racetech.com/
http://www.racetech.com/HTML_FILES/GL1800GV.html

I have installed one of these kits in my 1989 GL-1500 and my 2005 GL-1800. Loved the way they transformed the ride in both machines.

You can also put this kit in yourself if you are methodical, careful, and somewhat proficient with tools. Even though the water circles the toilet bowl in the opposite direction down under, I am sure you can put it the kit yourself base on what you have done on your bike so far. I recommend getting a friend to watch over and help you and don't rush and you will be just fine. Good luck whether you choose this upgrade, go with Traxxion, or leave it as is. G'Day mate.
 

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About the grease in the bearings on new bikes. I have ridden dirt bikes for the last 40 years and I don't remember many of them having much grease in any of their bearings either. We generally tore down the new bikes and greased and checked everything for proper torque. We joked that the assemblymen just picked their nose and put that in for a grease job. Now I don't know why I trusted Honda to have done the right thing on this $20000 + machine. Anyway we have had a lot of it apart already, Traxxionized....Great!!! JMHO :bow:
 

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Ron, I'll take a shot at this..

The Superbrace is a one-piece (well, 2 piece actually) design. It doesn't allow for variations in the distance between the fork legs due to manufacturing, assembly or Murphy issues. If the forks aren't EXACTLY where the SB expects to find them, it pulls or pushes them to that postion. This can cause sticktion because the froks are no longer exactly parallel.

The Traxxion and Kury fork braces are both 5 part designs. You affix the brace to each fork leg, then you tighten up the bridge between them. This allows the fork legs to seek their natural position, and doesn't introduce any push or pull on the legs.

Mark, +1 for RaceTech. The new GoldValve kit with the extra rebound damper valve for the cartridge side is excellent. If you have one of the older kits, RT can set you up with the new valve for about $50-60 or so. Another little (recent?) tip with GoldValves is to use a 5 wt oil on the right and a 15 wt on the left. Or, yu can use a 10 wt on both, but I think the 5-15 combo addresses the differences between the damping characteristics a little better.

Dave
GWBBA #9
rocketmoto.com
 

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Oz Wing Wrote : Dealer consistently said it was " NORMAL" and who am I to argue with qualified mechanics?

What I found was extremely interesting.
Headstem adjusting nut......only finger tight
Upper bearing....grease almost non existant
Lower bearing....totally clean....NO sign of grease!

Cgent wrote : you are correct, Honda wastes no money putting any grease in the steering bearings. Having the steering head properly torqued and lubricated does feel good.

FredH Wrote : I think many of us have found the lower stem bearing totally dry. I took apart my 2009 with 1,000 miles on it and found just the very lightest coating of grease on the lower bearing.

Rider Steve Wrote : Well you boys are finding the faults, no doubt. You ever wonder why those faults accure? Big business likes to push things and they push hard. Most often quantity overrules quality.




My Buddies Bike Had a wobble from hell. This after a Avon tire was installed
and maybe 2000 miles on it.

We replaced the tire with my used Metzler I had and that violent wobble was gone. Then the normal slight wobble creaped up so He wanted me to adjust the head bearings.

Honda was the last one to work on the head bearings.

The tech must have replaced the Lock washer .

After dissecting this I found the new Lock washer Tangs or Tabs were never bent to act as a true lock washer. The result was both Steering Nuts were acting in unison. Which of course led to a loosening of the head bearings.

Also note before taking it apart we jacked up the front end and lifted and wiggled up on the forks and that is were we felt the loose head bearings.

After working on Cars for over 14 years and having pride in my work, it was not uncommon to come across a Tech that was less then capable of working on cars. But for the most part, it seems to me there is more horror stories about Bike Mechanics out there that are really Clueless. Sad but appears to be true, from where I sit. ( hey bike mechanics remember we are on two wheels here , can you give us a little better service and caution)

On bicycles we called the head bearing a "goose neck", to me a goose neck is a goose neck , how can someone Screw this up is beyond me and call themselves a Bike Mechanic.
 

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No grease in the bearings is one of the frequent comments you see on the Harley forums.

The larger bikes have a plug in the neck. The new owner frequently removes the plug and replaces it with a Zerk. The upper and lower bearings can now be lubed normally. It generally takes multiple grease cartridges before grease is observed comming out the bottom.

As an aside, some of the frames do not have the neck sealed off from the frame tubes. When you grease it you end up trying to fill the frame up with grease.
 
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