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I wanted to post some comments about my oil change history on my 2008 wing. Considering the failure rates on the differentials (which I feel is higher than it should be), this may be of some help for new owners if they want to get ahead of the curve and possiably prevent a failure. IMHO...... I feel the first oil change interval at 24K is too far out. Damage to the drive may already have occured at that point due to metal particulates in the oil. While I know some will feel I am anal about this topic, I come from the industrial and commercial rotating equipment industry dealing with all types of gear boxes, engines, pumps , ect.. I feel I have a good understanding of how they should operate and be maintaned to survive a long service life.

Here are my bike log notes and the differential oil change history.


7-28-10 7501 Rear Differential Case Oil Change
This is the first oil change for the rear case. The OEM drain bolt incorporates a magnet and it had some metal debris on it, although the cavity/sump of the bolt was not completely loaded full. The oil had considerable dark sludge residue (See note below) in the oil but no pieces of any appreciable size. There were more metal particle fines than I expected for this amount of mileage (even though they are newly manufactured) and considering the size of gears which are rather small. This may be caused due to Honda not finely machining the gear teeth which will produce a high amount of gear wear sluff before the teeth wear in and the process subsides to normal wear rates. I wish I had changed it before the California trip when the bike had only 1600 miles on it. The Honda manual states to inspect the gear oil at 8 and 16K miles and then replace it at 24K miles. If the wear rates of this differential are similar for all wings, I am now not surprised when I hear about differential failures occurring at 30K miles when the oil is not changed sooner than the recommended interval of 24K. IMHO operating the bike with this much debris in the oil for 24K miles is detrimental to life span of the differential, particularly the bearings. IMHO the oil should be changed in the first 300-500 miles when the bike is new to avoid premature failure of the differential.

Note: Through discussion on the internet forums, it appears Honda may have added moly to the rear oil when new for break in purposes. This would explain the dark oil color and residue found during the oil change.

The case was flushed with kerosene twice to remove the debris and then gear oil was filled and drain three times to remove any remaining kerosene. The case has a small sump which accumulates about one ounce of fluid below the drain plug. That doesn’t allow a complete drain of the case, even when tilting the bike over. I used Valvoline DURAblend synthetic 80W-90 gear oil.

Do not use any heavier weight than 90wt oil for the following reason:
Fellow Goldwing forum member “Gimpster” wrote this in a previous post and I agree with what he states.

“New gears from Honda are kinda crude cut on the face and if the lube is not drained often in the beginning, I feel the gear assembly will fail early from break in debris off the gear tooth faces as they float throughout the assembly over and over. What I am concerned about is the foaming that goes on within this little gear assembly and it's low amount of lube within its case. An 80w gear lube which I recommend during break in will disperse air from the oil body quicker than a, let’s say 140w lube. Air bubbles or foaming in the gear lube will increase operating temps of the oil and gear components as the air passes through the hypoid contact pattern of the pinion gear and ring gear. Air trapped in the gear lube will increase heat sooner than it will relieve temps within the gear lube. Hot spots you know. A differential in a car or truck have more liquid capacity so these affects are not amplified as much as in the small Gold Wing differential. “


7-31-10 7509 Rear Differential Case Oil Change
This is the second oil change for the differential. The bike was ridden for 8 miles to heat up the oil and distribute new oil in the case. I checked the temperature of the rear case with an infrared temp gun, after the 8 mile ride just before the fluid was drained. Results are below.
Ambient temp 100 degrees F
Case temp 131 degrees F
Emissivity on gun .95
Temp was taken at the bottom of the case below drain bolt. This area had the highest temp.

The fluid was then drained and new Valvoline DURAblend synthetic 80W-90 gear oil was added. This load of oil only has 8 miles on it and was changed to insure all of the kerosene used to flush the case on 7-28-10 has been removed. The oil still has a dark tint to it. No metal particles were found on the drain bolt magnet but there was, what appears to be, some moly paste accumulated on it. Through discussion on the internet forums, it appears Honda may have added moly to the rear oil when new. This would explain the dark residue found during the original oil change on 7-28-10 and why it is still dark. Although Honda recommends changing the oil at 24K miles, I’m glad I changed it when I did to get rid of the small metal fines that were in the original oil. I will change the rear end oil at every other oil change interval and monitor the condition of it.


9-21-11 18444 Rear Differential Case Oil Change
This is the third oil change for the differential. The bike was ridden for 25 miles to heat up the old oil in the case. I checked the temperature of the rear case with an infrared temp gun, after the 25 mile ride just before the fluid was drained. Results are below.
Ambient temp 88 degrees F
Case temp 126 degrees F
Rear tire temp 135 degrees F
Front tire temp 132 degrees F
Emissivity on gun .95
Temp was taken at the bottom of the case below drain bolt. This area had the highest temp.

The fluid was then drained and new Valvoline DURAblend synthetic 80W-90 gear oil was added. This load of oil has 10935 miles on it. The oil was very clear and clean with no suspended metal particles seen by eye and no metal particles on the drain bolt magnet. I can assume at this point the differential break-in process is complete because no more significant sized metal particles are being sluffed off of the gears. The magnetic drain bolt sump was totally filled with a dark paste, what I assume is the remnants of the original moly treatment from Honda.
I will not continue to change the rear end oil at every other oil change interval but instead, check the level and monitor the condition of the oil and change only when dirty.
 

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... Considering the failure rates on the differentials (which I feel is higher than it should be)...
I don't agree with that statement myself. If it was universally true (no pun intended) take offs would be in more demand and priced much higher.

I will share with you an e-mail I just got:

I have a 2001 GW with 120k and also have a rear drive off a 2001 that was triked with zero miles [on the bench]

Is it too early to change...should I wait until I've accumulated more mileage?
If it ain't broke, don't fix it. If the rate of failure is presumed to be high because of the traffic about it on forums, a more scientific survey might be in order.
 

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You are way too anal. I have over 320K miles on the current level of 1800's, and I only changed one rear drive at 160K, because my dealer gave it to me. The failure rate of this part is actually very low. We have been bombarded with the notion that black is bad, when actually black moly is good. In addition, I try NOT to use syn in this application.
 

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I also feel that it is not the residue from break in, rather it is a small amount of metal particles not properly removed in the assembly process. I service and repair probably 150 to 200 wings a year and I have seen only one failure on an 1800 rear drive. It was the large ball bearing that carries most all of the side load. The gears were perfect and slick. I have friends with 200,000 miles on their 1800s and they were changed at the intervals Honda reccomends. Oh! I forgot to mention, I have been servicing Wings since 1984. :thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:
 

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I also feel that it is not the residue from break in, rather it is a small amount of metal particles not properly removed in the assembly process. I service and repair probably 150 to 200 wings a year and I have seen only one failure on an 1800 rear drive. It was the large ball bearing that carries most all of the side load. The gears were perfect and slick. I have friends with 200,000 miles on their 1800s and they were changed at the intervals Honda reccomends. Oh! I forgot to mention, I have been servicing Wings since 1984. :thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:
Mine failed, at 52k, noisy and grinding, I have not taken it apart yet, but the noise seems to be coming from the input shaft bearing,

I would like to know how to get them apart, so I can see for sure what went wrong, if it is the input bearing, I may repair it and have a spare !

Thanks
 

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Mine failed, at 52k, noisy and grinding, I have not taken it apart yet, but the noise seems to be coming from the input shaft bearing,

I would like to know how to get them apart, so I can see for sure what went wrong, if it is the input bearing, I may repair it and have a spare !

Thanks
I wouldn't even bother taking it apart, I would just replace it. My 2004 went at about 80,000k, replaced it with a 2008 take off, cost me less than 120 bucks and included the rotor, they are all over E-Bay. Got another one that sold for $75.00 with the complete swing arm, just got it to have just in case I need it again or a friend has one go.

Mine was due to the small ball bearing ring, don't know what it is called but its the circular ring that holds all the small bearings in place....anyway that broke and once it went the whole ring just broke down. Took me about 1 hour to replace with the new one.

I replaced my final drive oil ever time I did a oil change, the final drive oil is so cheap it was worth it, and my drive still went bad.
 

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I will not continue to change the rear end oil at every other oil change interval but instead, check the level and monitor the condition of the oil and change only when dirty.
You obviously enjoy working on the bike. I would suggest an actual <oil analysis> from a reputable company rather than drawing conclusions from what you see with the naked eye. You might be on to something (or not) and an oil analysis will tell you if metal is in your oil at greater than normal parts.

Of course, you could buy a new final drive for less cost.........;)
 

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Thanks for the info. I try not to question much that Honda recommends. I think they make great dependable products, from cars to small engines. They obviously know what their doing. But With just 2,400 miles, I just drain mine and will refill tomorrow. Why not? Can't hurt.

Thanks
 

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This is what the MAIN cause of gear failure is....Gear Lube that is foaming and will NOT settle back down. I noticed mine running what I think is TOO warm for the load that is placed on it. As a result of changing the oil, and not to sound like a ad or something...but I used ANSOIL gear lube there most heavy duty one. Temp dropped with it.

The first photo...is of the oil within the first minute or so after stopping and draining it. The next one was taking 15 minutes later...and its STILL a pile of foam. Foam does not lube, in fact it premotes gear to gear contact...!
 

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And for those of you that say....NO NEED TO CHANGE THE GEAR LUBE...I have a wake up call for you...! Note clean high power magnet....then note how black it is...and whats that stuff sticking out...lookings like little X-mas trees....? That is IRON...and other magnetic metals...and it all came out of the rear drive unit...! In just 10,000 Km's this is what came out of my NEW gold wing. Remember, you engine HAS a oil filter...your rear drive...DOES NOT....! Enough said...i think you get the picture now.

Change it every other engine oil change...or with every oil change...its only penny worth of oil....don't be such a cheap skate... Its YOUR call...a oil change now....or a big bill later....your call...
 

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You are way too anal. We have been bombarded with the notion that black is bad, when actually black moly is good. In addition, I try NOT to use syn in this application.
ITS NOT MOLY....WAKE UP...SMELL THE COFFEE.... And why on earth would you say...NOT...to use Synth oil. This blows my mind....

What ever...to each there own.
 

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And for those of you that say....NO NEED TO CHANGE THE GEAR LUBE....
Tried to find a post that said that and was unsuccessful. Nobody recommends that!

Most of the failures that I remember (memory being one of my worst tools) were to the bearings and not the gears.

I agree that Honda put a mag plug in there for a reason which I guess is because as mentioned by Jerry, no filter.
 

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Tried to find a post that said that and was unsuccessful. Nobody recommends that!

Most of the failures that I remember (memory being one of my worst tools) were to the bearings and not the gears.

I agree that Honda put a mag plug in there for a reason which I guess is because as mentioned by Jerry, no filter.
And the magnet plug they have is better then nothing...but its not very good, its weak and when you start really moving on the highway the turbulence of the gear lube rips much of what has stuck to it, and it ends up back in the oil again. However its better then nothing… Now the drain plug wipe it clean as best as you can, then use WD40 or carb cleaner or such to blast the rest of the stuff off it. I am very seriously thinking about making a new drain plug that uses a super powerful magnet that will pick up and most of all “HOLD” the magnetic metal particles to it even when the oil is very turbulent when riding.

Here is a before and after the drain plug was cleaned, note how little there there is on it, when in my other posting with the super powerful magnet, it was covered...! All I did with that magnet was put in in a plastic cup, then drained the oil into it, let it stand for a hour as it pulled all the magnetic stuff onto it self. So as you say the magnetic drain plug really performed very poorly, but as I said....its better then nothing at all.
 

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The stock oil drain plugs are magnetic? I didn't think they were....
 

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Now that we are on the subject and it’s the main bearing that fails in many cases, one has to wonder…could it be that the fine hard metal particulate matter that comes off the gears as well as the bearing its self… If this is not playing maybe a major factor in the demise of the bearing by getting into the raceway where the balls are rolling…and acts maybe as abrasive to hasten its demise… I may never know that truth on this as I would need to see about 20 or more rear drive units and do a failure analysis to try to determine the chain of events that take place first step by step in the failure.

 

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The stock oil drain plugs are magnetic? I didn't think they were....
Yes they are...but are piss poor, very weak magnet at best that can not trap and hold it very well.
 

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I still would like to know why we shouldn't use synthetic oil (in anything). I have used it for years in engines and hypoid differentials and never had a failure. :shrug:
 

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I still would like to know why we shouldn't use synthetic oil (in anything). I have used it for years in engines and hypoid differentials and never had a failure. :shrug:
When you find out....let me know...I gota hear the reasoning behind this one. Hypoid gear are the toughest of oils, they can shear the oil much easier that normal gear sets.....well I think a worm gear may be the all time toughest on oils and keeping them lubed and protected.
 
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