On earlier models when I removed the caps they bounced off of the ceiling of the garage. They were a bugger to screw back in due to preload on the springs. Is there a trick to it or is it not as bad on the 1800.
I installed the tapered bearings and took off the front legs. Caps are/were no problem; mine unscrewed easily, just hold your hand over them when removing, also make sure that the bike is on a jack so the front legs are extended off the ground (releases pressure on the springs/caps)
My problem was screwing them back in. They had very fine threads and I wasn't able to push down and turn them in. I ended up making a pry bar to wedge them down with one hand while turning them with the other. All the time thinking I was going to cross thread them.
Why did you remove the springs to install steering head bearings? Just wondering, thinking of changing mine and did not realize the front shock required dis-assembly, I thought just remove both shocks in tact.
My recently installed Traxxion fork springs had a minor amount of pre-load. My arms are wimpy, so I use a trick I learned from Story Musgrave:
You gotta make sure the fork cap is clocked properly before you start turning it to tighten it down. Before I put the spring in, I just barely get the fork cap started on the threads. I then make a mark with a grease pencil on the side of the cap and the side of the fork tube. These marks are adjacent to each other. I then remove the fork cap and insert the fork spring.
Now, when I put the fork cap on with the springs in place, I line up the marks, press down on the cap, and tighten. If done correctly, the threads grab right away and you will minimize your chances of boogering up the threads.
Ditto for the previous post," mark the starting point" also a disk type socket ratchet (one that fits in the palm of your hand) helps to depress the spring while making it easier to rotate the cap. Also, turn counter- clockwise till you feel the threads "drop" into engagement then turn clockwise. Sears sells these disk ratchets. If the forks are off the bike it's much easier, and a second pair of hands holding the fork really helps.
Digger's method is excellent. Another good method is to gently hold the cap down upon the fork top and slowly/gently turn COUNTER clockwise until you hear/feel a tiny "click" -- then turn CLOCKWISE to easily thread. The GL1800 OE spings make cap re-install EASY because (1.) they are way WIMPY and (2.), if you have even as little as 12,000 miles on them, they are probably already sacked-out and below spec lenght.
I used a speed wrench to remove and reinstall the fork caps on my Concours. I haven't done it on a GL1800, so I don't know if it will work the same way. A speed wrench allows you to push and turn separately, unlike a ratchet. Push the fork cap into place, turn backwards until you feel the threads engage, then turn to the right to tighten the cap. Very easy, but it took me out of contention for the "Longest Fork Cap Flight" world record.