GL1800Riders Forums banner

1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,379 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello to all you wise gurus - I can no longer take the harsh ride of the stock suspension on my 02, very low mileage (<20 K) Wing. Even going down my street the expansion joints give me a jolt. The ADV is already disabled. Don't have a lot of downward movement available, have inches of upward travel though. Rough pavement at speed in a corner is starting to worry me in regards to handling.

I realize Traxxion is probably a better system, I just plain cannot afford it. I do have Fred's "entertainment" videos :thumbup:, and am mechanically inclined. Last time I did any fork work was on my GL1000 many moons ago.

I've read through numerous posts regarding the racetech conversion, as with many things, seems to not be so bad once you've done it, but a bit of a bugaboo if it's your first time.

So we finally get to the question - I am pleading :bow: for recommendations and suggestions regarding what is needed, and best place(s) to get it. A lot of the posts I read were dated, and I am looking for updated current information from all of you wise ones that have done this before. And of course, any installation tips that you desire to share.

And, is it cost-effective to also change out the rear shock, or just do the front forks? I did the rear aduster refill thing, it starts loading immediately and I get full travel. Per Tom Finch's recommendation, have been running it at 25 to improve the rear ride.

And a meal at Taco Bell :) for anyone within a couple of hundred miles of North of Detroit that is willing to let me come there and assist-guide me in doing this. I don't mind the grunt work, but dang it sure is nice to have a guru assisting.

So please - I beg of you-all - please pass on some wisdom and suggestions. I really don't want to get started on this and find out I needed something, or did something that made it harder if not impossible to do.

So to summarize:

What is needed (springs and new seals obvious)?
Any special tools?
Low mileage (<20 K) - so bushings should be good?
Rear shock - cost effective to replace/upgrade also?
Things to look out for while doing the job?
Notice some people recommend lightly polishing/burnishing the fork tubes, others say just clean them - comments?
Any offers to assist (I'm not above begging)?

Thanks to all in advance.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
927 Posts
Hello to all you wise gurus - I can no longer take the harsh ride of the stock suspension on my 02, very low mileage (<20 K) Wing. Even going down my street the expansion joints give me a jolt. The ADV is already disabled. Don't have a lot of downward movement available, have inches of upward travel though. Rough pavement at speed in a corner is starting to worry me in regards to handling.

I realize Traxxion is probably a better system, I just plain cannot afford it. I do have Fred's "entertainment" videos :thumbup:, and am mechanically inclined. Last time I did any fork work was on my GL1000 many moons ago.

I've read through numerous posts regarding the racetech conversion, as with many things, seems to not be so bad once you've done it, but a bit of a bugaboo if it's your first time.

So we finally get to the question - I am pleading :bow: for recommendations and suggestions regarding what is needed, and best place(s) to get it. A lot of the posts I read were dated, and I am looking for updated current information from all of you wise ones that have done this before. And of course, any installation tips that you desire to share.

And, is it cost-effective to also change out the rear shock, or just do the front forks? I did the rear aduster refill thing, it starts loading immediately and I get full travel. Per Tom Finch's recommendation, have been running it at 25 to improve the rear ride.

And a meal at Taco Bell :) for anyone within a couple of hundred miles of North of Detroit that is willing to let me come there and assist-guide me in doing this. I don't mind the grunt work, but dang it sure is nice to have a guru assisting.

So please - I beg of you-all - please pass on some wisdom and suggestions. I really don't want to get started on this and find out I needed something, or did something that made it harder if not impossible to do.

So to summarize:

What is needed (springs and new seals obvious)?
Any special tools?
Low mileage (<20 K) - so bushings should be good?
Rear shock - cost effective to replace/upgrade also?
Things to look out for while doing the job?
Notice some people recommend lightly polishing/burnishing the fork tubes, others say just clean them - comments?
Any offers to assist (I'm not above begging)?

Thanks to all in advance.
I make no claim the following is complete, just a few things off the top of my head.

Special tools - A torque wrench that will do the Honda stuff, brakes, wheel,... A torque wrench that will accurately do 2.5 lb-ft or 30 lb-inches. A 50 lb-ft clicker isn't going to cut it. Some kind of long Allen to remove the lower fork bolts. Note that they're different. I used a piece of cut off Allen in a socket. A seal driver, many use a piece of PVC or ABS pipe. A friend or a special fork compressor tool or a long woodworking clamp makes getting the fork caps back on much easier. A fork oil leveling tool is cheap or easy to make. My Racetech kit included the locktite needed. Remember it only works on clean surfaces.

Honda recommends new brake mounting bolts. Lots of opinions about that.

I replaced my bushings anyway. As long as you're in there...

Absolute cleanliness is one thing to do. A tiny bit of grit in the shim stack, and your careful choice of stack is nothing but a bad joke. I did the fork work in a clean shop, not the garage. And cleaned the old fork stuff that I was reusing with mineral spirits first, and alcohol to remove any trace of residue.

You need to file the bolt holding one valve together because the threads are peened over the nut. Do it carefully, and chamfer the filed end carefully. Get it wrong and it's trivial to crossthread. Then you'll be looking for a Traxxion installer to get a takeoff, AFAIK Honda doesn't sell the part.

Loosen the bottom fork bolts before loosening the forks on the bike. Sometimes it can still be tough, but I've had luck simply doing that.

In my research, I found the guys recommending burnishing the fork tubes, to better lubricate the seal, to be persuasive. I used 600 grit black "sandpaper", lubed with WD-40. A spiral effect, by rotating the tube while sliding the paper along it, is recommended by those persuasive people. That I did in the garage, not my clean shop. Racetech recommends burnishing the rod going to the cartridges, also.

You'll also need at least the Honda shop manual. I found Fred's DVDs useful. Racetech's instructions assume you have something like that at hand. Actually they assume you've disassembled forks before.

Read the Racetech instructions very carefully, more than once. At least once before you start, and once with the disassembled pieces in front of you. The one thing that's different on most Wings than the instructions is the holes in the damper rod. You'll likely already have four. The guy from Racetech said they don't need to be enlarged, simply drill two more by drilling through the damper rod. It goes without saying that you need to clean any drilling swarf out carefully.

If any of the above seems anal - this is a job that requires anal. Or a professional installer. Good luck, have fun.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,013 Posts
I just did a traxxion for spring replacement and it was pretty straight forward. Like replacing with progressive springs.

I like the added clearance the traxxion spring gave me. With less than 20K on the forks why go to all the trouble to replace the seals?

I do change my fork oil every 24K or 2 years which ever comes first. Usually every 2 years and that will include the brake and clutch fluids as well.

I paid right at $125 for the traxxion springs and an hour labor at $65/hr to have a mechanic do it. It wasn't woth the hassle or the extra tools needed to do it myself. :thumbup:

Hope this helps
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
12,497 Posts
re:I can no longer take the harsh ride of the stock suspension..

sounds like you only disabled the AD?
.. if yes, then that will often result in a harsher ride.

after you disable the AD, you must also upgrade the OEM springs.
..any good linear springs will do.

that's probably all you'll need to do unless you enjoy/anticipate more aggressive riding.

Dennis
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
927 Posts
re:I can no longer take the harsh ride of the stock suspension..

sounds like you only disabled the AD?
.. if yes, then that will often result in a harsher ride.

after you disable the AD, you must also upgrade the OEM springs.
..any good linear springs will do.

that's probably all you'll need to do unless you enjoy/anticipate more aggressive riding.

Dennis
You're correct that just replacing the springs is the most cost effective thing to do. But a real benefit of the Racetech damping mod is that the forks are better controlled over small bumps, but far less harsh over big ones. The "damping curve" is far better. That's something anyone can enjoy, and perhaps the biggest reason people like the full monty Traxxion so much, which arguably has an even better curve.

It's not for everyone, by any means. It's one of the more difficult DIY projects, requiring a certain amount of knowledge and experience. Not a follow these simple steps deal. If you have it done professionally, it's somewhat expensive, though still substantially cheaper than Traxxion, even if you add on new steering bearings and a fork brace.

What truly baffles me is why Honda uses the springs and damping curve that they do. It wouldn't cost them much to change those, so I can't help but think they have some reason. I just don't know what it is.
 

·
Vendor
Joined
·
17,403 Posts
If you liked the ride when it was new prior to the forks degrading over the years, I would OH the forks, put in new OEM spring, and enable the ADV so the entire system is working as designed.

If you don't have tapered steering head bearingand correctly torqued, those are needed too.

You can do all that for about $150 parts and the differance will be jaw dropping.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,875 Posts
I had racetech installed (total fork rebuild, everything) for a little over $825. (?840)-can't remember exactly. I personally would not want to tackle this job (I watched the work being done!),but then i am not very mechanically inclined. There was some grinding that was done on something.
I am pleased with the results.
I also replaced the rear spring with a progressive brand spring (used same shock) and that was also a nice improvement in the ride.
The progressive rear spring just works better/smoother than the original spring ever did-no OEM rear spring will work as smoothly, not even brand new-the progressive spring has a different compression/rebound rate.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,792 Posts
You can send the forks to RaceTec to have it done. Cost more than DIY but you get it done correctly. I had mine done at a local shop by experienced mech. It is probably not too difficult but I am not going to experiment on my bike with a job that will only be done once or twice in the lifetime of the bike.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,379 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Thanks to all so far.

Thanks to all who have responded so far.
To Tryker, I've got a fairly well equipped garage for tools, and while I don't have a Honda manual, I do have a Clymer manual to go with Fred's videos. Agree with the need to keep foreign material out of the tubes.

Wingwing (Dennis) - always like your opinions and comments. Disabled the AD after getting some rather nasty jolts just trying to go up the curb into my driveway. Agree maybe not the best to do with stock (and probably sagging) springs, but I really don't have much dive left to the front end anyway. And I've had to do some pretty fast stops, (including riding with Grampawinger when he stopped for a turkey (a real one) in the road) haven't noticed the lack of AD to be an issue (perhaps just ignorance on my part).

WingerGreg - can't argue with your logic, but can't tell what it was like new - this was a good deal find on a used bike for me. And just this riding season I've put more miles on it than the previous owner. However, going by many of the comments on the board, the stock suspension even when new wasn't much to write home about - so that's why I will be upgrading.

Azjerry and Ronab - may have to go the professional mech or send to racetech route, but again I'm a cheap SOB and also will be paying for nursing home for a family member, so if possible would like to do the work myself and keep a couple of coins of the realm available.

Backdraft - good idea, but am thinking of the racetech system because of the damping mod pointed out by Tryker.

So please keep with the inputs, any and all are appreciated before I send out for parts.

And again, any recommendations on who/where to buy from will also be appreciated.

s/Jerry
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
927 Posts
Azjerry and Ronab - may have to go the professional mech or send to racetech route, but again I'm a cheap SOB and also will be paying for nursing home for a family member, so if possible would like to do the work myself and keep a couple of coins of the realm available.

And again, any recommendations on who/where to buy from will also be appreciated.
If you farm it out, I recommend Racetech. They have tons of experience, know the GL1800 stuff, and have every motivation to do a good job. Their price will probably be competitive.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
513 Posts
Hope you won't mind adding to your question Master Chief....

What are the recommendations and opinions regarding the rear shock?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
93 Posts
It is not all that difficult to install a standard Ract Tech fork update. I did my 07 and have been pleased with the results. My shock builds pressure from 0 so I have left it stock. A couple of things not suggested would be the use of a impact wrench for removal of the bolt holding the dampener rod in the left leg. Medium strength locktite for replacement and not the impact wrench. If the kit you install is the same as the one I used, gold valve emulator, the right fork leg does not need to be disassembled. The holes mentioned will need to be drilled in the left dampener rod. Hopefully the instructions are improved. I used Race Tech springs, as per your weight when ordered. A tubing cutter works well for cutting the spacers, supplied bulk with the kit, to length. These instuctions were fine. Each leg will be a different length. I do not remember cutting and filing anything on my installation. Your existing fork oil will be nasty. A solvent rinse with pumping solvent through the cartridge in the right leg as well as the entire left leg will clean everything. This will take a while to air dry. My bike had low mileage when I did mine and I reused the bushings and seal. 10 wt fork oil works very well. The bike is a bit taller, sags the appropriat amount when mounted, and is not perfect but much better than stock. It is 50k later and I am still happy with the results. Good luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
381 Posts
I have to agree with wingwing. the ADV is a good design and well implemented. Its a shame the valve actually sticks now and again!

You dont actually say how heavy you are so with the stated limited sag left a set of progressive springs probably will set the sag to the correct place but you have to order them for a specific weight (rider and passenger). I weigh 230Lbs and the sag is fine on the standard springs. I dont know how heavy my lady weighs but even with her we dont bottom out. I run 17 when 2 up and 5 when by myself.

As for the rear, a setting of 25 sets the preload to max do you still bottom out at that setting? if so again a stronger spring may be needed.

I am sorry to say any changes to the suspension are comparitive IE more spent generally means better suspension. changes made on a budget mean exactly that "budget suspension"

I did run a 2001 for 40K with full traxion front and rear but have gone back to OEM on a new 2008 and to be honest i do actually miss the ride of the traxion but the ride is still great.

Regards
Nigel
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,379 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Again, thanks for the inputs so far.

My rear shock works fine, I've just got the preload set at 25 per the recommendations of our board member Tom Finch, who has a very convincing discussion regarding the reasons why to run at 25. The question was to gather the opinions of those who have replaced their rear shock, and what they thought the difference in ride comfort was and if it was worth the change.

Regarding the front forks, I'm 190 without gear. Seems like there is very little downwards travel left in the forks, and even the pavement joints in my street tends to give me a "thunk" and a see-saw ride like the demonstration video on the racetech web site. The ride is harsher than my other bikes were, and even my old GL1000. My ADV was working, but the darn thing would activate even going up my curb into my driveway, or the slight ledge going into my parking lot at work. So then the forks would lock up, and the full force of the bump would transmit up the forks to the frame and handle bars. This to me was unacceptable, so disabled the ADV and limited that particular problem.

Like the demo video on the racetech site of the guy going over the 2x4s after the upgrade - that's what I'm used to feeling. Minor bumps were just that - minor. Not THUNK-THUNK. (yes, a 2 inch ledge isn't exactly minor - but you get the idea).

So maybe I'm spoiled - don't know. But I definitely don't like the feeling of unease I get when going over rough pavement and feeling like my front end is going to start skipping out on me. I used to race corvettes, I realize if you want decent performance there is a tradeoff on ride comfort. I am not expecting to have a Barcolounger ride, but at least one that conforms.

So please - keep with the good inputs and suggestions. I thank you in advance.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,551 Posts
Like the demo video on the racetech site of the guy going over the 2x4s after the upgrade - that's what I'm used to feeling. Minor bumps were just that - minor. Not THUNK-THUNK.
Can't seem to find this, can you post a link, thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,379 Posts
Discussion Starter #16

·
Registered
Joined
·
927 Posts
It is not all that difficult to install a standard Race Tech fork update. I do not remember cutting and filing anything on my installation.
There are two different updates. We're talking about the "full monty" Racetech, which puts a cartridge emulator in the left leg, and pretty much replaces both cartridges in the right leg. Some parts are reused. Your update just did the left leg work, which is indeed about as easy as replacing springs. Except for drilling the damping rod, you did that, right? Doing the right leg is the tough part, you're disassembling things Honda never intended to be disassembled. Which is where the filing of peened over threads comes in. Reassembly is also critical, and not trivial. Race Tech's instructions are sketchy because they intend that the work be done by someone experienced in suspension work, and with at least the Honda shop manual also, just s Traxxion discourages DIY installations of their stuff. Racetech is serious about their statement to that effect in bold on the instructions.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
927 Posts
I weigh 230Lbs and the sag is fine on the standard springs.
With the standard springs the sag is close to 3 inches of the 5 inch travel. 60%, which is an amount of sag I've never heard of. 25-35% is the usual figure for sag. Progressive brand springs sag is about 40-45%. Not that bad, but it does mean they jump to their stiffer rate over even small bumps. Traxxion's sag is about 30%.

I'm no expert, and I'm totally baffled by why Honda thinks 60+% of sag is a good number. I've never heard an explanation. I'd like to know what the sag is on a 2012.
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top