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Discussion Starter #1
All,

I've followed more wheel wobble threads than I can count at this point, and the usual suspects always seem to be steering head bearings and/or cupped tires.

I was looking through the Honda Factory Service Manual for something else today and came across this in the Troubleshooting section:

Either Wheel is Wobbling:


Excessive wheel bearing play
Excessively worn swingarm pivot bearings
Excessive final gear bearing play
Bent frame
I hardly see any of those possible causes mentioned in the typical wheel wobble post. I realize that there are a boat load of variables here, but are we all looking in the wrong place for a cure?

Has anybody cured a wobble by correcting one of these listed conditions?

***
 

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The reason they're not mentioned is that they're rare. The usual suspects are mentioned because they're common, and people have found addressing them often brings relief.

But your stuff may be helpful if the usual solutions don't work.
 

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Notorious Rocket Scientist
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All,

I've followed more wheel wobble threads than I can count at this point, and the usual suspects always seem to be steering head bearings and/or cupped tires.

I was looking through the Honda Factory Service Manual for something else today and came across this in the Troubleshooting section:
Either Wheel is Wobbling:


Excessive wheel bearing play
Excessively worn swingarm pivot bearings
Excessive final gear bearing play
Bent frame
I hardly see any of those possible causes mentioned in the typical wheel wobble post. I realize that there are a boat load of variables here, but are we all looking in the wrong place for a cure?

Has anybody cured a wobble by correcting one of these listed conditions?

***
Gold wing owners are almost as bad as trap shooters when it comes to subscribing to voodoo remedies. In all of the wobble posts I've read, you are the first to even mention the manual which is where people ought to START when trying to correct a problem.

One thing that strongly bears noting: The swingarm pivots are adjustable. This means they don't have to be worn out to be bad; they can simply be out of adjustment and can even come from the factory incorrectly adjusted.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
One thing that strongly bears noting: The swingarm pivots are adjustable. This means they don't have to be worn out to be bad; they can simply be out of adjustment and can even come from the factory incorrectly adjusted.
Lee,

That's very interesting to know! (Might well explain why a brand new Wing off the showroom floor can have a wobble.)

Just checked the manual out of criosity, and the swing arm pivot bearings ARE tapered roller bearings! Strange thing is that the torque specs for installing them are different! 80 ft-lbs for right side bearing, 25 ft-lbs for left side bearing! Go figure!?!

***
 

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And lets not further confuse the issue by assuming that handle bar wobbles (hands off the bar while slowing) and wheel wobbles are the same problem... a wobble isn't always a wobble..
 

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GL1800 Doctor
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Lee,

That's very interesting to know! (Might well explain why a brand new Wing off the showroom floor can have a wobble.)

Just checked the manual out of criosity, and the swing arm pivot bearings ARE tapered roller bearings! Strange thing is that the torque specs for installing them are different! 80 ft-lbs for right side bearing, 25 ft-lbs for left side bearing! Go figure!?!

***
Well, it's not the way it reads. The one side's pivot is basically tightened into the frame and then the bearing adjustment is the 25 lbs./ft. The swing arm bearings are trapped between the 2 sides, so as you are tightening the 25 lbs. side you are pushing the arm toward the other side and setting the bearing preload on both sides simultaneously. It does sound crazy when you read it in the manual. :thumbup:
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The swing arm bearings are trapped between the 2 sides, so as you are tightening the 25 lbs. side you are pushing the arm toward the other side and setting the bearing preload on both sides simultaneously. It does sound crazy when you read it in the manual. :thumbup:
Thanks, it did not make sense in the manual. Now it does.

***
 

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I was a GM alignment tech for 15 years. I feel it's due to design. Not enuff caster in the fork. (tilt back)
 

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I have cured the wobble a couple of times. Every time I change my tires the wobble goes away... for about 6k miles..
 

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I had the same issue on my VTX 1300. The cupped tires are the result, not the cause of the wobble. Cupped tires happen when the tires are taking the load, instead of the suspension.

When you change out the steering head bearings, you will find ball bearings that look like they came out of a Schwinn Bicycle, not a 600+ or a 900+ pound cruiser. I was amazed at how light weight duty the ball bearings appeared to be.

Replacement with All Balls tapered roller bearings solved my deceleration (38 mph, every time) wobble, first on VTX, and agian when done on the Wing.

I find it interesting that when I complained about the wobble at the Honda dealership, in both cases (VTX and Wing) they acted surprised. Sales guy and the Shop guy both said they had never heard of such a thing. Almost sounded "rehearsed".

I can only speak of my own experience, but the shake in the handlebars scared me the first time it happened (one handed driving while adjusting the sleeve button on my jacket). After that, I knew what to expect, but it was still worrisome.

My advice to anyone with a wobble is to change out the steering bearing as the first attempt to fix it.
 
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All,

I've followed more wheel wobble threads than I can count at this point, and the usual suspects always seem to be steering head bearings and/or cupped tires.

I was looking through the Honda Factory Service Manual for something else today and came across this in the Troubleshooting section:
Either Wheel is Wobbling:


Excessive wheel bearing play
Excessively worn swingarm pivot bearings
Excessive final gear bearing play
Bent frame
I hardly see any of those possible causes mentioned in the typical wheel wobble post. I realize that there are a boat load of variables here, but are we all looking in the wrong place for a cure?

Has anybody cured a wobble by correcting one of these listed conditions?

***
Let's see -

So all wheel bearings are loose, all swingarm bearings shot, final gears are sloppy and all the frames are bent. :shock:

I guess I have never seen worn out wheel bearings
Never saw one swing arm bearing ever go bad
Have no idea how loose gears would do anything
And if not hit by a train the frame thing is out.

Sound like a pile to me :?
 

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I was a GM alignment tech for 15 years. I feel it's due to design. Not enuff caster in the fork. (tilt back)
On bikes it is called "trail" and the shorter the trail the quicker the steering. See pics:



Unfortunately, one feature is sacrificed for another. Can't have both....

 

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Wobble gone

The last few gents that I know that bought new bikes and had a wobble right off the showroom floor ended up getting new front wheels. Seems the wheels were not running true about the circumference of the wheel. Wobble was gone until tire wear came into play at about 6 - 8K on the ODO.
 

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If anyone needs more info on wheel wobble, send me a PM. If I talk about it here, it may not be considered educational and this posting will be deleated.
 
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The last few gentles that I know that bought new bikes and had a wobble right off the showroom floor ended up getting new front wheels. Seems the wheels were not running true about the circumference of the wheel. Wobble was gone until tire wear came into play at about 6 - 8K on the ODO.
I guess some would believe this to be true
 

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It's funny you mentioned swing arm bushings. My buddy the service manager says he hates wing owners and especially hates wing owners like me. Always sniffing around for problems/answers etc.

I called and asked him about re-torquing the swing arm because the FatGirl felt squishy and unstable. He said; "Siiiggghhhh, bring it in."

Of course his Goldwing tech screamed and complained "I ain't never seen one of these things loose!"

My buddy said you could have driven a truck into his open slack jaw mouth when he put the torque wrench on it and they were, you guessed it, both loose.
 

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GL1800 Doctor
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It's funny you mentioned swing arm bushings. My buddy the service manager says he hates wing owners and especially hates wing owners like me. Always sniffing around for problems/answers etc.

I called and asked him about re-torquing the swing arm because the FatGirl felt squishy and unstable. He said; "Siiiggghhhh, bring it in."

Of course his Goldwing tech screamed and complained "I ain't never seen one of these things loose!"

My buddy said you could have driven a truck into his open slack jaw mouth when he put the torque wrench on it and they were, you guessed it, both loose.
So, were they like that from the factory or had they been removed or replaced?
 

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So, were they like that from the factory or had they been removed or replaced?
Had never been removed. It was at about 45K on the clock when they were checked.

I felt I was always chasing "something" that never felt right with a lot of pressure on during cornering. Can't afford the Traxxion treatment so Progressive springs, full build on the forks, put on a 0 mile rear shock and topped off the pre-load. With everything new and tight I had an aha moment and my butt zeroed in on the swing arm.
 

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I've followed more wheel wobble threads than I can count at this point, and the usual suspects always seem to be steering head bearings and/or cupped tires.

I was looking through the Honda Factory Service Manual for something else today and came across this in the Troubleshooting section:
Either Wheel is Wobbling:


Excessive wheel bearing play
Excessively worn swingarm pivot bearings
Excessive final gear bearing play
Bent frame
I hardly see any of those possible causes mentioned in the typical wheel wobble post. I realize that there are a boat load of variables here, but are we all looking in the wrong place for a cure?

Has anybody cured a wobble by correcting one of these listed conditions?

***
My hat's off to you for daring to think on your own.

The manual does list some good points. The problem is that the manual is referring to a constant wobble while the hands are on the bars. Honda's answer to a hands off bars wobble is to correctly suggest that people keep their hands on the bars. No manufacturer would ever address a "hands off bars" wobble in a service manual.

The thing that amazes me is that they don't list the most common cause that most manufacturers list, the stem bearing adjustment.

Everyone thinks they have a cure for the wobble. but the fact is that many things can cause it. It is different for every vehicle. It is the nature of a motorcycle to wobble, and it is a fine balance in trying to avoid it. Rake is a big factor. Manufacturers try to give a rake that gives the best handling, but it also increases the tendency to wobble. Back off on the rake angle, and it won't wobble. But it will handle like a slug.

Anything that sets up an oscillation can cause it. Uneven tire wear is the biggest cause. A loose worn out suspension will cause the tire not to track properly, which can set up a wobble. Even installing a better aftermarket suspension can reduce wobble, because the tires will track the roadway better.

Installing roller bearings can reduce the wobble, but I don't believe it is the cure some people claim it is. It just controls the wobble by dampening it. (I'm not saying there is anything wrong with that.) The GL1500 has OEM roller bearings, and wobble is common on it too.
 

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It is the nature of a motorcycle to wobble, and it is a fine balance in trying to avoid it. Rake is a big factor. Manufacturers try to give a rake that gives the best handling, but it also increases the tendency to wobble. Back off on the rake angle, and it won't wobble. But it will handle like a slug.
I agree, that's what I was trying to say in a post earlier just worded a little different. Ever notice a shopping cart with the front wheel wobbling? Steering geometry my dear Watson.
 
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