Home GL1200 GL1500 Trail 70

Steering Stem Adjustment

My Honda GoldWing
A 1986 GL1200 Interstate
Wineberry red color

Purchased in August 2003 with 79K miles.

SOLD April 2008 with 107K miles

Already nicely accented with many chrome accessories as seen in the picture.

So far I have updated, upgraded and replaced the following old or worn components.

bulletNew WestCo "AGM" battery
bulletElectrical Connections Stator / Coil wiring harness
bulletNew voltage regulator
bulletNGK Iridium spark plugs
bulletProgressive front fork springs
bulletProgressive rear replacement springs
bulletNew radiator hoses and thermostat along with fresh non-silicate extended-life coolant.
bulletNew wheel bearings
bulletNew timing belts
bulletContinental Milestone tires
bulletNew Slipstreamer wraparound windshield
bulletNew seat - JC Whitney / Travelcade Deluxe Touring Saddle.
bulletChrome "gills" on the fairing sides
bulletSylvania XtraVision headlight bulb
bulletNew cheap ($20) Pyramid AM/FM Cassette deck and custom housing
bulletLED "Tower" Brake / Tail light bulbs

While I have had several motorcycles in my life, this is my first GoldWing and I am thoroughly enjoying it. As an added bonus, my wife enjoys riding with me.


Steering Stem Adjustment
See link at the top left of the page

Drooping mirrors
The right side mirror would always droop down whenever I hit a moderate bump in the road so it seemed I was always pushing it back into position. I remember reading on one of the online forums that someone had used Locktite "green" to keep their mirrors in position. I gave it a try and it works like a champ. No more drooping mirror!

The green formula of Locktite is a penetrating formula and just a couple of drops at the pivot ball does the trick. I was a little hesitant at first as I was afraid I would not be able to position the mirror after applying the Locktite, but it is still moveable with only slightly more effort than before.

Clunky Shifts
Mainly from 1st to 2nd. I stopped wearing tennis shoes and bought some sturdy riding boots and all my clunky-crunchy 1st to 2nd shifts ended. Nothing but snick, snick, snick (nice sound effects, huh?) through each gear change. Apparently, the transmission (at least mine) needs a firm, solid "boot" into each upshift for a smooth transition. NOTE: I do not have floorboards, so this really only applies to those of us with foot pegs and the standard shift lever. Switching to synthetic oil has helped as well - see comments below.

EC Harness
The Stator / Coil wiring harness from Electrical Connections is a must have for any GL1200. As others have stated, "It's the best $50 you'll spend on your Wing." When I bought my Gold Wing, the stator had been recently replaced, but the main connection next to the battery had not been hardwired. I was too busy riding the bike and was still learning of the caveats of the stator and wiring to really check it out. By the time I did investigate due to a dead battery, I discovered the connection to be totally rotted out which also killed the voltage regulator. 

A new harness, new regulator and new "AGM" battery have the bike running great. Getting proper charging voltage from the stator and full power to the coils made a big difference in throttle response and improved power especially at lower RPM.

NGK Iridium # DPR8EIX-9 Spark Plugs
After installing the EC harness it is generally recommended that you use a slightly cooler heat range spark plug. I ended up using the Champion #905 spark plugs (RA4HC) but they started misfiring under load after less than a year, so I thought I would search for something that would hold up longer.

I ended up deciding to try these new-fangled iridium tipped plugs from NGK as many folks on the various GoldWing message boards seemed to like them. Best price was from a fellow on e-Bay at $7 ea. and only $4 shipping. So far I like them - we'll see as the miles rack up.

Timing Belts
While replacing the thermostat and hoses, I went ahead and replaced the timing belts as well. They had less that 30,000 miles on them, but since I was already this far into the front of the bike I figured why not. I'm extra glad I did! Let me tell you, you want to replace your timing belts at 30K intervals max. Not that they are going to break at that point, but they've stretched enough to affect performance. The new belts notably improved throttle response, especially at lower RPMs.

Blue Smoke Puff on Startup
This is an almost universal complaint with most older Gold Wings. Mine did it about 30% of the time when I first got it. After several thousand miles and a couple of oil changes it has all but quit. It only happens once in a VERY great while and only with a small puff. The ONLY thing I've done which could have had any affect is the oil I use. The P.O. used Pennzoil, Valvoline, whatever was on sale. I have used nothing but Chevron Delo 400 15w-40. I cannot explain it other than to say "that's the way it is". You decide!

UPDATE: One of the reasons I've read for the startup smoke, is carbon and crud on the valve stems, which combined with old valve stem seals, lets oil leak past. The Chevron Delo 400 I use is a diesel rated oil with a higher amount of detergent additives than typical automotive oil. Perhaps the extra detergents cleaned the deposits from the valve stems and seals thereby letting the seals do their job of holding back the oil. This is PURE SPECULATION, but does make sense.

UP-UPDATE on oil: I've switched to Chevron Delo 400 5w-40 SYNTHETIC oil. After several thousand miles, not a single smoke puff on start-up and I've noticed a slight improvement in shifting smoothness as well.

UP-UP-UPDATE on oil: I switched back to Chevron Delo 400 15w-40 non-synthetic oil. The synthetic was fine but I thought that the engine produced a bit more mechanical noise. I switched back to the non-synthetic and the engine is definitely quieter. Perhaps it is because the 15w-40 has a bit more viscosity to it. Since the Wing seems to like the "dino" oil better than the synthetic, I'll stick with it.

Progressive Front Fork Springs
The best $60 you'll spend on your GL1200. Restored a drooping front end to proper ride height (and ground clearance) and made a notable improvement in ride quality. Got mine at Wing Things.

Progressive Rear Springs
What I'm talking about here is just the springs, not the entire shock as many folks have replaced. I tried the complete shock replacement units and could not get them to perform properly. I believe they were binding (not moving freely) which is critical to proper operation. I spoke with Progressive's technical support several times and even sent the units back to the factory and they replaced the internal damping units but that didn't help. I must have had those shocks on and off the bike nearly a dozen times trying to get them to work correctly. I finally rebuilt the factory shocks with new seals and the Progressive replacement springs and I am VERY satisfied with the results. Replacing the springs in the rear shocks does require fabricating a compression tool but if you can do it you will have spent WAY less than the cost of the full Progressive shock replacements.
There is an excellent picture tutorial that I followed to do mine at Steve Saunders web site:
I purchased the replacement springs for less than $50 from , their part number for the springs is TR-771172. They should also have any new seals you may need.
Finally a word about oil in the shock. You can use ATF but the factory damping units use the oil you put in the shock so a light oil (most ATF is below 10w) will provide light damping. Using fork oil, in your choice of weights (10w, 15w, 20w), will let you select the amount of damping you feel you need.

Aftermarket Thermostat
After I installed a new Stant Premium 180 deg. thermostat, I read in one of the GoldWing forums that the smaller opening of the non-Honda thermostats can restrict the coolant flow and reduce cooling capacity. While I don't live in a hot climate, I do like to know that the cooling system is working to its fullest. A small coolant leak from an upper hose not seated properly gave me an excuse to remove the new thermostat and compare to the old original Honda 'stat. Indeed the Honda thermostat has a fully 20% larger opening in it. I was tempted to put the old original back in, but decided to check its opening temp with the old pan of hot water on the stove trick. Just for kicks I put the new Stant in the pan as well. The Stant opened first as it is a 180 degree and then the original Honda 'stat opened. As the water neared its 212 degree boiling point I shut off the heat and peered intently at both units. While the Stant does have a smaller hole, the stopper retracts back further than the Honda original which I feel evens out the advantage assumed for the Honda unit. Bottom line, I put the new Stant back in knowing that there is little if any advantage to the design of the Honda original.
Thermostat Update: I've been running the aftermarket Stant for over a year now and have had the bike in stop-and-go commuter traffic in 90+ deg weather. I can positively say there has been no negative operational differences (YMMV). Since my bike is an Interstate with analog gauges I can see every movement of the temp gauge (instead of waiting for an ambiguous "bar" to appear or disappear) and I have not seen any increase in maximum coolant temperatures. The fan kicks on when it should and the temps stay well below the red zone. On my bike and under my riding  conditions this particular aftermarket thermostat does the job perfectly with no negative affects. 'Nuff said.

Saddleman / Travelcade seat
The original stock seat looked fine but the foam padding was simply lacking in any real support. I scoured the online forums for recommendations for a replacement saddle and while some brands received rave reviews they also commanded premium prices. I only had limited funds to do all I wanted with my Wing, so I made a "value oriented" decision and ordered the Premium Travelcade seat with built in backrest from JC Whitney.  I realize this is a "one size fits all" seat and for someone who is considerably larger or smaller than average, this might not be the right choice. I now have a couple thousand miles on the seat and it is breaking in nicely. It offers good support at a reasonable price and is welcome relief from the stock saddle.

LED "Tower" style Brake/ Tail lilghts
What can I say but "GET 'EM". This is a complete "no-brainer".

bulletMuch brighter than normal bulbs (safety factor)
bulletInstant on.  Seeing them light up next to a slowly glowing filament bulb is amazing.
bulletLONG life. Should last the life of the bike.
bulletLOW power consumption. My headlight no longer dims when I press the brakes.

Don't gripe about the price. The safety factor alone is worth the cost. Plus you will reduce the power drain on your already taxed charging system. Make sure the ones you get are red for brake/taillights. See the link below to purchase the same ones I did.

Stereo and housing cover
My Wing is an Interstate model and as such did not come standard with a stereo. A previous owner had mounted a cheap AM/FM cassette deck by hacking a rough hole in the blank cover and secured it with bits of bailing wire and sealed all around the edges with epoxy glue. It was a mess and beyond trying to salvage what was there to mount a new stereo deck. I thought I might try to find something that would simply cover up the whole mess without looking out of place.

I found the perfect plastic cover at Target in the kitchen supplies aisle. It is a kitchen drawer organizer and is roughly 12" long and 3"' wide and only cost $2.09. I cut off the few extraneous bits of plastic, cut the required holes for the new deck to fit through and painted it satin black. I mounted it using a single black screw on each end which screws into the sides of the existing covers underneath. There is even enough room to mount a stick-on LCD clock on the right hand side.


These are all parts that I have purchased and installed successfully on my Gold Wing

bulletThermostat = Stant #45368 (180 degree). Must drill small hole in outer flange of thermostat and install with hole facing up. This allows air to bleed past thermostat when refilling system.
bulletRadiator hoses = Dayco #70834. Cut as required to make both upper and lower hoses.
bulletNGK Iridium # DPR8EIX-9 Spark Plugs
bulletLook around for the best price - I found 'em on e-Bay.
bulletWheel bearings. The original bearings had a rubber seal on the outer side and were open on the inner side. The ones I used were sealed on both sides. Either type is suitable.
bulletRear: 1 each 6204 & 6304
bulletFront: 2 each 6302
bulletVoltage Regulator / Rectifier = Honda #31600-MG9-010. 
Price $138.77 through HondaOnlineParts
bulletNon-silicate anti-freeze / coolant = SuperTech from Wal-Mart.
Gold Wings require a coolant that does not contain silicates (many coolants have silicates) and is approved for use with both aluminum (the engine) and brass (the radiator). SuperTech appears to meet these requirements and at a low cost as well.
bulletSylvania 9003XV "XtraVision" headlight bulb. 
Do not confuse the XtraVision with the blue headlight bulbs. The blue tint of those lights appear to our eyes as brighter, however the coating on any of these bulbs actually reduces the candlepower and at least to my eyes greatly increase glare to oncoming traffic. The XtraVision bulbs are up to 30% brighter than a standard halogen without the blue glare.
bulletLED "Tower" Bulbs. Red #1157 
Purchased on eBay from TMI LED TECHNOLOGY
4 of these bulbs cost $60+ with shipping but as I said the safety factor alone is worth the price. These have 18 individual LEDs. The more the better! Red with red lenses. Yellow with amber lenses.

bulletContinental Milestone tires. CM-1 = front / CM-2 = rear.
Bike came with the popular Dunlop Elite II's. I've read that while the Dunlops are durable, most of the other brands offer superior handling especially in the wet. I put these Conti's on and was amazed at the change in the feel of the Wing. VERY stable and I swear it seems like I don't need to lean it as far in the corners as with the Dunlops. No need to worry about weight capacity either - the rear tire is rated to 990 lbs. like the Dunlop. Bought these from . Great prices and free shipping on orders over $100.