Help keep this website alive. Donate what you will or simply click an ad on this page for free.



QUICK SPRING SWAP OUT
& ALL BALLS INSTALL
For the GL1800 Gold Wing
By Chet Walters

Click for Rattlebars Mfg.
Click for Chet's Wing Pages


Spring swap:
TIME: 30 minutes

MATERIALS
Springs (of course)
Fork oil.
TOOLS
Floor jack
15mm socket
12mm open end
14mm open end
"antenna" magnet
teaspoon
drain pan
#2 Phillips


NOTE: When I purchased my progressive springs, there was no mention of oil level change in the instructions. Subsequently however, Progressive has made the recommendation that you put ½" less oil in the tubes to make the level 5.5" instead of the OEM 5" hence, do both at the same time and make a tool to measure the oil. One does not need a mityvac. One can mark a turkey baster at 5.5" from the end to get the oil out.

The method is rather simple so I don't have any pics except the fiche. This is, of course, instructions if you just want to put in new springs.  If you think you need to change the fork oil & check the bushings, then go buy the service manual and do it all the way. If you are putting in All Balls, too, then do it all the way......

Put her on the center stand then floor jack under the engine to raise the front wheel off the ground. Remove meter panel and fork cover. 

Stuff will drip oil in the following so protect your dash and Tupperware.

Left side: loosen top pinch bolt (12mm) and carefully unscrew the #25 fork cap (15mm). It's under just a little spring tension. Remove fork cap and #28 spacer. Use an "antenna" magnet to pull the #11 spring seat washer. Use the same magnet to pull the spring and do the "Easy Rider gas nozzle" hand/towel under the spring for drips as you pull it out. Put your parts in a bucket and let the oil drain off. Move on to the right side now.

Right Side: loosen top pinch bolt (12mm) and carefully unscrew the #24 fork cap (15mm). It's under just a little spring tension. Pull up the fork cap enough to get a 14mm open end over the #23 damper lock nut. Hold the 14mm and unscrew the cap from the #19 rod. Pull the #8 spacer. Use an "antenna" magnet to pull the #11 spring seat washer. Use the same magnet to pull the spring and do the "Easy Rider gas nozzle" hand/towel under the spring for drips as you pull it out. Put your parts in a bucket and let the oil drain off.

Find a way to fully compress the forks by pushing up on the wheel and setting the appropriate "stool" under the wheel to keep them compressed. Using a lever made of a hefty broom handle under one side or the other at the fork works good. Using a turkey baster marked at 5.5" or the tool shown below, suck enough oil out so the level reads 5.5" on each side making sure your oil tool is as close to the center of the tube as illustrated in pink. Lower the forks to full extension.

NOTE: The RIGHT side spacer is shorter than the LEFT spacer so you can't confuse them.

Right Side: Drop in your new spring tight coils down. Drop in the #11 spring seat washer (use a wooden dowel to tickle it if it gets sideways). Drop in the #8 short spacer. Screw the cap onto the #19 damper rod while holding the damper rod (not the nut) with your pinky finger stuck in under the cap until finger tight. Hold the 14mm lock nut and tighten the fork cap to 14 pounds on the damper rod. Oil the o-ring and install cap. Tighten cap to 17 pounds. Tighten the pinch bolt to 20 pounds.

Left Side: Drop in your new spring tight coils down. Drop in the #11 spring seat washer (use a wooden dowel to tickle it if it gets sideways). Drop in the #28 long spacer.  Oil the o-ring and install cap. Tighten cap to 17 pounds. Tighten the pinch bolt to 20 pounds.

Button 'er up and go riding. But, you may have lengthened the forks by using firmer suspension. This can make your bike seem a bit tippy. To remedy that, you can do what I did which was lower the front end by raising the forks in the tree as shown here. Some, like me, find that a mere 5mm is enough and some use 10mm. This can be done with the bike's front wheel still intact but do it a little at a time. Put hose clamps under the lower tree edge the distance you want to move the forks above the top bridge. I suggest 5mm at a time. Put her on the center stand and raise with another jack under the motor so the front wheel is just one inch off the ground. Loosen all the tree bolts upper and lower. Put a furring strip under the front wheel and lever it up against the wheel. You may need to tap the forks with a rubber hammer so they will be encouraged to move. The hose clamps will keep it from moving too far. Once the hose clamps are flush with the lower tree, brace up the wheel and tighten all your tree bolts. Test ride. Move it a bit more if you don't like the result. Unfortunately moving the forks down into the tree to raise the front end might have you removing at least your meter panel. Here is a pic of the forks 5mm above the top bridge thus lowering the front end. Be careful, you will be surprised how just a little bit can change the bike!



 


CLICK THE PIC FOR A PRINTABLE VERSION




Install All Balls Bearings

Take digital pictures of where all the stuff goes around the forks (throttle cables, brake lines, wires et al).  You WILL need them unless you have a photographic memory. No special tools for the races, but I did have the bearing nut socket. I put the new inner races and also the lower tree in the freezer overnight to shrink them slightly. I used a small 12oz ball peen hammer and a drift pin to remove and install the races in the frame. The races are easy to tap out with a hammer and pin since there are spaces to do such at six o'clock and noon (see pic). Tap a bit on one side, move to the other. Repeat.

Don't discard the old races, you will use them. To pound in, use a hammer & pin on the new ones tapping lightly around the perimeter. To finish, use the old races laid on top of the new ones, but the all balls are only a little less than flush being wider than the old ones. When I took off my tree, the OEM bearings fell all over the floor.  No grease anywhere I could see.

The race on the shaft is a little more difficult. To take the old one off, I cut it with dremel tool equipped with a small cutting wheel. Once it's cut you can take it off with your hand. To put the new one on, I opened vice jaws just enough and PUT ON THE DUST SEAL. Then I put on the new race and set on the old race and inverted the assembly in the vice whose jaws were open "just enough" for the shaft. I got a socket that fit over the pipe on the bottom so I was pressing on the tree and not the pipe. Then tapped the bottom of the tree with the hammer while spinning the inverted tree 360º stepping 15º at a time in the vice. It took awhile.

Don't forget to install the dust seal first! Pack with grease. All parts were torqued to spec. Bearing adjustment nut 20 pounds (three times - tighten, loosen, tighten) and the stem nut 76 pounds.

I did not remove the front faring -- just the fender, meter panel, forks and what's necessary for the tree. I did not use a fish scale, just the test if it stays where you turn and put it, it's good to go.


I'm not "anal" about stuff like this as you will note. I just go with the flow until I'm pleased with the results. However, if you are "anal" about this kinda stuff, here's a neat tool (Fred Harmon's idea) to precisely measure the fork oil depth before putting in the spring. You need to measure the fork oil with the fork completely compressed and empty (no spring, seat or spacer).  Spec for GL1800 is FIVE INCHES (5.5" with progressive springs) from the top of the tube. If you want a little softer ride, remove oil ¼" at a time and test ride. You can measure oil with the forks mounted springs removed, just jack up the front wheel.

¼

 



Here is a cheap way to swap your rear spring. Courtesy of Fortuneteller.

Help keep this website alive. Donate what you will or simply click an ad on this page for free.


The information on these pages is accurate to the best of the author's knowledge. The author can assume no responsibility for the use or misuse of this information by the reader. The reader is expected to secure any other information needed from Service Manuals or other sources. It is up to the reader to determine his/her ability to make any modifications noted. If the reader does not feel qualified he/she should enlist professional help.