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Texas T
10-21-2004, 11:58
I've been looking at the classifieds for an older Gold Wing and I am amazed at the prices these things are getting. 10-15 years old, 100K+ miles, and they are still asking $5-$6-$7K for them. ;P

Are they that durable?

On the flip side there are those bikes that are similar ages, but they only have 15-25K miles on them. What issues am I facing with an older low-milage bike? I would assume cracked, leaky seals would be one thing to look for. What else?

What's an average cost to take a bike to a good mechanic for a once-over inspection prior to purchase?

10-22-2004, 07:46
Are they that durable?
Yes they are, if they have had routine maint. done to them. There was a fellow in Knoxville last year for the 2003 Honda Hoot, riding a 1981 Gold Wing with......394,000 miles on it.

On another note, if you can possibly afford a late model (2001 and up) there is a world of difference in performance and handling. Honda got their sportbike engineers involved in the design of the late model GW's.

11-10-2004, 10:02
GW w/ less than 50K are considered hardly ridden, especially if 8-10 yrs old. The 1520 and older flat 6/4 engines are extremely durable. I have several friends that have 100k-150k miles on theirs. Other than routine maintenance issues, the engines seem to run forever.

The biggest expense for a used one is possibly a new alternator, usually good for 80k miles. Rear drives last about the same, give or take.

Very durable and good long distance cruiser.

11-11-2004, 00:35
My '86 has about 60,000 on it and runs like new. If you ask me, the best Gold Wings were the 1500 series. They didn't have the stator issues like the 1200s (and if there is an alternator problem, it is no big deal to fix), more capacity, smoother engine; just better all around.

The 1800s have had problems with cracked frames, as well as some other recalls. They also have solid valve lifters. Gold Wings have always had maintenance-free hydraulic lifters, and with the supposedly improved 1800, they have taken a step backward.

11-11-2004, 07:07
ateamer wrote:
The 1800s have had problems with cracked frames

If I'm not mistaken, there have not been any recorded actual frame cracks, just potential for them, thus the recall. Like I said, I may be wrong, but I certainly applaud Honda for issueing the recall and making corrections within the given V.I.N. range of bikes.

Texas T
11-11-2004, 07:57
Originally posted by ateamer
They also have solid valve lifters. Gold Wings have always had maintenance-free hydraulic lifters, and with the supposedly improved 1800, they have taken a step backward. Any reasoning why they did that?

11-11-2004, 10:07
Probably for reasons similar to rolling back their V4 design to having a cam chain from being gear-driven like mine is.

They are not only cheaper to produce, but they cost more to maintain, and they are also more likely to fail.

A win/win/win situation from a bean-counter's viewpoint.;g :(

11-11-2004, 20:37
If I'm not mistaken, there have not been any recorded actual frame cracks, just potential for them, thus the recall.

Hmmm, I have read of a couple of actual instances of the aluminum frames cracking while perusing a GW 1800 website. I think it is related to a weld area close to where the exhaust runs closeby. Can't remember if it was the actual weld or the frame. In one instance, the rider was traveling at about 40 mph and hit a delaminated area of blacktop - not a true pothole - but almost the same, not as deep. The rear wheel hit the fender. Luckily, rider didn't lose control or worse.

This was about a year back. Haven't heard much since, but haven't kept up on the subject.

Solid lifters need to be adjusted approx. every 12K miles, but have heard of some going longer w/ little difficulties. Lose some performance/noiser lifters until they are adjusted. Not a big deal to adjust unless you are wrench phobic or don't like oil.

11-17-2004, 06:45
I have an old ' '81 Standard. It only has 48,XXX on it and after some maintenance, runs like a dream. I would echo what others have said. Mine is an 1100, stay away from the 1200 because of stator problems, and the 1500 is probably the most bulletproof. I only paid $800 for mine, but it was in non-running condition. I had to put about $1000 into it, but still cheap for a great motorcycle. You can see pics here:

Texas T
11-18-2004, 00:25
Wow. For $2000 you have a great looking bike.

11-22-2004, 13:33
Gold Wing Road Rider's Association (

The Gold Wing Road Rider's Association link above is a good source of information for you. I highly recommend the organization and it's members.

Bought my first Wing, a ten year old '85 Aspencade 1200 w/60K mi, for $4,000. Went with a used purchase to determine if I was really going to get back into riding.

We put 34,000 additional pleasurable miles on it with merely routine maintenance (fluids & tires) except for the stator connector which we replaced with an updated one.

I believe the 1200 cc stator failures were caused by poorly designed electrical connectors which cupped water and corroded, not bad stator design. The corroded connectors built up resistance which greatly increased alternator workload eventually causing them to fail prematurely or as in my case actually melting wiring and burning connector spades, but the stator was still serviceable. The fix was a new connector kit or merely removing the faulty connector and soldering the wiring. This connector is only used for maintenance check of alternator output.

The starter solenoid has an identical connector with the same problem. These corrode building heat up in the wiring and solenoid. This will be evidenced by charred or brittle wiring, charred spades in the connections, and melting of the plastic solenoid covering.

Stator and solenoid connector problems are detectable by simply pulling the left side cover and inspecting the connectors, wiring and solenoid cover.

A generic electrical problem on older bikes is caused by owner/operator add on accessories. Most add on kits have crimp on connectors which attach to existing wiring. These convenient additions will corrode over time, particularly with Honda's aluminum wiring.

My 1200s (had two at the time)were running strong when I let them go for what I initially paid them for. One had 96K miles and the other 48K both were fifteen years old.

We let them go because family obligations kept us from riding much. Circumstances have since changed and most of the family now rides there own bikes.

Ride Safe and enjoy the older Honda's


11-22-2004, 14:24
Texas T,

More older bike purchasing tips:

FUEL TANKS - Inspect interior with flashlight, not flame :), for corrosion caused by improper storage. e.g., extended low fuel levels allows water condensation from air space. If found this can be remedied with KREEM process.

KREEM Product Review (

KREEM Purchase (

Carburetors - Varnished interiors due to improper storage. Draining each carb is preferred prior to storage, but using a fuel stabilizer such as STABIL is OK. Otherwise, over the years you'll get a varnish and gel build up that'll reduce interior volumes and clog filters. I bought a used Honda CB 650 which two of the four carbs didn't work, but the bike started and ran poorly. The local shop soaked the carbs in an EPA controlled solvent and we rebuilt the carbs. A shop rebuild can be expensive.

Hydraulics - Replace at initial purchase and every other year thereafter. The older fluids are hygroscopic, that is they absorb water- even in seemingly sealed systems such as brake and clutch. Water in the system is evidenced by non-clear inspection view ports on the reservoirs. Usually, contamination is light or dark brown depending on the deterioration level. Water reacts with the system's aluminum resulting in aluminum oxide crystals. You've probably used these crystals in the form of sandpaper. It will damage the system.

I once encountered a slipping hydraulic clutch caused by sludge in the system. The fluid was dark brown after two years storage of this older bike with fluid of unknown age. It was a bear to flush and restore to normal. Fortunately, the system was still serviceable without part replacements.

Radiators - Like any other water cooled system check for proper antifreeze level and sign of interior corrosion or leakage. A radiator replacement may negate the "good deal" you've found. I personally haven't run across this as a problem, but flush and replace the coolant when I service the hydraulics.

The above are some of the more common things to look for on older bikes. They retain their value well and provide many years of enjoyment with proper care and storage. Usually the rider tires of the bike before the bike is tired of being ridden.

Ride Safe... G36pilot

Bullwinkle J Moose
11-25-2004, 19:43
Originally posted by xrated

If I'm not mistaken, there have not been any recorded actual frame cracks, just potential for them...[/B]

You are mistaken. There have been quite a few cracks discovered and several breaks. Since the recall, I haven't heard of too many. My 2003 was one of the recalled ones, but it doesn't bother me. It's still much more of a blast to ride than my 1990 1500 (150k miles on it) that I sold when I got this one.

Bullwinkle J Moose
11-25-2004, 19:44
Originally posted by Texas T
Any reasoning why they did that?

They ditched the hydraulic lifters to squeeze more power out of the engine.