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Maintenance Education

2013 January - Howard Halasz
By Howard E Halasz
Posted on 2/28/2014 4:41 PM




Most of us here in the greater Houston-Conroe-Galveston area are able to ride our Gold Wings the year around.  But there are a few of us, particularly those folks who reside in the Snow Belt, who choose to store their Gold Wings until next spring, when warmer weather finally arrives.


Then they get on their trusty Wings and find out that it either won’t start, starts but won’t idle properly, or starts but won’t idle down, and fuel is leaking from the fuel system all over the floor.


The following paragraphs give a few helpful hints that usually insure a trouble free startup after long term storage.


The first thing you ought to do is get all of the gasoline out of the carburetors. Some Gold Wings have them, but not all Gold Wings. The 1985 Limited Edition, the 1986 Aspencade SEI, and all 2001 and later Gold Wings have electronic fuel injection rather than carburetors.  All other Gold Wings have carburetors.


On the fuel injected 1985-1986 Gold Wings, simply turn off the fuel valve at the fuel tank and then run the engine until it stops by itself. On four-cylinder Gold Wings with carburetors, do the same thing. Then open the brass drain screw at the bottom of each carburetor bowl and let the unburned fuel drain out.  This can be a simple but time consuming job if your Gold Wing has a lot of stuff like chrome carburetor covers and manifold covers. If you own a 1200 or a 1500, plan to remove a few plastic parts to get to the bowl drain screws.



On the 1988-2000 GL1500 Gold Wings, open the fuel filler door and remove the vacuum hose from the vacuum fuel valve.  Hold your finger over the end of the hose and start the engine.  Let it run until it burns all the fuel out of the carburetors and stops by itself.


If you leave gasoline in your fuel system, it will turn into dried up glue in three months and it will smell like, well, putting it mildly, it will stink.


This dried up gasoline residue can only be removed professionally regardless of how much Gumout, Seafoam, or similar chemicals you dump into your gas tank. Professional carburetor cleaning on the Gold Wing is also quite expensive. So think about it when you store your Gold Wing.


The next thing you need to do is to buy some STA-BIL® and read the directions for using it. Dump the specified amount of STA-BIL® into your fuel tank and then top it off with some fresh gasoline. This procedure will keep moisture and rust from forming in your tank and it will keep the gasoline from turning into that stinky stuff that I mentioned in the last paragraph.


STA-BIL can be purchased at most Honda dealers and auto parts stores.


If your motor oil is stale, stinky, and looks like raw sewage, it's probably time to replace it with some fresh oil and a new oil filter.


Remove your spark plugs. Spray a little WD-40 into the spark plug holes. Turn off the kill switch and operate the starter for a couple seconds.  NOTE:  On some of the later model Gold Wings, the starter will not operate with the kill switch in the off position.  Replace the spark plugs.


Check the water level in your battery and top off the cells with some distilled water. Don't use tap water, deionized (soft) water, or Ozarka drinking water. It must be distilled water.  If your Gold Wing has a maintenance free battery, you need not be concerned about the electrolyte level.


Trickle charge the battery once every three weeks for about twelve hours with a one amp trickle charger. Better yet, buy a Battery Tender or a Battery MINDer and keep it connected to your battery during the storage period.  If your battery is NOT maintenance free, and if the electrolyte level drops below the low level line, top it off with distilled water.


Check the coolant level in your radiator and coolant recovery tank.  Top off the coolant levels, being careful not to overfill the coolant recovery tank.


Take a look at the fluid in your brake and clutch cylinder reservoirs.  Look for gray or white flaky residue in the reservoirs.  The flaky residue is corrosion due to moisture mixing with the fluid.  The reservoirs need to be cleaned and flushed out with fresh fluid from a sealed container.  Check the brakes and clutch and make sure the wheels rotate freely when the brakes are released. Also check to make sure that your clutch engages and disengages properly.  The 1975-1983 Gold Wings have a clutch cable.  The 1984 and later Gold Wings have a hydraulic cylinder operated clutch.  You may need to lubricate the clutch cable on the older Wings, and bleed any air out of the hydraulic system on the newer Wings.  Be very careful not to spill any DOT 3 or DOT 4 fluid on any plastic or painted surfaces.  If you accidentally get any DOT 3 or DOT 4 fluid on any plastic or painted surfaces, wash it off immediately with cold water.  If you use DOT 5 fluid, you don't need to be as careful.  NOTE:  WE RECOMMEND USING ONLY DOT4 FLUID FROM A SEALED CONTAINER.


Put the Gold Wing on the center stand (if it has one) and store it. It should be ready to start next time you're ready to ride if you follow these helpful hints concerning storing your Gold Wing.


When you’re ready to ride your Gold Wing again, check your tire pressures and make sure that they are inflated according to the tire manufacturer’s recommendations.