1976 Gold Wing Swamp Thing

Jimbonaut

Over 1,000 Posts
DTT SUPPORTER
For...reasons...I've been on the lookout for a small, quick little fixer-upper to sling up on the table and work on over the winter - something single-cylinder-y that wouldn't crush my vertebrae dragging it around the garage and be easy enough to wrangle something halfway decent out of by March.

Failed successfully in that endeavour and ended up with this on the table instead -

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It's a fraction heavier than a neutron star and as easy to move around as a small, semi-detached house. It's a moldy green colour too so yeah, swamp thing.

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It is quite clean though, so there's that.

There be spiders...

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and also a shiny and chrome kickstarter tucked away -

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(so no huffing on paint canisters screaming Witness Me!, at least not in the kickstarter dept). The usual wiring mystery, waiting to destroy weeks of my life...

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and there we have it. The old gent I bought the bike from assured me the engine was in tip top shape, and if I can get away with it I have no intention of removing the fucking thing to check. The frame looks pretty clean - plan is to get some fluids in it, a battery, plugs etc and try to get the thing running, then start bothering you lot with everything else. Plans for the bike include new bars, paint, seat and rear subframe, shocks, lights, brakes etc but not to do a bolts-to-brake-lever resto on it. Get it clean, get it running well, get her down the road.

I don't know much about Gold Wings and by "much" I mean "anything at all". I do know that the engine looks cool as shit and reminds me of my old Hotwheels cars with the engines that stuck out through the bonnet/hood, and hopefully with a bit of trimmed fat and a paint job it'll have a more flattering name than swamp thing.

Carbs are a bastard on these, that I do know, and the timing chains need changing right off the bat. Other than that, I'm all ears.
 

Rider52

Over 1,000 Posts
Do the belt change and check the connection at the alternator before you do anything else. Fortunately parts are pretty available and relatively cheap for old wings. One of my kids went through a naked Wing phase. He had a couple of 79s paid $75 for one and was given the other one. Out of the two he got a decent runner and he rode it everyday. The naked wing site has a ton of useful information.
 

irk miller

You've been mostly-dead all day.
DTT BOTM WINNER
Talk about looking for a Toyota Yaris and buying a Chevy Suburban... Looks like I get to live the wing life through your eyes. I have a barn full of Goldwing, so maybe you can inspire me to actually finish one. I have no doubt your build will be clean and thorough.
 

pidjones

Over 1,000 Posts
Amazon for the belt (Gates T274). If idlers bad (check while changing belt) you can build nice new ones out of bearings (once again, Amazon, Gates T42015 Idler). Carb kits abound and range from Baracuda cheapo to Randakk high-dollar. There are some special tall "U" rings in fuel passages and a wild formed o-ring between pkenum halves. Reuse the original jets and float valves, though. FSM readily available in pdf online. If still points, make sure the condensers are good. You can use two regular instead of the special dual condenser. If converted to electronic, use care with wiring as they are easy to blow. Carbs will no doubt need cleaning, but not really worse than the CB750 CVs. Wiring is actually fairly straight-forward except for the stupid Auxiliary Lighting circuit. Luckily, you can vind instructions online to eliminate it. Kick start is good for baring over to check timing, etc. MY lever stays stored on a shelf. The 1000s evolved a lot through their five production years, so check carefully before buying parts. '76 being the second year, some changes and almost as quick as the '75s. Stock seats and grab bars are expensive. Aftermarket seat pans can easily be stripped and either original-looking or custom built on them. 75-77 spike hubs can be re-laced to other rims (I had a '77 with 16" HD rear rim).
 

Jimbonaut

Over 1,000 Posts
DTT SUPPORTER
Thanks for the pointers gents. I'm going to have to do a lot of homework before getting deep down and dirty - I have the Clymers but will join a forum and see if I can get hold of the FSM too for the process for changing the belts. I've been directed towards one already but I forget now which is the most dedicated for this bike.

In the meantime I'll thin her down a bit and learn what I can about the steps I need to take to fire her up. Once I know I've got a decent runner then I can figure out some kind of plan. On closer inspection the frame paint really is in good shape (and original from what I can tell) so I'd like to keep it that way - I'm also focussing on all the +ve's so I don't start convincing myself that pulling the engine, powder coating the frame and re-zincing every bolt on the bike is a good idea. It's not necessarily a bad idea either, just not the direction I want to go. The engine also looks pretty clean, so if it's in good shape and runs well then I'll leave well enough alone and work around it.

I have got a spare gas tank which is in pretty good shape - the one in the bike isn't awful, no varnish as far as I can tell but a bit cruddy and certainly some rust. It could definitely use a clean. Are they removable with the engine still in the frame? I'll hook up an auxiliary tank for the test fires but if I can get the tank out so much the better.
 

Maritime

Over 10,000 Posts
Nice. Looks pretty good. Octanes belt change writeup on ngwclub.com is best. Lots of pictures and very clear descriptions. Its a sticky on the site. Another great read is Randaaks new GL owner writeup. It goes over all the checks to do on a wing that has sat.
 

Jimbonaut

Over 1,000 Posts
DTT SUPPORTER
Thanks Mike, yeah that was the name of the forum I was trying to remember. I'll check out the Randakk's writeup too. Looking forward to getting stuck in
 

Rider52

Over 1,000 Posts
You can remove the tank with the engine in place but you have to pull the rear wheel, shocks, etc. It goes in and out from the rear.
 

cbrianroll

Coast to Coast
What they said lol..the carbs arent that bad to work on like mike said, just a bugger to get in and out...at least for me.
Looking forward to seeing your handy work on this. I need motivation as well for my ugly beastly....
 

pidjones

Over 1,000 Posts
PM me your email and I'll email the FSM and some other docs. I've foubd great communities on both ngwclub and classicgoldwings.

The rear master has to come off to pull the tank, along with fender, inner fender, rear wheel, shocks tied out of the way or removed. I screw two 2x4s together, then screw them to a HF furniture dolly so they just fit between frame rails and headers, then ratchet strap the engine to the dolly. Take things off front and back to keep it somewhat balanced. Take the plastic off now and put it away. Unbolt the shelter frame to permit other things to be easier like getting the tank out.

If you decide to pull the engine, I've found it easiest by pulling the swingarm/drive first. If you strip it down to just engine and frame, you can instead take the frame (much lighter) off of the engine.

Pulling carbs requires removing shelter sides (just to keep from scratching), disconnecting crankase vent tubes (loooong hemostats and flashlight are helpful), pull the air filter canister, put plug wires out of your way, unbolt the runners, slide right to ease disconnecting fuel line, throttle and choke cables, loosen intake runner clamps completely, heat intake runner rubbers well and rotate right side 90 degrees, remove air cut valve from front top of plenum, calm yourself, and gently wriggle the rack out. Randakk's suggests putting tape on the frame and valve covers to help avoid scratches.
 

Jimbonaut

Over 1,000 Posts
DTT SUPPORTER
Fantastic, thanks a lot for that. PM'ing you now. I'm hoping pulling the engine won't be necessary, but if it is it won't be happening any time soon. One of the reasons for wanting a smaller project for this winter is the distinct possibility my wife and I will be selling our place in the spring and moving, and so I didn't want a big bike spread out in a thousand pieces all over Montreal when it's time to pack up. But once we move, and if the engine does need pulling, I'll do it once we land in our new digs. Still, early days yet.
 

Maritime

Over 10,000 Posts
I love my GL, so have at her, Looking forward to seeing what you make of her. That being said the CB125 is sooo easy to work on I am really enjoying it too.
 

pidjones

Over 1,000 Posts
Just be aware that when it is finished you may end up seeing more of North America than you had ever envisioned. They are mile-eaters. Just remember to stop often and enjoy the chili cookoff at the local fire halls!
 

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