NGW Project in Maine - 1983 Interstate

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NotSoLilCrippseys
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NGW Project in Maine - 1983 Interstate

#1

Post by NotSoLilCrippseys »

Episode One

My youngest son and I have been riding together, wrenching together, and enjoying it. He's a senior in high school, and we decided a few months ago that it might be fun to have a motorcycle project for winter.

Hobbled by a self-imposed budget of "super cheap," we tried to jump on the slim pickings as they came up: CB750K; CB550; CB450. We drove long distances and down dirt roads to rural sheds, but nothing quite moved us. We kept stumbling on ads for '80s GoldWings, but we weren't looking for a touring machine with a fairing, trunk, and 75 pounds of chromed steel and plastic mostly for show. Then we started thinking naked GoldWing. We saw cafe racer mods, bobbers, more basic approaches and thought, why not? Low center of gravity and a meaty boxer motor that just looks cool.

Come mid-October, after growing more frustrated and widening our geographic search, we hit an ad for a butt-ugly '83 Interstate that "used to run," with new tires and fork seals - for $200. 45 minutes away! We took a drive with cash, made a deal, and returned later to load it up on a trailer.
IMG_20201017_130502.jpg
It doesn't look it, but the bike is complete (or complete for our purposes), as we have several boxes of parts, including side panels in decent shape. The seat is ripped in a few places, but it's there.

The previous owner had put in some $, including really nice Michelin tires (0 miles on them), a new rear brake rotor (not sure why, as the rear caliper desperately needs a rebuild), and serious time on what is a not-so-good - and incomplete - rattle can paint job. (He had taken all the parts off the bike to prime and paint, and he had partially reassembled it - all before abandoning the project couple years ago.)

Once home, we started removing the bling.
IMG_20201017_141928.jpg
Most on this site will know about the 100 pound+ pile of steel and plastic that comes off in a naked project. Our pile of "stuff" came to 150 pounds, likely owing to the aftermarket steel cage mounted around the bags and trunk.

One of the coolest finds in our work so far has been the remnants of a snake that hibernated under the fairing weight and shed its skin.
IMG_20201024_121124.jpg
Neat - and far more interesting than the three blind, dead mice we found in the trunk.

Stay tuned. We've got more to share, as we've done quite a bit since mid-October. And we have a long way to go before it's on the road again.

Spoiler alert: It now runs, starts quite willingly, and doesn't smoke after about the first 30 seconds.
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Avatar is a summer '21 photo of the Blue Phoenix, our Winter '21 GL1100I gone naked.
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Lucien Harpress
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Re: NGW Project in Maine - 1983 Interstate

#2

Post by Lucien Harpress »

Seems like a solid base for a cool project. And you know what? Even though I owned a Standard 1200 for a LONG time and loved it, after much reflection I think the '83 1100 had the prettiest lines.

Looking forward to see what what comes of this.

(Oh yeah, and make sure to change the belts!)
1997 Valkyrie- Light Cutomization, but Too Busy Riding
1969 CT90- Melted Wrist Pin Circlips. Somehow.
1976 GL1000 (Yellow)- In Many Pieces Scattered Around the Garage
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1972 CB750 Barn Find- Sidecovers Away At Painter
1974 Velosolex 3800- Better Than Walking

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Re: NGW Project in Maine - 1983 Interstate

#3

Post by NotSoLilCrippseys »

Thanks. The first thing we ordered were belts.

When we flushed the coolant as part of the "start after a long lay up" process, we noticed a wobble in the water pump impeller. The gasket kit for that repair just arrived last week. One step forward reveals two more steps needed to put it on the road. The bike is not something that needs just a bath, flushed fluids, and a rider. It's a "project" acquisition, to be sure.

On the 1200s: Once we started looking at GoldWings for the winter project, we noticed that the 1200 false tank seemed to have "flares" in the lowers. We didn't actually visit and touch a 1200, but I imagined it would involve work to delete the flares that flow the false tank into the fairing. I suppose, too, that an 1100 cover might bolt up to the 1200. But we don't need to cross that bridge - on this build, anyway.

The '83, we've come to learn, has some one-year 1100 features, which is both interesting and potentially tricky in terms of parts acquisition. Last weekend, when pulling the cover for the water pump, we unexpectedly encountered the neutral switch. Fun. I think that placement may separate the '83 from the earlier 1100s. Small and probably insignificant overall, but quirky.
Avatar is a summer '21 photo of the Blue Phoenix, our Winter '21 GL1100I gone naked.
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Re: NGW Project in Maine - 1983 Interstate

#4

Post by Whiskerfish »

Welcome to the addiction. One old bike is how it starts. Have fun and enjoy the quality time with your Son. They go away too soon.
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Re: NGW Project in Maine - 1983 Interstate

#5

Post by Track T 2411 »

Looks like a good start! Yes, the '83 models have a lot of one year only stuff. The brakes are 'linked' one front caliper and the rear being actuated by the foot pedal. The caliper and master cylinder rebuild kits are specific to '83, as well. The '83 Aspencade brakes are different still, so be careful if you're buying used parts online.
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Re: NGW Project in Maine - 1983 Interstate

#6

Post by Rednaxs60 »

Welcome and good looking bike for a project. Enjoy the time with your son, look forward to following your project.
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Re: NGW Project in Maine - 1983 Interstate

#7

Post by NotSoLilCrippseys »

This is really a great group. I'm glad I decided to stop lurking and running with info gleaned from the tech help and start contributing by sharing what we're up to.

Episode Two
I now see that it's customary to "name" a project. We don't have a name for this beast, but the snakeskin in the wiring had me thinking of Snake Pliskin, as in, "One might escape from New York, LA, or anywhere." Up here in Maine, we have our own "LA," Lewiston-Auburn. Had we liberated the GW from a shed in LA, that would have seemed fitting for the project. A friend described it as something out of Road Warrior when I shared a photo with him.

Meditate on this, I will.

I'll also consult with my fellow learner, my son. In the meantime, here's another set of photos from the mild teardown (which will not involve pulling the motor, tank, and such). The tank is good, and we don't want to fix too much of what ain't broke.
IMG_20201018_162918.jpg
The first few weeks of work happened right in the driveway. Our shed is 4' off the ground and up steps. We wanted to try to get it running and rolling freely before trying to push it up a ramp into the shed. Mom/wife was not happy, and there was a trashy vibe for awhile, but it's Maine. Our neighbors raise chickens, we have coyotes and foxes walking through the yard, and behind me is a guy with a full-blown construction business operation. Eyesore? Sure. Out of place? Not really.
IMG_20201018_175701.jpg
The pipes. Interesting. One wasn't too tough to remove. The other took about 4 days of on/off persuasion, with heat and PBB. Eventually, she gave way.
IMG_20201025_115946.jpg
Not sure what we'll do with this thing. Maybe it's trash. I think it needs a safe home on the bike, perhaps in the headlight bucket.
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Avatar is a summer '21 photo of the Blue Phoenix, our Winter '21 GL1100I gone naked.
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Re: NGW Project in Maine - 1983 Interstate

#8

Post by Paola Zago »

that old replacement snake skin is almost certainly from a Pantherophis guttatus, a very beautiful and harmless snake.
in Italy it is said that snakeskin brings good luck, and when peasants find it in the fields, they put a small piece of it in their wallet.
so it will definitely be a lucky project!
good continuation
Paola (Italy)
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Re: NGW Project in Maine - 1983 Interstate

#9

Post by NotSoLilCrippseys »

Holy smokes! Thanks for the herpetological lesson. I figured a garter snake - or maybe a red-bellied snake, though it'd be a huge one. Maine doesn't have any native poisonous species - though the bike has bounced around New England for 37 years, and with 55K, it might have done serious time in places with actual, real deadly snakes.

I love the tidbit about peasants, snakeskins, and luck. It's settled: We find a place for it on or in the bike. Maybe we immerse it in acrylic or epoxy and put it in the little tool bin in the faux tank area. Or perhaps it sits between the tank and the seat bottom. Hmm. We'll take it as a good omen.
Avatar is a summer '21 photo of the Blue Phoenix, our Winter '21 GL1100I gone naked.
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Re: NGW Project in Maine - 1983 Interstate

#10

Post by Rat »

The rear master cylinder is unique and can be an issue ... a gl1800 master will work

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Re: NGW Project in Maine - 1983 Interstate

#11

Post by Lucien Harpress »

I hard, I wonder, would it be to de-link the brakes and replace both masters with earlier 1100 ones? Only if the masters are shot, of course.

Yeah, a lot of guys want to strip down the 1200s. It's easy to do, but hard to well, and nearly impossible to do if you want to convert it to a Standard. Shelter is wrong (as you saw, a vast majority of 1200 shelters blend into the fairing, leaving a gaping hole if the fairing is removed), radiator wings are wrong, a BUNCH of headlight, horn, blinker and front fork pieces need to be sourced, and that's only the front end. There are workarounds, but Standards show up enough that if you NEED one, it's cheaper than converting.

You'll have plenty of fun with your 83 anyway. I was going to recommend something with clear epoxy and some milling/shaping for that snakeskin. Heck, there's options right there with that handlebar clamp....
1997 Valkyrie- Light Cutomization, but Too Busy Riding
1969 CT90- Melted Wrist Pin Circlips. Somehow.
1976 GL1000 (Yellow)- In Many Pieces Scattered Around the Garage
1980 KZ1300- Deciphering Carb Tuning Mysteries
1972 CB750 Barn Find- Sidecovers Away At Painter
1974 Velosolex 3800- Better Than Walking

All advice I give is only valid until an expert corrects me.
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Re: NGW Project in Maine - 1983 Interstate

#12

Post by Sagebrush »

I've often thought that if I ever decided on taking on a 1200 as a project that instead of trying to make it completely naked and trying to overcome all the issues with the shelter and headlight and turn signals that I would just embrace the front fairing an turn it into a Honda F6B clone.
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Re: NGW Project in Maine - 1983 Interstate

#13

Post by NotSoLilCrippseys »

Excellent tip on the GL1800 rear master as a workable swap for the 83 GL1100. (Thanks Gord!) And on GL1200s and going nekkid, I guess our instincts were right.

We're first going to attempt a rebuild of both MCs as part of our brake work. If the rear MC can't be primed and made to behave, I guess it's eBay and maybe one off an 1800. I'm optimistic about our chances of rehabilitating the masters.

Linked brakes. There's a lot to read about pros/cons. My son and I tend to be pretty intentional about application of brakes, and separate controls for front and rear is what we're used to. The thought that applying pedal force includes the possible "bonus" of front braking is a little disconcerting. And yet lots of folks report that it's super effective, works well, etc. I'd guess that Honda thought things through and tested extensively as well. Don't overthink it and ride. Link brakes didn't go away after 1983, so they can't have been an engineering disaster akin to Ford's Pinto gas tank design.

The plan - at least right now - is to stay with what's on the bike, so linked. Now, if we run into a problem with the splitter - and I've been down a little Internet rabbit hole on some of that stuff - perhaps delinking is in order. It looks pretty straightforward, with the possible exception of too much force getting applied to the rear and an undersized front caliper piston. Some report a fairly easy delink experience with wonderful results, and perhaps an overly responsive pedal feel; others describe swapping in a suitably matched right caliper as part of the build. And there are options for running lines. Whatever we ultimately end up with, the wisdom on this site is like a well-worn path through that wilderness, with trail markers clearly visible - and guides ready to offer assistance at every fork in the path.

In the coming week(s), I'll share a few photos of what we found on brake disassembly and document a sort of "before and after" on the brake parts. My son is on caliper and master cylinder duty. Alas, college application season, high school midterms, his own bike, and his weekend job - oh, and the girlfriend! - are occupying most of his time. The calipers and masters sit in a bucket, mostly disassembled and awaiting attention.
Avatar is a summer '21 photo of the Blue Phoenix, our Winter '21 GL1100I gone naked.
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Re: NGW Project in Maine - 1983 Interstate

#14

Post by Lucien Harpress »

As far as linked brakes go- I had them on my 1200.

It took me about 5 years to realize I did.

Unless you plan on pushing the thing right to the bleeding edge of it's performance capability on a track day, I wouldn't sweat it.
1997 Valkyrie- Light Cutomization, but Too Busy Riding
1969 CT90- Melted Wrist Pin Circlips. Somehow.
1976 GL1000 (Yellow)- In Many Pieces Scattered Around the Garage
1980 KZ1300- Deciphering Carb Tuning Mysteries
1972 CB750 Barn Find- Sidecovers Away At Painter
1974 Velosolex 3800- Better Than Walking

All advice I give is only valid until an expert corrects me.
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Re: NGW Project in Maine - 1983 Interstate

#15

Post by NotSoLilCrippseys »

On linked brakes, thanks for the real-world report from the field. We won't be pushing the bike anywhere near its limits, I'm certain. If it was a track bike we wanted, we probably wouldn't have started with an Interstate!
Avatar is a summer '21 photo of the Blue Phoenix, our Winter '21 GL1100I gone naked.
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