Gold Wing Road Riders Association
Chapter AB-A Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Don's Air Filter Installation for GL1800 Goldwing

The Service Manual for the GL1800 says to replace the Air Cleaner every 19,200 Kilometers (12,000 miles). This is one of those "asterisked" items which means that it "Should only be serviced by your dealer, unless the owner has proper tools and service data and is mechanically qualified". Well, my bike had over 20,000 kilometers and I've done a lot more than replace Air Filters in the past so I figured that I'd go ahead and do this myself. Note that the cost of the new Filter is virtually immaterial compared to the amount of time it takes to replace it.

Some words of warning for folks setting out to do this:

- Make sure you have a Service Manual - you will need it.
- If you are not mechanically minded, don't attempt this.
- Make sure you have between 3 and 4 hours to complete this.

IF you are going to use the following as any kind of guide, please read it all the way through and make sure you fully understand it before you start to do any work on your bike. As previously mentioned, you will need the GL1800 Service Manual - Instructions for replacing the Air Filter begin on page 3-5.

The Author cannot be held liable for anything that happens due to someone reading or following what is written in this document.

Seeing as I had not done this before, I laid out a couple of blankets on the garage floor so that I could arrange items in the order that I took them off. This is important because in some cases, a series of say 3 bolts need to be removed but one of those bolts is different than the other 2 - when reassembling, which hole does the different bolt go into? Laying everything out helps during reassembly.


1. The Service Manual says to first remove the top shelter. But to do this you have to first remove the fairing pockets, the meter panel, the left and right fairing moldings (don't break any of those tabs), the seat and the left and right side covers. Then they tell you to disconnect a couple of other things and "voila" you're there. Simple - right? Well, as you'll find out, while doing this you'll be disconnecting some 20+ electrical connections while getting down to the filter. This is one of those cases where you would NEVER just check the filter. With all that gear off, you'll want to change that filter out.


2. I don't recall whether the manual states this or not but, with the number of electrical items that you'll be disconnecting and reconnecting, I'd advise that once you get the left side cover off, you disconnect the battery (Negative connection first]. And, if you have the same Scorpio Alarm installed that I do, don't forget to turn it off first.


3. This is a shot of a nice new clean filter, just removed from the bag. This is the top of the filter. If you touch this part you'll find that although it is a paper filter, it is impregnated with "something" that makes it a bit sticky, thus helping to filter out "stuff".


4. Flipping the Filter over, you can see the wire mesh on the backside. It appears that a good chunk of engineering has gone into what was once a simple item.


5. Alright, I'm not sure how long it took to get to this point but I now have completed Step 1 "Remove the Top Shelter". Looking at the top of the picture you can see my helmet - that was the quickest to remove. You'll also note all of the side panels (chrome ones at the top of the picture under the helmet and passenger ones beside the Shelter). The Meter Panel is shown kinda top center - when you go to take this off, get a flashlight to see the small electrical connection, it is NOT intuitive at all and can cause a lot of grief to get off. You can see the fairing pockets beside the Meter Panel. I've laid out the bolts, screws and clips between the Meter Panel and Top Shelter in the order that they'll go back on the bike. You can also see part of the 2 Fairing Moldings between the Meter Panel and Top Shelter. And finally, the seat at the bottom of the picture. Oh, and top right is the back of my VFR800


6. And this is what the bike looks like with all that stuff off! If you look closely between the handlebars and down a bit, you'll see a green label. That's the area that we'll be going into. That mess of wiring off to the left has to all be disconnected - yahoo! The paper laid out on the floor is there cause I also did an oil change.


7. OK, now you have a close up of the next layer to take off. Note on the upper left of this picture that big grey "block", I've already disconnected some big thing. Then note mid and right top and you'll see two more blocks where I've disconnected "stuff". When you look at the box I'm pointing to, you'll see another half dozen items that need to be disconnected on the left and there's more way over on the right. But, you've spent this amount of time getting this far, time to take apart more!


8. Everything is now disconnected from this layer and the screws have been taken out so I can lift out the cover. But, this also houses the cruise control (the right hand side of the cover) - you can see a cable exiting at a 45 degree angle from the top.


9. I didn't want to disconnect the cruise control so I just moved the whole unit off to the right side. This does make a bit more work for getting layer 3 off but I didn't want to disturb the Cruise. You can see the cruise cable and the adjusting screw and locknut. I "think" this is the piece that is adjusted in order to have your cruise kick in when it should (instead of losing 2 to 5 KPH before kicking in).


10. Now we are down to layer 3. This is the actual cover for the Air Filter. You'll notice that it sits inside the frame and you'll also notice that there are 2 inlets at the top. As part of the removal of parts, there are "snorkels" attached to these inlets. The snorkeks point down when installed and all I did was make sure during reassembly that they weren't blocked by anything. There are 6 screws as I recall that hold this on and of course it has one electrical connection also (an "Intake Air Temperature (IAT) sensor").


11. Tadaaaa! There's the old Filter. Yup, looks dirty to me. But believe me, by the time you get to this point, you'll want to put in a clean filter as you won't want to have to go through this again soon. Be carefull and lift straight out so nothing drops anywhere.


12. Normally, I put the new filter in RIGHT AWAY but thought I'd take a picture or two of what is under that filter. You can see the twin throttle bodies here (or at least the tops of them) with the butterfly valves closed (ie no throttle).


13. Roll on the throttle and those valves open up fully. Here's what they look like when you are pulling away from someone!


14. The new Air Filter has been carefully put in place. Note that it is indeed cleaner than the old one.


15. I laid out the Air Filter Cover and the two Snorkles. Although it may not look like it, I've also laid out the screws in the same order as I took them out. The Service Manual calls for replacement of the "seal rubber" from the Air Filter Cover. However, as I had not purchased this, I didn't bother doing that and, seeing as I'm doing this replacement in less than a year, I don't expect there to be a problem with reusing this for awhile.


16. This shows all of the pieces that have to be taken off the bike in order to get to the filter. Not the simplist filter I've had to change. I sure won't be doing this kind of thing earlier than required.


17. Now all that remains is to put all those pieces back together again. Be careful, don't force anything and you should be fine. Some of the electrical connections can take a bit of force to seat but, they are all keyed and all different so you shouldn't have a problem. I did not label the connections as I took them apart because of the keying of them. Note that I have the driving lights, heated grips and auxiliary DC power outlet which all have to be disconnected as you are working through the disassembly.



This is definitely a rainy day weekend job. It is another one that I'd tackle early on a Saturday so I could "go and get stuff" if I needed it. As I said at the start, it took me between 3 1/2 and 4 hours to complete this although I did do an oil change at the same time. I'd still give my self a good 3 hours to do it next time although it'd likely take less than 2 on the second go around.

I didn't notice any performance changes afterwards but then I don't think that Filter was all that bad to begin with.

This is one of those items that I'd consider getting my local dealer to do. I'd have to check out what they'd charge but if I only had to pay for an hours labour or so and I could ride instead of wrench well, I might just do that. I figure that at the next replacement interval (28,400 Kilometers: 24,000 Miles), I'll likely get the dealer to do this along with the other recommended services (Radiator Coolant replacement, Final Drive Oil replacement, Brake & Clutch Fluid Replacement). I don't mind doing some wrenching but heck I've got to ride some too!

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