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GL1100 Engine2
GL1100 Engine2

An online source dedicated to Honda's amazing four cylinder Goldwings!

Fitting a Sprung Primary Chain Tensioner to '75 - '77 GL1000

The first of the GL1000s have only 'slider' guides on both sides of the primary chain, with no adjustment possible. These have a hard type of rubber face, which wears, as does the primary chain itself. This gives rise to the infamous idling clattering at the rear of the high mileage engines.

This clattering can be mitigated by carefull balancing of the carburettors, but eventually you are are going to have to split the cases and renew the chain.

In the redesign of the GL1000 for the '78 model, a spring loaded tensioner was fitted, which greatly reduced the engine idle noise. A slightly better design went into the 1100 and finally an even better one for the 1200.


Any of these sprung tensioners can be fitted to the early engine; they will simply bolt on place of the left hand slider.


These tensioners do require a modification to the early primary chain bottom oil trough.


It is very important to do this mod before before fitting it. If you forget, the crankcase halves will not go together as the tensioner hits the trough.


You can either cut it away as in the pictures or leave it out as in the 1100, but personally I would always fit it since we all know how the 1000 primary wears even with it. It seems that the wider 1100 primary chain is not so susceptible to wear so it was left out. (actually I think it was left out because there is no space to fit it along with the wider chain. It would have meant (another) crankcase re-design!).


This shows the interference from the tensioner. This trough was fitted into the crankcase and the two halves put together and hit, so that the trough was marked where the tensioner bracket collided with it.

If you forget to do this and try to assemble the engine, it is possible to remove the unit without pulling the left side right off the pistons if you are careful, but it is far better to not to forget!


The other alternative is to find a trough from a '78 -'79 engine which already has the required shape.


If you decide to use a tensioner from a 1200, do NOT try to use the 1200 fixed chain guide in the other side of the crankcases. It is much too thick and the crank will not sit down into the cases because the primary chain rests on it.

DSCN1098 (Medium)
DSCN1097 (Medium)

These pictures shows the area needing to be removed.

DSCN1099 (Medium)

1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980  GoldWing 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987

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J G Evans

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