suspension mod – ’02

2003 Goldwing. Mod to adjust the rear suspension while riding.

The ’03 Goldwing has an oil pump which you can control while stopped and in neutral to adjust the hight/stifness of the rear shock absorber. This web page details how to over ride the requirement to be stopped before you can adjust it.Before we even get to the pros and cons on this mod, you need to know that you should be very comfortable messing with your bikes electrics. You should know how to read a circuit diagram; you should be proficient in soldering. You should also know that if you do this modification you will die in a fiery crash and not receive a cent from your insurance company (i.e. the standard internet disclaimer…. Along with the usual ‘its not my fault if you follow my directions perfectly and still manage to blow up your bike or run off the road because you were adjusting it as you ride instead of looking where you were going!’).
You need to know that the colors in the Honda manual did not match the colors in my bike, so you must verify all wires before you connect yours. DO NOT just copy mine (ie, you need to know how to use a mulitmeter and check switches, relays and so on).
So, having said that, let me say this, it is not for everyone, for starters the display does not automatically change when you press the up, down, memo1 or memo2 buttons like it does when you are stopped and in neutral. You have to press the display button twice (or do the indicator cancel mod and use that button) to see what it’s currently set at before you start adjusting it.
The adjustment to go from 0 to 25 or back takes longer than the display timer, so it always takes two ‘display’ goes to adjust it from either extreme to the other. (I rarely have it at one extreme and want to go to the other, but I thought I should mention it). i.e. Unlike the usual way of using it, the display does not stay on the adjust screen till you are done.
Also the memo1 and memo2 buttons do not work while you are in motion. (This is a great pity, so much so that next time I am in there I want to see if the button ground from the control unit is ground when you are moving, or if just when stopped and in neutral. If it’s the latter, I think we should be able to ground it and thus get the memo buttons working. I think just being able to select either of the memory positions will make this mod a killer app. It will remove so many of the negatives of this mod that it will become a no brainer to do it).
Lastly the automatic end stops no longer work. So you can keep your finger on up or down and the motor will just keep running with the display showing 0 or 25. Is this an issue? I don’t know. I take my finger off when it gets to where I want it.
The good news is that it works exactly as it should when you are stopped and in neutral.
Given all those negative points, why did I still go ahead and do this modification? Because I think the pros out weigh the cons.
I bought the bike to ride, not to sit on the side of the road showing off my polishing skills. I eat on the wing, so the only stops I make are for bladder and petrol. Time and time again I would get into a bit of road and be on the wrong setting and just put up with it (on twisty roads, there is not always a safe place to pull over). Often I would be curious about what it would be like to feel the difference as I am riding. Lastly, the roads here in Southern California change, constantly, in very little distance. Its great now as I can just hit the button on the road and change the response of the bike as I go. Its amazing how much more noticeable it is to feel it change as you ride. I use the adjuster a lot more now than in the past, lastly, I feel that some of the handling issues of the bike can be over come by tuning the bike for the current road conditions by the seat of your pants.

So, having read the pros and cons, here is what is involved the way I did it……..

circuit diagram

Here is the big picture of what we are going to do. (Look at the circuit while you follow along here). We are going to power up the master relay all the time. Then, we are going to take the up and down switches directly to their relays, bypassing the control electronics. That’s it. Should take you about 2 hours all up.

top shelter removed

Remove the top shelter. Yeah, I know, but I spent about 1 and ¾ hours trying to get to the connector through the left pocket and cut my hands up and generally got pretty frustrated. In the end, I spent the 10 minutes and took off the shelter. Should have done that from the start! Those that tell you it takes three hours to change the air filter say that because they have three hours to spend on it. You can change the filter in about 30-40 minutes very comfortably. That’s taking it apart, putting a new one in, and putting it back together. Anyway, little rant over, back to the mod. Take off the top shelter in the usual way.

While you have the top shelterer moved, its a good time to tweak the slack in the cruise control. Start the bike and undo the adjuster until the idle speed goes up, now screw it back in about 1/2 to 3/4 of a turn. That’s it, do the lock nut back up…… Ok, back to the mod……

Remove the two ‘screws’ holding the large connector block onto the lower air vent tube.
You want the rear blue connector.
I could not find all the wires I wanted there, so I put one of the bypass wires on the relays under the seat (which is off to get the shelter off, so no big deal here).

connect through pocket

As you can see, its just not real easy to get to the blue connector with it still in the pocket.

release the blue connector

You might be able to get to it from here, but I could not. Its your call.

I want to clearly point out that this mod is NOT mine. I got it off the Internet.
What is different is that I could not find the wires that the original guy used and the wires were different colors and in different locations on my 2003 from what he described. He also put a connector in the middle so when it is unplugged it all goes back to normal. Because I could not find the master relay power wire at the blue or gray connector and because I plan on keeping my bike forever or selling it to my clone, I did not put the connector in the middle of it all.

So, lets start under the seat.
Remove the two screws holding the relay cover. Pop all the relay bank tabs and remove all the relay banks from the cover.
You want the middle bank. Check out the photo. I chose to cut the red wire. You can splice it if you like. Make sure that you cover up the cuts and solder. Do not put the relays all back. We are not done there yet.

relays over view

Here is a close up view of the mod required to the master relay.

master power relay mod

If you can find this wire on the blue or gray connector, you will not have to do this step and it would keep all the mods under the top shelter.

Find the up and down switch on the connector near the side panel. Mark which ones they are on the other side of the connector. Refer to the photo for my O3 (Silly as it sounds, I think not all 03’s will be the same!).

down relay

up relay

Next we need to go from the up and down relays under the seat to the blue connector.
I just used my multimeter and probed the blue connector till I found them.
Mark those wires at the blue connector.
Now, you can put the relays under the seat back together and put the cover on.
Put two jumper wires between the blue connector and the connector behind the side panel.
Cover them so they cant short out.

up and down switch wires

Put everything back together.
That’s it.
Told you it would not be hard or take long.

It is really nice to ride and tweak the setting as you go. Its amazing the difference.
You could sort of feel it when you stopped, but it’s a LOT more pronounced when you do it as you are riding.