Rudy's GL1500 Procedure Pages          Main Guides Page

Using a small Motorcycle Lift (ATV Lift)      last revised March 24, 2006

This is the way I do it, you may have a better way.  I'm open to other opinions, corrections and improvements.
I make no warranties, nor can I account for any misinterpretation or deviations from these steps anyone may make.
Use this information at your own risk, but please use caution and make safety a priority.


I use one of the Harbor Freight ATV/Motorcycle lift rated at 1500 lbs. (my 1500 weighs about 835 lbs).  This procedure is applicable to most of the lifts of this type.  I think I paid $60 for it.  It is a steel lift and will go as low as 4 inches.  My bike has been modified from the stock 1989 GL1500.  Many 'features' have been added and my fairing and engine bars are from newer models.  If yours is different, you may need a different wrench than shown but everything should be pretty much equivalent and easily adapted to.  YOU MUST HAVE A LEVEL CONCRETE FLOOR TO USE THIS TYPE OF JACK!

Starting out:
As with most things on the GLs taking the seat off is usually the first step to accessing things on the bike.  I always do it when jacking for strapping stability and to avoid the irritation of realizing that I needed to later.

Remove the 4 bolts (two on each side) of the seat's grab handles and set them aside.
Grab the back of the seat (not the backrest) and lift it up about 3 inches.
Pull the seat to the rear of the bike while rocking the seat a little side to side until the front tab of
the seat frame pulls out of it's socket just under the gas door housing.  Set the seat aside.



With the seat off, next gently remove the side panels.  Do this by sliding your finger under the
front side of each panel and gently lift away pulling the plastic pins from the rubber grommets that
hold them.  Try to keep the panel in a straight outward position as much as possible while you free
the pins to prevent breaking the plastic pins off.  It's not fun if you do.



With the panels removed you will be able to safely strap the bike to the jack without interference
 or damage to the paint or seat.




Make sure the bike is on the side stand.  Slide the jack under the right side of the bike.



I like to start out aligning the right pad of the jack just a little ahead of center of the brake pedal.
Depending on what you bikes brake pedal is like and the weight distribution of your bike, you
will have to try a few times to find where the bike is balanced on the jack when lifted and where
both wheels lift off the ground almost at the same time.  This first try was too front heavy.   It took
three trys to get the bike balanced once on the lift.   It's a very fine balance point.



Insert the jack pads as shown.  They are a good size for the bike and fit all the way across.
Some people make wood shims to keep the bike from being lifted on the exhaust manifold on the
right side of the bike.  I  lift on the headers and have had no problems as has also been the case reported
by others.  If you are anal about the headers, you have more work to do before proceeding.  I'm not.



You are going to be lifting the left side of the bike with the jack first.  As the bike rises, it will rock
toward you  while it becomes level and lifted and settles on the jack arms.  You hold the right handlebar
grip with your right hand and the jack handle with your left hand while jacking with your left foot
and standing on your right foot.  This will allow you to control the bike as it settles onto the jack.
This is the best way I have seen and I don't like non-foot pumped jacks because you have less control
with them than this type.  It's a little disconcerting when the bike starts to move toward you but it
will settle on the jack arms properly.



Begin a trial lift of just enough to get the wheels to come up.  That way you can tell if you are off
center when one or the other wheel stays down.  Another thing is that once both wheels lift just off
the ground, you want to rock the bike front to back gently to see if finer adjustments of the jack
position are necessary.



Now for the scary part.  Jack the balanced bike up as far as you need.  Ideally, you should put it up
as high as the jack will allow so that the stress on the arms doing the lifting is minimized.   This is
the riskiest time of the process because you have 800+ lbs up in the air, the bike can rock front to
back and you don't have any straps attched to add stability.  I don't recommend doing anything to
the bike until it is stabilized further.  If you do you asking to get hurt or worse.
You cannot and should not leave the bike held up by the jack pump alone.  You must go as high as
possible and then set the jack catch shown below and then release the jack onto the catch, relieving
the stress on the pump.  The mike will jump down so make sure you have your hands on the bike
handlebar grip and jack to keep it stable while dropping to the stop.



Unless you like your shins gashed, go ahead and put the sidestand up.  You will need to remember
to put it back down before dropping the bike when unjacking.  I'll remind you.



I strongly recommend stabilizing the bike's front to back rocking stability.  Particularly if you will
be taking weight on or off one end or another of the bike, or will be wrenching hard on the bike.
I normally use a standard automotive jack stand on the rear tow bar and shim the front wheel with
 wood.  That will give you a 3 or 4 point of support and you will be amazed how much safer the whole
thing will become.  No more rocking at all.   The exception is if I need to remove the front wheel or
forks.  In that case, I don't shim the front wheel, but it's still very stable and if I remove weight
from the front it will just add weight to the jack stand in the rear.  Don't skip this step!



Ok, what the hell is this????  Well I always strap my bike to the jack and you should too. 
It is mostly useful for side to side stability.   I don't like to hook to the frame.  I prefer to wrap
one strap across the top of the bike to both sides of the jack.  Unfortunately, there is no good place
to do this that I'm satisfied with and the jack is forward ot the low spot on the bike seat area, and
I dont want a strap tightened on the hoses, sharp edges or the electrical compononts on the top of
the gas tank.  Enter the strap tree.
The tree is oak and it is long enough to lock into place and bridge the tank parts while raising the
strap point forward on the bike where I want it, in line with the jack.



Once wrapped with a shop rag, to protect the strap and prevent slippage, I can cinch the bike down
to the jack as tightly as I want with minimal interference to other parts of the bike.



The tip of the strap tree fits into the seat frame slot in front.
Maybe I'll paint it and make a Christmas candle decoration out of it during
the holidays.



Do your work comfortably and safely.  When done, just reverse the procedures.


Six important lowering points:

1.  Remove the strap.
2.  REMOVE THE JACK STAND AND SHIMS BEFORE DROPPING THE BIKE DOWN.
3.  PUT THE SIDESTAND DOWN BEFORE DROPPING THE BIKE DOWN.
4.  WHEN YOU LOWER THE JACK, YOU WILL HAVE TO RAISE IT FIRST TO UNLOCK THE BLOCK BAR.
5.  THE BIKE WILL DROP QUICKLY ON SOME JACKS (I prefer that).  LET IT DROP STRAIGHT DOWN
WHILE HOLDING THE HANDLEBAR GRIP JUST LIKE WHEN YOU JACKED IT UP.
6.  WITH THE WHEELS ON THE FLOOR, SLOWLY EASE THE BIKE AWAY FROM YOU TO THE RIGHT ONTO THE SIDESTAND.
(this will scare you because you can't see the stand, but it will be there if you did step 2 above.)

Go riding.

Email me if you have any questions, or procedural improvements.








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