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GL1800 Starter Button Maintenance
By Chet Walters
Click for Chet's Wing Pages

TOOLS & Materials
#2 Phillips Head Screwdriver
Utility knife or small flat screwdriver
Needlenose pliers
ScotchBrite pad or light abrasive
Plastic safe contact cleaner
bulb grease
From Wolfgang:  I found that a spring from one of those long bic BBQ lighters is the right diameter but too long. Just cut off 2-3 coils and it works like a charm for replacing the worn and weak shunt spring.  Keeps the button from corroding so fast too!

From a post by FredH. on GL1800 riders.
The exact dimensions of the OEM spring in the hazard switch are 14mm long by 2.8 mm in diameter. Fully compressed, it is about 8.6mm

Grainger spring PN 1NBY2 is 12.7 mm by 3mm with a compressed length of 5.2mm, so it is very close to the OEM size

If you can't find the screws, click the pic.

In this exercise, we will illustrate how to repair or maintain the starter switch and the reverse switch on Honda GL1800 motorcycles. Sometimes this simple maintenance can save you getting stuck on the road, or the many $$$ + labor to get it fixed. One should note that the GL1800 motorcycles have the headlight run through the contacts on the start switch so that when the button is pressed, the headlight goes out in order to supply full current to the starter.  The lo beams and the right hi beam are run with relays, but the left hi beam is run directly from this switch. If all four of your headlights won't come on with the key or you have intermittent problems with starting, this is likely your huckleberry. The start switch like the horn switch is one of the few that you can actually clean with a spray from outside the housing. See the pic below. Spray contact cleaner into the switch a the top and work it several times. If you do this regularly (at every oil change for example) with just a good spray, you will probably never need to pull it to pop the tabs and pull the start switch apart.

The best way to remove the entire housing without a hassle is to take the right handle bar off the top bridge and slide the switch cluster off the end of the bar. For access to the reverse switch, drop down the lower switch housing by removing the two #2 Phillips screws on the bottom of the housing. First, spray some contact cleaner into the cruise button and work the button several times. Next, squirt the reverse switch and work it many times (you should as a practice, work your reverse switch at least once on each riding day even if you do not intend to use reverse - this will help to keep it in working order).  But, if you do need to take the start switch out, USING A #2 PHILLIPS (all screws are #2 no matter how small they appear) remove the cruise button to get access to the start button then there is only one #2 screw to remove so you can pull the start switch. 

The tabs on the start switch are very fragile. Usually, just a good spray with plastic safe contact cleaner on a switch that's not taken apart will do the trick.  It is very easy to break the tab shown if you do decide to disassemble.

Carefully scrub the contacts shown with a simple pencil eraser and some contact cleaner. If pitting is evident as shown in the picture gently use scotchbrite to clean. Then add a little bulb grease to them. The two shunts have springs under them and if they are stuck you can carefully pull them and fix the springs below, grease then re-assemble. If you find you need to replace the springs, use the ones listed above. One extra note:  NEVER START YOUR BIKE WITH THE HI BEAMS ON. The left hi beam is not hooked to a relay, but runs directly thru this switch.  If it's dirty, it can arc and heat up and melt the switch.  Only have your lo beams on when you start your bike.  One 55 watt bulb has cost lots of people their start switch on Honda cruisers for a long time because those bikes don't have relays.  For the left 55 watt HI neither does the wing. If you run your hi beams all the time with a dirty start switch it can give you grief.

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The information on these pages is accurate to the best of the author's knowledge. The author can assume no responsibility for the use or misuse of this information by the reader. The reader is expected to secure any other information needed from Service Manuals or other sources. It is up to the reader to determine his/her ability to make any modifications noted. If the reader does not feel qualified he/she should enlist professional help.