Travelling on a motorcycle is very different than in cars. The little things we take for granted become major necessities. A good example is keeping a map to your destination in the passenger's seat for easy reference. If you are on motorcycle, checking a map means finding a safe place to stop, putting the kickstand down, digging through your pockets and then remembering as much of the map as you can. A GPS can change this for you, but you cannot just plug it into the cigarette lighter. If you are moderately handy and have a motorcycle tool kit, there is no reason you can't do this one yourself.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Motorcycle tool kit
- Zip ties
- Clean shop towels
- Mounting kit (if not included with your GPS unit)
- Electrical tape
Prepare for the job by moving your motorcycle to a level surface and ensuring it is stable. Lay out your tool kit and become familiar with your parts. Read the instructions on your mounting hardware.
Remove the passenger's seat by turning the bolt to the rear of the seat counterclockwise and carefully lifting away from the motorcycle. Repeat with the rider's seat, removing the two bolts behind the seat. You may need to pull the seat slightly towards the rear of the motorcycle to unseat the assembly.
Identify the negative battery terminal and remove the cable from the battery. Then wrap the end of the cable in a clean shop towel. Repeat with the positive terminal. Then turn on the motorcycle's electronics without starting the motorcycle. This will ensure than any additional electricity in the motorcycle is discharged and the fuel pump is discharged. Wait 5 minutes and then turn the electronics off.
Remove the fuel tank by disconnecting the fuel line from the left side of the tank. Then wrap with a shop towel to prevent leaking. Disconnect the electrical connection which powers the fuel pump and reports your fuel level. Locate the bolt at the rear of the fuel tank--this should have been revealed when you removed the seat--and remove it. Then gently pull back and up to remove the fuel tank while checking to see if your motorcycle has any additional connections made to the fuel tank. Place the fuel tank on shop towels out of the way and cover carefully with towels to prevent damage to the finish.
Following the mounting instructions included with the handlebar mounting kit, secure the mount to your handle bars. Following the path of the electric cables already on your motorcycle, thread the wiring along the handlebars and frame back to the battery. Securing the wires with zip ties as needed. Bundle any excess wiring and secure with zip ties.
Replace the fuel tank by doing step 4 in reverse. If the new wiring has exposed wire at the end, attach one wire to each to the positive and negative battery cables, being sure that the wire touches bare metal. Then secure with electrical tape and reconnect your battery while ensuring the positive cable connects to positive. If your wiring has loops at the end, place one between the positive terminal and the battery cable and the other loop between the negative terminal of your battery cable. Secure the cables.
Replace your motorcycle seats by reversing step 2 and power up your device as indicated by the manufacturer.
Tips and warnings
- This article is based on a Harley Davidson Softail motorcycle, but other motorcycles are similar.
- Be sure to check the power specifications for your motorcycle's electrical system to ensure that your motorcycle will have enough power to run the GPS system and maintain proper function of your motorcycle.
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