Wiring a scooter tends to happen particularly with old, vintage scooters where new parts are hard to find or not available anymore. Newer scooters can be supported with brand new wiring harnesses for replacements, but old scooters require home-construction sometimes of the necessary electrical systems. The job can be challenging, but it is not impossible. Following the proper steps can make the process orderly and successful with patience, sufficient wire supply, research, and a basic understanding of automotive wiring.
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Things you need
- Electrical wire in 18-, 16-, and 14-gauge sizes
- Electrical tape
- Shrink wrap electrical tubing
- Wiring crimper
- Wire connectors of various types
- Wire stripper
- Wire cutter/snipper
- Amp meter
- Battery tester
Locate a wiring diagram that applies to your scooter model. Research the Internet if you are unable to secure a copy from your local scooter parts dealer. Print multiple copies of the diagram. Apply colouring to black and white diagrams with coloured pens to represent the wire colour for a specific circuit. Purchase the appropriate wire supply in the related colours from a hardware store. Also purchase sufficient wire connectors to match your scooter electrical parts and buy electrical tape. Always use 16- or 14-gauge red wire and black wire for connections to the battery.
Consider the distances each wire will need to travel in your scooter. Cut appropriate lengths of wire for each colour needed. Do not apply the connectors yet. Lay each wire out on a long table as a workspace. Line them up side-by-side. Determine where the wiring will need to branch out for the front of the scooter and for the back. Take a small piece of electrical tape and bind the wires together at these points. Measure the distance between one tape mark and the other and cut that same distance out of electrical shrink wrap tubing with scissors. Run the wires bound together through the tubing so that it covers the middle area marked. Use a match and carefully heat the tubing enough to shrink it onto the wires. Don't burn the tubing or wires.
At the points of branching out, select the wires that will go to specific areas (i.e. headset, side indicators, rear brake, battery and fuses, tail light, engine, etc.). Shrink-wrap smaller sets of wires going to the same locations leaving enough for the wires to branch out again at the destination. Repeat the task for each subbranch of wiring. Use electrical tape to cover up the joints between branches.
Take what is now a partially finished wiring harness and run it through the scooter body cavity, using a straightened-out coat hanger as a guide. Fish the wiring through the body so that it comes through to the headset and wires reach the back area. Guide each wire to its destination. Snip off the excess wire, strip the insulation off the end by a half-inch distance and install the appropriate connector. Attach the connector to the appropriate scooter electrical part. Do this for every connection until finished.
Connect the red and black wire leads to the scooter battery, starting with the black lead first. Don't connect the red wire first. Turn on the ignition to start the electrical current. Test the scooter electrical parts, including the lights, indicators, brake lights, and horn. Check the fuse is not burnt out if the system fails. Find the short, repair it, and retry the system. Start the scooter engine and test again if the system passes the first test level. Finish the job, clean up the workspace, and take the scooter for a test ride.
Tips and warnings
- Finding a wiring short can be tricky work. Use an amp meter to test both ends of a wire circuit to see which coloured wire has the short. This process of elimination cuts down guesswork and time.
- Always use goggles when working with an automotive battery. Avoid sparks because they can ignite battery gas and cause an explosion.
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