DIY Motorcycle Ignition

Written by william machin
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DIY Motorcycle Ignition
Motorcycle ignition includes a magneto stator that is located behind the timing cover. (motorcycle reflections image by Janet Wall from Fotolia.com)

A basic motorcycle ignition consists of an ignition switch, battery and a magneto stator. The switch activates a flow of electrical current from the battery and provides spark needed to start the engine. Once the engine is running, the stator takes over and generates spark at a rate controlled by the ignition timing.

Complex ignition systems that include voltage regulators and rectifiers should be entrusted to an experienced motorcycle mechanic. But you can install your own basic ignition by obtaining an ignition switch, battery and stator that adapt to your street or dirt bike wire harness and engine.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Ignition switch
  • 12-volt battery
  • Battery strap
  • Metric socket and ratchet
  • Magneto stator
  • 10-gauge insulated copper wire (red and black)
  • 14-gauge insulated copper wire (red and blue)
  • Wire strippers
  • Ring terminal wire connectors
  • Screwdriver

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Establish a location for the ignition switch. Make sure the switch will not be in close proximity to the exhaust headers or pipes. Install the switch using the provided clips.

  2. 2

    Locate the bolts that hold the motorcycle seat to the upper frame tubes. Remove the bolts using a metric socket and ratchet and set the seat aside.

  3. 3

    Position the 12-volt battery below the level of the upper frame tubes in the area where the seat was removed. Secure the battery in place using a battery strap.

  4. 4

    Remove the hex-head bolts that secure the timing cover on the side of the engine crankcase using the socket and ratchet. Set the cover and bolts aside. The cover is reattached after the timing has been set.

  5. 5

    Insert the connectors on the stator wire leads through the small port at the top of the timing housing. Pull the connectors and stator wires through the housing from above and press the stator into place on the timing cam. Connect the leads from the stator to the existing wire harness by pushing the connectors fully into the fitting on the harness.

  1. 1

    Cut a length of red 10-gauge insulated copper wire that connects between the positive battery post and the main electrical bus bar. Cut the wire with a wire cutting and stripping tool.

    Bare both ends of the 10-gauge wire 1/2-inch with the wire tool and attach a ring terminal wire connector on one end. Attach the connector to the positive battery post. Attach the opposite end of the wire to the main bus bar.

  2. 2

    Determine a ground connection near the battery, such as a bolt that secures an accessory to the motorcycle frame. Cut a length of black 10-gauge insulated wire that connects between the ground and the negative battery post.

    Bare the ends of the wire 1/2-inch and attach a ring terminal connector to one end. Loosen the ground bolt. Wrap the opposite end of the wire around the ground bolt and tighten the bolt. Do not attach the ring terminal to the battery until the wiring is completed.

  3. 3

    Refer to the ignition switch wiring diagram and identify the "Battery" terminal on the back of the switch. Cut a length of red 12-gauge wire that connects between the terminal and the main electrical bus bar.

    Bare both ends of the wire 1/2-inch. Attach one end of the wire to the "Battery" terminal on the ignition switch. Attach the other end to the main bus bar.

  4. 4

    Trace the path of the wiring harness from the magneto stator connection to the bus block and identify the magneto terminal on the block. Refer to the ignition switch wiring diagram and Identify the "Ignition" terminal on the back of the switch.

    Cut a length of blue 12-gauge wire that connects between the ignition switch and the magneto terminal on the bus bar. Bare the ends of the wire 1/2-inch and connect the wire to the ignition terminal on the switch and the bus block.

  5. 5

    Attach the ring terminal connector on the black ground wire to the negative battery terminal. Put the motorcycle in "Neutral" and turn the ignition switch on. The neutral light should illuminate.

    Consult an experienced motorcycle technician or repair manual for ignition timing instructions. Set the timing using a timing light and reattach the timing cover.

Tips and warnings

  • Refer to a repair manual or magneto stator instructions for alternative wiring connections for a particular motorcycle engine.
  • Install an additional battery strap for dirt and off-road riding.

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