How to Uninstall the Ignition Switch on a Kawasaki 1100

Kawasaki has produced several 1,100cc motorcycles throughout the years, ranging from the 1981 KZ1100 to the more recent ZX-11 Ninja. All of these motorcycles have ignition switches mounted onto the upper fork clamp, set between the instrument cluster and the handlebars, for easy access. This arrangement typically provided the ignition switch with some protection. However, a crash or an attempted theft can damage the switch and render it inoperable. Although it would appear that the switch could simply be unbolted from the upper fork clamp, removing the switch entirely requires partial disassembly of the motorcycle.

Park the motorcycle on its centre stand, if equipped. The motorcycle may by parked on its kick stand, but a centre stand or service lift will provide a greater amount of accessibility to the motorcycle's ignition switch and wiring.

Remove the seat from the motorcycle, using the seat lock attached to the left side of the motorcycle.

Remove the fuel tank. Unscrew the mounting bolts located at the base of the fuel tank, using a 10mm socket and a socket wrench. Unscrew the forward mounting bolts near the handlebars with a 10mm socket, if you are working on a ZX-11. Lift the fuel tank up and pull the fuel hoses off of the fuel valve. Unplug electrical connectors from the tank. Pull the fuel tank to the rear, then away from the motorcycle.

Loosen the pinch bolts on both sides of the upper fork clamp, using a 12mm socket and a socket wrench. Unscrew the large nut from the centre of the upper fork clamp, using a 22mm socket and a socket wrench. Do not remove the handlebars or control levers from the upper fork clamp.

Grasp the handlebars with both hands and pull the upper fork clamp off of the front fork and the lower fork clamp steering stem. Follow the ignition switch wiring from the upper fork clamp to the wiring harness along the motorcycle's frame. Unplug the ignition switch connector.

Flip the upper fork clamp forward, and lay it across the motorcycle's frame with the handlebars facing. Unscrew the ignition switch mounting bolts from the bottom of the upper fork clamp, using a T20 Torx driver (1990 and newer models) or a 6mm Allen wrench (1989 or older models). Pull the ignition switch out from the upper fork clamp.

Reinstall the ignition switch into the upper fork clamp. Coat the ignition switch mounting bolt threads with a semi-permanent thread-locking compound. Screw the bolts into place until they are seated firmly against the bottom of the upper fork clamp, using a TR20 Torx driver or a 6mm Allen wrench.

Plug the ignition switch connector into the motorcycle's wiring harness. Push the upper fork clamp onto the front fork and the lower fork clamp steering stem. Screw the upper fork clamp nut into place by hand, then tighten the nut to 32 foot-pounds with a 22mm socket and a torque wrench. Tighten the upper fork clamp pinch bolts to 15 foot-pounds, using a 12mm socket and a torque wrench.

Push the catches built into the front of the fuel tank onto the frame-mounted rubber dampers near the handlebars. If you are working on a ZX11 model, hold the tank over the motorcycle's engine and frame. Reconnect the tank's electrical connectors and fuel hoses, then lower the tank onto the motorcycle. Screw the fuel tank mounting bolts into place, using a 10mm socket and a socket wrench.

Reinstall the seat onto the motorcycle. Push down on the seat to latch the seat lock mechanism in the locked position, indicated by a single click.


Additional steps may be required to remove and replace the ignition switch from your particular motorcycle. Refer to a Kawasaki factory service manual for detailed instructions and torque specifications for your specific model.

Things You'll Need

  • Service lift
  • 10, 12 and 22mm socket
  • Socket wrench
  • T20 Torx driver
  • 6mm Allen wrench
  • Semi-permanent thread-locking compound
  • Torque wrench
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

An avid motorcyclist, Chris Gilliland has immersed himself into the two-wheeled world while balancing work life and raising three daughters. When he is not managing the parts department of a local, multi-line motorcycle dealership, Gilliland can often be found riding, writing or working on his motorcycle blog, Wingman's Garage.