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Wiring, Tuning And A Compu-Fire Starter Sparks Bandit's Blue Blaze To Life

By Wrench

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Wiring is the nemesis of man, the puzzle of the best builders, the hornet's nest of breakdown treachery. Bandit sat for hours drawing a wiring schematic for Agent Zebra's Softail, only to rip it to shreds and toss it in the trash. He made lists while Sin Wu brewed strong coffee and baked peanut butter cookies. Bandit barked and growled for a couple of days with each run to the marine store for connectors, to the electronics store for switches, to the Custom Chrome catalog for components. The same formula fit his own West Coast entry in the Sturgis Bikernet Chop-Off. We knew as soon as he mentioned that the bike was ready to wire, that we should pack our shit and leave. We took the case of Jack fifths, the girls, and checked into the nearest fleabag motel. While we sat around the stanky pool and partied, Bandit thought about each wire, each connection, and each component.

His mentor, Giggie from Compu-Fire, was his only sounding board and the only sonuvabitch big enough to snap back when Bandit growled about wire gauge or lost connectors. He wired the bike entirely with 14-guage wires. The only other sizes used were for the battery cables (stock units) and the wire that ran from the battery to the ignition switch (12-guage). Even when the sexually starved statuesque Asian roamed into the garage with cocktails, adorned in a sheer negligee, she was ordered back to the headquarters. Soon she found another plaything to keep her occupied, but that's another story.

Wiring, in the big guy's mind, is a process of understanding what is happening with each component, where each component is located, watching for the safety of each wire, keeping the bike sanitary, and organizing each group of wires. Each wire is covered with shrink tubing, each connector supported with additional shrink tubing. Each bike had a minimum of wires carefully placed. Each bike had a minimum of components to keep the wiring process uncomplicated or enhance the reliability of the machine. No turn signals, no handlebar controls, and no micro switches. He used only millspec (military specifications) or marine quality switches. Vibration is a killer on motorcycles and much the same on boats, in addition to the moisture considerations. One additional component made wiring simple and risk free, the Custom Cycle Engineering starter mounted mechanical switch. (Check the article here in the Garage.) This unit eliminated the starter button, the starter relay, and all the associated wires. You must make sure you will have access to the switch, which is mounted directly on the starter, under the oil bag, (Photo 2) which can easily be interfered with by the position of the exhaust pipes.


Photo 2


The concept is that you physically push the solenoid into contact with the starter gears and electrically engage the starter.

We chose a Compu-Fire starter from Custom Chrome to kick this 98-inch monster to life. The key thing on fucking up starter motor installation is over tightening the brass lug wire fitting. It may turn the connection on the inside of the starter and ruin the contacts.

Compu-Fire has designed a new line of starters which feature 6:1 gear reduction (Photo 3) and a 6-pole permanent magnet field to eliminate starter stall-out.


Photo 3


These units deliver maximum cranking torque without overloading the battery. They also eliminate starting problems on fuel injected bikes.

Only two switches were used and one 30-amp H-D (common at any electronic or auto parts store) circuit breaker. One on-off marine toggle for the ignition, which energized the Compu-Fire single-fire ignition system, the hydraulic brake switch, and the taillight. Since all the sweet parts like handlebar controls, foot controls, mirror, and taillight were Joker Machine components, he was in luck. Joker works the brake light switch into the body of forward controls, which eliminated the bulky hydraulic switch, the junction, and a two-piece rear brake line. Another wire went to the other switch, an on-off-on switch for the headlight (high/low beam). Two wires were run from it to the headlight. Daytec does a beautiful job of running guide tubes in the frame to hide the wires. Initially, if you chose to do so when ordering a Daytec frame, you can have two inserts welded to the frame seat post rail for electric box mounting. We ordered the certs for this frame but decided that with the simplified wiring program we could stuff switches and all the wires into the structure of the top motor mount. This was Giggie's suggestion and Bandit readily agreed (a miracle). With careful measurements the switch holes were drilled with several bits until a 1/2-inch hole for each switch was attained. The only guide hole that the frame was missing was one for the headlight wires, but two wires were run through shrink tubing to the headlight and through a 5/16 hole in the motor mount. One wire was run from one side of the ignition switch to the circuit breaker, another, the 12-guage wire ran to the battery. From the circuit breaker a wire ran to the taillight down another guide hole along with the brake switch wire. From the brake switch another wire ran to the taillight, brake element.

We also used a Compu-Fire regulator, which mounted to the front of the motor. One wire ran from the regulator back to the hot lead on the Compu-Fire starter motor. Bandit used the excess 12-guage wire to run from the battery to the hot side of the ignition switch.

Giggie recommends that you use crimpers designed for Duetch connectors for a solid, vibration-handling connection. Bandit used water resistant connectors from a West Marine store.

After some 20 hours in the garage, Bandit was finally lured into a well warmed King size bed by Sin Wu and her girlfriend Coral as the sun came up, but at that point the bike was ready to be fired to life. The question was, could Bandit be fired to life?




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