I recently purchased and installed a set of Clearwater Erica LED lights on my Goldwing. Lights for the GL1800 come with the “universal” wiring kit, so installation becomes a bit more than simple plug-and-play. In Clearwater’s defense, the challenges of this installation are simply due to the fact that the wiring on the Goldwing is buried under the left and right front shelters and it is a considerable amount of work to get the access you need to make this install neat and clean. Much of this is the same work that needs to be done for an air filter replacement – and once you have done it, you know what to do. This was my first time at it, so it was slow going (even with the Honda service manual).
I had a lot of questions – where to install the wiring harness, how to best route the leads from the lights, where to route the power leads, where to install the switches, where to best tap into the high beam and horn circuits, would there be enough clearance for my Baker Built Hand Wings™, etc. I couldn’t find any Goldwing-specific instructions online, so I documented my efforts and hope that it’s helpful to others. Click on any photo to enlarge it.
Glenn Statsky and his team at Clearwater Lights have built a fabulous product and their customer support is excellent. My emails were answered quickly and his employees are extremely helpful and courteous. The lights come safely and beautifully packaged in foam and all necessary hardware is grouped together in small plastic ziploc bags. There were a few extra pan head bolts included that I did not need, but I simply attributed that to a packaging error. The enclosed instructions are well documented and very clear.
The first step is to remove the meter panel. This is pretty straight forward. You pop it up at the rear, and then work your way around the speakers, carefully popping out the panel. Note that there are three cables that need to be disconnected before you can completely remove the panel.
I removed the electrical connections to the tweeter speakers first. These are protected by a rubber cover that must be pulled back to release the connectors.
After you remove the rubber boot, you can easily get to the small tab on the connector. Squeeze the tab and the connector lock will release and you can easily slide it out.
Under the panel is the multi-display control switch connector. This is a pain to get undone.
Theoretically you can squeeze the release tab and simply slide the connector apart, but I have found that I always seem to need a small flat head screwdriver to raise the tab enough to clear the locking pin.
Next I installed the light mounting brackets. These are similar to the PIAA brackets that are no longer made. Luckily for us, Glenn is now producing this bracket and it goes on quickly and easily. Just push the mirror forward, peel back the rubber boot, and you can get at the mounting bolts. I used Allen head sockets on my 3/8″ socket wrench.
My initial thoughts were to install the switches in the left side cowl. But I had second thoughts about drilling holes there and was unsure about the clearance underneath for the switches. Additionally, I realized that the volume control lead, on/off switch lead and light leads were not long enough to support that. I suspected that there might be room underneath the center front shelter.
I removed the two Phillips head screws that hold it in place and pulled it out. Sure enough, there was a space underneath that would hold the wiring harness and allow the leads to reach. Note that my bike is a 2014 Level 3. I don’t know if this space is available on an airbag model.
Additionally, the shelter has enough room to mount the switches. I was concerned that the handlebars might bang the switches at full lock but there is just barely enough clearance. The handle bars do not touch the volume control at all when at full left turn, and the right handlebar just barely touches the on-off switch at full right turn. If Glenn can come up with a slightly lower profile switch, that would be perfect.
So after a LOT of time spend measuring, I used a step drill bit to drill the holes for the two switches. If I remember correctly, I think the volume control was a 3/8″ hole and the on/off switch was a 1/2″ hole. But don’t hold me to it – measure the switches yourself to be sure!
The switches are close, but there is enough room to get the leads onto the on/off switch.
The result is perfect – clean installation and easy to access. Be sure to mount the on/off switch with the red light on the top side. This way when you are sitting on the bike, the light will be visible when on.
My initial thought was to run the light leads forward under the ignition switch as shown below. But this created a problem routing the wires to clear the steering head. If I tucked the leads up around the speakers, they were too short to connect to the lights.
While I pondered that dilemma, I went ahead removed the left-side top cowl. This made it easy to get to the high beam light socket. I connected the Posi-Tap to the left-side high beam and connected the high-beam wire from the wiring harness. The white high beam lead from the wiring harness was plenty long – reaching the Posi-Tap was no problem. This allows the Ericas to go to maximum power when the bike’s high beams are on.
I did want to take advantage of the Erica feature that allows you to flash the lights at maximum power when you honk the horn, so I spent some time studying the Goldwing Electrical Troubleshooting Manual to learn where I could tap into the hot horn wire. One option was to wire it up to the horn itself, but those connectors appeared to be well sealed against the elements, and I didn’t want to break any seals to make the connection there. I finally found the connector for the horn circuit. It is in an 18-pin connector under the cruise control unit located under the right front shelter. I didn’t take any photos of the process to remove the right front shelter. It is well documented in the Goldwing Service Manual and there are plenty of videos on the Web that can be viewed to guide you through this process.
The horn lead is the light green wire that is in the rear-facing side of the block. This is the circuit that is completed when the horn button is pressed. Note that there is also a light green wire on the front-facing side of the block. This is the hot side. I mistakenly connected the Posi-Tap to this wire first, only to find out that the Ericas were always on maximum power. After moving the Posi-Tap to the correct wire, the Ericas would only go to max power when the horn button was pressed – the correct behavior. If you look very closely at the image below (click to see an enlarged image), you will see the tiny pin hole where the Posi-Tap pierced the insulation where I first attached it to the wrong wire.
With both front shelters off, I also realized that this was the proper solution for routing the leads for the lights. By threading the leads through the lowest part of the mirror mounts, you have enough length to connect them to the wiring harness. This also eliminates the problem of keeping the leads free and clear of the handlebars. In the photo below, you can see the white horn lead snaking in front of the cruise control unit. In this photo, the cruise control unit has been refastened to its mount.
I routed the power leads along the left side of the bike inside of small diameter plastic cable wrap which is available at any auto supply store (sorry, no photo), hooked the red switched power lead to my Electrical Connections Honda GL1800/F6B Power Plate Fuse Box and connected the power leads to my battery. Again, sorry no photo.
Reassemble in reverse order and you’re good to go. I did find that the mounting bolt for the lights did interfere with the Baker-Built Hand Wings™, so I put some painters tape on the lower part of the wings, marked where I needed to trim (it wasn’t much), then simply ground them on my bench grinder. I polished the edges using my buffing wheel and unless you had an original wing to compare it to, you can’t tell the difference. (No photo, I just wanted to get this project done…).
I’ll post some nighttime photos when time permits. Please leave a comment if you found this helpful!