Anyone who has a Harley-Davidson Dyna St. Bob like my ’07, knows the pain in the ass it is to turn that sucker on! Yeah, it’s kinda nostalgic to have the ignition on the neck but, it soon gets tiring. Most Harley models have an ignition on the top of the gas tank, on the dash portion. It’s nice, you can put in the key, turn it on, take the key out and have access to turn your hog on right in front of you and in hands reach. Basically its key-less from there unless you want to lock it.
The St. Bob though, has the ignition is on the neck. This involves turning the bike on before you get on and you leave the key dangling from the ignition. Its a bit hard to fumble with the key when you have thick winter gloves on. And, you have to get off the bike to turn it off or lean over the tank and hope your jacket doesn’t scratch it in the process. I’d always hit the kill switch on the handlebar, get off the bike and take off my gloves, glasses, helmet etc and then forget the damn ignition. Even after riding this thing daily and for thousands of miles. For my birthday this year, all I wanted was a new ignition.
If you are confident enough in your skills to locate the ignition wires (always have a manual for your model), cut and solder wire and cut through the dash on your expensive two wheeled mistress, then, this mod is for you. If you can’t confidently locate and solder a wire or, would simply not like to mess with it, you can always bring to the shop and let me do it for you!
If your game to get it done, here is a picture tutorial on how I accomplished mine:
A couple tools used:
Metal snips, 2 inch diameter hole drill bit, 4 flat bottom screws and 12 nuts with 4 lock washers, a few inches of extra wire, wire heat shrink, a piece of paper for a template and a small sheet of aluminum. I used electrical tape and a few zip ties to keep the wires together and neat. I ordered my new black ignition from ebay.
First, disconnect your battery then start taking your dash all the way apart. Basically disconnect every wire and take out the little neutral light indicator. It’s easy and pretty self explanatory.
From there, you are going to have to pull the little plastic wire protector/deflector out to gain complete access to the ignition wires. You may have to loosen up your fuel tank to get your hand in there. The deflector is located under the gas tank, on the bottom of the frame backbone, on top of the front cylinder, by the bike’s neck….(didn’t get a pic, sorry) Anyway, once its removed you can pull most of the wires out from there, you may have to pull other wires out of the neck from the inserts on the neck by the ignition. Getting the wires out and back in are really the hardest part of this whole ordeal.
Now, you will have to get your big fat hand inside the neck from the bottom, where you pulled out the plastic protector insert. The ignition wires are mounted onto the left side of the inner neck wall. It has a little tab they may hold it in place but, mine came out easy with a light tug.
Get the ignition wires pulled out and routed through the left side wire insert area on the neck. You will see the other sets of wires leading to the dash of your bike coming out of there. Your going to have to add some length to the wires in order to make this work.
Before we add wire, we need something to measure and mock up to. So, get ready to cut your dash. I have seen others that mentioned that they purchased a dash for a Wide Glide and just hooked it all up to that. That is a couple hundred bucks I’m not going to spend when I can just cut a hole and insert a rubber grommet.
There are three random raised lines in the center of your dash under the neutral indicator light bar. Find the center of the center line and mark it as your pilot hole spot. Take your 2 inch diameter hole drill bit and drill it out!
I used a Dremel to sand down the sharp edges then put some electrical tape around the edge so not to scratch up my ignition during mock up because the rubber grommet had not arrived yet. I ordered a grommet from www.cableorganizer.com. I could not find one ANYWHERE! So, I picked out exactly what I needed online and had it delivered to my door. Cost about 5 bucks delivered. Make sure you order the grommet at 2 inches total diameter. Not 2′ inner diameter or the outside diameter will be too big. I used a 1/8 grommet width.
This will keep you busy for a minute, check back for part two in just a few days.
Peace, Grease and a Life of Ease,