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Removing the Stock Starter Wires
Remove the left side-cover. Disconnect the negative (right side) battery lead (the terminal wire), then disconnect the positive (left side) battery lead.
Tip: You may wish to completely remove the battery, which will make it much easier to work the new cable through the battery box. I didn't do this because of the hassle, but slightly wish I had.
Next, trace the disconnected battery cable. You will see that it goes down to the left side-cover area, and terminates at a small terminal-block. This is the starter relay. Pull the rubber boot away from the terminal, and use a socket wrench to remove the exposed bolt.
Now pull this cable out of the bike. You will see that it’s very short (6"-9").
Pull off the rubber boots from the stock cable, and clean them inside and out--especially inside--with silicone or other type of rubber treatment. Just be sure that your rubber cleaner leaves the surface greasy to make it easier to work onto the new, fatter cable.
I put the rubber boots on the new, fatter cables by doing the following:
It took a lot of very hard work, using some old surgical forceps I have, to get the boots on. I'm very happy they're on, but if I were to do it again, I would just slit the tail-end of the boot a little, to fit the fatter cable easier. If you do slit the boot’s tail-end, just be very careful that you don’t tear it more as you slip it over the terminal-end.
- Turn the boots wrong side out.
- Wriggle them on to the cable ends backwards.
- Work the boot back over itself. This will make it faced forwards--right side out. See the photo above, showing one boot being installed inside out.
Before you install the new, short cable, first inspect the terminal-post to be sure it is free of corrosion and dirt; clean as needed.
Then simply snake the cable through the same route as the stock one you just removed. The fit in to the battery box can be very tight, so you may wish to use a rat-tail file or rasp to enlarge the cable's entry slot. Note: This is where 'removing the battery' comes in handy. I took the picture below after completely removing the battery box, at a later time.
Then bolt the cable to the relay terminal-post, smear on some dielectric grease, and slide the boot over the bolt. Do not use thread-lock, as you want to ensure a good electrical connection. Do not connect the cable to the battery yet.
Tip: There are mechanics that recommend that you also replace your starter relay. I've read some reports that the stock Road Star relay is rated at 100 amps, and the Warrior (and later model Road Star) relay is rated at 180 amps. In addition, I've read that the stock starter cranks at 80 amps or so, and the Warrior starter cranks at about 115 amps. I have not heard or read of a relay failure. However, if you decide to also replace the relay with one from a Warrior, be careful. You may need to swap your starter cables at the relay terminal posts. In this case, check your new relay to see which terminal has a silver tab-washer on top of the brass post. The battery-cable bolts onto this side.
Author's Update (09-Jun-2009): I have just replaced my starter relay with a Warrior, 180 amp, type. I think my stock relay is still OK, but I did a test that prompted my upgrade. I aimed a non-contact thermometer (the type with the laser pointer) at various parts of the starting system, and noted that the relay was getting much hotter than the rest of the starting system during starter cranking. The relay is easily replaced by just unscrewing the two cable screws, and lifting the relay straight up off it's plastic tabs.
Next, pull back the left boot from the relay terminal-post, and remove the bolt (see photo above). By doing so, you free one end of the starter cable. Next, we will free the other end.
To do this, locate the starter motor. See photo above.
Disconnect the cable from the starter by first pulling back the rubber boot. Refer to the opening photo in this article to see the starter and boot. This will expose the cable mounting post and nuts. Then hold the lower nut using an open-end wrench, and remove the upper nut using a socket, box, or open-end wrench. Note: My cable was on very tight.
Now open the two, black plastic, cable harness clamps located on the left-frame, near the starter area. To open them, I just used a small, slotted screwdriver and pried them open at the seam.
The red line in the photo above highlights the path of the starter cable. Note: My engine was out at the time. It is not necessary to remove your engine for this project.
Cut the wire-ties along the left side of the lower frame--under the engine. See photo above.
Starting at the front, pull the cable from the frame. Pull it back to a point just past the rear horn.
Now, before you pull the rest of the cable free, make note--or take a photo--of where the cable routes between and around other wires and obstacles in the left side-cover area.
You can now un-snake the cable from the surrounding wires in the left side-cover area. Free it back to where it disappears down between the transfer case and engine case.
The cable portion still hidden within the bike is only attached via a long, ribbed, plastic harness/jacket/sleeve (see photo above). At this point you can pull the cable out of this sleeve from the top or from the bottom. I did this when my engine was removed, so it was a non-issue for me.
Tip: The new cable is too fat to fit back in to the sleeve, so don't worry about trying to devise a method to do so.
After removing the cable from the bike, pull the rubber boots off and clean them inside and out, just as you did for the battery cable.
Next, remove the short, negative cable. It is connected to the frame via the single bolt that holds the oil fill tube in place, just forward and to the right of the battery.