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1981 Honda CX500c
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all, first time posting. I recently acquired my first bike, a 1981 Honda Cx500c which came with a Vetter Vindicator fairing installed, and the original headlight/signal assembly in a box of spare parts for me. I decided I'd like the look better without the fairing and after removing the four bolts, unplugging and removing the fairing, I noticed I may have gotten in over my head looking at the rats nest of wires. Searching wiring diagrams and such has only been slightly informative. Is this something that is relatively "plug and play"?

I'm trying to figure out which harness the three prongs plug into on the headlight for certain, (it looks like its already plugged into something? Is there an extra section of wiring used for the fairing connector?) and the four turn signal leads don't look to correspond to anything obvious, which has me stumped. I ended up reinstalling the fairing and calling it a day, defeated.

My only major wiring experience is installing car stereos, and this seems a lot more complicated. Help appreciated!
 

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No experience with Vetter fairings but I expect that there is a fairing harness which plugs into the stock bike wiring harness. With respect to the bike harness this table may be of some help.
Pictures of what you are trying to do can help.
207576
 

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1981 Honda CX500c
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the chart, that is actually really helpful. It's a balmy 40 degrees here in Minneapolis, so I wont be out wrenching on the bike today, but If I need additional help with this endeavor I'll be sure to snap a couple of photos with my next update on this thread.
 

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'84 CX650E that is evolving into a GL500
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DON"T CUT ANY WIRES!!!!!
The Vetter fairing should be connected to the bike's wiring by a sub harness; One end of it plugs to a multi pin connector on the fairing and the other is connected to the bike's wiring. Some Vetters came with a cover so the wiring could be left in the original headlight shell and others came with a bag to cover the wiring but whichever you have, follow the sub harness to where it is connected to the bike, disconnect it from everything and put it with the fairing (if the fairing is in good shape you may be able to sell it and a sub harness that hasn't been butchered makes it more valuable).
If the Vetter wires were connected to the Honda wires with Insulation Displacment Connectors (sometimes called "suitcase connectors" because of their shape) pry them off of the bike's wires carefully and touch up the insulation where they cut through it (Liquid Electric Tape works well for that).

Once the Vetter wiring is removed you may find that if nothing else was modified you can simply plug the Honda parts into the wires with matching colours (turn signals usually have black wires with bits of coloured heat shrink near the connectors to indicate the colour they plug into).

1970s-80s Honda motorcycle wiring is a lot easier to work on than any modern car's electrical system. As you can see from the chart above, every wire colour means something and they were very careful to follow their system so with a very few exceptions, if you plug each wire into the one that is the same colour and has a matching connector and plug the multi pin connectors into the ones with matching wires everything will work. With that knowledge you shold be able to unplug every wire and connector in that tangled mess and plug them all back together correctly in a few minutes.

BTW: Welcome to the forum. Please add your location and your bike's model and model year to your profile so that you don't have to remember to tell us every time and we don't have to keep asking when you forget (see Forum Settings link in my signature).

And welcome to the world of antique vehicle ownership (they own us, not the other way around). Your bike is about 4 decades old and the Previous Owners may or may not have done the maintenance necessary to keep it safe & reliable so it is highly recommended to download the Factory Shop Manual for your model (available through the CX Wiki - link in my signature) and go through all of the service procedures, regardless of whether your bike has reached the specified mileage.
While you are in the Wiki get the coloured wiring drawing for your model too. I recommend printing that and the Wire Color chart and keeping them handy when you work on the bike.
I also recommend looking on all rubber parts with suspicion because rubber does not age gracefully. Check the date codes on your tires and replace them if they are over 5 years old no matter how good they look & feel (old rubber simply cannot flow around the irregularities in the asphalt well enough to grip, especially if it is cool or wet). If your bike still has the original rubber brake line(s) (should be replaced every 2 or 3 fluid changes = 5 or 6 years) I recommend shopping for modern stainless braided ones (they last practically forever and double the life of the fluid). And don't forget things like the rad hoses and the boot between the engine and swingarm (they can crack on the bottom where you don't see it).
 

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1978 CX500 "The Grub", 1983 GL650I "Nimbus"
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Welcome, Kurt! Where are you in Minneapolis? I'm next door in St Anthony.
As above, if it hasn't been butchered, the wiring should be pretty straight forward, though getting it all to fit inside the headlight shell can be a challenge.
Let me know if you get stuck on something. I might be able to take a look.
 
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Kurt welcome from Columbia Heights, like Randall, I am near by and also available to help. Lets get it going so you can make it on the Spring Ride. Only 45 days to go!

Steve
 
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DON"T CUT ANY WIRES!!!!!
The Vetter fairing should be connected to the bike's wiring by a sub harness; One end of it plugs to a multi pin connector on the fairing and the other is connected to the bike's wiring. <snip>
SidecarBob's info is exactly what I experienced on an old GoldWing. If the shop did a decent job installing the vetter all you will have to do is unplug the sub-harness. If you get really lucky, the headlight mounts will still be on the bike, just rotated out of the way. Even if so, the shop might have removed the signal mounts.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the warm welcome all! I'm located in Uptown Minneapolis proper, Whittier neighborhood. The headlight and signals are on the stock mount already, with just the black and red turn signal leads dangling on each end. I got panicky when I realized I couldn't see an obvious place to plug the leads in, or which harness I am meant to unplug to plug the headlight bulb into and ended up putting the fairing back on at the time before dark, as I have to street park my bike and wanted to get the cover on. I really appreciate the help. My MSF course is scheduled for next month starting on the 26th, so this Spring Ride you bring up may be perfect timing to meet some folks.

As for Randall and Steve, Its great to hear from fellow Minnesotans and I'm sure Ill be bugging you if I cant get it sorted out on my own in the next week or so based on the info from this thread. Thanks again for all the help!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hey all, just wanted to give a quick update, I was able to get the fairing off and headlight swap done today! My only gripe is how difficult the stock headlight was to get mounted on the fork, and how much I had to wrestle with the wiring to get it crammed behind the headlight assembly itself. Either way, the bike is fully functional, and looks much better now imo, even with the mounts clinging onto the fork for dear life. Thank you all for the help!
 

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Hey all, just wanted to give a quick update, I was able to get the fairing off and headlight swap done today! My only gripe is how difficult the stock headlight was to get mounted on the fork, and how much I had to wrestle with the wiring to get it crammed behind the headlight assembly itself. Either way, the bike is fully functional, and looks much better now imo, even with the mounts clinging onto the fork for dear life. Thank you all for the help!
I just ordered an aftermarket headlight mount. I'm sorta dreading trying to pack all the wiring into the fixture, especially as I think of the prospect of having to put it together and take it apart a couple of times...
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hey, if I can do it so can you. I got it done the second time I removed the fairing, with the advice in this thread, and I was done in 30 minutes. I don’t have a “wiring bucket” on this particular headlight/signal mount, so I used a drawstring bag that came on the bike to secure the wires behind the headlight itself, between the forks. It may be snug, but be gentle with the connections and you’ll be alright.
 

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'84 CX650E that is evolving into a GL500
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Honda put all of the connectors inside the headlight shell so if you are using a headlight & shell that are similar to the original and you removed all of the wiring that belongs to the fairing you should be able to too.

BTW, if you must put some of the connectors in something other than the headlight shell make sure the open end id at the bottom because water will find its way in so you want it to be able to drain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for the tip. I believe Ill be ordering a bucket and installing it at a later date. The headlight assembly currently on the bike doesn't really have a bucket for wire storage, hence the bag o' wires solution. I believe it was misplaced by the previous owner when he installed the fairing.
 

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Thanks for the tip. I believe Ill be ordering a bucket and installing it at a later date. The headlight assembly currently on the bike doesn't really have a bucket for wire storage, hence the bag o' wires solution. I believe it was misplaced by the previous owner when he installed the fairing.
I'm in the same process as you, and also need a bucket.
 

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FWIW, you don't need to use original parts unless you are trying to keep the bike stock. When I removed the fairing from my GoldWing I was next to broke so I modified some Suzuki headlight ears to fit and used a headlight assembly from a different Honda and some Suz signals (all stuff that I had on hand). Years later I changed to a more modern lens/reflector unit with an HID bulb and it wouldn't fit inside the old shell so I went to the wreckers and got parts from Suzuki & Kawasaki headlights to make up what I needed. I could have mounted that in the Suzuki ears but I had a bit more money by then so I also found some nice cast aluminum headlight brackets on eBay and it now has LED signals.
 

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I'm OK with not stock, but Steve here hooked me up with a stock headlight bracket and some nice Kawi blinkers. I like the headlight itself, lights up great with an LED bulb, just need a bucket for it to mount on the bracket.
 
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