How do I install a relay so that I can start my bike, but not ride it, while the side stand is down?

Mark Neblett, one of the many mechanical guru's that visit and contribute to this site documented how to accomplish this. Mark points out that he "wrote this up with the idea of placing the relay within the fuse box for weather protection; a fair amount of the work (drilling into the fusebox, installing grommets, etc.) could be eliminated by finding a weather protected spot outside the fusebox." 

The four wires you need to tap are (using the Haynes R1100 manual wiring diagrams):

1. The green/black stripe line from Fuse 1 (provides +12V, switched on with the ignition, to relay terminal 85 - one of the terminals that controls the pull-in coil in the relay to connect terminals 30 and 87)

2. The green/orange stripe line from one side of the sidestand switch (connects to either relay terminal 30 or 87)

3. The green/yellow stripe line from the other side of the sidestand switch (connects to the remaining 30/87 relay terminal)

4. The brown/black stripe line to the neutral switch (connects to relay terminal 86)

Essentially what happens with the relay is that when the neutral light comes on (i.e., the neutral switch is closed), the +12V from the ignition switch is applied to terminal 85, causing current to flow through the relay pull-in coil to terminal 86 and through the brown/black line and the neutral switch to ground. This causes the relay to connect terminals 30 and 87, so that the bike thinks the sidestand switch is closed. Thus, if you put the sidestand down, the bike doesn't know it. As soon as you put the bike in gear, however, the relay opens (no path to ground through the neutral switch anymore), the bike dies, and the starter won't run.

Here's what I did on my bike. It's probably not for the faint of heart because it involves tapping into the harness and drilling holes into the side of the fuse box (anyone with reasonable mechanical talent can do it, but you just have to be careful/thoughtful and double check what you're about to do). As usual, planning is the key here; know EXACTLY where you want to run each line before doing any physical work on the bike. It gets a little involved, but it's far less onerous than disassembling the entire rear half of the bike to get the fusebox top half off.

Of course, all the following comes with the usual liability disclaimers -- I'm not responsible for what you choose to do to your bike or how you do it, etc.!

First remove the left side fairing panel, the airbox lid, the air intake tube leading into the airbox, and disconnect the battery negative cable. Put something over the end of the negative cable to ensure it can't touch anything metal (I wrapped an old washcloth/shop rag over mine).

Here's how I accessed the fuse box to get the four new lines to the relay (note: I suppose you could place the relay outside the fusebox and thus never have to drill into the box, but I wanted my relay inside a weather-protected box):

First, put three lengths of wire into a length of appropriate diameter heat-shrink tubing (Radio Shack bag of various diameters). I initially used wires at least four feet long each to ensure they were long enough to reach where ever I wanted to route them; I'd rather waste leftover wire than end up a couple inches short. Next, find a rubber grommet (from a Radio Shack bag of various size grommets) through which the wires/heat-shrink tubing fit snugly. Snug is the key word here, as this assembly will be the (hopefully) waterproof passage through the fuse box wall.

Next remove the black plastic left rear side panel and the bracket holding the centerstand lifting handle to the subframe (two 6(?)mm Allen bolts). This gives access to the side of the lower half of the fuse box. Looking inside the fuse box from the top, there is an open section on the left side (between the row of relays in the front of the box and the row of fuses at the rear of the box). You want to drill a hole into the side of the box into that open area. BE SURE THERE ARE NO WIRES IN THE PATH OF THE DRILL BIT!! There shouldn't be; there wasn't anything near the area in my bike, but you MUST double check this!

Select a drill bit that is the same size as the outer diameter of the "barrel" portion of the grommet through which the wires/heat shrink tubing pass (NOT the diameter of the outer lips of the grommet!! If the hole's that big, the grommet will pass right through the fusebox wall!). Double check where the drill bit will pass, then drill a hole in the side of the box. I placed my hole about 3/4-1 inch below the joint between the upper and lower halves of the fusebox, toward the front of the available space between the subframe rails, with just enough room for the chuck of my drill to barely clear the short vertical section of subframe rail toward the front of the available space. Remember to leave yourself enough room between the hole and the subframe to be able to push the lips of the grommet into the hole with a small screwdriver from any angle. Footnote: As I drilled, I encountered a 1/2" (?) wide band of 1/16" reinforcing metal under the joint where the upper and lower halves of the fusebox meet. If you hit it, just continue to slowly drill through. BTW, if your drill chuck scratches the subframe while making this hole, apply some touch up paint to prevent future rust.

Next clean up the edges of the hole, then insert the new harness and pull about 6 inches of the three wires up through the open area of the box. Only about an inch or so of the heat shrink needs to stick through the grommet into the fusebox; you don't need any more inside the box than this, and the more outside the box the more weatherproofing/cosmetic coverage of the wires you'll have.

Now here's the fun part -- getting the @#$&*(() lip of the grommet to properly seat to provide the waterproof seal. The trick is to gently push the inner lip into the hole all the way around the grommet a little bit at a time. The hard part is not puncturing/tearing the lip as you do this in tight quarters. I used a long, small tipped regular screwdriver whose tip was not terribly sharp, and a lot of patient working of the grommet lips to gradually work them through the hole. I stopped when the outer lip of the grommet sat flush against the side of the fusebox all the way around the grommet.

That takes care of the three wires (sidestand and neutral switch) on the left side of the bike. After studying the Haynes schematic, I concluded that the most convenient place to tap the green/black Fuse 1 circuit was the green/black lead to the rear brake light switch. Accordingly, I decided to drill into the right side of the lower fusebox. The place I chose to enter the box is a little tricky, but doable if you're careful. Toward the rear of the fusebox, under the holder for the fuse/relay puller, is a nearly empty area. I say nearly empty because right up under the holder runs the rear main wiring harness! You can see where it enters the right rear of the fusebox; obviously, you must stay below the harness when you drill. The hole should also be toward the rear of the box, but not too far back, because if you reach/look up under the rear fender, you'll find the box tapers to an edge at the back corner -- you don't want to drill through both the side and the back of the box at the same time!

Follow the general method for penetrating the box on the left side; the only differences are the grommet/heat-shrink tubing only needs to be big enough for one wire, and you need to route this last new wire over to where the first three are sticking out of the upper half of the fusebox. That should be it in the fuse box until the final connections are made to the relay.

Here's how I tapped into the four lines:

First, wire tapping technique: I never cut any wires; instead I used an X-acto knife to carefully slice open the outer cover of each harness along its length -- just a long enough slit to be able to pull the target wire out far enough to work on it (2-3 inches, max). I then used the X-acto knife to remove a short section (1/2-3/4 in) of insulation from the target wire (without cutting the wire itself), wrapped the end of the wire I was adding (the new wire that will go to the relay in the fusebox) around the exposed portion of target wire, and then soldered the wires together. After the joint cooled, I wrapped the joint in electrician's tape. When all the joints in a given harness were done, I pushed the target wire(s) back into the harness and tried to get the outer cover as closed as possible as I wrapped it with electrician's tape. Also, before joining the target wire to the added wire, I slipped a piece of heat shrink tubing over the new wire, so that later before taping the outer cover closed, I could push the shrink wrap up to the soldered joint to ensure that the shrink wrap would be captured by the tape when the outer cover was resealed.

Ok, on to the wires. After installing the three wires into the fusebox, I routed the harness (adding lengths of heat-shrink tubing for cosmetic coverage as necessary) forward under the existing wiring/hoses on the side of the bike to reach the following: (note that one of the advantages of using separate sections of heat shrink tubing was being able to lead the wire for the neutral switch away from the other two wires at a joint between sections of heat shrink)

Neutral switch wire: Trace the two wire neutral switch harness from inside the left rear transmission flange (leading from the neutral/gear position switch) from the transmission up toward the airbox, where it meets a quick-disconnect plug that leads into the bowels of the bike. Be sure not to confuse the two-wire neutral switch harness with the three (or more?) wire harness from the gear position indicator. At a convenient portion of the harness (in my case the vertical section just below the point at which the harness turns back toward the quick-disconnect), slice open the harness and joint one of the new wires to the brown/black wire (make sure you don't tap into the brown (no stripe) wire -- they're easily confused), and reseal the harness with electrician's tape. If you plan ahead, you can probably make the connection at a point which allows you to push most or all of the taped section of the harness out of sight behind other wires when you're done.

Sidestand wires: Trace the sidestand harness from the sidestand switch up past the back of the left cylinder to the point where the engine and subframe meet, then along the subframe back toward the fuse box to another quick disconnect plug. I made my harness incision in the relatively long straight section of the harness along the horizontal subframe tube between the telelever pivot and the airbox. This section can be freed (i.e., remove the wire ties securing it), modified, and then pushed back under the subframe to hide the new joint. The two wires in this harness are joined to the remaining two new wires (one to each of sidestand switch wire), and the harness is then resealed and retied to the subframe with plastic wire ties. That does it for the left side wiring.

On to the right side. For the +12V ignition-switched wire: Remove the black plastic right rear side panel. For convenience, I also removed the aluminum-colored footpeg/brake pedal panel from the bike. If you do so too, don't forget to disconnect the rear brake master cylinder from the panel *before* removing the panel by disconnecting the actuating rod from the brake pedal and removing the two Allen bolts holding the master cylinder to the panel (you don't need to remove the master cylinder from the bike). You can let the panel dangle on the brake switch wire harness or remove the bolt holding the switch to the panel and free the harness. You just have to properly adjust the switch when you reinstall it so that the brake light comes on as the brake pedal is depressed.

In order to minimize the visibility of the added wire on the right side, I tapped the harness up close to the subframe where the harness comes down from the fusebox area (I removed the last wire tie before the harness goes down to the switch to gain a little extra room to work with). Once the splice is made and the harness resealed, you can reinstall the brake light switch/master cylinder/footpeg panel. That's it for harness abuse.

Finally: the relay. Add female spade connectors (sized to fit your relay) to each of the four wires. I both crimped and soldered mine into place. Wrap each individual wire spade connector with electrician's tape, and plug the spades onto the relay's male spades in the following order (you did remember to use different color wires to keep track of which wire is which, right???):

+12V wire from rear brake light to terminal 85; wire from neutral switch to terminal 86; one sidestand wire to terminal 30, the other to terminal 87 (*NOT* terminal 87a, if you have a relay with five-spades). Wrap the entire relay/wire collection with electrician's tape. Other than testing/reassembly, "that's all folks!" 

Double-check your work, reconnect the negative cable to the battery, verify no hot wires/fires(!), then check relay operation:

with ignition on (engine need not be running), kill switch in run, in gear, sidestand down: no power to ignition (the Rider's display will be blank); same with side stand up; with ignition on, in neutral, side stand up: power to RID display; side stand down, also power to RID -- shift into gear and RID should go blank).

If all is well, push the relay down into the open area of the left side of the fusebox, wire-tie down all the harnesses neatly, and reinstall the fusebox cover/air intake tube/body panels, etc.