How to replace your headlight bulbs


Step-by-step tutorials on how to maintain and fix your GL1500
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WingAdmin
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How to replace your headlight bulbs

Postby WingAdmin » Thu Dec 15, 2011 7:40 pm



Replacing a burned-out headlight bulb is relatively easy on the GL1500. The original headlight bulbs on GL1500's are, in typical Honda tradition, a rare and expensive dealer item. However this is easily and cheaply rectified with a pair of Headlight Bulb Shims.

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These shims allow you to use commonly available (and reasonably priced) H4 bulbs.

I recommend you replace both bulbs if one has burned out - if one has burned out, the other usually won't be far behind.

1. Raise the windshield adjuster levers on either side to the up position.

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2. Start to peel the rubber lip away from the mirror cover, beginning at the back and working upward.

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3. Continue peeling the rubber lip away from the plastic mirror cover all the way around until it is completely detached. Take note that at the bottom rear, the rubber must be pulled toward the rear of the bike in order to detach it - this should be done after all of the rest of the rubber has been detached.

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4. Gently pull the bottom of the mirror cover to unclip it from the fairing.

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5. While holding the rubber back, pull the mirror cover free of the fairing, and let it drop down.

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6. Expose and remove the two screws holding the chrome windshield trim in place (as shown). On 1994 and earlier Goldwings, remove the two screws holding the black plastic trim (below the windshield trim) in place and remove the black plastic trim.

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7. Remove the two screws holding the windshield trim.

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8. Slide the windshield trim to the right to unhook the lower tabs, then lift it away from the windshield.

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9. Remove the screw holding the turn signal assembly in the fairing. It's not necessary to remove the turn signals, but it makes it a lot easier to maneuver the headlight in and out, and I recommend you do so.

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10. Gently remove the turn signal from the fairing. There is enough wire behind it that you can let it dangle down if need be. Remove the other turn signal the same way.

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11. Remove the two screws fastening the grill below the headlight.

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12. Remove the grill from below the headlight.

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13. Using a 10mm socket, remove the two bolts holding the top of the headlight. On later model GL1500's, these bolts also hold the bracket in place that fastens the bottom end of the windshield trim - pull this bracket away when you remove the bolts.

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14. Using a 10mm socket, remove the two bolts holding the bottom of the headlight. Careful - these are the only things left holding the headlight in place! Use your hand to hold the headlight in the fairing as you remove the last bolt. Note that the bolts have a threaded hole tapped in their heads - these are where the screws fasten for the lower trim.

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15. Gently pull the headlight away from the fairing. It will still be fastened by the wire in behind.

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16. At this point, you will hear pieces falling down behind the headlight. Don't panic - there are four metal spacers that go into the holes in the fairing where the headlight bolts fasten. They will fall out. You can see one of them here.

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17. Here is an example of where the upper spacers fit in the fairing. Collect the four spacers for now and put them aside.

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18. Find the wiring connector on the back of the headlight, and press down on the locking tab on the connector. This procedure can be done leaving the headlight connected, however it makes it more difficult, and increase the chance that you may scratch or damage the headlight lens.

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19. Gently pull the connector apart. This will free the headlight so that it can be removed from the fairing. Set the headlight down on a soft surface to avoid scratching the lens.

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20. Now that the headlight is removed, you can see where the lower spacers fit into the fairing. Remember to collect them now so they don't get lost! Reinstalling the headlight without them will result in a mis-aimed headlight.

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21. Gently pull the connector from the back of the bulb. It might need to be wiggled a tiny bit at first to work it loose.

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22. Pull back the rubber seal around the headlight and remove it.

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23. Now you will be able to see the back of the bulb. If you look closely, you can see the headlight shim that is mentioned at the beginning of the article.

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24. Press down on the wire loop with your finger, and then slide it to the right to disengage it from the locking tab.

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25. Pivot the locking wire back away from the bulb.

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26. Remove the bulb from the housing. If you are transferring a shim to a new bulb, do so now. Make sure that you do NOT touch the glass bulb with your fingers! Oils from your fingers will cause the bulb to fail in short order. If you do inadvertently touch the glass, clean it gently but thoroughly with rubbing alcohol and a clean, lint-free cloth. Insert the new bulb into the housing.

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27. Make sure the bulb is inserted correctly - if it doesn't go in flat, then it isn't inserted correctly. Note the center horizontal connector tab on the back of the bulb is closest to the top of the headlight housing.

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28. Pivot the locking wire back into place, and push the end under the locking tab to secure the bulb in place.

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29. Replace the rubber seal. Apparently it's important that the tabs on the seal are positioned correctly - who knows why? In any case, make sure the arrow on the seal lines up with the line on the headlight case.

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30. Insert the four headlight mounting spacers into their upper and lower holes in the fairing as shown.

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31. Before installing the headlight, I use scotch tape to tape this annoying little spacer into place - it's next to impossible to keep them there when installing the headlight, as they will fall out. You can push the installation bolt right through the tape when the headlight is fastened in place.

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32. Reconnect the headlight connector to the headlight, making sure the locking tab snaps into place.

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33. Tuck the wiring neatly behind the headlight, and gently push the headlight into place, so as to not dislodge the spacers. You will have to push the headlight and hold it in place against the spring tension of the headlight adjuster.

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34. Insert and tighten the lower headlight bolts with a 10mm socket. Remember these bolts are the ones with the tapped screw holes in their heads.

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35. Insert and tighten the upper headlight bolts with a 10mm socket. Remember to install the windshield trim bracket as well if your GL1500 uses one.

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36. Now is the time to test things before buttoning everything back up. Turn the ignition to ON, and check that your headlight comes on normally. I use LEDs for my position lights, which is why they have a bluish tinge in this picture (I got sick of replacing burned out light bulbs).

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37. Replace the trim below the headlight and screw it in place.

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38. Replace the turn signals and screw them into place. Be careful not to over-torque the screw, as the plastic of the turn signal will crack.

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39. Engage the fairing tabs in the slots in the windshield fairing, and slide the windshield fairing to the left to lock it in place.

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40. Replace and tighten the screws holding the windshield fairing in place. If working on a 94 or earlier GL1500, replace the black plastic trim and the two screws holding it in place.

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41. Holding the rubber back on each mirror, slide each mirror cover back into place.

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42. Once in place, gently push each of the mirror cover clips until it latches onto the fairing.

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43. Hook the rubber over the rear of the mirror cover, then work the lip around the circumference.

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44. Once the rubber lip is around the circumference, push the locking tabs into their slots.

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45. Lower the windshield locking levers into their locked positions.

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TurkeytrackBill
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Re: How to replace your headlight bulbs

Postby TurkeytrackBill » Fri Mar 29, 2013 11:29 pm

Great pictures and instructions. I followed the instructions, but now my vertical headlight adjustment doesn't work. Did I miss something?

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WingAdmin
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Re: How to replace your headlight bulbs

Postby WingAdmin » Sun Mar 31, 2013 4:36 pm

The adjuster is the small ivory plastic piece connected to the black cable shown in the picture below. Pull the headlight out and make sure it is moving correctly when you rotate the adjustment knob. Also make sure that you installed all the collars correctly!

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luckingham
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Re: How to replace your headlight bulbs

Postby luckingham » Thu May 30, 2013 12:28 am

Great stuff!

I'd like to replace the positioning lights with LED's from Superbrightleds.com since you highly recommend them in your other DIY articles... can you tell me what the part number to order.

Am I going to need to modify the wiring like I did with converting my cornering lights on my GL1500 SE (1998).

Are there LED's for headlamps, too... or do you not recommend doing that for those bulbs? If you do... same question... got a part number I can order from Superbrightleds.com?

Thanks!!!

-Lucky-

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Re: How to replace your headlight bulbs

Postby WingAdmin » Thu May 30, 2013 8:33 pm

luckingham wrote:Great stuff!

I'd like to replace the positioning lights with LED's from Superbrightleds.com since you highly recommend them in your other DIY articles... can you tell me what the part number to order.

Am I going to need to modify the wiring like I did with converting my cornering lights on my GL1500 SE (1998).

Are there LED's for headlamps, too... or do you not recommend doing that for those bulbs? If you do... same question... got a part number I can order from Superbrightleds.com?

Thanks!!!

-Lucky-


You can see the LEDs I used for my position lights here: How to replace your front position light bulbs

There are LED headlights available, but not as an H4 bulb like you can just stick in and replace. The LED headlights are large, expensive, sealed fixtures that would take a lot of work to install in your bike. You'd be better off going with HID bulbs.

luckingham
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Re: How to replace your headlight bulbs

Postby luckingham » Fri May 31, 2013 12:25 pm

Great... Thank you Sir!

-Lucky-

uttrainman
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Re: How to replace your headlight bulbs

Postby uttrainman » Mon Jan 27, 2014 5:07 pm

Did I miss a step? The tabs on my new H4 lamps have a different spacing than the originals, hence I would guess, the need for the spacer. Adding the spacer doesn't change the spacing of the tabs on the new lamp. Do I have to remove two of the tabs on the new lamp or do I have the wrong lamp? I'm confused!!!!
UTTrainman

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Re: How to replace your headlight bulbs

Postby cbx4evr » Mon Jan 27, 2014 8:17 pm

You need an adapter to use a standard H4 bulb. You can find them on eBay.

From an eBay ad:

Honda H4 bulbs have a different spacing for the tabs to get you to buy their EXPENSIVE bulbs! What you do is clip off the lower two tabs on your aftermarket bulb, slide the adapter over, and you have a perfectly fitting aftermarket bulb you can use on your Honda motorcycle.
"It´s a friggen motorcycle, it´s not supposed to be comfortable, quiet or safe. The wind noise is supposed to hurt your ears, the seat should be hard and riding it should make you s**t your pants every now and then. "

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chouston99
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Re: How to replace your headlight bulbs

Postby chouston99 » Fri Mar 13, 2015 7:00 pm

There is an 80w cree led h4 headlight bulb available. Can I use this to replace my stock headlight bulbs?
Thanks
[img]

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Re: How to replace your headlight bulbs

Postby WingAdmin » Sun Mar 15, 2015 10:48 pm

chouston99 wrote:There is an 80w cree led h4 headlight bulb available. Can I use this to replace my stock headlight bulbs?
Thanks


If it will fit, then sure. Some people like the LED headlights, others don't. The biggest issue is that they require large-ish heatsinks on the back, and sometimes this causes them to not fit into the space intended for them.

Big Bob
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Re: How to replace your headlight bulbs

Postby Big Bob » Fri Jul 24, 2015 4:39 pm

O.k. I need to replace the head light bulbs on my '96 do you need to use shims on that year wing also? All I have seen is a couple of post for '98's. Cheap enough to do just trying to understand this information first. Also bulb in first, then shim and clip, or shim first followed by bulb and clip. Also who sells shims?

Bob
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Re: How to replace your headlight bulbs

Postby WingAdmin » Tue Aug 11, 2015 4:55 pm

Big Bob wrote:O.k. I need to replace the head light bulbs on my '96 do you need to use shims on that year wing also? All I have seen is a couple of post for '98's. Cheap enough to do just trying to understand this information first. Also bulb in first, then shim and clip, or shim first followed by bulb and clip. Also who sells shims?

Bob


Cyclemax sells the shims: http://cyclemax.com/inc/sdetail/gl1500_ ... shims/6959 - however, you only need them on 1998 and later bikes, your 1996 won't need them.


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T_birdman
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Re: How to replace your headlight bulbs

Postby T_birdman » Sun Jan 10, 2016 12:30 am

Is there anyone that sells the headlight spacers that I'm missing, lol?

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Re: How to replace your headlight bulbs

Postby WingAdmin » Sun Jan 10, 2016 2:50 pm

T_birdman wrote:Is there anyone that sells the headlight spacers that I'm missing, lol?
GL1500-Headlight spacers.jpg


$1.89 from Honda, part number 90512-440-980

http://partsfinder.onlinemicrofiche.com ... 0HEADLIGHT

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T_birdman
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Re: How to replace your headlight bulbs

Postby T_birdman » Sun Jan 10, 2016 3:12 pm

Thanks much, I've ordered from Cyclemax before but didn't notice the OEM tab! You da man!




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