How to replace your cornering light bulbs


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

Postby WingAdmin » Thu Dec 15, 2011 9:09 pm



Note: The H3-WHP9 LED listed here from SuperbrightLEDs.com has been discontinued - in its place, you can use any H3 replacement LED bulb. However, there is now a better option: Cyclemax now offers a 50-watt-equivalent LED specifically for the GL1500 cornering lights that is a direct replacement for the OEM bulb - no cutting of wires, no retrofitting.


The cornering lights on GL1500's normally turn on when the turn signals are activated, to illuminate the turn that you are about to make. Many GL1500 owners have made a simple modification to make these lights stay on at all times, for more illumination and visibility. There's a couple of problems with this modification:

  • The bulbs (and in typical Honda tradition, they are strange, expensive and hard-to-find) burn out relatively quickly
  • The added load on relay #3 by having the bulbs on all the time cause it to heat up and fail early, meaning you lose your tail lights, fuel & temp gauges, among other things

If you aren't interested in using LEDs, and just want to replace the bulbs, skip forward to the procedure. In my case, I wanted to replace the bulbs with low-power, high-brightness LEDs to solve both problems: the LEDs will never burn out, and the power draw is minimal, to prevent the relay problem.

The 1998 and later GL1500 had these lights on at all times by default, and used halogen H6M bulbs instead of the larger non-halogenated bulbs of the earlier Goldwings. The bulbs still burned out just as often, however.

There have been several topics written on the replacement of cornering lights with LEDs, often involving modifying the light fixture itself. I wanted a simple, quick conversion that anyone could do - and that could be potentially reversible (should the owner desire). With some research, I decided on the H3-WHP9 LED from superbrightleds.com. It is a replacement for a standard H3 daytime running light, quite bright, and draws only 65 milliamps:

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1. This article focuses on the right-hand light; the left-hand light is identical, except everything is a mirror image. First off, if you have any accessories that need to be removed before you can remove the lower cowls, do so now. In my case, I have a set of wind wings that I need to remove.

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2. I also have a set of air horns that need to be disconnected, loosened, and pivoted out of the way.

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3. To remove the fairing front cover, press inward at the center of the top of the cover. This will expose the posts seated in the grommets at the top corners.

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4. Gently pull the top corners away, one at a time, to unseat the posts from their grommets. Note the black tab that is holding the front of the lower cowl in place - it's important that the lower cowl is fitted back behind these tabs when it is replaced.

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5. Once both posts are unseated, remove the front cover.

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6. Remove the screws on either side of the under cover.

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7. While holding the under cover in place, remove the center screw.

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8. Pull the under cover away.

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9. Gently pull the inner edge of the lower cowl screw cover away from the screw head.

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10. Be very careful removing these covers - pulling them back too far will snap the tab off of the outer edge. See how the tab hooks into the cowl. Gently rotate the inner edge back, then pull it straight out.

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11. Remove the lower cowl screw.

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12. Gently remove the lower cowl deflector. It pulls out approximately one inch at the bottom, then is pulled straight down to disengage the top tab, then is pulled straight back to disengage the front tab.

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13. This is the top tab that needs to be disengaged.

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14. And this is the front tab.

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15. The side marker light trim needs to be removed next. OEM Honda trim is black plastic and looks different than my aftermarket chrome trim. My trim has screw caps that must be removed to access the screw heads.

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16. Remove the three screws holding the trim and the marker light in place.

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17. Once the screws and marker light are free, the lower cowl will easily pull away.

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18. Peel back the rubber cover over the back of the cornering light.

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19. Push the light socket in towards the light, then rotate it counter-clockwise (left).

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20. The base of the socket will come free, leaving the bulb in the housing.

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21. Remove the bulb from the housing. If you are replacing the bulb with a similar halogen-type bulb (not an LED), 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. If you are not using an LED, insert your replacement bulb into the housing, and skip to step 34.

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22. This is the LED that we are using to replace the halogen bulb.

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23. Pull back on the brown wire to compress the spring inside the socket, then while holding it back, cut the wire as close to the socket as possible.

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24. When the wire has been cut, the socket contact will spring back to the top of the socket. It is held in place with tabs on either side.

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25. Press down on one of the contact tabs, so that the other tab pops out of the top of the socket. Remove the contact and the spring from the socket.

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26. Here is the socket with the contact and spring removed.

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27. The LED will fit into the socket as shown, with its positive lead protruding from the rear of the socket.

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28. The pressure of the socket against the base flange of the LED will provide the negative connection when it is inserted into the housing.

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29. Strip the end of the brown wire and crimp a standard "blue" automotive female connector onto the wire.

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30. Thread the LED's wire through the spring and push the spring up to the base flange of the LED.

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31. Stretch the spring out so that it is approximately one inch long.

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32. Pull the LED's wire through the hole of the socket and through the hole in the rubber boot. Thread a piece of heat-shrink tubing over the wire, then plug the wire into the female connector on the brown wire.

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33. Heat the shrink tubing to seal the connection. You can use electrical tape for this, but this area is exposed to road spray and the elements, so I highly recommend you use heat shrink tubing.

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34. Push the socket into the light housing and rotate it clockwise (to the right) to lock it in place. If the socket is not tight in place (can be moved), then remove it, stretch the spring out a bit more, and replace it.

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35. Replace the rubber boot over the socket, and tape the wire around the end of the boot to weatherproof it.

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36. Place the lower cowl back into position. Ensure the innermost tab (with the hole in it) fits behind the black tab protruding down from the radiator grill mentioned in step 4. This holds the front of the lower cowl in place.

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37. Now is a good time to turn the ignition on to test the operation of your light. If all goes well, we now reassemble.

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38. Replace your side marker light and trim, and screw it into place.

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39. Replace your screw caps (if you have them).

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40. Replace the lower cowl deflector. Insert the front tab first, then the top tab, then slide the deflector to the left to line up the screw holes.

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41. Tighten the lower cowl screw.

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42. Replace the lower cowl screw cover - insert the tab first, then press fit it over the screw head.

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43. At this point you would repeat the procedure on the other side of the bike. Once that is complete, lift the under cover into place.

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44. Insert the center screw to hold the under cover in place.

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45. Ensure the posts at the front, on the bottom of the lower cowls fit into the holes on the top of the under cover (visible at the front edge where the lower cowl and under cover meet) - on both sides! Once the posts are in place, replace and tighten the screws on either side.

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46. Make sure the tabs at the bottom of the front cover fit behind the ridge of the under cover, and that the tab on the bottom center of the front cover fits into the slot in the under cover. Align the front cover, then press the posts on either side into their respective grommets.

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Re: How to replace your cornering light bulbs

Postby cbx4evr » Tue Jan 24, 2012 9:13 pm

How hot does it get? Don't want to melt the lens.
"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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Re: How to replace your cornering light bulbs

Postby WingAdmin » Tue Jan 24, 2012 9:41 pm

cbx4evr wrote:How hot does it get? Don't want to melt the lens.


The LEDs do not get very warm - you could easily hold them in your hand while they are on. No danger of melting the lens.

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Re: How to replace your cornering light bulbs

Postby cbx4evr » Wed Jan 25, 2012 7:13 pm

Could you throw up a picture of the lamp looking in through the lens when the light is off?

The H3 fits the socket with no modification to its base?

Thanks for the help.
"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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Re: How to replace your cornering light bulbs

Postby WingAdmin » Thu Jan 26, 2012 10:20 am

cbx4evr wrote:Could you throw up a picture of the lamp looking in through the lens when the light is off?

The H3 fits the socket with no modification to its base?

Thanks for the help.


Sure, I took pictures from the front and side, below.

The H3 fits in there with no modification to its base whatsoever.

Cornering light with LED from front
Cornering light with LED from front

Cornering light with LED from side
Cornering light with LED from side

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Re: How to replace your cornering light bulbs

Postby cbx4evr » Thu Jan 26, 2012 8:14 pm

Cool thanks. I'm going shopping.
"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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Re: How to replace your cornering light bulbs

Postby Trainertim77 » Mon Mar 05, 2012 8:53 am

Replaced mine, only caution I would have is watch out if the wire coming out of the led....not sure if I had a faulty bulb or what, but my wire pulled out of the bulb assembly. No issues tho, superbrightleds replaced it no questions asked.

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Re: How to replace your cornering light bulbs

Postby ford8520 » Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:41 am

I have a 1997 Aspencade and want to convert my cornering lights to running lights and i saw your bulb solution and it looks great. Are there any other changes i will need to make besides the bulb upgrade to make them stay on when turning on the key?

Thank you for any help.

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Re: How to replace your cornering light bulbs

Postby Captain422 » Sat Apr 14, 2012 11:37 pm

I just ordered my LED's today. This is exactly the solution to something I have wondered about for a while now. I will update with before and after pictures when I get them in. Thank you Wingman! Great article and much appreciated.

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Re: How to replace your cornering light bulbs

Postby The Grand Pooh-Bah » Sun Apr 22, 2012 7:30 pm

I'm still looking for my first Gold Wing and this article is the reason I joined this forum. Will bookmark this for future. Thanks for sharing this upgrade.

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Re: How to replace your cornering light bulbs

Postby barnaclebill » Tue Apr 24, 2012 5:54 am

Great article This will explain why both my "cornering" lights have failed! Whilst I live in Thailand and parts as described may be difficult to obtain, I am sure I shall find some comparable items. The disassembly/assembly instructions are first rate. Thanks

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Re: How to replace your cornering light bulbs

Postby djlundwall » Wed Apr 25, 2012 6:25 pm

The cornering light socket is a bit different on a 1998 GL1500A (which happens to be my bike). The replacement bulbs are REALLY weird as they are a two filament bulb. The bulb base has a 3-pronged plate about half way up the base (to keep the contacts in line with the socket)... which is weird too. The socket looks like it was originally made for a two-filament bult (like a 1157) but only one of the two contacts have the power lead, the other on is blank (just a hole).

In your instructions it shows you disassembling the socket. My socket is not like that. I cannot dissassmble it like you show in the pictures.

Any ideas?

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Re: How to replace your cornering light bulbs

Postby WingAdmin » Thu Apr 26, 2012 9:00 am

djlundwall wrote:The cornering light socket is a bit different on a 1998 GL1500A (which happens to be my bike). The replacement bulbs are REALLY weird as they are a two filament bulb. The bulb base has a 3-pronged plate about half way up the base (to keep the contacts in line with the socket)... which is weird too. The socket looks like it was originally made for a two-filament bult (like a 1157) but only one of the two contacts have the power lead, the other on is blank (just a hole).

In your instructions it shows you disassembling the socket. My socket is not like that. I cannot dissassmble it like you show in the pictures.

Any ideas?


Is this what you have?

Cornering bulb and socket
Cornering bulb and socket


Cornering bulb
Cornering bulb

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Re: How to replace your cornering light bulbs

Postby Vitotaxi » Thu Apr 26, 2012 1:14 pm

An excellent article, many thanks, I have just done this to my '99 1500 SE,I wouldn't have known where to start without this "how to".

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..........................
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Re: How to replace your cornering light bulbs

Postby Makman » Tue Jun 05, 2012 9:26 pm

Great Post, Wingman, and thanks for All of the DIY Articles. I'm new to the 1500 side, and will be using many of your references Very shortly. Regarding the LED Cornering Light upgrade, 2 Questions:
1) How is the Output/Beam Pattern now that you've gone to the LED's? Can you give us an idea - at least verbally - as to how this conversion works out on the road?
2) Apologize if I missed something, but with my '96-SE, what would I need to do to get the Cornering Lights to stay on all the time? A quick bit of direction here would be helpful also.

Thanks, and hope to hear from you. 8-)

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Re: How to replace your cornering light bulbs

Postby WingAdmin » Wed Jun 06, 2012 9:50 am

Makman wrote:Great Post, Wingman, and thanks for All of the DIY Articles. I'm new to the 1500 side, and will be using many of your references Very shortly. Regarding the LED Cornering Light upgrade, 2 Questions:
1) How is the Output/Beam Pattern now that you've gone to the LED's? Can you give us an idea - at least verbally - as to how this conversion works out on the road?
2) Apologize if I missed something, but with my '96-SE, what would I need to do to get the Cornering Lights to stay on all the time? A quick bit of direction here would be helpful also.

Thanks, and hope to hear from you. 8-)


The beam output is pretty much the same - spread wide, and to the sides. I'm hoping at some time in the relatively near future, to find a brighter H4 bulb. LED technology continues to advance rapidly, so I expect this will happen.

For the GL1500's that use these as cornering lights (only come on when turn signal is activated), you will find a relay mounted on the wiring harness fastened to the frame right above where these lights connect - one relay for each light. Look at the socket the relay plugs into, and you'll see one of the wires is green. Cut that green wire, and the light will then stay on all the time, instead of being connected to the turn signals. If you wish to switch it back in the future, just reconnect (splice) that green wire together again.

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Re: How to replace your cornering light bulbs

Postby Makman » Wed Jun 06, 2012 9:30 pm

Thanks for the Update, Wingman. It's kind of what I thought - about the output and beam pattern - but glad to know. Please keep us informed if you manage to find a further upgraded bulb. I consider myself fortunate in that the bike we just got has the Compu-fire already in it, and I was contemplating using "hotter" bulbs here until I read about the relay overheating issue. Perhaps a fog-style wide-beam-pattern aux. light set-up to augment the standard cornering lights might be better...?

Also, thanks for clarifying the green-wire relay adjustment for the "full on" operation - it's what I thought I found elsewhere in the forums, but I'm guessing that seeing it here might help others as well. As for the re-splice, prehaps a secondary switch here might be in order - the best of Both worlds? I'm wondering if anyone has either tried that one, or once they went to "full-on" status, decided to go back to cornering/turn-signal-only operation?

Thanks for all the help and consistent support. We'll look forward to further comments as possible. 8-)

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Re: How to replace your cornering light bulbs

Postby rmet » Fri Jun 15, 2012 9:40 pm

Wingadmin - pretty cool article but as in the case of ( djlundwall ) I too have the weird bulb and fixture that you pictured in your reply ( 1992 gl1500SE trike ) is there any hope of some kind of LED for this kind of fixture ??
Roy

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Re: How to replace your cornering light bulbs

Postby The Grand Pooh-Bah » Sat Jun 16, 2012 2:54 am

I have a 93 with this bulb and socket also.....



I gutted the bulb and cut the bottom off at the mounting flange. The LED bulb fits into the old bulb metal shell.
Removed the spring and contacts from the socket.
Cut the male connector off the LED bulb. Slipped the spring back in the socket and fished the LED wire thru the grommet at the back of the socket. Put the old bulb shell over the LED bulb and twisted in the socket. Hooked the LED Bulb wire to the Red wire and plugged the light assembly back into the bike. Works like a champ. Its almost 1 AM and I'm going to bed. Now that I know this brainstorm works I'll do the other side this weekend and take photos.


rmet
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Re: How to replace your cornering light bulbs

Postby rmet » Sun Jun 17, 2012 7:47 am

My thanks to the Grand Pooh-Bah - This will really help as soon as these bulbs start going blank on me, I am waiting for the other's to go bad too, when they do I can replace them with LED's also.

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Re: How to replace your cornering light bulbs

Postby esolberg » Sun Jul 01, 2012 2:19 pm

I love this replacement for my 99 SE but when I did I keep blowing the circuits 15A fuse. Suggestions?

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Re: How to replace your cornering light bulbs

Postby WingAdmin » Sun Jul 01, 2012 8:28 pm

esolberg wrote:I love this replacement for my 99 SE but when I did I keep blowing the circuits 15A fuse. Suggestions?


You kept blowing fuses with the LED installed? If that's the case, you've got a short somewhere. Unplug one of them at a time and see which one is blowing the fuse. Then follow the wire that is feeding +12V into the LED and see if you can figure out where it has shorted out against ground.

edban
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Re: How to replace your cornering light bulbs

Postby edban » Thu Jul 05, 2012 10:10 am

Wingman,

An excellent article. Do mine tomorrow.

edban
South Africa

esolberg
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Re: How to replace your cornering light bulbs

Postby esolberg » Sat Jul 07, 2012 7:40 pm

In regards to the blowing fuse....I found the soldier connection for the positive lead in the led base touching the base and thus shorting the connection. Corrected and everything works.

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Re: How to replace your cornering light bulbs

Postby cbx4evr » Wed Jul 11, 2012 2:00 pm

Got my bulbs form SuperBrite today and completed the change over. Had a burnt out driving light anyway so the timing was perfect.

Great mod and DIY.


"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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