Oilhead Tech Pages


R1100GSA - PIAA Driving Lights Installation

Mark Wall  -  greenmtn@hsv.tis.net



GS Model:    1999 R1100GSA

I performed this installation myself in under 2.5 hours at my home. I do not suggest this procedure to anyone who does not have experience working on motorcycles or cars. This procedure comes with no guarantees from me, though I am interested in how well my procedure helped you getting the lights installed. If any problems arrise, please let me know and I will adjust the procedure to try and circumvent these problems for others.

Lights:      PIAA 40 Series 6 inch, 55W, lights, relay, wiring (part number 4062D)
Bracket:    Staintune CBT Light bracket R1100GS
Switch:     BMW Euro Righthand light switch (BMW part number 61312306178 )

All above parts purchased from Blue Moon Cycle.

Additional:    nylon cable ties, #16 wire, #14 wire, plug connectors, ring connecors, heat shrink tubing. Standard metric tools, multi-meter.

First a brief overview...

The PIAA lights come with white plastic covers which seem to be made well and snap onto the lights securely.  The Staintune light bar is made from hollow square tubing with flanges welded so that it is secured to the underside of the oil cooler/upper fender area using four allen bolts (an instruction sheet is supplied with the bar).  The light bar comes finished in textured black paint and is supplied with four new allen bolts/washers which are longer than the stock bolts to accomodate the bar.  The mounted bar is very secure and is basically hidden after installation.  Each PIAA light has swivel brackets mounted onto the side of the light to which attached is a threaded rod.  The threaded rod is screwed directly into the end of the light bar and held secure using jam nuts which are supplied with the light bar.  To adjust the lights:  use a 17mm spanner to set and lock the up/down and use a 10mm spanner to set and lock the left/right.

 

 

The BMW Euro switch replaces the right hand switch on the handlebar.  This is very easy to mount because it is held into place with only one single phillips screw and after installation, looks exactly like the original US switch with the addition of a yellow colored button.  The right hand kill/start/turn signal/turn signal cancel switches look and work exactly the same as on the original pod.  The Euro light switch differs from the yellow light switch on the left hand control pod in that the switch moves from left to right instead of rotating up and down like the headlight dimmer switch.  Normally this Euro switch is used to turn on and off the head/tail light and the parking light, but the US version fixes the head/tail light on always.  I used the Euro switch for turning on and off the PIAA lights only, by shunting the Euro switch connector in the exact same way that the US switch connector is shunted.  I used the wires from the Euro switch to connect to the relay for powering the PIAA's.  The Euro switch has three positions (off, park lights, head/tail lights).  The rightmost position is the OFF position.  I use the rightmost and the center positions of the Euro switch for OFF and the leftmost position for ON.  I can turn on the PIAA lights no matter if my headlight is in high beam or low beam - this is what I wanted.

The PIAA lights are turned on by applying 12V to a relay provided with the lights.  The relay, when powered, closes another 12V circuit which supplies current to the PIAA lights.  This way the handlebar mounted switch does not carry the current for the lights.  The PIAA relay box contains a fuse to protect the light power circuit.  For the two 55W PIAA lights, the 15amp fuse provided with the PIAA relay is adequate.  I mounted the PIAA relay directly on top of the air box under the front of the seat.  I placed adhesive backed velcro tape to the top of the air box cover and to the bottom of the relay box.  This holds the relay very secure and allows easy access to service the fuse if it ever needs it.

A couple of Notes before we start...

The seat, front and rear will be removed.  The positive terminal of the battery must be disconnected.  The gas tank will be removed.  There are five connections to the gas tank which must be disconnected (two fuel, two breather, one electrical).  You should not have a full tank of gas to do this procedure - try to run the tank low before doing this because you will have to handle the tank getting it on and off the bike.  The righthand handlebar control pod will be removed and disconnected.  Work slowly.

Removal

Remove the seats, front and rear.  Remove the side cases (saddle bags) if installed.

Disconnect the positive terminal of the battery.

Removing the gas tank:    On the right side of the GS, just under the side of the tank is a black plastic cover.  This cover is held in place with three push connectors.  Grasp the cover at the back and slowly ease the cover off of the bike.  When the rear connector becomes loose, grasp it near the center and work that connector off, then proceed with the front until the cover is off the bike.  This reveals the fuel connections and electrical plug connector which you will then disconnect.  First mark one of the fuel lines so that you can connect them back correctly.  I used two small yellow nylon wire ties, placing one on the feed tube going back into the bike and one on the rubber hose connected to it.  Disconnect the electrical connector by pressing inward from the wide side of the connector and pulling.  Loosen all the way the two screws connecting the rubber fuel lines to the elbow feed tubes.  Now be carefull.  Place some old rags under the bike and under the connections for the fuel lines.  Get something to plug the rubber fuel lines coming from the tank - I used two clean stainless rods which fit securely into the tubes about 3 inches deep.  Work the fuel lines off the feed tubes one at a time.  Be ready to put your thumb over the end of the rubber tube when it becomes free of the feed tube.  When you have the tube, quickly place your plug (bolt) into the end of the tube.  If your plug leaks, just calmly remove the plug and place the line back onto the feed tube and find a more adequate plug.  There, that wasn't so bad.  Now do the other fuel line in the same way. 

There are two breather lines connected to the tank which run along the upper part of the frame behind the tank.  Mark one of these breather tubes as you did the fuel line and disconnect them at the location of the inline connectors.  You should cut and remove any existing wire ties holding any of the disconnected lines connected to the tank.  The tank is held to the frame with one 6 mm allen bolt and nut at the right rear, and two slide locators at the front left and right.  Remove the allen bolt at the right rear while holding the nut on the backside.  Now grasp the rear of the tank and slowly work straight up in the back a little just until the bolt connection flange is free.  Then work the tank backward until the slide connectors at the front are almost free.  You may now grasp the tank at the rear and front top and slowly pull upward and off the bike.  Take care to watch the connection lines by looking under to the rear of the tank on the inside right to make sure all comes clear of the bike without snagging.  Set the tank onto cardboard or something other than concrete.

 

 

The Euro Switch Installation

Remove the righthand switch on the handlebar. The switch contains the kill switch, starter switch, right turn signal switch, and the turn signal cancel switch. There is a single phillips screw on the switch side (facing rider) which is removed. The switch can be removed by cutting the wire ties holding the line in place and by unplugging the connector mounted on the top part of the frame under the tank. After removing the switch from the bike, examine the wires going into the connector. You will see that three of the pins are connected with jumpers. These jumpers make the headlight and taillight on the bike function all the time. You will need to make these very same jumpers for the connector of the Euro switch that you are installing. To do this, cut the three lines that need to be connected and solder them together on the connector side. The Hot Lead coming from the switch must also be soldered with these three wires (see illustration). Insulate with heat shrink tubing as necessary. One of the cut wires coming from the switch goes to the PIAA relay exciter line (small line) and the remaining cut line coming from the switch is not used. Insulate this cut end using heat shrink tubing as required. Note that if you wish the Euro Switch to work differently than the way that I use it, you will have to do a bit of investigation with your multi-meter and change these connections accordingly. It would be possible to have the PIAA lights only work when the high beam was turned on, but I chose the simpler method of using the Euro switch to turn on and off the PIAA lights regardless of the headlight setting. After you have completed the rewiring of the Euro switch connector, you may install the switch onto the handlebar, and secure the line using nylon wire ties as before. Connect the switch connector into the mating connector on the bike frame. I used a crimp style plug connector on the line going from the switch to the PIAA relay.

The PIAA Relay Installation

I mounted the PIAA relay on top of the air box cover using adhesive backed velcro tape. This works well and gives easy access to the relay. At this point, you need to find a mounting place for the PIAA relay and run the electrical lines to their appropriate locations. Do not connect the relay to the battery yet. Use wire ties for a neat job. I ran the PIAA light line and the switch line on the left side of the bike, connecting to the wire harness using nylon ties. When the lines were near the ABS unit, I then ran the switch connection line (with crimped mating plug) to the location of the Euro switch connector and plugged in the line. The PIAA light line continued up under the fairing/oil cooler to connect to the PIAA lights. (see wiring diagram above).

The PIAA Light Installation

Follow the instructions for mounting the light bar to the underside of the oil cooler area. This is a fairly easy process, but take your time and make sure that you have all four allen bolts tight. Install the lights into the light bar ends and use a 17mm spanner to lock them in place (temporarily) with the jam nuts provided with the light bar.

I ran the ground lines from the PIAA lights to the frame on the right side of the bike. I secured the ends of these ground lines to the allen bolt that holds the brake line connector to the frame.

 

 

The Checkout

You should make all connections at this time to check out the unit. Keep the key turned off and connect the lights and the PIAA relay. Turn the Euro switch to off (right most position). Turn on the key, then turn on the Euro switch (left most position). See the lights? If not, turn everything off and check the PIAA relay fuse. To do this open the cover of the PIAA relay box and check the fuse. I blew the fuse the first time I checked the system due to a mis-aligned connector inside my left PIAA light!

The Reassembly

When all is working correctly (it really should the first time), make last checks on wire routing and nylon wire tying. You should be ready to re-install the tank. Take your time, reversing the removal process. Make sure that you secure the fuel line clamps well and that you make the electrical connection to the fuel pump.

The Alignment

Go to a parking lot (say in the rear of a supermarket) and aim the bike lights at a brick wall 100 feet away. Then using a 10 mm spanner and 17 mm spanner adjust the PIAA lights to how you want them. Make adjustments with the bike on the center stand, then take the bike off the stand and sit on the bike to check alignment. Do this until they're right.

Now, go ride!

Send comments to: Mark Wall.