How to Do a Kill Switch Hookup on a Motorcycle

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A kill switch, or run/stop switch, is a control switch that is commonly found on nearly every motorcycle made. The kill switch's main duty is to disrupt the electrical circuit that powers the motorcycle's ignition system, effectively stopping the engine from running. The kill switch is mounted on the right handlebar, near the throttle, for easy access to the rider. The switch's placement allows the rider to quickly stop the engine in the event of an accident. Kills switches normally operate by physically breaking the ignition circuit when the kill switch is moved out of the Run position and into the Stop position.

Things You'll Need

  • Combination wrench set
  • Phillips screwdriver

Original Equipment Replacement

  • Remove the seat and fuel tank from the motorcycle, using a socket wrench. Disconnect the negative cable from the battery's negative (-) terminal, using a Phillips screwdriver.

  • Follow the kill switch wiring, located on the right handlebar, to the motorcycle's wiring harness above the engine. Depress the switch connecter's locking tab, then pull the connecter off of the wiring harness.

  • Loosen the throttle cable lock nuts, located under the kill switch housing, using a combination wrench. Skip this step, if the throttle grip and cables are not housed in the kill switch housing.

  • Remove the kill switch mounting screws, using a Phillips screwdriver or an appropriate driver. Lift the kill switch's upper housing off of the handlebar.

  • Pull the throttle cable ends out of the throttle grip, then unscrew the throttle cables from the bottom of the kill switch housing. Skip this step, if the throttle grip and cables are not housed in the kill switch housing.

  • Pull the lower kill switch housing away from the handlebar, then pull the entire switch assembly and wiring away from the motorcycle.

  • Hold the lower kill switch housing against the handlebar. Screw the throttle cables into the bottom of the new kill switch housing, then push the throttle cable ends into the throttle grip, if needed. Install the top of the kill switch housing, then screw the housing mounting screws into place.

  • Route the kill switch wiring to the motorcycle's wiring harness, then plug the connecters into place.

  • Reconnect the negative cable to the battery's negative (-) terminal. Reinstall the fuel tank and the seat onto the motorcycle.

Aftermarket Kill Switch Installation

  • Remove the seat and fuel tank from the motorcycle, using a socket wrench. Disconnect the negative cable from the battery's negative (-) terminal, using a Phillips screwdriver.

  • Mount the kill switch onto the right handlebar, using a Phillips screwdriver. Route the kill switch wiring, consisting of two wires, from the right handlebar and around the right fork leg. Push the wiring through the motorcycle's frame to the ignition coils, usually located above the engine or along the upper frame rails.

  • Unplug the ignition coil's power input wire connector, which runs from the engine's timing system to the ignition coil. Plug one of the kill switch's wires into the timing system wire and the remaining wire into the ignition coil.

  • Reinstall the fuel tank. Reconnect the negative cable to the battery's negative (-) terminal.

  • Flip the kill switch to the Run position. Start the motorcycle. If the engine does not start, check the connections between the kill switch wiring and the ignition coil and timing system wire. Flip the kill switch into the Off position to stop the engine.

Tips & Warnings

  • Refer to a factory service manual specific to your motorcycle for detailed wiring diagrams and component removal and installation instructions.

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References

  • The Professional Motorcycle Repair Program: Electrical Fundamentals, Volume 17; Professional Career Development Institute
  • The Professional Motorcycle Repair Program: DC Circuits for Motorcycles and ATVs, Volume 19; Professional Career Development Institute
  • Photo Credit Steve Mason/Photodisc/Getty Images
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