Sam Jacoby

Right-hand Switch Rebuild

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For a while I’ve had terrible problems with the electrics (particular the starter), so I decided to restore that whole pathway, from the right-hand switch (home to the ignition button) on down to the starter solenoid (which feeds the starter motor) on to the starter itself.

My shattered starter button. A pretty common problem on these bikes, apparently.

There are some great write-ups in the SOHC4 forums on how to rebuild the bars where the switch lives—so I’ll leave most of it to the experts. The toughest part of the whole job was simply removing the switch in the first place. Some of the screws were pretty badly rusted and stripped (my fault), so I had to work some magic with a screw extractor. Those things have saved me twice now.

Harbor Freight’s finest at work and play. This was really hard.

Removing the screw. A real pain, as I didn’t have a vise or anything to hold the bars steady, so they were wiggling all over the place. Kind’ve had to brace it and get at it from beneath—and then hammer upwards into myself.


The screws were mangled, but rather than getting myself to Ace and figuring out what the threads were to replace, so I ordered replacement screws direct from Bike Bandit. It’s insane that this stuff is still stocked, in little individually-wrapped plastic bags with part numbers no less.

Removed from the bars and disassembled.

Here’s everything pulled off and disassembled. You can see some of the remaining shreds of PVC tubing that the cable ran through (I replaced it with heatshrink).

I re-soldered the leads to the phenolic plate that backs against the kill switch. See that helping hand? It’s helping.

A dab of grease helps keep the spring-loaded bearing that keeps pressure on the grooved plate in place (I don’t know any of the right terms.)


I polished the tongued contacts that control the high and low beams on the headlight.

I did the heatshrink over the stove (not pictured for professionalism)

I also cleaned up the connectors to the starter switch (I bought new OEM parts for that, as well as 3D-printed some examples.)

And then screwed the whole beast back together.

Don’t mind the drop shadow…

The final cleaned and re-assembled right-hand switch (RHS) for a 1972 CB500.