The Aftermarket Instrumentation & GPS FAQ - Classic
Compiled by Kristian #562
Updated by Scott #1244
Please read the Disclaimer before attempting any work in this FAQ.

Installing a European Temperature Gauge on a USA F650
by Flash #412

When I was living in France, I owned and rode a '96 F650 Funduro. It could not be imported into the USA, so I had to sell it in preparation for leaving. In the USA, I bought a '98 F650. There are many superficial differences. For me, one of the most annoying ones was the fact that the Euro F650 had a temperature gauge where the USA version has a clock. I don't need a clock. I have a wristwatch velcroed to the arm of my Aerostich. I wanted a temp gauge so I would have more info about the state of the motor.

In April '00, I received a flier from MotoBins in the UK. I had bought parts from them when I was living in France and was on their mailing list. Luckily the flier was forwarded to me in Colorado. Lo and behold, they were having a sale... eighteen percent off. Plus, as I was no longer living in the EC[1], I would no longer have to pay VAT[2].

Immediately, I visited and checked to see if they had microfiches for F650 parts and service as well as the temperature gauge and sensor. They did. I ordered. MotoBins part numbers do not match BMW part numbers for some reason I don't fathom. At any rate, the Veglia temperature gauge (BMW #62 13 2 346 417, MotoBins #87060) listed for 33 UKP[3] and the sensor (BMW #? MotoBins #76500) was 9 UKP. Subtract 18% and add shipping and the pair cost me about US$60 or so. (Refer below for another source of the Temperature Sensor, from VDO, who make Volkswagen Gauges)

But now I had to adapt them to the bike and vice versa...

First of all, the wrench used for the temperature switch[4] that runs the high-temperature idiot light for the USA version is about a 24mm wrench (I used a crescent) and the one for the Euro thermistor[5] takes a 14mm wrench. I had visions of needing to buy the Euro thermostat housing. But... the threads are identical. Changing the sensor is a direct replacement, requiring two wrenches. One slight caveat... the electrical connectors on the tops of the sensors are different. Yet, with a little chicanery, the USA wire slips right onto the Euro sensor, albeit orthogonally to the original. The little rubber connector-cover bootie can even be coerced into providing "safe sense."

Next, I removed the fairing to gain access to the back of the dash. There are eight gas tank screws and ten side-panel screws. Don't forget that there are two side-panel screws up at the front of the bike facing down.

There are 4 screws to remove the windscreen, which must be done to access the two large screws bolting the fairing to the support frame. Note: you only need pull the two screws near the top facing dead left and dead right. The two, sort of in the middle, facing front, hold the headlight and needn't be touched to remove the fairing. Unfastening the two large screws last puts you in a good position to pull the faring so you can access the turn signal harness plugs on the left and right and headlight and parking light plugs in the center. Wrassle that sucker off a there and put it where you won't trip over it.

My clock harness looked sorta jury rigged in the area of the time-advance micro switch. Anyway, the harness is a six pin Molex connector which uses 0.093" pins. It was Saturday, meaning my favorite 'lectronics parts place was closed, and I couldn't find a six pin Molex at Radio Shack. In any case, in order to get the temperature wire in there some, surgery was going to be required. I opted to buy a pair of male[6] & female[7] four pin connectors at RS, because they didn't have any three-pin connectors. (I hate Radio Shack. But sometimes they are the only option.)

Note: the clock has five wires. I assume they are 12V (battery), 12V (switched), ground, set-advance, and light. From this menu, we only selected the switched 12V and ground for the temperature gauge. I probed around with a voltmeter and wasn't completely sure I understood what was happening. But I certainly determined which wires were 12V-battery, 12V-switched, and ground. You don't want the battery 12V because the gauge will draw even when the bike is not running. CAVEAT: I don't have a Euro switch to turn off my lights. If you do, and you wire the temp gauge this way, you're gonna turn off the temp gauge with the lights.

Using a jeweller's screwdriver, I fished down between the metal and the plastic (of the Molex connector of the bike) to bend in the tabs (from the pin-to-pin side), so as to be able to extract the BROWN wire (ground) and the YELLOW/GRAY wire (switched 12V). After re-bending the retaining tabs, I stuck these two into the female of my 4-pin connector. Note: somewhere I have an old, busted, disassembled, telescoping radio antenna which I prefer to use as a Molex pin removal tool. But since I couldn't find it, I used the old, much less elegant, jeweller's screwdriver trick.

Next I went over to the other side of the dash and yanked out the "hot" idiot light. It has two wires, one VIOLET and one green/black. The VIOLET one goes down to the sensor. I cut the idiot light off, because the temp gauge doesn't come with illumination and the idiot light is a perfect fit. Furthermore, the plug removed from the hole[8] in the gauge fits the void left by removing the idiot light from the dash panel. (While I was in the neighborhood, I wrapped a small piece of electrical tape over the highbeam indicator light because it is just too damn bright for me at night.) If and when I come across a good substitute for the idiot light, I might get it and wire it in as an indicator for my hot grips. This is totally unnecessary, but the indicator icon IS a little thermometer.

I soldered a wire to the violet wire and taped up the connection all neatly, along with the green/black to keep it out of harm's way. I ran my new wire over to the vicinity of my new connector, cut, stripped, soldered on a pin, and installed it in the new connector..

There is one nut that holds in the clock that must be reused on the temp gauge. Be sure not to lose the washer when you remove the nut. Also, there is an o-ring up against the bezel of the clock that should be transferred to the temp gauge. The advance-set micro switch is pressed in and just pulls out.

The temp gauge itself has the aforementioned plastic plug in an illumination hole as well as three spade-type automotive quick connects. These connectors are labeled with icons for + and Ground, and the third says "SENS." If it is not clear what you should hook where at this point, you shouldn't be doing this without supervision.

I noticed that the gauge fit nicely into the hole vacated by the clock. However, it looked like there were certain cutouts not quite positioned perfectly for the temp gauge connectors. Since I had a selection of Stacons (crimp-on ring or fork, wire-to-screw connectors) on hand, I opted to make a small harness of my own and do away with the quick-connects. Fortunately, the three are each held by a nut, and can be removed quite simply. I patched my idiot light / illuminator into the hot and ground leads. Everything worked out and it seated completely. The only drawback is that I'll need to withdraw the gauge to change the bulb when it burns out. But that can be done without removing the fairing, as I planned ahead enough to allow sufficient slack in my harness. I could have drilled out the other location indicated on the back of the instrument. But I figured that was more hassle than it was worth for all the bulb changing I'll be doing. Hell, I put about 80k miles on an R80G/S and never had to change the bulb in the Tach.

Before I reassembled the fairing, I tested the instrument by pulling the bike outside and firing it up. When the key is turned on, the gauge comes up slightly. I started and ran the motor at idle while I put all my tools and supplies away, pausing from time to time to note that the needle was rising. There are no numbers on the gauge; nothing but the word "TEMP," at about the midpoint of the needle swing. My goal was to run the bike until the fan came on and then went back off. The fan came on when the needle was roughly midway, centered on the word, "TEMP." After running for two minutes or so, the needle dropped to where it was ever so slightly below the "T" in the word when the fan stopped.

In heavy, downtown, summer traffic in France, I had seen the needle approach the red zone on my old bike, but never quite enter it. To me, this is better than a simple idjit light, knowing you're getting close to over heating. Besides, it is always a real pleasure to hit an open stretch of road after being stuck in traffic when the temp is up and watch the needle suddenly plummet. Also, with my US F650, I am never quite sure when to turn the choke off fully. Occasionally, I have turned it off, and then back halfway on, and then forgotten about it. With the temp gauge, I'll see when the motor has attained proper operating temperature and turn off the choke, as I used to do in France.

A few notes about reinstalling the fairing... The first time I removed fairing, it took a long LONG time to reinstall. And I munged up some of those stupid clips along the way. I finally figured out NOT to use any power screwdrivers when reassembling. I finally figured out to stick the hex wrench in the hole to make sure everything is all lined up BEFORE trying to insert a screw. And I got some extra clips to keep on hand. In a pinch, you can always swap a mashed one from an area you can't get behind to hold it during assembly with one that is, say, from the lower panel, which you CAN get behind. I never tighten any of the body screws any tighter than I can get them using the SHORT side of the Allen wrench in my fingers.

In the end, the bike was back in one piece, sporting a new TEMP gauge where that stupid clock used to be. The gauge looks every bit as good as stock because, well... it IS. Click here for a (fuzzy) picture of the gauge installed.

[1] European Community

[2] Value Added Tax, varies, but runs around 15%, except on export items.

[3] United Kingdom Pounds, aka Pounds Sterling, about $1.65 each at the time I ordered

[4] Switch says: 115C, 81-25, F7, Jaeger

[5] Thermistor says: 120C, 04-03, K3, Veglia Italy, 12-24V

[6] 274-224, about $1.25

[7] 274-234, ditto

[8] It is a little rubber plug, about 9.5mm or 3/8" in diameter, with two wires, that holds a tiny instrument-type bulb.

[9] Ai putain! I forgot to write down all the numbers from the stickers on the gauge. C'est la vie. Le prochaine fois.

Finally, thanks for reading this. That's why I wrote it.

Here are some additional comments

Fede (Spain)

By the way about your good article. The temp displayed is more or less as follows: 1) The bottom indicates 40C. 2) The middle between 1) and the horizontal position marks 60C. 3) The horizontal position, over the word TEMP, indicates 80C 4) The beginning of the red line shows 100C 5) The end of the red zone shows 120C.

The engine runs always over 50C. Below 10-12C of external temperature, takes about 3-5 minutes to reach this temperature, and below 0C, till -6 or -7C runs slightly down of 50C. Over 12-13C takes only 2-3 minutes to reach the work temperature. The fan starts slightly over 80C, perhaps 85C. In about 1-2 minutes, or less time, the temperature goes down 80C, including those days with external temperature about 40C, and/or intense city traffic. If the temperature is hot, about 80C, takes a few seconds (20-30) to go down when the bike runs over 20 Km/h. After riding a lot or in a hot day, if the fan is on, I let to run during a few seconds before stopping the engine, at idle revs. This is my own experience. Perhaps these ideas can be helpful for somebody... Specially those of you whose bikes lack of thermometer. But the cooling system of the F650 is one of the most efficient... Regards, Fede

Can Yucel (Turkey)

First thanks for your extremely understandable explanation of clock - temp gauge swap on When I replaced my clock with a temp gauge on my 98 f650 I checked all electrical connections by myself but later found that everything was clearly explained in your writing. But I think there are several points that must be reminded for European riders who are about to install a temp gauge. Not all of the euro f650s come with temp gauges but all of them are fitted with euro head light switches. Therefore switched 12 V (+) (yellow grey cable) in your writing refers to head light switch switched 12 V(+). If you want your gauge to operate when you turn the lights on, no problem but activating the gauge from the ignition switch requires additional 12 V (+) source from the accessory plug or somewhere switched 12 V(+). Existing switched 12 V (+) can be used for illumination light on the gauge. Instead of Veglia temp sensor, Volkswagen temp sensors made by VDO (  with same thread, size, resistance and temp degree, also costs much less) can also be used. Regards Can Yucel,


Yes they will work, BUT the gauge is $54.00 & sending unit is $29.00 for a total of $82.00. And the dealer claims Aprillia is next to impossible to get parts. He does not stock these items (I didn't think he would) and claims 3 weeks if their in a US warehouse, or 6 to 8 weeks if they have to come from Italy. The way I figure it $72.00 bucks from Motobins including shipping. Its no mystery why Aprillia is having a hard time getting shops to take on their line in this country. Very weak effort on Dealer support. DWM Albany, NY USA

Adding an Oil Temperature Gauge

Thumperstuff Oil Frame Tank Gauge
Peter #233


Want to keep track of engine oil temperature? It is easy....just replace the stock dipstick with an oil temperature dipstick from Thumper Stuff ( Ask for part #1190. Europeans have known about this for some time; it is now available in the USA.  About $45.  You may have to reposition the dial for easy reading.




Q. Why can't they have a cold level to check just like almost every other bike or car made.
A. Because the Rotax motor has a dry sump. And that means that you can never be sure exactly WHERE the oil is on a cold motor.

Thumperstuff Oil Gauge
s: Opinions

Oil Level Marks:

Max. Temperature:

Sump Plug Oil Temp Gauge

Sump Plug Oil Temp Gauge: This site shows a Sump Plug Gauge. To date no one knows if it fits OUR sump. "This functions the same as our water temp gauge. It comes with a variety of adapter sizes to fit most models by replacing the stock drain plug. Order by the size of plug threading. Also available adapters only."



Aftermarket Coolant Temperature Gauge

Sump Plug Coolant Temp Gauge: This site shows a Replacement Coolant Temp Gauge. To date no one knows if it fits OUR bike. "Compact size digital gauge clearly indicates the actual temperature. Switchable to Fahrenheit or Celsius, and has blue backlighting. Velcro mounting makes instant installation on any flat surface. Fit for most Japanese liquid-cooled models. Available replacement sender."

Aftermarket Fuel Gauge
Flash #412 & Andy Leeds UK #982

  1. You could add a low level indicator light with this:

  2. If you want to try it, run a length of clear hose from the tap and back into the overflow connector at the top of the tank. The fuel will run up the pipe to the same level as the rest of the tank. In theory a good idea, but finding the right pipe and fittings and stopping idiots using the pipe to steal the petrol defeated me before I had chance to try it. An actual fuel gauge needs a sender in the tank with the right connections and a wire to the gauge. Not a DIY job.

  3. Failing that use the odometer!

GPS Warning

Got a GPS? Going to be out on the 21 and 22 August, 1999? Better bring a map if you have an older GPS. You've heard of the Y2K bug, well there is a GPS bug too.

It seems that every 1024 weeks (~20 years) the GPS satellites reset their week counters. On August 22, that count will reach 1024. However the satellites can only count to 1023 so they'll reset to 0 instead. This will cause many older GPS stop working or appear to be working but displaying inaccurate times and positions. 20% to 30% of the GPS's made are not suppose to handle this rollover to 0.

So if you WERE out on the weekend of August 21 and 22 1999 and your GPS WAS acting goofy. At least you'll know why and you can then explain it all to your buddies.!

Buying a GPS
Tom O. #654

[These comments were prepared at a friend's request. He is shopping for a GPS. Your experiences will be different from mine but here are my comments. I do not pretend to cover the use of a GPS for off road riding.]

Choosing a GPS unit is only step one in the process. Wiring, mounting, memory and supplemental mapping are also very important issues. Based on my experiences, these notes are directed to a GPS for street riding, not dirt or trail riding.

Having a GPS adds an interesting dimension to your riding. It will not do much on roads that you know really well. However, for any day riding away from your local area and for any multi-day trips, they are great to have. You always know where you are and where to go. At any intersection or stop, you can zoom out to see where to go. The GPS soon becomes the map of choice because it can minimize or eliminate errors in road directions. You do not have to carry multiple maps, especially on a long trip.


While most GPS units are designed to run on batteries, it is not recommended. The batteries will not last for long durations, particularly with a back light turned on as is needed for daytime viewing most of the time. Also, the shock and vibration with the weight of the batteries is not desirable.

Direct wiring to the battery is preferred. That allows the rider to leave the GPS unit on while stopped. This keeps the elapsed time counters running for measuring the days performance. You can also check upcoming locations and distances while stopped without having to turn the key on. Of course, the downside is having to remember to turn the unit off at the end of the day. Since it is often removed at the end of the day, this is not difficult.


Location is key. You should first search for the best location for the particular bike. Take into account other instruments, view, radar detector location, etc. Then search for a mount that is specific for your GPS unit and will work on the bike. On the handlebar in front of the tank bag (but not obstructed by it) is a good location. The GPS starts taking the place of you map so it is natural to look in that area.

I strongly recommend the Touratech Handlebar mount for StreetPilot from CycoActive. This mount is just the best. It is hard to appreciate what it does for you when you are first buying a unit and spending $$$ on everything in sight. In use, it is very secure, easy to use, holds your antenna in place, etc.


The Garmin StreetPilot that I use has a module for memory expansion. Selection of the module(s) is based somewhat on your expected riding use. For your home turf, you can purchase a smaller memory module (16MB or 32MB) since the StreetPilot has a map limit anyway. Each "map" covers a county in Arkansas but not in Colorado. It seems to vary with the level of detail on the CD for the area you are using to create the specific map set. For Arkansas, I can get my natural riding area in a 13MB file to download to the GPS. But you can only have one map set loaded at a time in a module. Therefore, a larger memory module may not be needed unless the map set has a lot of detail in it.

Also, if you are going to cross country and want the extra detail from a Map Source CD map set, you will have to figure out how to load the different map sets that you will need. You can rely on the standard base map that comes with the unit for freeway and large state highway riding, etc. However, for more detailed mapping, you will want to have map sets from a CD. Unless you are going to have a laptop, etc. with you in the evenings, this will not be possible. A solution is to purchase multiple memory modules and preload them with detailed map sets from the CDs for the areas that you want to detail. You should purchase one memory expansion module first to determine your map set download needs (and to practice on). Then you can purchase more modules as needed for trips. You can erase and reload map sets as desired. If you took a "three module" trip, you would preload all the modules and simply switch them out in the GPS as you traveled. You could erase and reload different map sets for other trips.

A strong recommendation is the USB Data Card Programmer. This lets you use a USB port for the downloads. Without it, the process is very long. And without the USB setup, you have to put batteries in the GPS while downloading since the unit is off the bike and hooked to your computer. With the USB setup, only the memory module goes in the USB holder and once loaded, you simply insert it into the GPS unit.

Supplemental Mapping

These are Map Source CDs for Garmin units. Make sure you are getting the correct CDs for your GPS. Start with the U.S. Roads and Recreation. It has the needed detail for the whole U.S. From that CD, you will create map sets as desired. With the memory modules, you can save various map sets on your computer and quickly download to modules as desired.

Stay away from the MetroGuides. They are for cities - not of interest very much for motorcyclists. You can buy appropriate CDs for most countries if you ride in Canada, Europe, etc.

GPS Unit

I have used a GPSIII+ and a StreetPilot (B&W). The GPSIII+ is a great little unit if you want small size and are satisfied with little memory (1.6MB). The StreetPilot is great with all the features you will want and is not much more expensive. The downside is its larger size. The color unit has a smaller screen and did not seem worth it to me. The new StreetPilot III is very expensive and offers voice commands. That does not seem very desirable on a motorcycle. I save my earpiece for my radar detector.

Where to buy

This probably changes often but I recommend two sites after you peruse the Garmin site [which is hard to navigate].

You can find more by searching GPS, or Garmin on any search engine. As usual, shop carefully. Watch for saving shipping costs by aggregating your purchases as much as possible. Not all the sites carry all the accessories such as the Map Source CDs, or the USB unit.

DHP #711

Garmin Cable Info:

Etrex info:

GPS Opinions

Cycle Computer FAQ
by J@mes NZ #848


I have just installed a cycle computer, done 1300kms (mostly in the rain) with it and plan to use it for an Iron Butt event next weekend.

I bought a VDO C10 for $75 NZD. This was my second computer because, on closer inspection, the first one would not register > 99kmph, ok for a cycle but not really cool for a real bike.

Buying Tips:

My Experiences so far:

Features for the VDO C10 are:

Fitting to a Classic F:

  1. Remove the LHS front fender.

  2. Work out where you are going to place both the magnet and receiver. I used the bottom bracket on the LHS mudguard. For the magnet, there are holes in the brake disk, you will need to attach the magnet to one of these. work out which is closest to the future location of the receiver.

  3. I used a couple of large washers, some blue LocTite and just screwed the Magnet assembly together as tight as I dared in to one of the holes near the centre of the disk. (don't use the holes in the outside of the disk, the magnet will not get past the brake pads)

  4. Before I attached the receiver I had to extend the cable, I did this by soldering another length of thicker wire in the region where it passes the steering head. ( any suggestions on how to attach, in a waterproof manner, a thick and thin wire are welcome, my fix was trashy).

  5. Measure the front wheel diameter. Test by raising the front wheel and spinning as fast as you can. ( I manages 20kmph)

  6. The wire at the right length I used cable ties and duct tape to secure the computer cable up through the steering head and on to the LHS handle bar. The lower half followed the brake cable.

  7. Test again, and re-do the bad soldering you did earlier.

  8. Test ride to make sure nothing falls off.

On Board Computer Comments/Feedback:

What about Installation of a Euroswitch
Peter Jensen #233 97ST VT USA

Q. What does a Euroswitch do?
A. Allows you to turn the lights off when YOU want to.


Q. I have MotoLights that I want to wire into my soon to be installed Euroswitch. I want : 1st position all lights off (normal Euroswitch) 2nd position, I want to add the headlamps and Tail Lamps to it. 3rd position all lights including MotoLights. My Euroswitch has four wires that go directly to the light switch part of it (eight total four are for the starter/kill). The first position of the Euroswitch has no wires at it. The second position ( which I believe is the parking lights) has a blue/grey and a green/black wire going to it. The third position has a green/red and a plain green wire going to it. So what I think I should do is cut one of the third position wires and wire it to one of the second position wires . Then wire my lead from the MotoLights into the wire I cut from the third position. Is that right and what (3rd pos) wire should be cut and wired to what (2nd pos) wire ? Also could I wire the parking lights to come on with the key and not be part of the Euroswitch. If I wanted to do this would I cut both of the second position wires (blue/grey and a green/black) and wire them together ? Then move the two third position wires to the second position and then wire in my MotoLights to the third position? If the last paragraph is correct then which third position wire in hot ? Link to the Motolight website wiring diagram.


Q. How do I swap it over? What is the wiring sequence?

I have the Euroswitch on mine set up so in the off position the parking lights are on, in the middle position the headlights come on, and in the third position my driving lights come on with the headlights. The American switch has two (2) jumpers so that the lights all come on with the key. The Euroswitch is plug and play out of the box (off, parking, headlights), I used a ohm meter to determine the wire which went with each of the positions of the switch. I then reused one of the jumpers for the key on parking lights and repositioned the headlight wires in the connector.


First buy a EUROPEAN Switch from an Earlier Model Classic F650. Use a European Dealer like Motorworks or Motobins. Remove the old switch and rewire as follows

The description below is based on looking at the connector from the back (i.e. the side the wires are on):

You will have a Green/Red Wire left to connect as the wire to turn the driving lights on (in position 3 of the switch)

My modification consisted of:


Signal Minders?

by Chris #856 '99F Fremont, CA

Several people asked about a follow-up on how the installation went with the SignalMinder. This post turned out to be a bit long, but hopefully it covers how it went, as well as most of the questions people might have. Feel free to ask any additional questions! This is not meant to be an ad or product review. I paid my $99 like everyone else. Sorry I don't have a digital camera, but I can take analog pictures and get them developed, if folks are interested. (It might take a while though...)

How do I stop the Switches from Rotating on the Handlebar?

Trevor #999, Bristol, UK, 01GS