Installing a CB on an 1800
When I bought my 2012 GL1800, the CB radio was a factory option that listed for $1,100. I thought that was a bit pricey since I knew that the bike was prewired for the CB radio, and the controls were already present on the handlebars. In fact, since the release of the 1800 series in 2001, Gold Wings have used a single wiring harness for all models (until the release of the airbag model, which has unique wiring). That wiring harness is complete – all the controls and wiring are present for the CB, the audio package, the cowl lights and nearly everything else.
All that is needed to install a CB in a GL1800 is the CB radio and an antenna. And, shopping around the reputable aftermarket suppliers shows prices for quality, OEM Honda radios to be about half the factory price, and aftermarket radios even less. Complete packages with the Honda radio and antenna are about $600, and used or refurbished radios can be found for around $350. All of those are well below the factory price. All that is needed is to pick up a radio and antenna and install them. That’s what I did, and here’s how to go about it. Note that all photos are of the 2012 model. Models before 2012 are slightly different, but quite similar. And to my knowledge, 2013-15 models are almost exactly the same.
The CB belongs in a space below the standard audio controller. That is in a recess in the floor of the trunk. It’s covered by a black, plastic panel that simply snaps into place. Once you remove the panel, you’ll see the audio controller. The connection for the USB port will keep the panel in an awkward position for working; it’s easy to release the plastic tie on the cord, unplug the USB cable from the audio controller, and set it aside for now. On the 2012, there are four black cap screws securing the audio controller to a mounting bracket. I believe most other models will be similar.
When it’s time to install the CB radio, you’ll need to remove those four screws, lift the audio controller aside, and deposit the CB below it. Before that,though, you’ll need to install the antenna.
The first, and potentially scariest, step is to drill a few holes in the side of the trunk. Fortunately, Honda made this very easy. There are precise alignment marks on the inside of the trunk. There are two vertical lines, molded into the inside of the trunk, on the left side. They are in the same relative position as the mounting bolts for the AM/FM antenna found on the right side of the trunk. At the center of each of the vertical lines is a small dimple. That dimple is the center of the bolt-hole for mounting the antenna. Before drilling be sure to use a center punch to mark the precise location of the hole center. It’s almost impossible to drill a hole at an awkward angle on a hard surface without having the drill bit wander. A center punch mark is crucial to getting the holes properly aligned. Your antenna mounting instructions should provide the proper drill size. If not, use a bit 1/64 inch larger than the diameter of the shoulder portion of the mounting bolts.
Once the two holes are drilled, place a piece of masking tape between the two holes on the outside of the trunk (but not obstructing the holes). Now hold your antenna sideways, aligning the antenna’s bolt-holes next to the trunk holes. This will show you where to drill the hole for the cord. Put a mark on the tape for the cord hole, center punch that, and drill the last hole. You can then remove the tape.
Now it’s time to remove the seat, since you’ll be feeding the antenna cord under the seat and into the radio compartment under the trunk. You might need a couple of extra hands for the next step, but it can be done alone if you have all the tools and mounting hardware within reach (meaning the floor of the trunk). Make sure you have the rubber seal on the antenna base properly aligned and feed the antenna cord through the center hole.
Next, feed it through the slot and the hole that is beside the lower of the two holes you drilled earlier. Then place the antenna into proper position, and align the mounting bracket over the holes inside the trunk. Thread the two shoulder bolts through the bracket, the trunk wall, and into the antenna, but don’t tighten them. Once they are snug, the antenna will remain properly in place. You still have a mounting bolt to install in the floor of the trunk. Once all three bolts are started, go ahead and tighten them all securely.
The antenna wire needs to pass through the rubber cap over the radio wires and into the audio compartment in the floor of the trunk. It’s now time to remove the bolts from the audio controller and prop it up on one side so you can see the wiring entry point. I would have liked to route the antenna cable through the rubber boot covering all the audio cables, but that seemed nearly impossible. I wound up making a small slit in the boot and feeding the antenna cable through that slit and into the radio compartment next to the audio controller.
Once the antenna wire is inside the compartment, it’s a simple matter of making all the necessary connections. Since each connector is unique, you really can’t make a wrong connection. Just plug in everything that is unplugged and the connections are complete. The CB has an adhesive strip on the bottom. Make sure the bottom of the compartment is clean and free of dust and grease, remove the protective paper cover from the adhesive strip, and position the CB squarely in the recess. Be sure to leave room on the left for the wiring that needs to pass up to the audio controller.
With that, the job is nearly finished. Put the audio controller back in place, install the four cap screws, reconnect the USB cable and tie, and then put the plastic cover panel back in place. Then, once you’ve re-installed your seat, it’s time for a radio check and a ride.
The CB controls are prewired and already present on the left handlebar control pod. With your new CB, you’ll be able to hear everything that goes on during your next Chapter ride, and you’ll have saved yourself several hundred dollars. As your mother used to tell you, “Don’t spend it all in one place!”
George Woodside, GWRRA #116506, is Chapter Director, along with Carol Hannigan, of the Sierra Eagles, NV-E. Woodside has lived in Reno or Sparks since 1990, after 13 years in Southern California. He’s a Level IV Master Rider with close to 50 years in the saddle and 18 years with GWRRA. He has also owned a 1200.
Like what you've read? Share it!