1986 Honda Shadow VT500 Electrical Questions

I recently purchased most of an 86 honda shadow vt500. As it was missing some of the parts and I was pretty lost in the wiring I just decided to pull the harness and start over. After I had done that however I realized that model has a pulse generator and an ignition control module. Do you have any advice/simple diagrams to wire that system from scratch? I’m bobbering it out so won’t need much past the ignition headlight and blinkers but really just need help with the ignition. I know nothing of this system and this is my first motorcycle so even the coils are a bit funny to me. I tried wiring the coil from a kz440 just to see if I could get the engine to start and failed. I don’t know if that is due to the fact I was trying to wire straight from the wire coming from what I hope is the pulse generator and thought was the points, or if I’m wiring the coil wrong in general even if those were points wires. the diagrams I find online don’t really seem to represent the coils with the correct location and number of terminals. Thanks for your help.

The Honda VT500 does have a pulse generator. It’s a pretty simple and very reliable system. The pulse generator on the flywheel sends pulses to the ignition control unit which then sends a plus to the ignition coils and the spark sparks.

Just use a wiring diagram for your bike and trim off whatever you don’t need. If you have the old harness just use it as a guide. Follow the wires from the pulse generator to the ICU and make sure you match them up properly. Do the same with the coil and you should be fine.

I wouldn’t recommend swapping coils with any other bike. You could easily end up with a non-optimal spark which could over time cause problems in your cylinders.


Evan Fell

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