Make/Repair plug wires - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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post #1 of 14 Old Dec 17th, 2014, 9:56 pm Thread Starter
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Make/Repair plug wires

Has anyone tried to make their own plug wires or maybe repair the factory ones? I recently had one wire test at about 60K ohms. That is 10x what it should be so I have a new one coming but I ran across some posts that the issue comes from the 5K plug cap failing. It looks like a person could cut off the factory plug boot and install an NGK LB05EP 5k resistor spark plug boot or one like it.

Hoping this will be my only bad wire but at $70/wire, it would be nice to find another option.

1973 Yamaha 250 Enduro (crash and burn)
1982 Yamaha Virago 920 (sold)
Honda CB750 Custom (sold...good riddins!)
2003 K1200LT - Black (for sale)
2005 K1200LT - Ocean Blue Metallic

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post #2 of 14 Old Dec 17th, 2014, 11:34 pm
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Re: Make/Repair plug wires

Why not try Beemerboneyard, they have plenty of deals. Here is a complete set. If you filled in your profile it would help, don't know your year and model bike from a quick glance.
Oilhead Single Spark Ignition Wires (Spark Plug Wires), Set Of Two

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post #3 of 14 Old Dec 18th, 2014, 9:08 am Thread Starter
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Re: Make/Repair plug wires

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Originally Posted by beech View Post
Why not try Beemerboneyard, they have plenty of deals. Here is a complete set. If you filled in your profile it would help, don't know your year and model bike from a quick glance.
Oilhead Single Spark Ignition Wires (Spark Plug Wires), Set Of Two
Beemerboneyard is great but I am looking for another option for two reasons:

1) would be nice to run to a automotive store on a weekend and pick up the parts

2) plug wires and ends would only run about $30 for a set of 4

I have my bike listed in my signature. The specific one is the 2005 LT. I have filled out my profile but there is something strange that I have written to the moderators about a couple times but have gotten no answer. Even though my profile has been updated to my new address in WA, ever post I put out still gives my Appleton, WI location. I wonder if a similar thing is happening where you can't see my bike in my profile even though it is in there. Either way - I have it in my signature now.

1973 Yamaha 250 Enduro (crash and burn)
1982 Yamaha Virago 920 (sold)
Honda CB750 Custom (sold...good riddins!)
2003 K1200LT - Black (for sale)
2005 K1200LT - Ocean Blue Metallic

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post #4 of 14 Old Dec 18th, 2014, 11:45 am
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Re: Make/Repair plug wires

If you make your own I suggest you use the best components you can find. The high tension power easily punches holes in the insulation of cheap stuff as that is one of the failure modes of the BMW wires. A tiny black dot with a gray area around it. These wires only need changing once every many years (ten years is just about it). I figure a bone yard set is not that far out of line considering they are set up for the machine. Sorry I missed your bike model. And good that your changing these. Think about new brake lines too. They age and fail, sometimes with no outside indicators, just internal delamination.

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post #5 of 14 Old Dec 18th, 2014, 12:12 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Make/Repair plug wires

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Think about new brake lines too. They age and fail, sometimes with no outside indicators, just internal delamination.
Brake lines are next on my list. Already have a set of Spieglers waiting to be installed.

I ran the pinhole test on my wires first but that checked out good. It was the resistance test that the one failed. I've witnessed the light show under the hood of an old van I had so I know exactly what you are talking about. Quality insulation around the core is essential.

1973 Yamaha 250 Enduro (crash and burn)
1982 Yamaha Virago 920 (sold)
Honda CB750 Custom (sold...good riddins!)
2003 K1200LT - Black (for sale)
2005 K1200LT - Ocean Blue Metallic

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post #6 of 14 Old Dec 18th, 2014, 2:07 pm
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Re: Make/Repair plug wires

There's nothing special about BMW wires or spark plugs, so I would say yes, you can make your own. Any auto parts store has a good selection of individual wires. It's pretty simple to cut one to length. They're just fiberglass rope and graphite powder (or something similar) for the conductor. You could likely re-use the original boots. I've done it many times on cars and boats. No reason why it won't work on a motorcycle. All the voltages are pretty much the same. While BMW wants us to believe many of their parts are "special" they use the same electricity as everyone else. If it doesn't work, you're out maybe ten bucks for trying.


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post #7 of 14 Old Dec 18th, 2014, 2:31 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Make/Repair plug wires

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Originally Posted by deanwoolsey View Post
There's nothing special about BMW wires or spark plugs
I have just never dealt with caps that had build in resistors. The plug wires I have used were just straight through and only had the resistance of the wire core. That is why I thought the BMW ones were something special. I finally ran across the NGK boots with the built in 5K ohm resistor built in and thought it may be doable to build my own set.

1973 Yamaha 250 Enduro (crash and burn)
1982 Yamaha Virago 920 (sold)
Honda CB750 Custom (sold...good riddins!)
2003 K1200LT - Black (for sale)
2005 K1200LT - Ocean Blue Metallic

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post #8 of 14 Old Dec 19th, 2014, 2:25 pm
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Re: Make/Repair plug wires

I think the days of fabricating one's own ignition wires disappeared with the advent of electronic ignition, especially later ones.

Back in the mid 1980s BMW introduced the first M5, which had an ultra-high performance inline six. A set of ignition wires for that engine retailed then for $750.

Mercedes in the 1990s introduced the M112 and M113 engines, V6 and V8, that were both dual plugged, meaning the V8s required 16 spark plug wires at IIRC $35 each. Those engines had dual-terminal coils mounted near each piston top, so the wires were always less than 6 inches long.

Unlike the USA auto industry, the German auto industry is not an exercise in 1950s nostalgia.

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post #9 of 14 Old Dec 19th, 2014, 3:07 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Make/Repair plug wires

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Originally Posted by lkchris View Post
I think the days of fabricating one's own ignition wires disappeared with the advent of electronic ignition, especially later ones.

Back in the mid 1980s BMW introduced the first M5, which had an ultra-high performance inline six. A set of ignition wires for that engine retailed then for $750.

Mercedes in the 1990s introduced the M112 and M113 engines, V6 and V8, that were both dual plugged, meaning the V8s required 16 spark plug wires at IIRC $35 each. Those engines had dual-terminal coils mounted near each piston top, so the wires were always less than 6 inches long.

Unlike the USA auto industry, the German auto industry is not an exercise in 1950s nostalgia.
I am missing the reason why one could not make their own plug wires. It is just moving electricity from the coil to the plug. Personally I wish they would just do a coil on plug arrangement like many Japanese cars are going to and eliminate the wires all together.

1973 Yamaha 250 Enduro (crash and burn)
1982 Yamaha Virago 920 (sold)
Honda CB750 Custom (sold...good riddins!)
2003 K1200LT - Black (for sale)
2005 K1200LT - Ocean Blue Metallic

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post #10 of 14 Old Dec 19th, 2014, 4:19 pm
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Re: Make/Repair plug wires

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Originally Posted by rdepas View Post
I am missing the reason why one could not make their own plug wires. It is just moving electricity from the coil to the plug. Personally I wish they would just do a coil on plug arrangement like many Japanese cars are going to and eliminate the wires all together.
It's not just the Japanese. Ford has been using COP since the turn of the century. (makes it sound like a long time, huh?)

I expect we'll see nothing but COP within a few years, even on motorcycles. I was looking at riding mowers the other day and some of the new ones are fuel injected. You want a good laugh walk into a new car dealership and ask them if they can rebuild a carburetor and set the float on it for you.


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post #11 of 14 Old Jan 4th, 2015, 9:45 pm
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Re: Make/Repair plug wires

Virtually all of the plug wires from the good old days cannot contain a modern spark which has a much faster rise time and higher voltage- spark will blow right through this stuff to the nearest ground no matter its thickness.

If you attempt your own be sure of the specs of the material- must be fully appropriate for modern ignitions. many proper modern wires are actually a lot thinner than the old stuff but very different material of course.

Old rubber brake lines are best replaced with modern stainless braid like Speiglers which will have a much longer life span. BUT, always get lines that are coated- bare stainless braid will saw through anything from vibration- panels, cables, etc..
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post #12 of 14 Old Mar 14th, 2018, 5:29 pm
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Re: Make/Repair plug wires

This may be blasphemy, but I will share it anyway. A few years ago, I was in a bind. I was on a trip, and the engine on my K100RS began missing during wet weather. Once back at the rally site, I removed the spark plug cover and inspected the wires. They had the typical whitish/grey arcing spots on a couple of the wires. I didn't have access to a new set of wires, so I went to the local hardware store and bought a bottle of liquid electrical tape.

I removed all four wires and coated them liberally with the liquid electrical tape. After they dried, I gave them a second coat. I put everything back together, and it ran like new again. Here's the interesting part; I have intended to put new wires on when I returned home, but the bike is running so well I haven't replaced them. I'm still running the original coated wires and the bike is still running like a top. YMMV.
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post #13 of 14 Old Mar 14th, 2018, 6:35 pm
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Re: Make/Repair plug wires

Hey, I did about the same thing, I took fiberglass high voltage tape and put strips lengthwise that folded over perfectly for a complete cover. Fixed things rather well also. I have a can of that Scotch liquid electrical sealer in a drawer.
But Euromotorelectric and beemerboneyard sell aftermarket wire sets at a reasonable cost.

Beech
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post #14 of 14 Old Mar 14th, 2018, 6:56 pm
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Re: Make/Repair plug wires

You will need these for the coil end of the leads.They are not std for ht leads.
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/IGNITION-...-/111724100335
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