Bikers Workshop Series

Making DIY "Key-Knobs" for a GL1800.

By Paul Norrod.



I recently made "key-knobs" to open the fuel door and right storage pocket of my 2010 Honda GL1800 Goldwing. I had previously made the same knobs for my 2001 GL1800 and immediately missed them when I traded it in for the 2010. I decided to take some photos and make this article to help others.
I decided to use the OEM radio knobs because they match the existing radio knobs, but, of course, there are any number of different knobs you could find and use instead.

Click the thumbnails for a bigger image.


The OEM GL1800 radio knobs. They were about $5.00 each at the Honda dealer. If it is your first time making these, it might pay to buy an extra in case you mess one up:

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I used the Axxess #27 key blanks bought and cut at Home Depot. There has been discussion about using the shorter 27R key blanks for the GL1800 Goldwing, but I have never used them so I can't comment. I can say I have had 6 #27 key blanks cut at Home Depot for my 2001 and 2010 Goldwings and they have all worked perfectly for the ignition and the fuel door and right pocket:

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The OEM GL1800 knobs have a metal sleeve so they fit tight on the radio posts. I removed these sleeves, they pull out easily with needle-nose pliers:

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I cut off the keys at the end of their slots. You will want to cut the keys long because you will grind them a little at a time to make them the correct final length:

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I took a piece of plumbing strap and heated it with a torch and used it to melt a slot in the inside of the plastic knob where you want the key to go. You want to melt down to the reinforcing bars in the knob itself. You don't need to make the melt very wide because you want the key to fit fairly tight in there - I actually made this slot a little too wide (twisted the strap a little left-and-right). On the second knob I did not do any twisting and it was tighter:

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Next, you will need to carefully grind or file the end of the key and place it in the slot and test it in the GL1800 fuel door or right pocket lock to get it the correct height. It took me 5 or 6 "grind and test fit" trys before I got it where I wanted it. This is where originally cutting the key too long comes into play - it lets you grind and test a little at a time until you get it right:

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Once you get the knob and key setup, you want to epoxy the key in place. I used JB Weld and let it set a full 24 hours before I used the keys. I put the JB Weld in the knob and then pressed the key into place. If your key is loose in the slot, you may need to setup the knob on a tilt so that the key will stay in the correct position while the JB Weld cures:

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After curing:

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It is difficult to get the knobs to perfectly cover the chrome bezel where the key goes in. I got a little lucky on this job, but when I did my 2001 GL1800 the knobs were a little off center. Hope this proves helpful:

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