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rear flashers to running lights for under $10

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  1. webster98
    #

    here is a simple way to convert your rear flashers into running lights all for less then $10 and just a little time and effort.

    Note #1 - this mod was done on and it is explained as being done on the 650 custom so classics or other bikes will likely have some differences

    Note #2 - rear running lights are required to be red so if you do this mod then you MUST get red bulbs or red flasher lenses or both or you WILL get a ticket at some point for having amber running lights

    Note #3 - messing with a bikes wires is something you shouldnt do unless you understand how electricity works and how to take necessary precautions to prevet shorts or bad connections so do this mod at your own risk

    Note #4 - i would suggest doing both lights at the same time on a workbench rather then doing this while its still on the bike. also when you remove the rear flashers from the bike take note of the wire connections because you may end up switching the flasher wire colors around before its all over (i labled them to be safe because i have a terrible memory lol)

    Note #5 - you can solder the connections and seal it with heat shrink wrap which is what i did and i think its the best way but if you dont like soldering then crimp on connectors work just as good even if IMO they arent as reliable over time with oxidation and such. if you dont want to solder your connections then carefuly remove the plastic housing off of the smallest butt connnectors you can use (hold it with a pliers while you melt a slit in it with a red hot knife blade works best) and crimp that on to connect the wires then slip shrink tubing over it and heat it with as lighter to insulate the connection.

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    this is the website where i got the bulb sockets: http://autolumination.com/1156_1157.htm

    the bulbs
    about half way down the page are the red bulbs i used, the "Cherry Red Xenon Natural Glass Bulbs" and they are $2.49 each but can use the regular red bulbs right above it, i just went for the fancy new bulbs.

    you also have the option to switch over to red flasher lenses in the rear and use clear 2357LL bulbs from the automotive store (which i would recommend) and if your like me you have a crack in your front lenses or they are dull anyway so you can move the rear lenses to the front.

    you can find them here for $10: Kuryakyn Replacement Turn Signal Lenses (pr) http://www.kuryakyn.com/Products/735/Clear-Red-Replacement-Turn-Signal-Lenses

    if i were to do it all over again, i would get the red lenses and not the red bulbs because i havent had to yet but i realised if a bulb burned out on me you cant just run to the auto store and grab red bulbs off the shelf.

    bulb sockets
    zip to the very bottom of the page and 3rd from the bottom is the bulb sockets.

    select the BAY15d socket #62-30 in the #1157 type with pigtail.

    i strongly suggest you get 4 sockets and switch the front flashers to the easy to find and brighter 2357ALL bulbs (the ALL=Amber Long Life) but if you are just doing the rears then you only need 2 of them.

    the wire, wire connectors, and light bulbs can all be found at any auto store but the heat shrink tubing will be found at the hardware store. i found the connectors and heat shrink is cheapest at home depot and you get more connectors for less.

    so your shopping list:

    home depot -
    male and female "butt" connectors (a pack of each)
    a pack of the 1/4" looking heat shrink (#8 i think it is)
    at least 3 feet of #16 guage wire (color optional)

    auto store -
    one pack of two 2357ALL bulbs (front flashers)
    one pack of 2357LL clear bulbs (rear flashers) (only needed if your going with red lenses)

    note - you should replace your brake light bulb with a 2357LL bulb too, its a lot brighter then stock bulb and while you are doing this i recommend buying TJ's ElectroFlasher and install a tail light flasher while you are at it,m its cheap and works just like those $100 flashers.

    TJ's ElectroFlasher can be found here: http://www.electroflasher.com/intro.html

    final note is the flasher housings are dull and will light up soo much better if you scuff them up and paint the insides white so they will look much brighter then leaving them dull silver or even if you polish them because then just dont reflect any light period.

    now lets get started with the mod:

    the replacement wire connectors and heat shrink tubing for the wires can be found at ace hardware or home depot

    first you need to remove the tail light to unplug the flashers then under the rear fender there is a bracket on each side holding the flasher wires so they need to be loosened up. you will need to lift the rear fender to make getting to everything easier and if its a custom then instead of removing the flasher mounting stems you "may" want to leave them in place to avoid removing the fender supports. (in my case i was relocating the flashers anyway)

    remove the flashers, lens cover, chrome ring, and the bulb socket and rubber boot holding bracket, now after cutting off the plug in connectors from the end of both wires, slowly wiggle as you pull on the rubber boot (do not grab with a pliers or you will tear it) it will slowly slip out of the housing but its a tight fit so take it easy and if you need to you can use a flat screw driver on the bulb socket tab to carefully push it out with or a wooden dowel to pushed into the stem from the wire side will help it slide out. (please dont be stupid here and grab the bulb like a gorilla and get too rough with it or you will cut yourself when the glass bulb breaks)

    now slip the boot down and off of the wires so you can get to the bare socket. remove the bulb (if you havent already) and you will need to push in on one side of the spring loaded disk so it can be pried out to access the spring and wire ring that grounds the socket. snip the flasher wire off at the base of the disk and DO NOT CUT THE BLACK WIRE you want to keep the grounding disk and wire intact so just slip that out of the socket as-is.

    now take your new 1157 pigtail socket and pull out the wires (they just slip in place) then carefully push down one side of the keeper pin and pry it out as you did with the original socket but when prying out the socket disk be very carefull because the new one is just made of plastic.

    now with the new pigtail socket empty drop in the grounding ring and wire from your old socket and your ground wire is now installed. the next step is a judgement call, i found the original sockets spring to feel stronger then the new one i bought so i put the old sockets spring into the new socket. now carefully reinstall the disc for the new socket then test that it moves up and down freely, if so then just slip the wires back into the holes and out the bottom. at this point take note of what color you put in which side so both lights can be wired the same at the socket.

    now with a pair of dikes or cutting pliers, snip nipples off the rubber boots that hold the wires and then snip accross the gap between the two holes to make room for the new extra wire. then slip the boot onto the new socket.

    now solder the wire you cut off of the original flasher socket to one of the wires on the new socket then add a new wire (#16 guage) from the end of the second new socket wire and make its length be about an inch longer then the first 2 wires so that all 3 plug connectors will be staggered at the ends (they need to be staggered to fit through things when you run the wires) now slip shrink tubing over your new wire connections and heat it with a lighter to shrink it and insulate the connection.

    now you can run the wires back through the stem of the flasher and push the rubber boot and socket back into position (dont lubricate it because you want a snug tight fit that doesnt move) then replace the bulb and insert the socket and boot holding bracket making sure that the wire elements in the bulb are straight up and down with the tallest element to the back and the shorter one in the front and replace the ring and plastic cover as well as the rubber mounting stem.

    now slip the protective plastic wire sleeve back over the wires and into the stem as far as it will go (i used a coat hanger to keep it open and straight while doing it) or if you want to you can just heat shrink all 3 wires together the full length except 3" from the plug connection end if your plastic sleeve is in bad shape. (electrical tape gets gooey and always unwraps after a while so its not a good solution).

    now replace the plug connectors onto all three wires and reinstall the flasher.

    now connect the flashers as they were before and test that they work correctly, if its too dim then you have it mixed up with the running light wire so switch them.

    now that the flashers work correctly just locate which wire is the running light for your tail light, you can just touch a wire from the flasher running light to the plug for the tail light with the switch on it will light up when you have the right wire.

    now in order to have somewhere to plug your running lights into you will need to take 2 short wires about 4 inches long and add them onto the running light wire by cutting it then twist one onto each side of the running light wire you cut then crimp a butt connector on it to remake the connection and tape it all up good.

    plug your running lights in and test that everything works correctly, then put everything back together and go for a ride.

    Note - you can use this same method to swap out your front flashers to 1157 style sockets for using the brighter and easier to find 2357 bulbs. this requires adding no extra wire or splicing into any wiring to the front because the fronts already use 3 wires.

  2. webster98
    #

    here is a few more pictures:

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