Auxiliary Brake Light for $10 - Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-07-2012, 09:33 AM Thread Starter
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Auxiliary Brake Light for $10

Okay, this is the latest of my silly little mods on the cheap. I wanted to get one of those chrome license plate trim rings that had the LED brake light included. But they cost $65 and up. So, being a cheap S.O.B., I went to Northern Tool.

I purchased a Blazer model# CW1531R, 4" LED Sealed Running Board Light. I already had a cheapo chrome trim ring around the license plate. I took a piece of thin sheet stainless steel (aluminum would work too) that I had lying around and using the license plate as a template, I snipped out the shape shown below as a backing plate behind the license plate. I drilled holes to match the license plate and then put it all together to mark where to drill the light mounting holes so the light would end up being tight against the trim ring. If you oversize all the holes in this plate a little bit, it will make your life much easier in that you can wiggle things around a little to get it all to fit just right.

The LED light grounds through the backing plate into the bike frame just via the mounting bolt. As always, I used stainless steel fasteners. For the positive side I had to run one small wire behind the license plate through a little hole that was already in the fender where the stock license plate mounting bracket attaches and then inside the fender up into the rear of the stock brake light. There are two 10mm nuts you need to remove inside the fender to get the stock light housing out of the fender. There is no need to take the lens off of the stock brake light housing. You need to tap into the blue/red wire to get this light to act as a brake light. If you tie it to the red wire it will function as a running light. If you could find a dual brightness version of this LED you could have both functions. Of course, after tapping in, I sealed everything back up again with either heat shrink or electrical tape.

Anyway, just thought I would share.
Cheers!
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'07 VN900 Classic
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-07-2012, 03:09 PM
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I love these cheap mods Jeep. I've been looking doing something similar but mounting these lights on my hard bags. I've been keeping my eyes open for dual brights so I can make them running/brake lights.

anyway, yours looks great. keep up the good work!
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-07-2012, 06:41 PM
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I love these cheap mods Jeep. I've been looking doing something similar but mounting these lights on my hard bags. I've been keeping my eyes open for dual brights so I can make them running/brake lights.

anyway, yours looks great. keep up the good work!
If u have agri supply near by, they have red strobe lights for 36.00 that will work 4 running lights and brake lights. The strobes r about 1"x4" and they will get attention. Ifi knew how 2 post pics i could show u.

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-08-2012, 12:45 PM Thread Starter
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If u have agri supply near by, they have red strobe lights for 36.00 that will work 4 running lights and brake lights. The strobes r about 1"x4" and they will get attention. Ifi knew how 2 post pics i could show u.
Agri-Supply!!! I used to live in G-Vegas (Greenville) for 10yrs or so. Then I graduated ECU and moved to Concord. God I miss Agri-Supply. If they ain't got it, you don't need it!

I looked at dual brightness lights at Northern Tool, but anything that was dual brightness was considered a brake light and was therefore pretty big. Since I wanted to mount it under the license plate, this sort of restricted me. Maybe someone will find the solution out there.

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-09-2012, 09:58 AM
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Nice job, from one cheap SOB to another..........
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-09-2012, 10:09 AM
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Agri-Supply!!! I used to live in G-Vegas (Greenville) for 10yrs or so. Then I graduated ECU and moved to Concord. God I miss Agri-Supply. If they ain't got it, you don't need it!

I looked at dual brightness lights at Northern Tool, but anything that was dual brightness was considered a brake light and was therefore pretty big. Since I wanted to mount it under the license plate, this sort of restricted me. Maybe someone will find the solution out there.
There's a Tractor Supply Co. listed in Concord. Isn't it about the same thing?

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-09-2012, 09:55 PM
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There's a Tractor Supply Co. listed in Concord. Isn't it about the same thing?
Much more 2 select from at agri supply, mayb 10 times more. Lucky 2 have 1 less than 15miles from me.

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-14-2012, 11:01 AM Thread Starter
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Warning!!!

Okay, I had a bit of bad luck due to this mod this weekend. The backing plate I made was made from approximately 1/16 inch thick stainless steel that I had lying around. Evidently, that steel coupled with the relatively minimal weight of the light and the metal/chrome trim ring I had on the license plate was enough to cause vibration in the mounting bracket that comes with the bike. This vibration eventually wore a stress fracture in the bracket and the license plate assembly fell off while going down the road. It looked like someone had bend the metal back and forth over and over until it broke. I didn't loose it because the wire going to the brake light tethered it. But I did get a couple small scratches on the fender where it was flopping around in the wind.

So... the warning is that if you do this mod, watch out for your weight. Maybe use aluminum plate for the back plate. It might even be good just to make a small plate that mounts only to the bottom two holes of the license plate. I swear I did not think this thing was that heavy (maybe 2-3 lbs). But the cheap grade of metal they used for the bracket evidently was not up to that.

Now for the fix and a pretty neat bit of tidying up of the rear fender. The license plate bracket is made in 2 pieces. The part that is actually attached to the license plate did not break. It was the funny little part that is attached to the fender that broke. It broke just below the lower bolt that mounts this bracket to the fender. On the 900 Classic you will see that there is a red reflector mounted above the license plate. If you remove that reflector you will see that there is a center bolt hole and 2 locating stud holes where this reflector mounts. The outer stud holes are the exact right place for the mounting holes on the part of the license plate bracket that actually mounts to the plate. You just need to drill them out slightly larger to accept the bolts holding the bracket. This moves the license plate up into the place where the reflector was and gets rid of the cheap plastic reflector altogether. And it is really easy to do since the holes are already in the right place. When you mount the plate bracket in the new location, you want the center part of the bracket pointed up as opposed to down. This gives you the correct angle for the plate in relation to the fender. In the down position, the plate is tilted back toward the bike and might rub the fender at the bottom of the plate. Honestly, I think this set up looks better than the stock setup. Of course, I lost my auxiliary brake light in the deal, but that is not the worst thing in the world.

Anyway, just thought I would share in case someone else had tried this mod.

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-14-2012, 12:59 PM
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Good posting and great follow-up on the issue you had with the mod. Funny how a cheap $10 mod actually has an effective cost of $200 or more for repairs. That's my sort of luck anyways.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-14-2012, 02:29 PM Thread Starter
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Here is a schematic of the area in question. The bracket that broke is almost $20 at CheapCycleParts.com. The bracket is part# 23051A. Like I said above, it broke just below the lowest bolt hole that holds it to the fender. In this schematic you can see the three holes where the reflector was mounted and now the license plate is located. At least this deal didn't cost me $400 buck like it did when my stator gave up from me adding 140w of extra lighting.
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