Posts Tagged ‘FJR1300’

Title mirror

So I continue to work my way through the FJR1300 Gen III retrofit project. Previously I was able to machine the name plate and LED light holder that would eventually get mounted to the back of the Pelican case. Next it was onto building a Pelican Case mount as well as try and come up with some way of mounting a couple of Clearwater LED driving lights.

I continue to strive for professional looking results and when mounting accessories to the bike it is important to blend the mounts in with the flow of the bikes lines. Nothing looks worse then something that simply doesn’t appear to belong. Subtle and discrete is usually a good thing and the less flashy and obtrusive I make it I think the better it will look.

So as my dad and I search for a place to mount the front auxiliary LED lights to it soon becomes evident that there are not too many options, at least none that would look good. Finally settled on trying to fabricate a couple of brackets that will get sandwiched between the base of the mirror mounts and the fairing. After much looking and measuring it would appear that the odds may work in my favor. Although I wasn’t convinced the plan would come together in the end there was enough evidence presented that would suggest the efforts verses the failure ratio was one worth pursuing.

So the bike was hauled into my garage and the fabricating began. I had a basic idea of what I wanted to accomplish however the aspect that complicated it all was I was working with 3 odd ball X Y, Z, angles. The angle of the mirror mount was situated in such a way that I needed to compensate for the angles and build a bracket that would eventually be square, plumb, and level.

I stock old cereal boxes in my garage because the cardboard is good for building templates from. So I began by building a cardboard sample of the LED light bracket in order to help determine the angles that would be required. Once I mocked up the cardboard I switched over to a scrap piece of steel and build a crude mount to ensure my efforts would not be wasted. Once I determined the proper angles I began building to good brackets.

As far as the mounting of the Pelican case I simple machined some spacers to fit in place of the existing factory rack hold down hardware locations. I cut the spacers at an angle to ensure that the mounting of the case would remain parallel with the back rack.

Once everything was fabricated the complete works got a glass bead blasting and then everything was fogged with some matte black powder coating. In the end I think the completed project worked out well. The front lights look super clean and super factory looking. The matte black finishing blends everything into the bike and prevents things from standing out as thought they don’t belong. My dad is happy and has since taken back possession of his bike and has everything wired up and working. He put his first 100km on his new bike today and was happy to report that everything is working 100%. On with the pictures…

Cheat arbor

I built a cheater arbor to help speed up the set up when needing to mill a radius. The arbor is a chunk of cold rolled round bar with the same radius as I require. I center the rotary table to the mill head and then clamp down my work piece once I have my arbor lined up. It isn’t highly accurate but I would guess that I am within .010″.

Bracket radius

Here are the results of my laziness. The radiusing of the mirror spaces work out great. They were cut from 1″ x .250″ 6061 aluminum.

6061 Mirror spacers

Here are my roughed out mirror base spacers. The black base gasket shows some resemblance, this is good.

Bracket taking shape

This is one of my good LED light mount brackets starting to take shape. I scribe my bend angles with a cut off wheel. This way I get a super clean inside bend line and it allows me to weld the exposed cut on the outside of the bend and clean it up. It not only adds strength but also looks ultra pro.

Bracket leveling

Much time was spend mocking up the brackets to ensure that my X,Y, and Z coordinates were all on even planes. Here I got within .50 degrees of level.

Perpendicular measurement

The lights will be adjustable vertically but not horizontally therefore the brackets need to be fabbed accurately. I used a couple of squraes and a staright edge to help determine what the “straight ahead” position.

Cutting vert adjusters

Before I performed the final bend on the brackets I milled out the adjustment slots to allow for vertical adjustment of the LED lights.

Bracket basics

Here sit all the LED light components minus the final bend, and trimming, of the brackets.

Bending bracket angles

Final bends. All that remains is welding and grinding of the scribe lines.

Wire channel test

In order to make the bracket look super clean I needed to be able to hide the wiring. I milled a channel into the base spacer plates and the drilled a hole in order to feed the LED wiring in under the mirror assemblies.

Brackets and spacers blasted

So here you have it, all the fabricated components glass bead blasted and ready for powder coating. I never posted pics of the Pelican case spacers however it is fairly obvious that I spun them up on the lather out of aluminum.

1st batch coated

First batch of matte black powder coated components.

Plate epoxy

With the Pelican case plate coated I was able to epoxy on the “Iron Butt” name plates.

Pelican case spacers

Here the Pelican Case spacers are installed on the rear of the FJR’s rack.

Pelican case support

A side shot of the mounted Pelican Case shows how the angled spacers allow the case to run parallel with the factory rack. Looks clean.

Completed Butt plate 4

The case gets bolted to the spacers from the inside. In order to accomodate the parallel fit some angled washers were machined.

Completed Butt plate 3

This is the inside shot of the mounted name plate. The 2 center studs were machined out to allow for hiding of the LED wires.

Completed Butt plate 1

Light bracket 1

Light bracket 3

This shows the routing of the wires in behind the mirror base. There is still a plastic fairing cover the dash assembly.

Light bracket 2

Tucking the wiring of the lights in under the mirror mounts worked great.

Mounted lights

Completed Butt plate 2


Title pocket

My dad is an avid motorcycle rider and has been riding Yamaha’s FJ series bikes for 20 years. He has been waiting patiently for the Gen III to come out and finally in 2013 Yamaha released the FJR1300 update. So after some wheeling and dealing he was able to score himself a new FJR to replace his previous model.

He does lots of long distance riding and is a member of the Iron Butt Association. When doing long distances there are certain modifications that get done to the bikes to help improve certain aspects, and characteristics, of the bike. One of those mods fall under the safety category. In the case of my dad’s preferences he is a big believer in outfitting the bike with highly visible LED lighting to help other motorists be able to see him. He also likes to run extra storage space and so along with the factory side cases he also runs a water proof Pelican Case on the back rack.

So what does this all equate to for me? Basically it comes down to coming up a way to mount LED brake lights, a Pelican case , and a couple of LED auxiliary driving lights to the new FJR. In addition to the required equipment my dad requested that I incorporate an “Iron Butt” license plate frame into the rear lights. He left the decision making up to me so I came up with something that I would hope meet his expectations.

I am spiltting this project up into 2 postings. The first one is the building of the rear bracket. The next posting will run you through the mounting of the Pelican case as well as the fabrication of the front LED lights. Enjoy.

Starting with

Here is what I was supplied with for the rear of the bike. The Pelican case will need to get mounted to the back rack and then a the LED strip lights and license plate frame will need to be attached to the case. The license plate frame is made for USA motorcycle plates. Canadian plates are a different size therefore I will use it in conjunction with the LEDs.

Plate trimming 1

I started by cutting up the license plate frame and cleaning it up on the mill.

Plate trimming 2

Here I was able to square it up perfectly.

Plate trimming 3

This is what is left with of the plate frame. At least now I have some badges I can work with.

Plate game plan

With the Iron Butt name plates and the LED dimensions known I was able to draw up a master plate idea in AutoCad.

Knocking of .500

I used 3/8″ x 4″ 6061 aluminum stock to machine the LED mount from. Since the plan called for a 3.5″ width I opted to trim .500″ off using the plasma.

Edge clean up

Once the plate was plasma cut I squared up all four edges using the mill.

Milling corners

Next all the corners where machined up and notched out.

Milling plate pockets

My plan called for pocketing out 4 areas to inset and flush mount the LEDs and plate frame name badges.

Pockets complete

Here the plate has been rough machined. All AutoCad dimensions worked out perfectly and a test fit shows that all components link together great.

Drilling mounts

The rear of the bracket had 4 mounting holes drilled and tapped and then another 4 holes drilled to allow for “Iron Butt” name plate removal should it be required.

Loomed studs

I machined some 8mm mounting studs that will allow the bracket to bolt onto the rear of the Pelican Case. On the center two studs I drilled holes to allow for routing of the LED witing.

Completed plate machining

This is the roughed out bracket. The plan is to powder coat it flat black yet to help it blend into the Pelican Case. The Black will allow the name plates, and LEDs, to “pop”

So I stepped back into the ring for round #2. My first go at the FJR1300 cruise control vacuum canister finished me off with some learned lessons. This time I took what was previously served up and planned on applying it towards total domination upon the canister creation.

For those who have no idea what I am talking about I had previously built an aluminum vacuum reservoir which had presented me with some challenges. The main one being getting all my welds to seal. On my second go I made some modifications mainly to the aluminum pre-weld prep.

I started off with a 4” length by .125” wall 6061 tubing and then sliced up a couple of solid 2” round bar chunks to be used as the canister ends. I machined a step into the ends, like I did on the previous canister, however this time I cut in a fairly deep and wide groove to allow for me to flow some aluminum filler into.

So with the canister prepped, the TIG dialed in, and the challenge accepted I laid down a couple of beads on both ends. Tossed the unit back onto the lathe and machined down the welds. Got a bucket of water and a hose filled with 120 psi of shop air I showed no mercy on the canister as I cranked the pressure into it. Ok…what’s wrong, where are the bubbles? Huh? Hmmm….I guess I can be learned. Looks like overcoming my fear of large weld grooves paid off. The aluminum filler flowed in great and I’ve got a submerged canister with contained pressure to prove it. First run of the welds sealed the unit up 100%. Now what? I had budgeted for issues.

So with success obtained early on I spent the rest of my time prettying the thing up. The ends got chamfered slightly and the whole unit was then polished to a shine. Sweet! Much more satisfying then my first go around. Since the canister is not required for install for a few months yet I opted to hang onto it and set it in front of my computer monitor so that I can stare longingly at it. Some day the two of us will have to part ways but until then I want to make every moment count.

I’ve been trying to get some hood time with my aluminum welding so as to try and improve my skills. I had a request to build a couple of small vacuum canisters that are going to be used for the installation of an aftermarket cruise control system on a couple of Yamaha FJR 1300 motorcycles. It wasn’t a huge job, at first, and I was able to stumble my way through to moderate success.

The only criteria was size. The canister needed to maintain an external dimension of 2 inches diameter by 4.5 inches long. I started with 2” 6061 aluminum round with .125” wall thickness (I know it was a bit heavy however I didn’t have .065”) and chopped off a 4” section. Then I shaved a couple of .75” pieces off of 2” solid 6061. Using the lathe I machined a couple of steps into the end caps to allow for a perfect canister fit.

I fired up the Miller TIG and laid down a couple of beads no problem…so I thought. Once I machined down the welds I installed a 1/8” NPT 1/8” barb brass fitting into the canister, dunked it in a bucket of water and fed 120 psi of air to it. Lots of bubbles, oops. I figured no problem, this is a learning experience. I ran some more beads, machined and performed another leak test. Still bubbles. So I did it 2 more times trying hard not to get frustrated. Performed a 4th leak test, still bubbles, I couldn’t decide if it was time to cry yet.

Obviously the system I was using was not working, I needed to change something. I decided to machine a couple of huge grooves in welds to allow for wider penetration. I had already machined grooves previously however not to an extreme. However it was to a point were the project was garbage if I couldn’t get it sealed. So with a massive valley to lay some aluminum rod into I welded the canister up for a 5th time. Machined it for the 5th time and leak tested it for the 5th time. Perfect! No leaks. Note to self…do not fear the large groove. The aluminum has no problem flowing, penetrating, and filling the gap.

So the canister kind of took on an odd shape due to all the machining however the functionality was not compromised. As an added learning step I decided to anodize the unit to see how the welds would anodize. After polishing the unit and putting it through a cleaning stage I dunked the unit into my anodizing tank for a couple of hours. Upon post anodize inspection it was fairly obvious that the 6061 canister and the aluminum filler wire anodized 2 different colors. I soaked the canister in the orange dye for 15 minutes curious to see if the to aluminum colors would be hidden with dye color. Apparently not, lesson learned. No big deal to fix. I set the canister back up on the lathe and sanded down the poorly colored ends and then polished them up on the buffing wheel.

I can’t say that this is the prettiest thing I have ever made however its main purpose was to try and teach me something and that it did. The best part is that I have to make a second one so I’ll see if I can take my new found knowledge and apply it in hopes of better success.