Dyna Saddlebag Project – Part 1 Signal Relocation

 Princess Diana’s Dyna

After designating 2011 as the year “First State is Going Places” and then packing for my first two overnighters of the year with Jay, I have come to the conclusion that I cannot fight it off any longer…adding saddlebags to my Dyna Super Glide is no longer optional.  I ride a cruiser because I want to ride a cruiser, not a bagger.  The stripped down, no frills, “pure machine” look was one of the things that attracted me to the Dyna Super Glide in the first place.  I like the sleek lines of my bike with the solo seat and fender rack that just blends perfectly into the layback license plate.  I did not want saddlebags anywhere near my bike.  Unfortunately I am forced to keep a tailbag on that fender rack 24-7-365 just to have a place to hold my wallet and sunscreen (not to mention rain gear, spare gloves, camera, ride paperwork & maps…and forget about toiletries and a change of clothing for overnight trips)!  Well, the hard decisions have been made, and Jay will no longer be my “pack mule.”

Pack Mule

Being a total novice in the area of saddlebags, I did a LOT of research on the topic.  I found that real leather will generally last longer than synthetic, though it is not typically waterproof.  I found that bags can be hard-mounted or throwover styles, and that you can also get brackets for quick-detaching of hard-mount bags.  I found that bags come in every shape, size, and style you can imagine…unless you are looking for something very specific (and then you have your work cut out for you, or you may have to compromise somewhere).  I found that there are no two ways about it, Dynas are required to relocate their rear turn signals off of the fender strut in order to be able to install any kind of rigid-mount bag.

The turn signal relocation was a major sticking point in this project.  I already have a layback license plate that I completely love and did not want to replace it with the layback plate kit for signal relocation.  Jay has this product on his bike, and although it looks fine the angles of it just would not match or blend with my luggage rack the way my current plate frame does.  There is supposedly an option to extend the turn signals farther back along the fender (basically by extending the strut longer), but I could not find any information that indicated just how far back it would push the signal and feared that it would still interfere with opening the lid on the saddlebag anyway.  Besides, despite the fact that the parts counter guy swears the part does exist to fit my 2008 Super Glide, I found no evidence that such a part had been made for Dyna models prior to 2009.  So I purchased the kit that mounts to a standard license plate bracket (part # 68732-02A), and made plans to finagle a way for it to work with my current set up.

Installation:

 Signal Bar

Mounting the light bar to my current license plate frame was a challenge because there is not a kit designed for such an attachment, so we had to do a little “customization”.  Actually Jay had a brilliant idea to drill two holes in the fender and stick the connecting bolts through – attaching it directly to the fender instead of the license plate frame.  (Thank goodness he did this while I was sleeping, or I might have had a heart attack!)  We also determined that with the really tight fit it would be a good idea to drill another hole on the right side of the license plate mount for the wires to run through.  This was very careful work – starting by drilling a small hole then making it larger and larger to the desired size.  We also inserted rubber grommets into the holes for a “professional” finished look (and to help keep the wires from cutting against the sharp edge of the holes).

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Once the removal and “fabrication” part of the work was done, we set to work actually moving the lights.  First the turn signals needed to be removed and disassembled.  The wires needed to be fed through the threaded hole in the signal, then through the signal bar, and out the small hole on the back of the bar.  The light bulbs & casings could then be reassembled and screwed loosely onto the ends of the light bar.  Shrink tubing was used on the wires before connecting the assembly to the bike and threading the wires through the fender.

Turn Signal Relocation

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Finally, with the turn signal wires pulled back through the brake light housing, we needed to splice the connectors back onto the ends.  This was a very difficult job for Jay when he did his signal relocation, but it turned out to be not so bad this time around.  (Maybe it just needed a woman’s softer touch to do the crimping.)  Of course there was the very stressful moment when we turned the key and checked to see if all of the lights worked.  Both of us held our breath for a moment, then…pay dirt!  WooHOO, I can breathe again!

splicing wires

The final stage of this process was to reassemble everything we had taken apart.  The signals needed to be aligned and tightened – no problem.  The license plate bracket and CB antenna needed to be remounted – no problem.  And the plate itself along with its decorative frame needed to be installed – problem!  The newly customized location of the light bar partially blocks the bottom two holes for the frame.  Perhaps a shorter bolt with a really thin nut might do the trick?  Or maybe we’ll be able to find some decorative “stick on” kind of fake bolts?  For now though, it ain’t going anywhere so it’ll do.

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Yay, stage 1 complete!  Next up: Installing the Saddlebags

2 Responses to “Dyna Saddlebag Project – Part 1 Signal Relocation”

  1. YAY! it looks great! i wound up a very similar setup on my old 883, which came with the signals on the rails. personally i came to LOVE this change. im like you, i resisted bags, actually come to think of it ive resisted on every bike ive ever had, but ultimately im a girl and i have a purse (so hence the need for a place to keep it plus other stuff…LOL)! cant wait to see the bags!

  2. Ms M,
    I actually don’t even cary a purse, and I can pack a week’s worth of clothing in one “bedroll” & toiletries in the palm of my hand. It’s the changes of gear – from light jacket to heavy jacket, rain gear, and 3 types of gloves for varying conditions – that I need the space for! LOL
    ~
    We finished the bags yesterday…post coming soon. And they do look awesome! It just might keep me from pining away for a Street Glide for several more years. Haven’t used them yet, but I am totally psyched! 🙂

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