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DIY Passing Lamps

I had heard many stories about the Yamaha passing lamp problems - hard to install, welds breaking, water in the turn signals -  and they are expensive.  Ronn Kilby had mounted some JC Whitney Harley-style passing lamps to his existing turn signal bar (on Classic models) using frame clamps.  I decided to follow his lead, but I used a different lamp (thinner) and a better clamp.  Here are pictures and tips on how to do it yourself:

Here's a front shot showing how they look. 

And here's how they look from the top.

 

Details on Doing It Yourself:

Parts:  The lamps are made by Emgo and they can be obtained from many places.  You want the 4.5" diameter shallow body lamps.  (These lamps are the same lamps used by Cobra in their passing lamp kits.  Some dealers carry these as replacement lamps from Cobra in a Cobra package.)  The clamps are a three piece chrome frame clamp, 7/8".  The ones I used are made by Custom Chrome.  They are Custom Chrome part number CC15-200.  Used to be there was no convenient way to order all the parts at once from the same supplier.  I am happy to announce that for the convenience of Vstar1100.com readers, Cruiser Customizing is offering a complete kit of the two lamps and two clamps for $95.80.  Order the passing lamp kit here.

Physical Assembly:  Assembly is reasonably straightforward.  The only issue is that the clamps need to be held almost closed in order for the bolt from the lamps to pass through the holes and be tightened.  You'll need a vise grips to do this.  Put the clamp on the bar and tighten the allen head screws that hold it together.   Put the lamp's bolt through the top hole and grab the edge of lamp's mounting flange along with both sides of the clamp in the vise grips and squeeze.  You may have to repeat this several times with successively tighter settings on the vise grips.  Once you have it squeezed enough to get the nut started, do so.  Now remove the vice grips and tighten the nut. (Ron Burns reports that he assembled the clamps and squeezed them before putting them on the bar, thus making assembly easier.  Cover the jaws of the vise grips to avoid marring the chrome.)  Here's a close up of the completed assembly.

Wiring: You'll need to remove the headlamp from the shell to gain access to the headlight wiring. (See your owners manual under the "headlamp replacement" section for the screw locations.)  Here you have several options depending on when you want the passing lamps to turn on.  If you want the lamps on all the time, splice the two black wires from the lamps to the light blue wire.  If you want them on with just the low beam, then use the green wire.   For on with just the high beams, use the yellow wire.  For now, my wires come out the bottom of the lamps and then are routed inside the plastic appearance piece that snaps onto the turn signal bar.  Pull the piece off, route the wires up into the headlamp bucket and snap back.  You can see the wires in the first picture above. If you are electrically challenged and don't want to cut the wires in your headlamp, you can use the splice blocks that fold over and snap into place, holding the wires and piercing the insulation at the same time.  These are easily installed with nothing more than a pliers.  You can get them at most auto parts stores or Radio Shack - part number 64-3052. 

Alignment: The lamps can swivel left-right and up-down because of the way they sit in their mounting flange and the way the bolt comes through the housing.  So all that is necessary to do to adjust the lamps is to loosen the nut enough so that you can move the lamps.  Then retighten.  Park your bike in a garage or other situation where you can aim the front end towards a wall (a white wall preferably).  The front of the bike should be 6  feet or so from the wall.  Sit on the bike (or better yet, have some one sit on it while you adjust) and hold the bike straight.   Turn on the ignition and check the lamp pattern on the wall.  I adjusted my lamps so the center of the beams were slightly lower and to each side of the main headlamp beam.  If you are by yourself, you'll have to tighten the lamps without trying to move the lamp and then check the alignment once the lamp is tight.  If you have someone on the bike, you can keep a watch on the alignment as you tighten.   A safety note:  Resist the urge to reach forward and adjust the beams as you sit on the bike.  It's a good way to slip and dump the bike.