Saturday, April 19, 2008

Taillight swaperooo

I intentionally rode the Sparkplug Enduro a couple weeks ago with a completely stock bike. One of the reasons I did was just to see if I could, (I should've but couldn't), and another reason was that if I started modifying the WR before I ever really rode the thing, I'd never really know if the changes made were better or worse than stock.

So now that I've ridden the heavy machine over some pretty tough terrain, I've decided to change some stuff on it. The first modification shouldn't really alter the performance in any way other than a possible slight reduction in weight, (which is something I should try for myself). I decided to get rid of the big & bulky taillight/turn signal unit that hangs below the rear fender and replace it with a much smaller and very clean looking unit.

Since they don't actually make a smaller unit for the WR, I had to get a universal license plate holder that had turn signals & plate light and do some customization. First thing was to get a small taillight to integrate into this smaller unit. I was at Tacoma Motorsports and the kid behind the counter, Derek, searched through a catalog and he found the perfect light for this application. It's an LED light made by Bluhm Enterprises located in River Falls, WI. (Don't know where River Falls is you say? Never fear, Google maps is here!)

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I got all the stuff home and started to disassemble the old taillight setup. Probably the biggest downside to waiting until AFTER I rode the bike stock is all the Tahuya mud from the Sparkplug still packed in the crevices that I couldn't get to with the hose. In spite of the mud I was able to take the ugly taillight unit off. It required the clipping of some wires and I had to pause a few seconds before cutting my brand new bike... I had a few flashbacks to my past where a customization of something I owned turned out poorly and I was hoping that this wouldn't turn out to be one of those. A 1979 Chevy Monza comes to mind where as a 17-18 year old punk kid I decided after I blew up the V6 that it needed a V8. Suffice it to say I learned a ton of things with that car, mainly that my parents had patience that I never knew existed. (I think there still may be a transmission fluid stain on my dad's old garage floor from that).
Another one was a go-kart that my buddy Tony & I built. We adapted a motor from a Quicksilver Ultralight and smoked the hydraulic clutch on the first test drive... it never ran again. I cut the wires with only a slight cringe and now I was committed.

The picture above shows the old, ugly taillight.

I removed the unit and started to figure out how this new one was going to fit. To my amazement, it basically bolted right on with no drilling, cutting, banging, welding or swearing. ok, maybe SOME swearing, but that was just because it made me feel better.

The one issue was how to mount the LED taillight to the license plate bracket. I went down to ACE Harware and found some angled aluminum material and a couple hex head bolts. Now that I had everything I needed, I did some fabrication. I cut the aluminum to the right length and drilled a few mounting holes.

Once the bracket was built, it was simply a matter of bolting it all together.

Now comes the wiring...

Naturally there isn't any wiring diagram in the WR owner's manual so I had to guess which wire does what. I guess they really don't want me to do any wiring. Maybe they were on to something since no sooner did I strip the ends of the wires for the taillight, I spread them apart and turned on the key to find out which wire did what, and I bumped them into each other. ZAP, POW! Nice job Sparky! Blown fuse for sure. The positive side of this action was now I know where the fuse box is and how to get to it. Better in my garage then out in the woods for sure!

30 minutes later I now have it all wired up, and it's bitchin'.

Now I only hope all my future mods go this well.


JB said...

Looks cool. Are you planning on a rear sprocket change? How did you treat it during break-in and how long did you break it in? Anyways your change looks great, Im thinking on doing something similiar. J

Scott said...

JB... Thanks for the comment. I am not sure about a sproket change just yet but it's not out of the question. I notice on the trails that it sometimes lugs a bit even in first gear so I have to feather the clutch a little to keep it running when I'm going really slow through tight stuff. Maybe adjusting it a tooth would help but It's not bad enough for me to mess with it yet. I honestly didn't do anything too particular for the break in. I generally don't go wide open so I figured my casual riding style would be ok. My only issue right now is that it's just a bit too tall for me. I determined today at the Wet Duck Poker Run that I need to lower it some.

Rowdy Style said...

break in? whats that? i just ride mine!!

im glad you got ride of that monster tail section, looks good and it is original!!

Anonymous said...

So, which wire does what?

Anonymous said...

Soooooo, you going to make me one?