Concours 14 Turn Signal Conversion
This is an instructional on converting the front and rear turn signals on the Kawasaki Concours 14 to running lights and directional signals. We will also upgrade the rear lights with a trailer lighting kit and brake light strobe.
We will proceed as follows: 1) removing the cowlings, 2) removing the turn signal housings, 3) add 3-way connectors to the new 1157 sockets, 4) wire the front circuit, 5) wire the rear circuit, 6) install the strobe and trailer conversion modules, 7) test the system, and 8) close everything up and road test.
The OEM turn signal bulbs are Type 1156 (from this point on, I will only use the number when referring to the bulbs, not the word “type”). 1156 bulbs have a single filament. To make a bulb do two jobs, marker and directional, it needs two filaments.
The 1157 is the two-filament standard. It has been around for a long time. Recently, LEDs have taken the place of incandescent bulbs, and the manufacturers make LED bulbs for all the standard types.
Below are before and after photos of what you have and what you should have when you finish the LED conversion.
I got all the parts online. I have included links to the suppliers. I did not list the LED headlights and parking lights, but I got them from SuperBrightLEDs.com.
Dual Connector Socket
Dorman 85830 Rear Socket Assembly is what I chose, but other brands will work
with the 1157 bulb. You need four at $7.85 each.
The first LED bulbs that I bought were the style where the LED chips are not covered. That is pretty common, and I have the same bulbs in my car front turn signals. They are 1157 White/Amber for marker lights and turn signal lights. The front LEDs are $14.95 each.
I chose that same style for the rear turn signals only in red/red. While on a ride with a friend, he told me that my rear turns signals were barely visible. So, I went back to SuperbrightLED.com and found another 1157 Red/Red.. It just so happened to have a cover over the chips. The colors are red and red, with one red brighter than the other. The rear LEDs are $11.90 each.
The Concours uses the type 67 Light Bulb for the license plate light. $6.25
I added this relay to eliminate the rapid flashing of the LEDs in an incandescent electrical system. This is a better alternative to the load dissipating resistors, and there is no wiring needed. You just unplug the OEM relay and plug this one in its place. $14.99
The Brake Strobe will flash three fast times, three times slower, and then give a steady light as long as you hold the brakes. The unit is smaller than the trailer converter, and they can be taped together with double-sided tape and easily tucked away in the tail area. $16.97
This unit is what makes the rear of your Concours light up like Christmas! Once installed, the brake lights and the turn signals will activate when you apply the brakes. When not braking, the turn signals will work like turn signals. When braking and using turn signals, the turn signal for the direction you activate will flash, and the other signal will just get brighter along with the brake light. $28.99
It may seem like overkill, but it is a good idea to use connectors. If you ever must take this system apart for any reason, you will be glad that you installed the connectors. The kit comes with 2-way, 3-way, and 4-way connectors. We will use the 3-way connectors, but since the light modification, I have used some of the 2-way connectors on another C-14 project. $12.99
The last thing on this list you may not need or already have. I like to use these splicers for putting test circuits together. You don’t have to cut any OEM wires to build the circuit and get the bugs worked out. However, for the final circuit, I like to use a soldering iron, heat shrink tubing, and wrap all the new wires in electrical tape like an OEM harness. With all the vibrations coming from motorcycles, you don’t need one of these splices shaking, even a little. You’ll use these again. $10.99
Step 1: Remove the Cowling Panels
1A: Front Panels
This is not a tutorial on removing the cowling panels. However, I will try to guide you along to save you the time of looking for the procedure. Start at the top with the right and left inner covers. They run horizontally from the windscreen to the fuel tank.
Remove the seat.
Remove the three (3) screws (these are the only screws of this size that won’t have the nylon washers) in each panel, and then the pop-out rivet on the top front just behind the windscreen. Do this for both sides. It is probably best to have a clean area to set all of the cowling parts. I used a folding table.
Remove the glovebox top. Leave the screws in the bottom.
Remove the glovebox bottom. Put the screws in it.
Remove the hot-air deflectors on the center cowlings.
Remove the center cowlings. They run from the fuel tank down.
Remove the side cowlings. You can reach inside and unscrew the two (2) screws that hold these panels to the lower cowling, and you won’t have to remove the entire piece. Don’ forget the two (2) that are on the radiator side.
As you remove the side cowlings, you will have to disconnect the turn signal harness
connector. This is where the connector kit will come in to play later.
1B: Front Light Housing
Attached to the inside of the side cowling (Figure 1.1) is the turn signal housing. Plugged into that is a grey socket that holds the bulb for the turn signal. Just twist the socket counterclockwise and remove it. Unscrew the turn signal housing from the side cowling.
Look at the socket hole. It has two (2) cutouts around the circle. 1156 sockets have two, and 1157 sockets have three (3) cutouts. This is the tricky part. You can remove the outer lens to make it easier to clean out the debris.
You have to make two new cutouts in the rim. You will keep the largest cutout and make the new ones 120 degrees apart. See Figure 1.2. I used an index card and traced the outline of the new socket. Then I cut out the center without cutting the slots. I then marked the card where the slots landed. Finally, I cut out the slots. Make small cuts and go slow. Then try to fit the card on the socket. It might take a few tries, but it’s better than ruining the turn signal housing.
Once you are satisfied that everything fits, then it is time to make the real cuts in the housing. Use a sharp razor cutter or Exacto knife. Make small cuts into the rim of the opening. Try it for fit, then adjust, and try again. By the time you get to the rear light housings, you’ll be a pro.
1C: Rear Panels
The rear cowlings are not that bad. There are four (4) plastic screws underneath that hold the side panels in place, and you only need to remove them plus a couple of metal screws on the top on each side of the motorcycle.
Remove the cover for the electrical devices. Figure 1.1
Remove the toolbox (Figure 1.2). Lift out the ECU and place it off to the left side of the frame (Figure 1.3).
Remove the two screws on the body part under the luggage rack in Figure 1.4 and remove the part.
Remove the luggage rack.
Remove the brake light. Just unscrew it and set it off to one side. Don’t try to disconnect it.
The screws for the rear turn signal assembly are there. Find them and remove the assembly.
1D: Rear Light Housing
Once you have the rear turn signal housings free of the assembly, the modifications will be just like on the front housings. Remove the outer lens and modify the rim inside the housings. Now, let’s do some wiring.
Step 2: Assembling the 3-way Connectors and New Sockets
2A: Assembling the 3-Way Plugs
Assemble the 3-way connector parts and crimp the tips to ends of the wires. Insert the tipped ends into the connector. The tips will only go in one way and lock. The red caps are inserted into the open ends of their respective connectors.
The black sleeve on the wires in Figure 2.2 came from the OEM socket assembly
If you look inside the connector, as shown in Figure 2.6, you will see either a rectangular post or hole that separates one electrical hole from the other two. You should use the separated hole for the ground wire.
Repeat this step for the remaining sockets. Set the new sockets assemblies aside for later.
Step 3: Front Turn Signals
3A: Locate Power Source for Front Lights
The power for the front maker, or running, lights will come from the parking lights. There is a red/blue wire that runs with a black/yellow wire that powers the parking lights. It is on the right side of the front cowling. Figure 3.1
3B: Run Power for Front Marker Lights
We are splicing into the red/blue wire and run a lead across the motorcycle along the inside of the front fairing to the left turn signal connector. I used a wiring conduit to house the new wire run through the front fairing. That is the yellow wire in the photos. You can remove a wire from a connector by inserting a jeweler screwdriver into the end to release a catch. Figure 3.2
In the photos below (Figures 3.3, 3.4 & 3.5), you can see how I soldered the yellow wire that will power the marker lights to the red/blue wire that powers the parking lights. I removed the red/blue from the connector so that I could slide a piece of heat shrink tubing over the soldered joint. Then I replaced the wire in the connector.
3C: Installing 3-way Connector to Main Electrical Harness
The next part is removing the OEM 2-way connector of the turn signal circuit and adding the new 3-way connectors. Just cut the grey and black/yellow wires close to the OEM connector as seen in Figure 3.6. The grey wire is for the right side lights and there is a green wire on the left side.
I used the male ends for the removable parts like the sockets and the female end for everything on the motorcycle harness. Figure 3.7 Repeat 3C for the left side and the rear turn signals
Once the connectors are in place, you can plug the new sockets into the connectors on the motorcycle and test the front lights. Figures 3.8 & 3.9
Step 4: Rear Turn Signals
4A: Locate Power Source for Rear Lights
The license plate light power source will provide power for the rear marker lights. That will be a red/blue wire running with a black/yellow wire (Figure 4.1).Splice into that wire to get switched power for the new marker lights/turn signals.
Figure 4.1 shows the OEM connectors for the rear turn signal lights.I reused them with the new wires.This made it easier to integrate the new components into the OEM electrical harness.
Step 5: Install Trailer Lighting Kit and Brake Light Strobe
5A: Install Trailer Light Converter and Brake Light Strobe for Rear Lights
You can use double-sided tape to attach the Trailer Light Converter (seen in Figure 5.1) to the Brake Light Strobe (seen in Figure 5.2).
Use the Taillight Conversion Diagram as a guide to help you install the components. There are three (3) systems, and the way they work is as follows:
System 1 Engine On -> Front & Rear Marker Lights ON
System 2 Turn Signal/Hazard Switch –> Turn Signals ON or Hazard Lights ON
System 3 Brake Switch-> Brake Strobe->Taillight Converter->Brake Lights & Turn Signals ON
Lay everything out, and do not cut a lot of wires yet. Try to get as much as you can temporarily wire together and working before making any permanent connections by soldering. I prefer soldering to using crimp connectors because once you get everything working, you then have to try and fit it all in a small space in the rear of the motorcycle. Crimped connections might come apart either by maneuvering the components into place or just vibration from the motorcycle.
Test your new lighting system and make any necessary adjustments. Once you are satisfied that it all works, you can solder those temporary connections. If something doesn’t work, double-check the wiring.
Step 6: Replace Front and Rear Cowling Panels
Replace the front and rear cowling panels. Tighten most of the cowling screws with the nylon washers by hand and avoid overtightening to prevent damaging the cowling.