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License Plate Bracket Extension

Discussion in 'Metal Fab' started by 429CV23, Nov 8, 2015.

  1. 429CV23

    429CV23 Member

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    Ok, so a while back I fabbed an extension for the side mount license plate bracket so I could use the original quick release Big Dog saddlebags that came with the Bulldog. My goal is to make the entire extension piece modular in nature so I can remove the saddlebags for weekend cruises, and have the bags for commuting to work to carry my lunch and such during the week.
    I sourced mini 2-pin harness connectors so I can simply unplug the license plate light, and install the bracket extension which will also have a wiring harness extension.
    The fitment was good, but using 1.5"x1/8" aluminum flat stock just didn't cut it - too much side to side deflection. So, today I welded up some new pieces with 1/2" solid rod and 3/8" ID x 3/4" OD x 1/2" thick spacers. Materials chosen to match the construction of the license plate bracket.
    First time welding - I don't think it went too badly considering an absolute lack of skill and a cheapo, 90amp 120v Harbor Freight welder. I also had to weld the lower spacer back onto the original bracket as it had come apart.

    Question for you guys: What should I use for the upper to lower brace? I think it'll be required to hold the assy so it doesn't drop and drag. Should I just get a short piece of 1" or 1.25" steel flat stock and mount it similar to the aluminum piece shown, but weld it to the lower rod? Or, weld in a piece of solid rod at both top and bottom?
    Using the solid rod would be preferable and look far better, but would be more difficult to do considering I don't have a great way to create a fish mouth on small, solid rod, and the small welder takes a while to get enough heat built up for an effective weld. I can't just hit it and have a nice spot weld that will hold things in place.

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. 429CV23

    429CV23 Member

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    No welding on the bike. Good to know though!
     
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  3. Mr. Wright

    Mr. Wright Guru
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    Looks like it will move up and down, maybe you can attach a brace to the saddle bag, and let it float with the suspension.
     
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  4. chubs

    chubs Guru
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    Maybe make another "Dog bone" to run from top front to bottom rear to kind of "knee brace" it. Can't tell, but if you raise the plate, the brace MIGHT follow the lines of the frame.?? you'll just have to play around with it, and you'll find the right setup. It's gonna look nice when you're done with it! After thought, make the knee brace out of the same round stock, but pinch the ends down flat and drill to the bolt size . Less bulky.
     
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  5. chubs

    chubs Guru
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    Just lookin at it ,Jeff, it almost looks like a paralelegram (never could spell worth a darn). If the lower leg was swung up to follow the line of the bottom frame rail , it looks like the knee brace might follow the lines of the top frame rail. Looks can be deceiving though. I'm sure you'll figure something nice out . Got pics with the bags mounted?
     
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  6. 429CV23

    429CV23 Member

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    I'll get a pic with the bag attached later today. This will be a function over form piece as it won't really be seen behind the bag, and won't be installed without the bag. But, still don't want it to look like chit! I'll be getting the remaining raw materials this morning and finishing the fab work today. I'm hoping to find touch-up paint that closely matches the swingarm & plate bracket; I don't really want to break out the paint gun out for such a small piece.
    I thought about mounting it higher up, similar to what you suggest. At this point it would require fabbing new components. Since this is just a first design, I may order more spacers and build another one that would have the plate mounted higher, basically near the top of the bag (unless the lengths are correct to just swap upper/lower rods).
     
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  7. 429CV23

    429CV23 Member

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    I got the new piece welded up; very poor welding job. :oops: I may take the lower piece to a shop and have it welded properly. Need to do a bit of grinding on the upper part of the flat stock to minimize it around the bolt. Hopefully will have the wiring harness together this afternoon.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  8. chubs

    chubs Guru
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    To bad it would deface the bags, but you could attach the plate bracket to the back of the bag and wire it to be a plug and play set up
     
  9. 429CV23

    429CV23 Member

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    OK, experiment results are in. It worked fine for about 30mi on our chitty roads. I found a good bit of information about my welder and some cheap mods to improve it; of course after the extension was welded.
    I'll have new pieces fabbed at a shop. I don't think my welder can get enough penetration/heat in the solid rod.

    The JWPF connectors are an absolute nightmare to use, even with using the $50 crimper.
     
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  10. chubs

    chubs Guru
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    Shoot a little paint on that, and it'll look A-Okay! :old2::old2::chopper:
     
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  11. 429CV23

    429CV23 Member

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    Alrighty
    Had a new piece fabbed by a real welder. I didn't mention offsetting the bushing/spacers a bit :oops:, so I had to clearance the back of the vertical support to clear the upper & lower swingarm. Now I can get it prepped and painted and be ready to roll!! Well, be ready to roll after washing her. :oops: It was snowing pretty good yesterday when we trailered her to the welder's shop in order to properly fit the vertical support. She's absolutely filthy from all the backsplash. :(
    He's going to do some mods to the trailer next weekend; widen the back of the center tire channel to accommodate the rear tire, remove a section of the left cycle inner, vertical channel so I can lower the kickstand making it possible to strap it down by myself, and install a lip on the rear cross support to set the ramp on.

    I'm still not entirely happy with it, but if it works, doesn't break, and allows me to use the saddlebags I'll live with it. It won't be really visible with the bag in place, so out of sight, out of mind. I like the piece I fabbed better because the lower link was far closer to parallel with the ground than this one.

    [​IMG]
     
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  12. Jersey Big Mike

    Jersey Big Mike Well-Known Member
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    Attaching it to the saddle bag would be much easier.
    I'd make a mount like a money clip to fit the saddle bag -- easyon and easy off and shouldn't damage the bag and no permenent mod to the bags either.
     
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  13. TapioK

    TapioK Well-Known Member
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    That kind of setup is tather common in Finland. We have a larger plate and it has to be further back. Leather Bag on the left side only, plate attached to it looks actually pretty good, if your bag is kind of "sack looking learher thing" rather than a rigid box.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  14. 429CV23

    429CV23 Member

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    I don't know about the vibration, I haven't even fired her up with it installed. I'll have to check that out tonight; I'm guessing it will since there is significant vibration everywhere else at idle.
    I may look at some kind of bag attachment later on, but I have two sets of BDM saddlebags so it would need to be a mounting system that easily interchanged.
     
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  15. chubs

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    :hi:My fear would be the whole thing flexing side to side, like wagging it's tail, and fatigue fractures at the frame mounts happening. The suggestion to fab up a "money clip" type of thing sounded good to me, and you could also have provisions built in so you could still frame mount it if you take the bags off. Just something to think on. :oldconfused::yesnod:
     
  16. 429CV23

    429CV23 Member

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    I fired her up last night and was surprised there is not much vibration at the extension or plate bracket. I think what will eventually kill the extension will be our chitty Colorado roads. The original plate bracket is rather heavy; the torque it applies to the mounts is now multiplied by the length of the radius arm in meters. That torque will be multiplied by whatever force is applied by the bumps in the road. If the upper mount begins to fail it's all over. It would have been better to have the vertical support mounted to the spacer/bushing, but he ended up welding it in just behind it on the upper arm.
     
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  17. 429CV23

    429CV23 Member

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    Got it painted today. The rattle can touch up paint matched pretty well. I'll need to touch up the edges of the license plate bracket at some point as well.

    [​IMG]
     
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  18. awg

    awg Well-Known Member
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    Looks good.
     
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