LEDs hit the automotive market in the 2000s, and they’ve been a top competitor for incandescent bulbs ever since. While some people like the classic look and feel of incandescent bulbs, more motorcyclists than ever are turning to the incredible power of LEDs to light up the night. LEDs aren’t only the go-to light source for headlights, though.
As important as it is to light up the road ahead of you, it’s also crucial to clearly signal your intentions to other drivers. That’s why bikers all over the country are choosing LED lights for their turn signals. Our options at Eagle Lights are ultra-bright even on the darkest of nights, meaning that they can cut through the gloom and tell other drivers your next move so they aren’t surprised.
Whether you’re considering the switch to LEDs or you have a pair ready to install, we have the information you’re looking for. Read on to learn how to replace your Harley’s turn signals—you’ll be glad you did.
Why You Want New Turn Signals
As much as we love Harleys, the stock turn signals could use some work. They’ll do the job in a pinch, but stock turn signals (both those on the front and rear of your bike) are way too dim. Picture this: you’re driving on an unlit mountain road on your Harley, and you’re coming to your turn. You do everything you’re supposed to—you slow down, put on your turn signal, start to turn, and yet, you still crash.
The car coming from the other direction saw your headlight, but they couldn’t see your turn signal. Now, the best-case scenario is that you need to touch up the paint job on your bike. If it’s worse, you might wind up in the hospital. That’s why you want LED turn signals.
More Bang for Your Buck
While safety may be the top reason to choose LED lights for all your motorcycle lighting needs, it isn’t the only advantage. Over the last several years, LEDs have come down dramatically in price. A single purchase will last you decades with a much longer lifespan than incandescent and halogen bulbs.
In fact, if you buy your LEDs from Eagle Lights, you’ll enjoy a lifetime warranty—we want our lights to outlive your motorcycle! On top of that, LEDs are the more durable option. There’s no breakable glass or filaments to snap, so if your LEDs do start to fail, it will happen in small increments. That saves you from a complete shutdown in the middle of a drive, which could be very dangerous.
Which Kit Is for You?
When you decide to purchase motorcycle LED turn signals, you’ll have a lot of options to choose from. Harley Davidson bikes have two styles of rear turn signals, so you’ll want to base your decision on the bike you have. You may need a 1156 Single Contact or a 1157 Double Contact style. Check to see if you have a center rear taillight. If so, you’ll want a 1157 Double Contact setup. If not, go with the 1156 Single Contact style.
Front Turn Signal Replacement Process
Once you’ve got your front turn signals in hand, what comes next?
The first step is to remove the Maxi-fuse and disable your bike’s electrical system. To do so, you’ll want to find the side cover below the driver’s seat, on the left side. Grab the upper corners and pull the cover away from your bike’s frame. You should notice a catch built into the frame—just slip the tab out of the catch, and the cover should come free.
Now you need to take the seat off your motorcycle. You’ll need a Phillips screwdriver for that task. Once you’re done, take off the gas tank’s mounting bolts and switch the fuel valve selector level to “Off.” Next, remove the fuel and vacuum hoses from the valve. Remove the fuel vapor hose and lift the tank off your motorcycle.
You should have access to the turn signal connector unit now. Push it forward and disconnect it from the frame. For the left turn signal, you need to disconnect the purple and black wires. Unplug the brown and black wires for the right signal.
Find an Allen head bolt under the handlebar switch pod—you should need a quarter-inch Allen wrench. Now remove the turn signal ball post from the base of the switch pod and take the wiring out of the frame. Do so until you completely remove the turn signal.
Put the new turn signal ball post in place at the bottom of the handlebar switch pod. Point the signal to the front of your bike. Return the turn signal wiring through the mainframe rail and reattach it to the correct turn signal unit terminals.
Almost done! Now it’s all the re-installments. Put the gas tank back on your bike, plugging in the fuel and vacuum hoses. Reattach the fuel vapor hose and tighten the fuel tank bolts. Then, reinstall the seat. Finally, return the Maxi-fuse and put the cover back on the frame.
Rear Turn Signal Replacement Process
Where there’s a front, there’s a rear. Here’s what you need to know to replace your rear turn signals.
Repeat the first step of the front turn signal section to disable your bike’s electrical system.
Use a Phillips screwdriver to take the taillight lens off your bike. You should see signal wire connectors on either side of the screws in the middle of your taillight base. Disconnect the purple and black connectors on the left and the brown and black connectors on the right.
Remove the retaining nut on the rear turn signal. You should find this on the inner wall of your fender. Take off the fender strut and the turn signal’s wiring connector, then pull the signal out of the strut cover.
Insert the new mounting post through the cover. Put in the new wiring through the fender into the taillight base. Then, reinstall your strut cover with the new turn signal.
Plug in the turn signal connectors and reinstall your taillight lens, then completely reinstall the Maxi-fuse.
Now that you know how to replace your Harley’s turn signals, take to the streets with a bit of extra safety on your side—both sides, actually!