How do I Convert Motorcycle Directional Lights to LED?

Written by richard rowe
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How do I Convert Motorcycle Directional Lights to LED?
LED indicators are fairly easy to install, but test them before you ride away. (led colorati image by claudio from

Although visibility to other drivers is an important safety factor for any motorist, few are quite so vulnerable to others' ignorance as motorcyclists. An LED turn signal upgrade replaces your stock light bulbs with a grid of bright LED bulbs --- far more noticeable at night than incandescent bulbs. Additionally, many LED light kits use one or two rows of constantly shining bulbs to give approaching drivers better indication that they're looking at a motorcycle and not a car with one headlight out. Installation is fairly simple --- possibly a matter of minutes if you have a modicum of electrical experience.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • LED light kit
  • Screwdrivers
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Rag
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Wire crimpers/cutters
  • 12-gauge wire
  • Electrical tape
  • Zip ties

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  1. 1

    Remove the turn signal lens screws from both sides of your motorcycle with a screwdriver, and pull off the lenses. Pull the chrome reflector out of the turn signal housing; use a slotted screwdriver and a pair of needle-nose pliers to pop the wires off the reflector. Follow the turn signal stalk back to your motorcycle fairing, and look behind the faring where the stalks bolt in place. Remove any trim pieces you necessary to access the inside of the fairing and identify the signal wires.

  2. 2

    Pull the signal wires through the stalks and into the fairing. Pull the light bulb out of the reflector housing, and use your needle-nose pliers to break or bend any sharp edges or tabs away from the resulting hole. Clean the inside of the signal housing with a rag and some alcohol, and remove the backing strip from the double-sided tape on your LED grid. Feed the LED light wires through the hole in the reflector, and push the reflector into the housing.

  3. 3

    Feed the wires into the turn signal stalk tube until they come out inside the fairing. Reinstall the reflector/LED assembly into the turn signal housing, place the lens cover back over it and reinstall the screws.

  4. 4

    Follow your kit's directions for the wiring, as wire colours and purposes vary by application. As an example, BMW uses a brown ground wire, a pair of yellow wires for the constantly shining parking circuit and a pair of blue wires for the intermittent turn signal lights.

  5. 5

    Slide the supplied wire tap over the bike's original constant-on light wire, and insert the corresponding constant-on wire from your LED light into the other side of the splice. Clamp down on the blade in the centre of the splice with wire crimpers to tie the two together and close the blade cover over the blade. Cut the excess wire from your bike's original constant-on line, and wrap the splice from end to end with electrical tape to insulate it.

  6. 6

    Repeat Step 5 with the intermittent blue wires and ground wires, then repeat again with all three on the other side of your fairing. Do not reinstall the trip pieces yet.

  7. 7

    Turn your bike's ignition key to the "On" position, and test the left and right indicators. Reinstall the trim pieces if all is well.

Tips and warnings

  • If the indicators blink on and off quickly or you see a "Check Engine" light, you must install the ballast resistors from your kit. The LED lights draw far less power than the original bulbs, which can cause the blinker to flash on and off extremely quickly and overload the circuit. Ballast resistors install in line in the intermittent circuit and replicate the original bulb's electrical load. Your particular bike may or may not need the resistors; the only way to know for sure is to test it. Follow your kit instructions to install the ballast resistors.

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