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Saddlebags Support Mod

OK, so those of you that have Vulcan 1500A's and got the Fire and Steel Saddlebag supports should know this. WHO EVER DESIGNED THEM WERE CRAZY!!!

Here's a recap of how they get installed normally (doing this off the top of my head).

  • Take apart side rails and supports for backrest/luggage rack
  • Unplug tail lights and pull out wires
  • Install bracket for signal relocater (I like this)
  • (Here's the stupid part) Mount ONE of the bolts for the saddlebags through the bags and put a nut on the INSIDE of the side rail. COVER this with the side bracket and bolt it.
  • Put the rest back together.

These are certainly not all the instructions but the part I wanted to point out was that this is a semi-permanent way of installing the bags. Taking the bags off for any reason requires taking EVERYTHING apart to get at that rear bolt that has a nut UNDER a bolted on plate facing the fender. Actually a single crescent moon cut on the support angle bracket alone would make this all much easier. It would allow you to at least get your fingers in behind the plate to hold it while tightening or unbolting the rear bolt holding the bag on. I consider this a design flaw (per Dennis Miller... of course that's just my opinion.... I could be wrong)(per me... I'm not an engineer and I don't play one on TV).

Here's what I did. I wanted to put parts in place that will allow me to easily (somewhat) take the bags off and on if needed. I decided to mostly reverse the process so the nuts are in the bags instead of behind a plate.

Parts used:

  • (4) 5/16" x 6" threaded rod (24" rod cut to 4 pieces)
  • (4) 5/16" big ol' wing nuts
  • (8) 5/16" x 1 1/2" fender washers
  • (6) 5/16" lock washers
  • (6) 5/16" nylon lock nuts
  • some plastic material (I used door window acrylic type stuff)

Note: be sure to have clean cuts on the threaded rod, it's a pain to work with otherwise.

  1. I took mostly everything apart, left one of the bolts on the back of the rails on loose to let the other parts just swing out of the way.
  2. Took out the original rear saddlebag bolt
  3. Put a lock washer and one of the nylon lock nuts on one end of the rod (be sure to have the nylon covering the threads, this keeps it from vibrating loose. (I guess you can use locktite instead if you prefer)
  4. Put this rod through the rear support/bracket/whatever and use another lock washer and nylon lock nuts to secure the rod in place. So from the inside to out side the order would be:
    • nylon lock nut
    • lock washer
    • side rail
    • saddlebag support tube
    • lock washer
    • nylon lock nut
    • with the threaded rod running all the way and stick out several inches
  5. Put the rail housings back together and mount it all back in place loosely
  6. Put a lock washer and nylon lock nut on another rod and spin it about half way in (estimate by how long it needs to be for the forward saddlebag support.
  7. Bolt threaded rod into forward support through the tube, put in finger tight (some blue locktite wouldn't hurt here come to think of it)
  8. Tighten nylon lock nut on forward support
  9. Tighten side rails (leave the bolts for the backrest/luggage rack loose)
  10. You now have everything back together hardware wise and tightened with two long threaded rods sticking out.

Part Two

  1. The rods on mine if I remember correctly are 6 3/4" apart center to center. I'm going to make supports using the acrylic. I cut a piece of plastic (I got plastic strong enough to act as the type of supports I'm about to describe) about 10-11" long and 3" wide. I drill 5/16" holes 6 3/4" apart and check to see if this fits correctly on the rods.
  2. When I know this will work I use this piece as a template to make four such supports. A dremel or something can be used to bevel the holes to make them easier to deal with.
  3. Using the template you also drill/cut a hole in the saddlebags after being very sure where you want them to go. Make the hole a little larger than 5/16". With my saddlebags at least it's thick material that is difficult to get past the threads on the rod if you were to drill it "just right".
  4. Mount the bags...
    • put a fender washer on each rod
    • put on one of the plastic supports
    • put on saddlebags
    • put on a plastic support on inside
    • put a fender washer on each rod
    • put on Wing nuts
    • Yes we know the rods are too long
  5. Mark the rods where to want to cut them off. Don't leave them too short, a longer rod will give you more time if it decides to start vibrating loose. You may also want to use some kind of rubber washers right before the wing nuts to help keep them from vibrating.
  6. Take the bags back off and cut off the rods where you marked them and smooth it off with a file or grinder

You now have a set of supports that allow you to remove the bags when you want. It also allows them to be stolen easier... just thought I'd throw that one in there.

I hope I didn't make this too confusing or leave anything important out, I'd make a lousy technical writer.

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