How to install SoCalMotoGear LED Headlights


Step-by-step tutorials on how to maintain and fix your GL1500
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WingAdmin
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How to install SoCalMotoGear LED Headlights

Postby WingAdmin » Sun May 29, 2016 12:09 pm



Replacing a burned-out headlight bulb is relatively easy on the GL1500. I've been waiting for a long time for LED technology to progress to the point where aftermarket LED bulbs are a viable replacement for stock halogen bulbs. The problem is that the amount of light put out by LEDs is simply insufficient for use as a primary headlight - they work great as supplementary driving lights, but for headlights, they were lacking.

Until now.

If you haven't read my review on the SoCalMotoGear LED Headlights, you might want to see why I have decided to install these on my bike.

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These shims will be required for 1998-2000 model GL1500's, but not for earlier GL1500's.

1. Raise the windshield adjuster levers on either side to the up position.

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2. Start to peel the rubber lip away from the mirror cover, beginning at the back and working upward.

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3. Continue peeling the rubber lip away from the plastic mirror cover all the way around until it is completely detached. Take note that at the bottom rear, the rubber must be pulled toward the rear of the bike in order to detach it - this should be done after all of the rest of the rubber has been detached.

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4. Gently pull the bottom of the mirror cover to unclip it from the fairing.

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5. While holding the rubber back, pull the mirror cover free of the fairing, and let it drop down.

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6. Expose and remove the two screws holding the chrome windshield trim in place (as shown). On 1994 and earlier Goldwings, remove the two screws holding the black plastic trim (below the windshield trim) in place and remove the black plastic trim.

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7. Remove the two screws holding the windshield trim.

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8. Slide the windshield trim to the right to unhook the lower tabs, then lift it away from the windshield.

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9. Remove the screw holding the turn signal assembly in the fairing. It's not necessary to remove the turn signals, but it makes it a lot easier to maneuver the headlight in and out, and I recommend you do so.

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10. Gently remove the turn signal from the fairing. There is enough wire behind it that you can let it dangle down if need be. Remove the other turn signal the same way.

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11. Remove the two screws fastening the grill below the headlight.

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12. Remove the grill from below the headlight.

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13. Using a 10mm socket, remove the two bolts holding the top of the headlight. On later model GL1500's, these bolts also hold the bracket in place that fastens the bottom end of the windshield trim - pull this bracket away when you remove the bolts.

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14. Using a 10mm socket, remove the two bolts holding the bottom of the headlight. Careful - these are the only things left holding the headlight in place! Use your hand to hold the headlight in the fairing as you remove the last bolt. Note that the bolts have a threaded hole tapped in their heads - these are where the screws fasten for the lower trim.

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15. Gently pull the headlight away from the fairing. It will still be fastened by the wire in behind.

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16. At this point, you will hear pieces falling down behind the headlight. Don't panic - there are four metal spacers that go into the holes in the fairing where the headlight bolts fasten. They will fall out. You can see one of them here.

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17. Here is an example of where the upper spacers fit in the fairing. Collect the four spacers for now and put them aside.

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18. Find the wiring connector on the back of the headlight, and press down on the locking tab on the connector. This procedure can be done leaving the headlight connected, however it makes it more difficult, and increase the chance that you may scratch or damage the headlight lens.

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19. Gently pull the connector apart. This will free the headlight so that it can be removed from the fairing. Set the headlight down on a soft surface to avoid scratching the lens.

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20. Now that the headlight is removed, you can see where the lower spacers fit into the fairing. Remember to collect them now so they don't get lost! Reinstalling the headlight without them will result in a mis-aimed headlight.

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21. Gently pull the connector from the back of the bulb. It might need to be wiggled a tiny bit at first to work it loose.

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22. Pull back the rubber seal around the headlight and remove it.

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23. Now you will be able to see the back of the bulb. If you look closely, you can see the headlight shim that is mentioned at the beginning of the article.

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24. Press down on the wire loop with your finger, and then slide it to the right to disengage it from the locking tab.

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25. Pivot the locking wire back away from the bulb.

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26. Remove the bulb from the housing.

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27. The SoCalMotoGear LED comes in a nice little box.

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28. Opening it up you see the LEDs, and the shim kit required for use with new-style 1998-2000 model year GL1500 headlights. This shim kit is not needed for older style GL1500 headlights.

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29. The LED itself has a plastic flange bracket on it, with the three alignment tabs.

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30. For use in 1998-2000 GL1500's, the two smaller tabs need to be removed. I used a pair of diagonal wire cutters, and it took two seconds to do.

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31. Instead of the two tabs, the shims are used, which put the tabs in the correct place.

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32. The shims fit over the bracket, and can only fit in the correct position.

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33. The bracket is removed by rotating it counter-clockwise until it unlocks, then pulling it free.

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34. The bracket is then fit into the headlight housing. The plastic tab of the bracket goes into the top, and the two metal shim pieces go into the bottom two slots.

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35. Once installed, the headlight clamp is used to clamp the bracket into place.

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36. How the headlight housing looks with both brackets installed.

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37. The headlight seal is too small for the back of the LED, so it needs to be modified.

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38. I again used diagonal wire cutters, cutting off the rear of the seal as shown.

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39. The LED can then be pushed through:

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40. The LED should be pushed through this far, then it is ready to install.

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41. The LED is inserted into the bracket (already installed), and then rotated clockwise to lock it into the bracket.

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42. With both LEDs installed:

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43. Make sure the seals are rotated properly so that the top of the seal lines up with the registration mark on the housing.

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44. When installed correctly, the LEDs are positioned such that the heat sinks are horizontal, and the wire exits on the top.

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45. The LEDs are then plugged into the sockets that originally plugged into the H4 halogen bulbs.

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46. Next, the heat sinks should be spread open, to provide the maximum surface area for cooling.

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47. Insert the four headlight mounting spacers into their upper and lower holes in the fairing as shown.

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48. Before installing the headlight, I use scotch tape to tape these annoying little spacers into place - it's next to impossible to keep them there when installing the headlight, as they will fall out. You can push the installation bolt right through the tape when the headlight is fastened in place.

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49. Reconnect the headlight connector to the headlight, making sure the locking tab snaps into place.

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50. There really is very little room behind the headlight once it is installed. There is one hole, on the right side of the bike (left side of the picture), and we will need to use this.

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51. The LEDs have small electronic switching boxes attached to their wires. As I moved the headlight into place, I pushed these switching boxes, along with the headlight plugs themselves, into this hole, so that they don't impinge on the headlight, or the heatsinks.

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52. Tuck the wiring neatly behind the headlight, and gently push the headlight into place, so as to not dislodge the spacers. You will have to push the headlight and hold it in place against the spring tension of the headlight adjuster.

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53. The heatsinks will squish up against the back wall, but this is OK.

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54. Insert and tighten the lower headlight bolts with a 10mm socket. Remember these bolts are the ones with the tapped screw holes in their heads.

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55. Insert and tighten the upper headlight bolts with a 10mm socket. Remember to install the windshield trim bracket as well if your GL1500 uses one.

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56. Now is the time to test things before buttoning everything back up.

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57. Replace the trim below the headlight and screw it in place.

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58. Replace the turn signals and screw them into place. Be careful not to over-torque the screw, as the plastic of the turn signal will crack.

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59. Engage the fairing tabs in the slots in the windshield fairing, and slide the windshield fairing to the left to lock it in place.

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60. Replace and tighten the screws holding the windshield fairing in place. If working on a 94 or earlier GL1500, replace the black plastic trim and the two screws holding it in place.

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61. Holding the rubber back on each mirror, slide each mirror cover back into place.

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62. Once in place, gently push each of the mirror cover clips until it latches onto the fairing.

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63. Hook the rubber over the rear of the mirror cover, then work the lip around the circumference.

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64. Once the rubber lip is around the circumference, push the locking tabs into their slots.

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65. Lower the windshield locking levers into their locked positions.

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MikeB
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Re: How to install SoCalMotoGear LED Headlights

Postby MikeB » Tue May 31, 2016 1:57 pm

Step 56.
I hope that is not how the new LED's headlights look. They are quite yellow compared to the LED running lights.
I suspect that it is a file picture of the old headlight illumination.

How do the new LED lights look compared to the old ones? Do you have any pictures of them yet?

Here is a short video of Andy's GL1800 at Kisan with LED's and the new LED software coded modulator operating.

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Tacoma, WA, USA

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WingAdmin
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Re: How to install SoCalMotoGear LED Headlights

Postby WingAdmin » Tue May 31, 2016 10:47 pm

MikeB wrote:Step 56.
I hope that is not how the new LED's headlights look. They are quite yellow compared to the LED running lights.
I suspect that it is a file picture of the old headlight illumination.


You got it. I didn't have a picture on hand of the LED headlights installed and working, so I used an old picture from a headlight install how-to. Good eye. :) The LEDs are very white, and pretty much match the LED position lights on either side of the headlight in that picture.

MikeB wrote:How do the new LED lights look compared to the old ones? Do you have any pictures of them yet?


I just went and took some for you:

Low beam, whiter headlight than more bluish position lights
Low beam, whiter headlight than more bluish position lights

Low beam, farther back
Low beam, farther back

High beam, just blinding
High beam, just blinding

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Re: How to install SoCalMotoGear LED Headlights

Postby MikeB » Wed Jun 01, 2016 12:48 am

Fantastic. Thanks Scott.
MikeB
Tacoma, WA, USA

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Re: How to install SoCalMotoGear LED Headlights

Postby WingAdmin » Wed Jun 01, 2016 8:34 pm

While testing, I noticed that the high beam is much too high when the headlight is set for regular halogen bulbs. When adjusted for low beam, the high beam illuminates tree tops above!

The high beam portion of the headlight can be adjusted independently of the low beam portion. On the older style lights, you remove the grille below the headlight. Look for the adjuster screw below the headlight, in the middle. To the left of this screw you'll see a rubber plug. Remove this rubber plug and there is another adjuster uncovered. This adjuster adjusts the high beam independently of the rest of the light.

On the newer style headlights, the headlight must be removed. There is a bolt on a spring on the left upper side as shown in the picture below. Screw this inward (clockwise) will lower the high beam independently of the rest of the light.

High Beam Adjuster
High Beam Adjuster

rbstirl
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Re: How to install SoCalMotoGear LED Headlights

Postby rbstirl » Sun Aug 28, 2016 12:22 pm

Bottomed out on the high beam adjustment. Still too high.
Any suggestions?

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Re: How to install SoCalMotoGear LED Headlights

Postby WingAdmin » Mon Aug 29, 2016 9:34 pm

rbstirl wrote:Bottomed out on the high beam adjustment. Still too high.
Any suggestions?


I've thought about this somewhat. With the design of a parabolic reflector, it might be the case that moving the bulb backward a bit would move the low and high beams together - the low beam would be raised, and the high beam would be lowered.

The unaltered reflector/bulb:

Unaltered bulb
Unaltered bulb


With the bulb shimmed backward a little bit:

Altered bulb
Altered bulb


Anyone care to comment?

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Re: How to install SoCalMotoGear LED Headlights

Postby Mh434 » Wed Aug 31, 2016 6:08 pm

I was able to get the high beam down to where I wanted it, but the low beam ended up too low. In my particular case, the low, low-beam doesn't matter, as I have a pair of the China-sourced (Ebay) 10-watt, wide-angle LED lights under the fairing, and they fill in tons of light in the area the low beams would normally illuminate (make the bike show up, too!).

WingAdmin's idea is an interesting one. How one would do that might be a challenge, despite the apparent simplicity. Those wire bales that hold the bulbs in are extremely intolerant of any change in thickness of the bulb's base (I found it very difficult to close the bales over the Pathfinder bulb's bases, even though they're only maybe 1 mm thicker than those of a halogen bulb, and trying to force the bales into place ended up damaging the internal structure of my headlight).

Personally, I suspect the issue is not so much the position of the stalk, but rather that the emitters are situated at precisely the same distance from the reflector, for both high- and low-beam. When you examine an H4 halogen bulb, you'll notice that the two filaments are actually several millimeters apart, relative to their distance from the reflector. I have a strong suspicion that, as the Pathfinder LED's do NOT have this difference, that accounts for the improper focus balance between high- and low-beam. I believe that if the placement of the LED's matched the distances from the reflector of H4 bulbs, accurate aiming would be restored.

Here's a pic I found online that illustrates this:

H4 bulb filament orientation
H4 bulb filament orientation


The Pathfinder "bulbs", on the other hand, place the LED's at precisely the same distance from the reflector. As it only takes a millimeter or two difference to dramatically change the focus of a bulb in a parabolic reflector, I imagine the large difference here (I just measured a Philips H$ bulb - the filaments are 8 mm apart front-to-back, center-to-center on the filaments) that is not accounted for in the Pathfinder bulbs means you can get either perfect focus & aim with the high beams, or with the low beams, but not both.

As a result of that, WingAdmin is right in thinking that moving the Pathfinder bulbs further back relative to the reflector will make a big difference. I suspect, though, that it would swap a badly-aimed low beam for a badly aimed high-beam...

'Course, I'm no engineer, and I'm aware that the light dispersion patterns for an LED emitter are quite different from those of an incandescent halogen bulb filament, so maybe that's supposed to account for the difference. Nonetheless, I'd love to see what would happen if the LED emitters could be situated 8 mm apart, rather than at exactly the same distance from the reflector...

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Re: How to install SoCalMotoGear LED Headlights

Postby GlimWas » Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:14 am

I noticed the big difference between high and low beam too. I then figured out, as i do not have the extra shims, that by taking the tabs off the lamp was not sitting
correctly in the headlight assy, it was at an angle because the bottom part of the lamp was moving about 1 mm deeper into the assy as the top part.

It might be not the same as your problem, but 1 mm can make a lot of difference .......


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