T2W How To: Custom Rear Rack for KLR650 – Part 2

hi Tim two wheels here and on this how-to video we’re gonna do something a little bit different we’re actually going to fabricate our own custom rear rack for a KLR 650 stick around we’ll get started right after this so in this step we are countersinking our holes to mount to the frame when it’s done it will look like that I still have to drill my hole here so on this end of the bar which is the end that will be closest to the bike you can see I have my quarter inch hole drilled but I haven’t chamfered it yet our counter sunk it so that the screw would set in so let’s go ahead and drill this let you see what that looks like so the key is to just take your time anytime you’re drilling or cutting steel you can’t be in a hurry I’ve got my drill press set to 250 rpms the slowest speed that it’ll go and that way my bits and that material doesn’t heat up so you drill for a while then let off to see how you’re doing and it’s starting to take shape but we need to be a little deeper than that and we’re getting close now it’s about to the edge of the bevel so what I will do now is test fit each hole as I’m drilling it with the head of the screw so I have my screw and you’ll see it’s setting just a tad I so I wanted to sit flush so I’m going to take out just a little bit more material and that should do it right there so let’s bring this out just for a bolt in there that’s that’s nice it’s but it feels perfectly flush to the top of the material there and you can kind of see that that’s all there is to it all right so I wanted to show you a little bit about using a tap and I if you if you guys have not any of you have not used a tap before a tap will cut the threads into the hole that you’ve drilled I’m using these urlan hanson tap set pick this up for about six or eight dollars at my local Lowe’s hardware I also have used Dewalt which you can get at Home Depot or you know check your other local hardware she says six millimeter by a 1.0 millimeter thread pitch and I like these Irwin’s because they are you can see they have a kind of a flute start little self start and self a line as they start so gives you a good straight fit so again it comes with the number nine drill bit you draw your holes and then you start it and it start cutting so what I really wanted to show you was that with a tap this small six millimeters is fairly small and you can see in comparison to my hand here and you can twist them off in fact I have I’ve already broken one of these and is very frustrating because you it’s they’re nearly impossible to get out of a steel hole that you’re tapping I want to show you my technique that has worked well for delicate smaller taps let me get ahead and get down to the bottom of where I’m at here right here you can see it’s hitting it’s starting to cut at that point so my technique has been to just turn it a quarter of a turn you know with your just turn it a cut a quarter a turn at a time no more than that or your material will start to bind up in the flutes and and then it will you can bind and possibly break your tap so if you turn it only a quarter of a turn from here and I’m cutting right now and I’ll stop there and then I’ll back it off and keep twisting around until I’ve cleared out the channel or those threads until it’s nice and smooth and then from there I’ll do it another quarter of a turn now you might think this is going to take a long time doing it that way but once you get in a groove like this get a pattern going it really doesn’t take that long it takes me just a few minutes to cut the threads all the way down to the bottom so only a quarter of a turn now

bigger taps sets when you get up like around half inch or even bigger or eight millimeter and bigger you know you can you can cut more and put more pressure on it but you know any of you guys if you’ve ever broken a tap off in steel especially you know what a pain-in-the-butt it is to get out in aluminum there’s a way to chemically dissolve it but since I’m cutting into steel that’s not really an option as far as I know so anyway as you can see I’m just going to keep doing this only cutting quarter of a turn back it off work it till it’s nice and smooth and free and not binding and then I’ll do another quarter of a turn work it till it’s smooth and cut another quarter now using this technique I’ve cut six holes so far and haven’t broken a tab and and so that’s that’s what you want to do take your time because I’ll tell you if you do break tap off then you’re looking at major problems of rebuilding everything that you’ve done up to that point on that particular piece so better safe than sorry am i in my book all right now we’re getting down here to the bottom of the tap and this is pretty close let me take out the vise here and show you you can see my tap is starting to cut through the bottom here and threads are not clean all the way through but it’s far enough because my screw is only going to go about put two thirds of the way into this material so I’m just about done with it you know now this is not really a lesson on how to use it but I just thought I would throw this in just in case anyone has not is not familiar with using a tap and you just want to see how to do it without causing yourself a lot of headaches and frustration all right so I’m down as far as I can go I’ve tapped out on the shoulder of the other tab so now I’m just working this and we’ll go ahead and work it out something else you can back it out and use some cutting oil this happens to be some honing oil that I used I just put a few drops in there and it helped to lubricate the process so let me go ahead and back this tap all the way out and cause my threads are in there and you’ll see when you get toward the top you want to hold it straight so it doesn’t mess up your threads but you can see hopefully tell how that looks and you see these flutes that are in the the tap and how it gets that material on there the the dust so you may want to back it out occasionally so now what I’m doing is it’s kind of flush the hole out I’m just using actually a rim oil for my guns it’s a pretty good and wiping the tap off to get any residue off of there I’m going to run it back through again just to get any particles that are in the hole out so we’re just going to run the tap all the way back down to the bottom not really cutting this time we’re just cleaning out the threads and then we back it all the way out and with the oil and the clean tap we will have cleared out the threads any additional residue that was down there in residue I’m meaning particles of metal shavings from from you we just cut the threads all right so now using one of the screws that I’m going to be using I like to just kind of run it in wipe everything off here just run it down by hand and make sure there’s no binding or resistance and I’m able to just screw this in by hand and it’s working well so antsy it’s it’s pulling out some so we can spray it again just to help flush out those threads and wipe down our piece and you can see there’s the bottom of it now this hole has been countersunk bored out because the the bolt our screws going to set flush because the screw is going to set flush there and that’s what’s going to mount down to the frame and then these secondary holds these smaller holes that are tapped will be what holds the top plate on of our rack

with our spacers and everything so it’ll set there with the spacers and then our metal plate will set above the frame okay so now we’ve got all of our parts cut and the pieces that need it have the steel inserts inside and they are welded into place as well as they’ve all been drilled countersunk and tapped the holes that need to be tapped which are this one this one here here and then these two on the end of it so my next step is going to be to start to tack this together and get it in place get everything in line make sure everything’s nice and square then I’ll go ahead and weld all of my joints everything is drilled even my crosspiece here that’s going to mount to the submarine through the rear fender and I have some marks they may not show up on camera but it has some faint marks showing where everything is going to go and that’s how it’s gonna look I’ll record a little bit of the welding just so you can see how it’s done but I’m not gonna record welding all these joints that would just be monotonous and too much to take up too much time so what I’m gonna do is all I’m gonna weld up basically one side I’ll start tacking and getting to here lined up and then what I’ll do is make sure that’s all square in good shape and then I’ll put it together make sure everything lines up on the bike mount this to the bike mount this side to the bike and then just make sure I’ve double-checked my alignment then I will take it off the bike I’m not going to weld it on the motorcycle for electrical issues and then bring it back over here and then tack and make sure that I get it all weld up nice and square and then I’ll show you how I’m welding with flux core wire on a MIG welder but it’s it’s gonna be ugly initially because I’m not a professional welder but I’ll show you that even a will die just to make sure they’re strong not necessarily pretty and then I’ll show you how I grind it down and get it prepped for for painting I’m gonna prime it and then I’ll I’ll paint it so I’m going to start on this joint right over here have it clamped I have it this piece clamped to my table and I’ve got one of my magnets holding this one in place and I’m just gonna start tacking on the corners here now probably won’t be able to talk or you might not be able to hear me so I’ll just do it and then talk about it afterwards so as you can see they’re just tack the corners – hold it now I’m going to tack it down on the sides a bit so that it doesn’t draw a world okay so now I’ve got joints is tacked some of these are just tacked on the top so when I flip this I’m gonna be very very careful with it and tack the bottom before I start welding along here as we’ve talked about before I mentioned earlier I don’t want to just run a bead all the way here running a full bead gets too hot this is fairly thin material this is only 14 gauge even though I have my welder set to the appropriate setting actually I have it set just a little bit low you can melt through or blow through this lighter material so what I’m going to do is essentially do a series of spot welds in order to complete the weld and make it a full let’s go ahead and flip this over again I’m not gonna weld this final piece in place because I want to make sure my bolt alignment is right on the bike so again just being careful because does these little spot welds are not real strong at this point so I’m going

to lay this over and I will do my tack welds double-checking so I’ve got the hill frame welded up or not the whole frame but this half welded up the only thing that’s really missing is the other side bar and I’m gonna wait till I get that bolted up to make sure everything’s in alignment and see how much gap I’ll have if any so now what I’m going to show you is how some of these welds you can see they’re just a series of spot welds and they are not the prettiest but you know they’re they’re strong they seem to be good welds it’s not a beautiful bead but I’m tell you show you is how I can grind that I’m just using my angle grinder here and I have a flat disc on and I’m going to rub that lightly this thing can eat away the metal pretty quickly so you want to be careful so let’s take a look at how we can polish up the metal look a little bit better I plant just to hold everything in place so it doesn’t move around all right so at this point I was able to see a few spots I’d like to touch up make sure there’s no holes in it and then we’ll we’ll keep working it all right someone to show you close up now I have my rack painted and and mounted to the bike now so it is it is attached to the frame or to the mounting points here I used the rust-oleum hammered finished paint it’s not exactly black black it is I got a bit of a grayish or perhaps might be called a gunmetal finish but it turned out really well one it gave it a nice texture finish on here this hammertone enamel is pretty durable I’ve used it on trailers and and some of the other stuff around here yeah a little forward here I’ll show you you can see how the the screws that I’ve used and we’ve talked about those in detail how they’re nice and flush mounted to the frame so it’s smooth surface also I use some of the original cap head bolts or screws that came out of the mounting plate the factory mounting plate they were just the right length I do have a couple of the same same 15 millimeter spacers between the the fender and this piece of angle iron here it’s the same 15 millimeter spacers that I’m going to use here to lift the the decks or the platforms are right off of the off of the frame so that that was fortunate it worked out well some of you may have noticed that my factory tool case has been removed here and I have a pigtail coming up here in case you’ve been wondering what this is for I do have a GV top case my street deck that I’m going to put on here or a road deck that it’s going to have the mount the mono lock mount for the GV top case I have the rear brake light LED brake light in the GV case and this I created this little pigtail so that I can just plug it in and it tucks down in this little compartment the deck will cover this solid I’m not going to have a cutout here for the tool case because I don’t use the factory toolbox but yet I left everything to where it could easily be reassembled and the original factory top case or deckplate back here could be

put back on so with just a few screws I can have everything back to the way it was originally so I’m very happy with that additionally let me show you something here you’ll notice I welded a couple of little tabs and just thin metal tabs that stick out here that I use to mount my light this is the add more lighting tail light that I’ve added since this deck extended out over the factory tail light which is back here the factory tail light is still visible from the rear if a vehicle was behind me but for taller vehicles such as semis or you know but high vehicles even large for holder have trucks with my deck extended out even beyond here I was concerned about blocking my tail light so what I did is I bought it on one of the add more this is the small light bar that they have and and mounted it back here on the rear and this is just to enhance my factory tail light and provide me even more visibility I’ll show you a demo next of the the functions of this tail light and how it looks in conjunction with the with the tail light right now I have well first of all you can tell I’m in a bright sunlight on a nice clear sunny day I’ve got the camera setting about ten yards behind the bike and the height is set roughly at what a car a driver eye level would be so I’ll pull the bike up in a straight position and let’s turn it on so you can see the tail light so that’s what you would see from a tail light perspective so the visibility is improved even in the bright sunlight so let’s hit that brakes and here we go and so you see the modulation of the add more tail light along with the modulator now in my in my stock taillight it has been replaced with the LED modulating LED upgrade but it’s not as bright as I would like it to be so I think the add more adds to it now what like to point out on the add more light if you reapply the brakes within 10 to 15 seconds it just goes solid it does not modulate and that is by design according to the add more folks is so that it does not irritate the drivers behind you I don’t know how I feel about that to be honest with you I I want to irritate them I want them to notice me especially if I’m stopping so that they don’t run over me but at any rate that’s why it doesn’t do that so now if you go beyond the 10 to 15 second mark which maybe we are now if you reapply you get the modulation again but again if I let off and hit it again it just goes solid alright so now we’re gonna take a look at the turn signal so the add more module add more light bar has turn signals built into it so let’s apply the left turn signal and you see that I like the swiping yellow LED motion there and it helps to compliment and accent the turn signal on the bike now let’s apply the right so there’s the right turn signal and when we shut them off here is the turn signal with brake so you can see it still stands out anyway so there I wanted to show you how that works and you can see that even in a bright sunny day it it has good good visibility alright so what I’m going to show you here is how I’m laying out for the larger off-road or camping / pickup truck top plate for comparison’s sake here is my street plate my normal plate I just have it primed right now but it’s already finished all the holes are drilled and it’s been primed and I’ll be painting that soon here but that’s to give you an idea of where the frame is underneath the bike underneath this top plate and how how big it is so this is a 24 by 24 sheet of aluminum that I have here and that I’m laying out now originally I was going to keep it 24 by 24 and just shape you know round off the corners and whatnot and just give me one big platform but however after getting it on the bike and getting it set where I want it and having it all centered I think it’s just too big for what I want now some of you guys may want a platform this big if we’re hauling whatever but at any rate what I’ve decided to do is to trim it in just a bit and one of the reasons is that it sticks over quite a

bit two inches in is where the edge of the turn signals are underneath here so I wanted to keep it as wide as I could in the back but I wanted to narrow it just a tad in the front and the reason for that is I’m going to be mounting panniers on the bike here soon I’ll be putting racks on and I want to have both hard and soft panniers but I’m likely going to be starting off with the hard panniers and I wanted to be able to get to the lids for one thing and be able to get them on and off the bike without them being up under here too far and having them under there is not that big of a problem but I also want to be able to stack gear on with my panniers like draw bags or sleeping bags or whatever rolled your gear that I can strap to the top of the panniers so I didn’t want having a wider rack here negate the usefulness of the top of the pane yers so what I’ve decided to do is to lay it out you see that you see the layout lines here let me go ahead and take this one off and set it aside so first of all I marked out my this is 24 by 24 so I’ll put a line dead center and also Center way so these two cross lines just represent the center of the plate and I already have it positioned on my rack to where I want it to be and I’ve marked where the holes are and I’ll show you a nifty little trick for doing that here in just a minute so to start with instead of the full 24 inch width I decided to bring it in two inches on either side and so by bringing it in two inches that gives me a width of 20 inches from here to here so at the widest point in the rear is going to be 20 inches I’ve also decided to take two inches off the front because it’s right now it’s hanging over my seat now I could cantilever it off the back of the bike but I don’t really want it hanging over too far on the back to obscure the new taillight that I put on so I have it centered where I want it to be and then I also brought it an additional two inches in the front to give me room to come up from panniers with gear and to make my the inside of my payoneer is more easily accessible so basically coming in two inches here I’ll cut across the top I’ll cut down here off two inches and then I’m also going to come in two more inches in the front that’s a total of four so that’ll give me a total width across the front here of 16 inches on the front part of the rack it would be 20 inches across the rear and it’s going to have a total length of 22 inches on the on the plate and I personally think that’s going to give me enough surface area for what I wanted to do so before we get started cutting this plate out I want to lift this off and show you how I how I marked the bottom what I did was I made these little bolt studs if you will points for marking so I thought about I have a template and I didn’t want to risk getting when you’re when you’re trying to align six holes it’s best to mark them so what I did was basically you pull one of these out I went to the hardware store and just got some cheapo six millimeter bolts and I cut the head off of them they were just Phillips head six millimeter screws I cut the head off of them and then I put them on my little grinder and just ground them to a ground them to a point and I’ll show you a picture up close here then it took some nylon locking washer or nuts and just screwed up on there so that I could adjust them and then even lock them down in place give me more surface area so basically I screwed one in each of my points here I positioned my aluminum plate very carefully exactly where I want it measured off the size made sure everything was Center lines straight and correct and then I took a hammer or I actually I have a deadblow mallet that I use and I struck the top of the aluminum plate over each over each of these little punches and so what it did was it gave me a nice punch here a hole location under the bottom I didn’t flip this over laid it on my workbench and took a center punch and hit them again to make them even more pronounced so what that’s done is it’s given me precisely where my bolt locations are gonna be is so that when I drill them I don’t have to worry about being off and have to wallow one in the mountain so I did this exact same thing on this plate I just want to show you a close-up of this isn’t going to be my my rode plate and with the holes that are drilled out

and then of course I after I drilled them I did the countersinking and this is where my my bolts will be for the my road plate now this plate I’m going to these holes are for mounting my GV mono lock now I have the auxilary a brake light in my monologue case or my GV top case so that’s what this wire and this connection is for here these contacts so when you snap the case on it makes contact and you have a I have a brake light in my tel and Tel light in my top case so as I mentioned before the goal is to have this for my kind of everyday plate normal Road writing plate if I’m just tooling around for the weekend and then I can easily take those six screws out pull this off put this monster on and then I have my traveling high capacity plate to load all my camping gear on and whatnot some that’s it the next step is I’m going to be going ahead and cutting this guy out and getting it ready to to mount all right so before I actually assemble this and get it on the bike I just wanted to give you a look at the top plate with the color code on it I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out the texture the finish overall now I did prime this as you saw earlier it was primed white I just used some of the rest oleum aluminum primer on it it puts a white coat a flat white coat on there and then I hit it with the rest oleum hammered finish just this is the same paint that I used on the rack the base rack itself that’s not a it’s not an expert finish because it was pretty windy the day that I painted this but this is dry and you can see I’m happy with the color it’s not quite as nice as like an anodized finished but anodized finish but overall pretty happy with it so I’m getting ready to mount this plate on the bike and I wanted to assemble with my GB mount and you can see here it’s not the prettiest in the world but

I took my Dremel and routed out the edge of the base and what that does is it gives me a angled angled this up here so you can see a little bit better but what this does is it allows me to have access to the two screw mounts right here easily because once this top plate or this base is mounted to the plate it’s going to stay there and this is really going to be my plate I used to put my GV top case on the bike and ride around town and for most of my normal daily riding and then next you saw me cut this out on the bandsaw but this will be my big camping off-road touring when I want to strap a lot of gear to the back of the bike and I’ve got the six holes already drilled in here so once I get the street plate mounted I’m going to start working on this top plate and getting all these edges sand it over smooth the corners out with my sandir and then also counter or counter sink these these holes for the for the screws and and then the next step would be to start cutting slots in okay so just want to show you what it looks like with my mana lock base from GD mounted onto the case here or onto the plate so that is all mounted I used the original GV bolts and nuts that came with it I bought some stainless steel washers these are quarter inch by one washers at my local hardware store and just put on here so these are stainless just from these are gonna be exposed to the weather and I didn’t want them to to rust the aluminum is painted in prime so I’m not worried about any sort of galvanic corrosion against that and then of course the nuts and bolts are steel so that’s not going to be a problem I did not cut these shorter I just left them at their standard length to go through the case and stick out because my plate is elevated and it’s not going to hit anything plus my bars go across in between so I ran my wire through this hole and ran it up and I just use cable ties to tie it to the longer bolts to keep it in place and next thing I wanted to just mount it to the bike show you what that looks like okay so now what I want to do is a symbol we’re actually going to mount this to our frame so I just flip it over here and earlier I showed you that I had this little pigtail setup and this is just to provide the brake light function to the brake light on my GB top case so right here I just flip this over plug this in and the wire sets down and what used to be the tool compartment it’s weather sealed and then the plate will sit on the frame just like that so next time once you put my spacers and my screws in and I get this installed and then we’ll put the top case on to show you what that looks like so for mounting I’m gonna be using my six millimeter or m6 by 35 millimeter long screws to go down through the mounting holes along with my 15 millimeter spacers everything is snugged up so now I’m just going to go in and tighten them down I don’t like the way I probably should have way to let my paint cure a little bit more because it’s knocking some of the paint off somebody have to touch that back up here in a little bit but now my plate is securely mounted to the frame it’s nice and sturdy and as you can see I have a gap between it because those 15 millimeter spacers and the top cases it goes here so here’s my GB top case I just line up the front and snap it in place and there we go you so these configuration changes just

wanted to show you some of the versatility and the different ways that you can load your gear on this back rack I’m very happy with the way everything turned out I’m actually going to leave this offroad plate and just a bare aluminum because it’s gonna take a lot of abuse and beating and I don’t want to be scratching up paint so here’s a couple of examples of pictures from different angles I know this was a very long video I hope it helps you see what you can do if you want to take these plans and use them as is or modify them for your needs as always thanks for watching this is Tim to wheels that’s how I did it