Last weekend was quite intense and not without some issues which I will address in this post. Installing apes can have varying degrees of difficulty dependent upon the bike and which handlebars you choose. The Street Glide is one of the more difficult because of the fairing and electronics involved. The job was a success though and worthy of writing about.
The initial breakdown of the bike was very easy and quick. seat, battery, outer fairing, radio,grips, control housings, ignition, passing lamps, and loosening of the outer fairing. Finally upon removal of the stock handlebars the real challenge began. I was pretty excited the work was going so well up to that point and was feeling positive. Even with taking time to make a video of the process I was making good time. Soon after though I hit the wall of troubles.
I made a wiring diagram of the wiring harnesses in preparation to extend the control wires for the new handlebars. During this I took the time to make a sub video of how to wire Harley Davidson molex connectors. With Margaret’s help I soldered the extensions to the factory wire harness and wrapped each solder weld with shrink tubing before trying to pull them through the new handlebars. Before pulling them through the handle bars we then covered all of the wires with large shrink tubing that we joined to the original wiring harness cover to make a clean seal over the wires. The left side went through without any problems and only took about 5 minutes. The right side is where the problems began.
The right side has more control wires and has the throttle by wire assembly as well. The control wires enter into the handlebars through a hole on the front of the bars, the throttle by wire enters through the end. On any other type of handlebar this wouldn’t be much of a problem. With the Paul Yaffe bars that little upcurve to a point is what changed the game. The wires had to make that upturn and then pull straight down against that inner point to route through the bars. We worked on that for a couple hours, trying everything we could think of to get all that wire through and it simply wouldn’t go. The wires would continually get caught in that tight turn and wouldnt pull through. We managed one time to get all of the wires completely through the handlebars to the point there was only about 4 inches left to pull out but we were unable to get the wires around that sharp curve to completion. We tried grease to help it slide through and even that didn’t work. It was frustrating to get so close and have to pull them all back out because they wouldn’t go through.
By this time it was getting late, I was tired, so we stopped for the night to unwind and think about other options. I hesitate to mention it was so frustrating I considered not running the wires inside the bars but that would have looked awful. After a nights rest we resumed the battle of the wires. The problem was the extra bulk that the left side didn’t have. We realized somehow we would have to reduce the amount of bulk we were trying to pull through the handle bars. The only way would be to remove all of the original outer wire harness covering and the shrink tube to get down to only wires. I left harness covering on the last 6″ of all the wires so that when the wires were in the handle bars they would be covered around that upturn that was giving us so much trouble. That way they would be protected from scratching in that sharp turn by the covering. We worked the wires until they laid well against each other without crisscrossing which helped to eliminate bulk and put a single wrap of electrical tape along the length periodically to hold them together. Doing this eliminated the bulk by half and still protected the wires at the critical location of that point towards the top. I had remembered some episodes of American Chopper where they were pulling wires through the frames and they weren’t covered with a harness except at the entrance and exit points where there might be sharp edges due to the cutting of the hole. There isn’t anything inside the bars happening that could cause the wires to be damaged except at the entrance, the upturn point, and the exit which we put harness on in those areas to protect the wires. Within a few minutes doing it this way we had the right side installed. I put harness over the wires at the exit point for protection and began rewiring the molex connectors. I made a short video on the process of wiring a molex connector for a Harley that you can view from this link. Ill write a post about just this process later because there are some details that can be helpful
The reassembly took place without any issue until we got to the new brake lines. The junction of the stock lines has a cutout that fits into a small pin that sticks out of the triple tree. This prevents incorrect installation of the junction by insuring it can only be fit one way. The new junction didn’t have that cutout and wouldn’t fit. After attempting every way of turning and manipulating the new junction without success I just ground the pin off the triple tree and installed the new junction since it serves no other purpose. We bled the brakes and moved to the clutch cable. Keep in mind if you have ABS you cannot perform this job at home. The brakes have to be bled by a dealership using a Digital Technician to purge the air out of the ABS solenoids that may be trapped.
Next came the clutch cable. That meant removing the floor board, slip ons, exhaust, and transmission clutch cover. This part went perfectly without problems from start to finish. Then it was just a matter of reassembling the fairing components, battery, seat, ignition, etc. Upon completion the bike started right up, all of the electronics worked and I was able to take it for a quick test ride. Over the next few days I had to make adjustments to the position of the handle bars for comfort which entails a modest tear down to get the T-40 Torx on the handle bar mount. With making a video, taking pictures, and performing the work I estimate we spent a solid 16 hours on this install. The bulk of wasted time being on the right side control wiring.
This is not a task I would recommend for most people. If you have any hesitation at all, let the dealership do the work. The mechanics know the job and have prior experience and tools to do it correctly. It takes a good amount of mechanical and electrical skills and requires some specialized tools. For instance, the snap ring inside the transmission clutch cover is huge and I didn’t have a set of snap ring pliers that would work on it. I went to Autozone to purchase a pair, got the largest ones they had, and they were even too small. We ended up finding a set at Harbor Freight but those were so big I ended up having the file down the points to fit in the snap ring holes on the bike. I probably could have ordered them but didn’t want the bike sitting in pieces taking up garage space while we waited for them to arrive. I’m happy we did the work, happy with the results, and would do it again but not with these type of bars because of the difficulty of routing the wires through them. A 90 degree down turn or rounded down turn on the bars would have still looked good and prevented all of the major problems we had with installation. They do look good though, ride well, and I am happy with the final result.
Paul Yaffe 12″ Monkey Bars
How to Install Paul Yaffe 12″ Handlebars on a 2012 Street Glide Video