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Old 02-18-2007, 12:48 PM   #1
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 133
KLR650 LED tail light system install and review

Enclosed is a step by step procedure for replacing the stock 1157 tail light with a modern, low power consumption, bright LED replacement. I will also supplement the tail light with an aftermarket LED Light Bar. The advantages of the modification are as follows:
1. Long live bulbs. The bulbs will outlast the bike. Even the KLR!
2. No more bulb replacement
3. Low power consumption system
4. Brighter system
4. Vibration/shock resistant bulbs
5. More visibility = less likelihood of rear end collision
The inspriation for this modification is based on a thread by fellow KLRworld members including kramsetac, 75,000 miles, Quarterhorse 2, and “special adult” Bikerscout.
The LED’s can be found at The reflector tape can be found at any autoparts store in the near the paint supplies. LED Items to install:
1. 1157 tail/stop light LED replacement Radiant cluster 1.85 inch red Direct base Get SKU # 5302-19 for $34.99
2. 6 inch lightbar - red/black SKU 02010 $35.95

brushup on KLR650 electrical/wire issues

Items to be installed

LED 1157 tail light, Plug in existing socket

6 inch tail/stop light supplement. Not a tail light replacement. Will need to mount and wire this item

install instructions

reflector tape. Metallica...Rock on Man..."FreeBird"!!! hehehe

remove tail light plastic housing

exposed bulb and “dull” reflector

stock bulb and LED replacement

backside view

install LED in socket. Just push while turning. May need to rotate 180 degrees when installing. Will only engage correctly one way

all installed, No issues fits fine

need to remove the housing reflector to make it mirror like finish. Remove these 2x nuts 10mm wrench

unhook wires 3x total. Just pull while turning. Don’t worry it won’t brake. I added tape so I know to reconnect the correct wires together

2x nuts off, 3x wires labeled and disconnected

reflector can now be removed

now apply that mirror sticky side tape

unroll the 6 foot long tape, cut 1 foot or so.

the housing is symmetric so you can work from the paper side

trim to fit

peel back the paper exposing the adheasive

inlay on the plastic reflector....No worries about heat from LED’s. There is none!

mirror like reflection...see the camera?

now the sides

mark trim lines

inlay to check

tape opposite side

like so!

back side now. Since it is curved it will have to be installed piecemeal

cover screw studs

drape the material as best you can

almost done

check bulb does not contact material

check power consumption

Stock bulb tail light only .446 amps or 6.24 watts of power

Stock bulb Brake light only 1.903 amps or 27 watts of power

New LED tail light only .070 amps or 1.0 watts of power

New LED Brake light only .354 amps or 5 watts of power
The LED consume ~ 17% of the stock wattage. Woohoo!

light bar tail on at .020 amps or .24 watts

light bar Brake light at .25 amps or 3.0 watts

need to make 3x of these electrical splice/spliters to run power to LED light bar

will attach here

like so. Each one is color coded. Look at Stebel horn install for walk thru of making a wire bundle

reattach the tail light housing
add LED bulb

thread wires thru opening

attach color coded wire bundles

awaiting to attach to LED bar

make and attach LED bracket, use this Aluminum angle

trace outline

mark cutting trim lines

after bandsaw cut

will attach bracket here, measure hole pitch

transfer measurements

trim bracket with band saw

quick check to see if fits ok

drill mounting holes in bracket tabs

drilled and deburr holes

check fit

mount light bar here

use rubber gasket as template

mark holes

attach bar to bracket with metric M4-.7 allen head bolts

check drill size

drill and deburr

ready to mount

thread wire thru center access hole

use loctite on threads

looks good!

ready to mount on bike

pickup these 2x holes

drill small hole to thread wires under fender

mounting complete

wires threaded thru here

standoff view lights off

wires to connect to splicer

wire splice tools ready!

cut excess length

strip insulation

add 1x small shrink wrap (white) + 1x large shrink wrap (black) + one waterproof 20 AWG wire crimp connector

crimp connector

shrink wrap connectors

repeat all 3x connectors

zip tie the wires to for the results......

OEM stock tail bulb tail light only (no brake)

LED tail light (no brake)

OEM stock brake light

LED brake

LED tail

LED brake
I think the system exceeded my expectations
1. Low power consumption LED use ~ 20% of incandescent power (6.24 watts vs. 1.24 watts LED) for tail light and (27 watts vs. 8 watts) for brake light.
2. Recommend adding the reflective material
3. Vibration resistant system.
4 Much brighter than stock. Nice safety issue! Especially if viewed from directly behind.
5. Independent Fail-safe light system.
Happy with mod

I have also designed a custom 5.5 watt LED superbright fog lights. See below:

1/4 view lights off

forward view lights on

with camera filter

See here for my custom LED running/fog light walk thru,2001.0.html
ready to ride!
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Old 02-18-2007, 03:07 PM   #2
Joined: Jul 2005
Location: Byron, IL
Posts: 53
Nice write up. I have all the same parts except the light bar. I am waiting for it to warm up a little first.
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Old 02-18-2007, 03:27 PM   #3
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Joined: Jul 2002
Location: Mulbarton, Norfolk, today...
Posts: 4,690
Amazingly detailed write-up and a very nice result.

I'm not sure your work on the reflector achieved anything, though - I could see the point if you were leaving a standard bulb in there, but all the LEDs were facing aft - what was there to reflect?

All text & photos © Mike Oughton 2004 - 2007

We will never be here again - have a good look around.
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Old 02-18-2007, 04:04 PM   #4
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Location: quad cities IL
Posts: 272
Great writeup!
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Old 02-18-2007, 04:20 PM   #5
Ready to ROLL!
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Joined: Mar 2006
Location: North Alabama
Posts: 135
Looks great man, been knowing I will go that route eventually. Your tech session is a blessing. LED's are the future.

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Old 02-18-2007, 05:39 PM   #6
The IT policy police
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Joined: Sep 2006
Location: Midwest
Posts: 38
Yet another great writeup!

Nice job - again. You should do this for a living...
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Old 02-18-2007, 05:51 PM   #7
Dread's Avatar
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 80
Thanks for the write up. I've been considering getting that light to reduce the load on my electrical system. Just ordered one.
01 KLR650
04 ST1300
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Old 02-19-2007, 08:56 AM   #8
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 133
The reflector was added to eek out additional any LED non-directional light and provide additional off angle viewing capability. The LED 1157 bulb is recessed pretty deep into the housing, so I suspect some benifit is gained, although not as much as an standard bulb.
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Old 02-19-2007, 10:02 AM   #9
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Joined: Oct 2006
Location: alpharetta, GA
Posts: 497
thats some of the best wiring jobs ive seen in a long time
BEHIND EVERY GREAT MAN............................... IS A STOLEN IDEA
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Old 02-19-2007, 10:50 AM   #10
Right Turn Clyde
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Joined: Sep 2005
Location: Moscow…Idaho that is.
Posts: 519
holy freakin' freak--nice coverage on that.

I did the Brake! LED recently. Thoughts on adding the chrome film w/ it? Seems you're suggesting it is worth it. Yes?

On the fogs, are those more for being seen or seeing? …d'oh, nevermind--just read your other freakin' freak detailed writeup. Thanks for going the extra mile on those, Keithm.

Did you consider mounting the lights on the bars to get them wider for depth/scale perception by drivers, and a touch higher? It was not clear that they add much actual light based upon the garage door picts. Seems they're real good for being seen though (blue tint may help).
Tell it to Liska.

Last edited by Right Turn Clyde : 02-19-2007 at 11:06 AM.
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Old 02-19-2007, 09:35 PM   #11
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 133
The LED auxiliary lights are used to supplement the headlight. The light is more diffused (less focused) than the head light. The total system consumes 5.4 watts total. If the lights were to be raised, an additional bracket would need to be used to attach the lights. I like the location mounted.

get out those shades!

with headllight on

side view

light location

bracket design

just misses nerf bars with handle bars at full travel
Full write up of fabrication, wiring, install here:,2001.0.html
Hope that helps!
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