Harley-Davidson’s 883 cc and 1200 cc Sportster models use a quartet of turn signals to notify other motorists of the rider’s intent to turn or change lanes. The front turn signals are mounted to the handlebars on a ball-type pivot, while the rear signals are hard mounted to the rear fender. Although the turn signals are fairly stout and can handle day-to-day wear, a low speed crash can permanently damage the signal housings. Removing and replacing the turn signals, either individually or as a whole, requires only a few tools and can be completed by most Sportster owners.
Front Turn Signal Replacement
1. Grasp the upper corners of the left side cover found below the rider’s seat, then pull the cover away from the motorcycle’s frame. Slip the tab on the lower portion of the cover out of the catch built into the frame. Pull the cover off the Maxi-fuse holder, located on the left-front corner of the oil tank. Remove the Maxi-fuse to disable the motorcycle’s electrical system.
2. Remove the seat from the motorcycle, using a Phillips screwdriver. Remove the gas tank’s forward and rear mounting bolts, behind the handlebars and at the base of the tank, respectively, using a 1/2-inch socket and a 1/4-inch Allen wrench. Turn the fuel valve selector lever to the “Off” position, then remove the fuel hose and the vacuum hose from the bottom and rear of the valve. Pull the fuel vapor hose off the spigot under the right side of the gas tank. Lift the tank off and away from the motorcycle.
3. Push the turn signal connector unit, under the main frame rail, forward to disconnect it from the frame. Unplug the violet and black wire connectors to disconnect the left front turn signal, or the brown and black wire connectors to disconnect the right front turn signal.
4. Loosen the Allen head bolt located under the left or right handlebar switch pod, using a 1/4-inch Allen wrench. Pull the front turn signal ball post out from the bottom of the switch pod, then pull the turn signal wiring out from the motorcycle’s frame until the turn signal has been removed completely.
5. Push the new turn signal ball post into the bottom of the handlebar switch pod, then aim the turn signal toward the front of the motorcycle. Tighten the Allen head bolt to 96 inch-pounds, using a torque wrench. Route the turn signal wiring along the main frame rail and plug it into the appropriate turn signal connector unit terminals.
6. Reinstall the gas tank onto the motorcycle. Plug the fuel hose and vacuum hose onto the outlets on the rear and bottom of the fuel valve. Push the fuel vapor hose onto the spigot under the right side of the gas tank. Tighten the fuel tank mounting bolts and nuts to 15 foot-pounds. Reinstall the seat onto the motorcycle.
7. Push the Maxi-fuse into the fuse holder, then push the fuse cover into place. Slip the left cover’s lower tab into the frame-mounted catch, then push the cover’s upper bosses into the frame.
Rear Turn Signal Replacement
8. Remove the left side cover in the same way as in Step 1 when replacing the front turn signal.
9. Remove the taillight lens, using a Phillips screwdriver. The rear turn signal wire connectors are located on either side of the screw at the center of the taillight base. Unplug the violet and black wire connectors to disconnect the left rear turn signal, or the brown and black wire connectors to disconnect the right rear turn signal.
10. Unscrew the rear turn signal retaining nut, located on the rear fender‘s inner wall adjacent to the turn signal, using a 5/8-inch socket. Remove the outer rear fender strut with the turn signal and its wiring connector, using a 1/4-inch Allen wrench. Pull the turn signal and its wiring out of the strut cover.
11. Push the new turn signal mounting post through the strut cover. Route the wiring through the rear fender to the taillight base. Reinstall the strut cover and the new turn signal onto the rear fender strut. Tighten the strut cover bolts and the turn signal retaining nut to 132 inch-pounds.
12. Plug the rear turn signal connectors into the appropriate terminals on the taillight base. Reinstall the taillight lens.
13. Push the Maxi-fuse into the fuse holder, then push the fuse cover into place. Slip the left cover’s lower tab into the frame-mounted catch, then push the cover’s upper bosses into the frame.