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Thread: Supplemental LED Brake Light 2011 R1200RT

  1. #1
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    Supplemental LED Brake Light 2011 R1200RT

    I installed the BMW LED Supplemental Brake Light on my 2011 R1200RT this weekend. I ordered the light from a dealer and ordered the model specific wiring harness. As reported in many threads, there are no installation directions that come with either the brake light or the harness. Based on reading several threads and after scratching my head for a while, I think I figured it out for my bike. The biggest question I had was whether or not I had to drill holes in the rear fender. I decided that it was necessary to expand one hole in the lower fender (beneath the license plate where the wire in the new brake light lines up exactly over an existing hole) and to drill a new hole in a "well" in the upper part of the fender (in the back corner under the passenger seat) that looked to me like the intended spot to drill a new hole in order to route the wire to the space under the seat (the well is best seen from the underside of the fender by laying on your back and looking up at the underside of the fender; this wells seems to provide weather protection to the area under the seat since the well is slanted and I also filled the well with 3M putty after I routed the wire). Unlike some of the previous installations, I did not have to remove any wire insulation from any of the existing wiring on the bike and I did not have to soldier anything. Instead, the wiring harness "piggybacks" (two connectors) on the connector that goes to the passenger power plug and the third connector is a male/female spade that hooks to the tail light wire (right next to the brake light bulb) and the existing tail light wire then connects to the new spade. Once I got the guts to drill the new hole, the actual wiring was simple. This photo shows where the spade on the new harness connects at the brake light bulb.
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    R1200RT LED Supplemental Brake Light -- Hole in Rear Fender

    This is the hole I drilled in the upper part of the rear plastic fender. The hole has to be about 5/8 for the harness to fit through. This is a photo from beneath the bike (I'm lying on the ground) looking up. I wrapped the new wiring harness with electrical tape to add more protection and after routing the wire through the new hole, I filled the hole with 3M putty (not shown).
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    R1200RT LED Supplemental Brake Light -- Wire route

    This photo shows the tail light dangling. The taillight has two phillips screws (one on the lift signal and one on the right signal) that once removed allow the entire taillight to drop free. I was surprised that only two phillips screws hold the tail light in place. The male/female spade connector on the new wiring harness attaches to the existing light bulb spade and the wire feeds through the tail light opening to the area beneath the rear passenger seat (where the other two connectors of the new harness connect to the passenger power plug supply).
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    R1200RT LED Supplemental Brake Light -- Wire route

    This photo shows the hole I expanded in order to route the wire attached to the new LED light through the rear fender. After passing the wire through the fender, the LED light then connects to the new wiring harness. I wrapped the wires with several layers of electric tape to add protection. The part of this installation that I don't like is that the wire is under the fender and although it cannot be seen, is still relatively exposed. That's why I wrapped the wire with electric tape.
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    R1200RT LED Supplemental Brake Light -- Wire route

    This photo shows the area under the passenger seat in which the wiring harness passes through to go from under the fender to the area under the passenger so so that the remaining three connectors can be attached (two connect to the passenger power port and the third male/female spade goes to the tail light bulb).
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    R1200RT LED Supplemental Brake Light -- Final Product

    I secured the harness in a couple of places with cable ties and this photo shows the final product. As advertised, the LED comes on when the regular tail light comes on, and when the brakes are applied, the LED flashes several times very quickly before becoming even brighter to show the brakes are applied. The LED is VERY, VERY bright when the brakes are applied.
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    R1200RT LED Supplemental Brake Light

    So to clarify the order I followed on the BMW LED install for my 2011 RT1200RT:

    (1) Remove the side and top cases
    (2) Remove the seats
    (3) Remove the license plate (4 screws)
    (4) Remove the tail light by removing the two screws on the back side (black part) of the tail light
    (5) Line up the LED light with the license plate bracket. Note the hole in the fender that the LED wires match and drill to enlarge the hole in the fender. I used a 5/8 bit. I protected the tire with a small board in case of a quick push through with the drill.
    (6) I wrapped some electrical tape over the LED wires as the individual wires were exposed where they entered the LED light housing.
    (7) Looking up from the ground, find the raised well on the underside of the fender. I drilled through this well as I could find no other way to route the wire and I decided that if the light doesn't work, this location is the best place to patch/fill the hole. In other words, the install is ALMOST reversible.
    (8) Install the LED light by putting its wire through the expanded hole and attaching the bracket with the four screws (under the license plate).
    (9) Plug the LED light into the new model/year specific harness. One end of the harness has two plugs and the male/female spade and the other end fits the LED light. I wrapped the connector with electrical tape since the connection is under the fender. I wrapped electrical tape over the harness where it passed through the hole in the upper fender to protect the wires from vibration damage.
    (10) Run the three connectors on the other end of the harness through the new hole in the upper fender. I used a cable tie to secure the harness to the frame on top of the fender (inside the area beneath the passenger seat) and pulled the harness tight through the hole before securing.
    (11) Unplug the connector to the passenger accessory port. The two connectors on the LED harness plug into the respective now-vacant plugs for the accessory port.
    (12) Route the male/female spade for the LED harness back through the taillight opening. Remove the spade from blue wire on one of the tail light bulbs (see photo) and attach the harness spade to the tail light. The tail light wire then attaches to the open spade on the harness. This connection is inside the light so it didn't need any further weather sealing.
    (13) I secured the LED harness under the area where the seat goes with another cable tie to keep it out of the way of the seat. I then used some 3M putty to fill the hole through the upper fender (I used putty on the top side to protect the wire from vibration stress and then crawled underneath the bike and filled the well from below with putty).

  8. #8
    Registered User dirtmerchant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rghensley View Post
    So to clarify the order I followed on the BMW LED install for my 2011 RT1200RT:

    (1) Remove the side and top cases
    (2) Remove the seats
    (3) Remove the license plate (4 screws)
    (4) Remove the tail light by removing the two screws on the back side (black part) of the tail light
    (5) Line up the LED light with the license plate bracket. Note the hole in the fender that the LED wires match and drill to enlarge the hole in the fender. I used a 5/8 bit. I protected the tire with a small board in case of a quick push through with the drill.
    (6) I wrapped some electrical tape over the LED wires as the individual wires were exposed where they entered the LED light housing.
    (7) Looking up from the ground, find the raised well on the underside of the fender. I drilled through this well as I could find no other way to route the wire and I decided that if the light doesn't work, this location is the best place to patch/fill the hole. In other words, the install is ALMOST reversible.
    (8) Install the LED light by putting its wire through the expanded hole and attaching the bracket with the four screws (under the license plate).
    (9) Plug the LED light into the new model/year specific harness. One end of the harness has two plugs and the male/female spade and the other end fits the LED light. I wrapped the connector with electrical tape since the connection is under the fender. I wrapped electrical tape over the harness where it passed through the hole in the upper fender to protect the wires from vibration damage.
    (10) Run the three connectors on the other end of the harness through the new hole in the upper fender. I used a cable tie to secure the harness to the frame on top of the fender (inside the area beneath the passenger seat) and pulled the harness tight through the hole before securing.
    (11) Unplug the connector to the passenger accessory port. The two connectors on the LED harness plug into the respective now-vacant plugs for the accessory port.
    (12) Route the male/female spade for the LED harness back through the taillight opening. Remove the spade from blue wire on one of the tail light bulbs (see photo) and attach the harness spade to the tail light. The tail light wire then attaches to the open spade on the harness. This connection is inside the light so it didn't need any further weather sealing.
    (13) I secured the LED harness under the area where the seat goes with another cable tie to keep it out of the way of the seat. I then used some 3M putty to fill the hole through the upper fender (I used putty on the top side to protect the wire from vibration stress and then crawled underneath the bike and filled the well from below with putty).
    Nice work, I may pick one of these up myself. Is there model specific lights or harness?

  9. #9
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    You probably didn't need to drill any holes but I wouldn't worry about it.

    The outside fender can be accessed through the opening just above the keylock.

    The extra lighting does seems to help but still keep an eye on your six.

  10. #10
    Registered User ExGMan's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Looks nice. Too bad BMW couldn't come up with some instructions.

    Jerry Skene has an alternative design (see: http://www.lights.skenedesign.com/) for $125 with lots of instruction and support. I've had them on my RT for a couple of years (both front and back).
    John Gamel
    2008 Kalahari Beige R1200RT
    LEOSA Certified

  11. #11
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    DirtMerchant: The LED light is a BMW part that fits several bikes. The harness is the part that is model/year specific. I ordered from A&S online and when you order the light they have a drop down menu that has harness options.

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    Motorwerk: I just went and searched for an opening to the fender above the key lock and the 2011 R1200RT does not appear to have an opening in that location. I might be missing the obvious (wouldn't be the first time). It may be different than your 2007 bike.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rghensley View Post
    Motorwerk: I just went and searched for an opening to the fender above the key lock and the 2011 R1200RT does not appear to have an opening in that location. I might be missing the obvious (wouldn't be the first time). It may be different than your 2007 bike.
    The differences may be possible. If I look into the area around the keylock I can see into the rear tire. The bike is currently torn apart for shock replacement so I can shoot a pic if you like. It's probably best they closed it off.

  14. #14
    Registered User Atomicman52's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Motorwerk View Post
    You probably didn't need to drill any holes but I wouldn't worry about it.

    The outside fender can be accessed through the opening just above the keylock.

    The extra lighting does seems to help but still keep an eye on your six.
    Mine was installed without drilling. . You can sneak the wire through where the rear body work meets the top of the fender along the side behind the pannier and then run it back Mine is run back from there behind the angle iron that hold the side reflector adjacent to the license plate frame and under the plate.
    "The Older I Get, the Faster I Was"
    '09 Black Metallic Sapphire "Fully Farkled" RT

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    R1200RT LED Supplemental Brake Light -- Final Product

    For the sake of trying to accurately document the installation of the BMW Supplemental Brake Light on a 2011 R1200RT, I asked the guys as A&S Cycles about the proper way to route the wire harness in order to not drill a hole through the underside of the plastic fender (to gain access under the seat). They responded by email to "come up around the left side of the license plate bracket behind the panel and there will be a gap for the wire there." At least two other posts to my thread (Atomicman and Motorwerk) indicated that they installed the harness without drilling in the underside of the fender by snaking the wire "where the rear body work meets the top of the fender." I spent some time with a flashlight and there is a small gap in the fender (the gap can only be seen from under the bike). So, for the sake of trying to properly document the install, it certainly looks like the wire harness can be snaked between the two plastic fender parts. I'm not sure whether or not the wire would be subjected to crimping if snaked between two fender parts, so I decided to stick with my install as it turned out pretty clean and it's already done. However, the "correct" way does appear to be snaking the wire between the two fender parts. My thanks to Atomicman, Motorwerk, and the guys at A&S Cycles in helping me describe the correct install.
    Last edited by Rghensley; 05-16-2011 at 05:51 PM.

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