Happy Trails installation/vent (ugh) - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 2 Old 07-02-2007, 09:35 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Seattle
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Happy Trails installation/vent (ugh)

I just finished installing my second set of Happy Trails panniers and if anything, this batch was tougher than the first.

I began by checking the hardware. There was a rough correspondence between the list of hardware and the actual hardware supplied. There were a few extra bits, seemingly at random. However, the 6 x 25mm bolt was actually an 8 x 25mm bolt, which won't work as it bolts into a threaded fastener on the bike.

Luckily (and this just makes me laugh), I had a leftover 6 x 25mm bolt from my first set of HT bags (it was missing its own parts - a couple of washers and one bolt).

Next step - install the (new style) tail rack. This should have been easy, but the supplied 8 x 55mm bolts (if that's what they were) were so short that once you put them through a washer, the rack, and the supplied standoffs there was less than 1/4" of thread left to go into the bike. The illustration showed these as having knurled heads. There was one bolt with a knurled head but it was an 8 x 5omm, used elsewhere.

Figured I'd get the rest of it together first to make sure nothing else was missing. Well let me tell you, this thing DOES NOT FIT. It was possible to line up one or two bolt holes on each side rack, but the remaining holes were way too far off to be able to make contact.

So, as I was advised on my first HT set, I employed "the old rubber mallet technique", which is to wail on various parts of the rack to get it to line up. Then take it over to the bike, line a few things up, maybe thread in a bolt or two. Take it off, do it again. And again. And again. And again (sweat is dripping off my nose now). Etc. Probably 12 trips to the rubber mallet.

I realized as things started to come into line (more or less) that, just like my first set, this set was going to end up cockeyed on the bike - one bag higher than the other. I determined that wasn't going to happen this time, so more trips to the mallet, and finally smashing one of the bars full force against a wooden tool stand.

Eventually I got things in line enough to fit. Mostly. Still took a lot of straining and sweating to get them to line up. God help me if I ever have to take them off.

Oh, and two of the bolts you're supposed to put a washer over actually slip into tubes on the frame - no way a washer will fit in there. At least not any of the ones they supply.

It's all done now. Took me 4 hours, including a trip to the hardware store for the longer bolts needed to fit the rear rack. Looks good though. Almost straight from the rear.

Oh, one more thing. The fittings rust. This one hasn't yet of course but on the other one, the screw recesses on the right side fill up with water when it rains and they end up rusty. Guess I'll shoot some silicone in this one.

I still think they're great bags. I'm just EXTREMELY frustrated with their sloppy manufacturing. They'll be getting a call tomorrow...

- Bob
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post #2 of 2 Old 07-03-2007, 03:43 PM
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Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 2,605
Bob,

I feel your pain. Recently put some Happy Trails racks on my DR-Z400, as did a buddy. The hardware was OK, but 3 of the 4 racks themselves took some major persuation via a BFH to get them close to fitting. Also had to drill out the rear mounting point on the bike's subframe. I expect to do a little bit of tweaking when mounting racks, but this was way too much.
On the plus side, once mounted they're extremely solid and strong.

Rich Desmond
'07 DL650, '01 DR-Z400S, '99 SV650 (race bike), '80 GS1000S, '85 RZ350, '08 Ducati 848
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