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Plan Your Ride

How to fit Harley-Davidson Detachable Saddle Bags

In this video, below,  we demonstrate how easy it is to fit detachable saddlebags and a backrest or sissy bar to a Softail Harley-Davidson. We also point out a few tips to ensure the saddlebags won’t come off while riding. One of the most common causes of saddlebags falling off motorcycles is not ensuring the locking mechanism is fully secured. We show you how to check that the latch is firmly locked into position.

Here is the recommended procedure, from Harley-Davidson’s Detachable Saddlebag Kit instruction sheet, for maintenance of the Docking Point Screws.

Failure to tighten hardware to the specified torque could result in damage to the installed accessory. (00508b)

After 500 miles of on road use with the saddlebags installed, it is necessary to check the torque on the docking point mounting screws. Check to make sure the proper torque is maintained and tighten screws if necessary.

  • Upper docking point screws, 21-27 ft-lbs (28.5-36.6 Nm). 
  • Lower front docking point screws, 12-18 ft-lbs (16.3-24.4 Nm). 
  • Saddlebag lower support arm screws, 60-90 in-lbs (6.8- 10.2 Nm). 

Saddlebag Docking Points 
In time, the docking points may wear causing the saddlebag connections to become loose. The fit may be tightened using the following procedure:
  1. Remove docking hardware (screws). 
  2. Clean threadlocker residue off of screw threads. 
  3. Apply Loctite 243 - Blue to last four threads of docking point screws. 
  4. Install screws loosely for now. 
  5. Rotate docking points clockwise approximately 45° from their previous position. 
  6. Tighten the docking hardware as follows. 
  • 21-27 ft-lbs (28.5-36.6 Nm) for upper docking points. 
  • 12-18 ft-lbs (16.3-24.4 Nm) for lower front docking points. 
7. Repeat as required, up to three adjustments. After the third adjustment, new docking points must installed.

Saddlebag Care
Apply the Harley-Davidson Genuine Leather Dressing included with the saddlebag according to the instructions in the leather care kit. Additional jars are available from a Harley-Davidson dealer (H-D Part Number 98261-91V).

Saddlebag Snaps
Periodically oil snaps using a small amount of motor oil or all- purpose household oil.

March 30, 2013

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