I am posting this up, in hopes that it will save some aggravation for others who mount the T2 Luggage Platform on their 2008 and newer KLR650.

It also serves as a guide for you to double check your installation, if you have already performed it, especially if you used the included hardware.

I want to start off by saying that this write-up is partly motivated by my pet peeve of manufactures of products not providing sufficient installation material.  Regardless of how easy it may seem, sometimes simple tasks get the best of us.

Also, improper instruction can compound this confusion, resulting in some serious head scratching, as is what happened in this instance.

As a mechanic for several years, fabricator, road racer, crew chief, and team manager, I am no stranger when it comes to the workings of motorcycles.

This is not meant to take away from the quality of product that Happy Trails produces or the service that you receive. I am very happy with the quality of the panniers that came on my bike from the previous owner, and I am happy with the quality of the top box I purchased.

This is merely a individual’s take on an area they could use some help on, and hopefully they will improve upon it with the advice this consumer is providing.

Unfortunately I wasn’t planning on doing a write-up on this, so I do not have a “Before” picture of all the components.
So we will just start with some words to describe everything.

The T2 Luggage Platform comes with the following:

  • T2 Luggage Platform Base Plate
  • 8 M6x25mm Stainless Button Cap Screws
  • 8 3/16″ Washers
  • A Piece of Paper that is titled “T1 & T2 TOP PLATE” with a picture of a T1 top plate, then the following “Bolt List: 8 – 6×25 BH Bolts, 8-3/16 Flat Washers, 6 used on the 2007 & older, 8 used on the 2008 & newer”.

As you can see, not a whole lot of direction. In fact, here is a picture of the sheet of paper.

T2 Luggage Platfrom Included Installation Material
T2 Luggage Platfrom Included Installation Material

So with that said, I decided to rip into things.

I started off by removing the 2 bolts located in the center of the OEM rack, then moved to the 4 parameter bolts located at each corner.

My thoughts were that if it required all 8 bolts (or maybe washers?) that the stock plate was supposed to be removed, reveling the 2 extra mounting holes.

That wasn’t the case. In fact, I realized that the entire rack is kinda held together by the stock top plate.

So with that, I figured I guess it really only uses 6 bolts, the 4 parameter bolts, and the 2 center ones.

So I moved on to installing the parameter bolts with the top plate and the stock plate.

* A word of advice here, if you have a pannier luggage system mounted up, loosen all of the bolts. They frame of the pannier system may make mounting things a pain cause it will spring slightly.

Now with all 4 parameter bolts in place, I went to put in the 2 center bolts.

This is when I realized something wasn’t right.

Here’s are a couple pictures to help you along with this.

First up as you can see, the stock socket cap bolt that came out is a M6x40mm. Much longer than the included M6x25mm.  Also, the stock ones are recessed into the stock rear rack. That gives you an idea of how much distance they go.

M6x25mm != M6x40mm
M6x25mm != M6x40mm

Even with the T2 Luggage Platform in place, you are able to see the recess below. I pretty much knew at this point that these bolts would not work.

The recess in the stock plate is noticeable with the t2 even mounted
The recess in the stock plate is noticeable with the t2 even mounted

So with that, I put down my tools, and decided to check out Happy Trails website for information.

After searching around Happy Trail’s website, I made my way to the Customer Service Section and Looked up the FAQ in hopes I would find an answer to my question.

Nope!

So I made my way to the contact section, and grabbed the installation@happy-trail.com email and sent them an email to find out whether or not I had the proper installation hardware and instructions.

I was very happy to receive a call back very quickly. In fact under 10 minutes of sending the email, Jason had called me to help me with my issue.

As it turns out, Jason admitted that the directions were wrong, and that the only bolts needed were the 4 parameter bolts.

I am very satisfied with that answer, in fact I am very satisfied that he admitted that they never got around to updating them.  Yes, it’s a pain in the ass to have to go through all of this trouble, but at least I got a quick answer from them.  It’s hard to stay mad at that.

So with that, I hung up and looked at what I currently had.

I started to let the gears in my head start turning as I removed the plate and replaced the 2 stock bolts.  I realized, while removing the bolts, that their was a spacer collar in each of the recessed holes. This was what the stock bolts snugged up against.

This collar spacer is pressed into the recessed holes on the stock luggage rack.
This collar spacer is pressed into the recessed holes on the stock luggage rack.

I decided I didn’t like the idea of such a large space. This would allow the small spacers to eventually work themselves up, and rattle around. It also meant that when you snugged the T2 plate down, it would have to pull “into” the each of the recesses slightly. I am guessing this is why they provide 3/16″ washers instead of standard M6, as they are smaller. However, even the 3/16″ provided are exactly the same size as the hole, so over time, it would weaken that area on the plate and cause it to crack out. I know this from experience, aluminum is a great material, but it must remain snug when pressure is applied to an area.

At the bottom of the recess, the spacer collar is visable.
At the bottom of the recess, the spacer collar is visable.

Also, as I removed the bolts, I noticed that only a few threads were actually used by the markings left from putting some blue thread locker on. This worried me, as I am a firm believer that you use up all the thread you are given. Also, it is easy to pull threads with so few actually being used.

So with that, I grabbed my keys and headed to Ace Hardware down the road. It is the closest hardware store to me, and while they do not have a huge selection of metric bits and pieces, they do have what is needed to get the job done.

So I picked up the following materials to finish the installation:

  • 4 Nylon Spacers 1/4″ x 1/4″
  • 2 M6x35mm Button Cap bolts
  • 2 M6x40mm Button Cap Bolts
  • 4 M6 Stainless Flat Washers
  • 4 1/4″ Stainless Finishing Washers (Optional)

* They did not carry Stainless Button Cap Bolts, so I will replace those tomorrow when I go to work. A local Hardware Store to work has a wide selection of Stainless Metric Hardware

Here is a break down of what each of the items are for.

The 4 Nylon Spacers are to be placed in the recesses of the stock Platform.

Nylon Spacer resting in the recess
Nylon Spacer resting in the recess

The 4 Stainless M6 Flat Washers are to be placed on top of the 4 spacers. With the 4 spacers, there is still just a slight amount of recess. I want it snug, and the washers fill that recess.

This washer will help fill the rest of the recess. It may look as if it is sitting above the area, but once compressed, it sits flush.
This washer will help fill the rest of the recess. It may look as if it is sitting above the area, but once compressed, it sits flush.

The M6x35mm Button Cap bolts are used for the 2 front parameter bolt holes.

The M6x40mm Button Cap Bolts are used for the 2 rear parameter bolt holes.

At this point, you can do one of two things. You can do what I did, which is put on a 1/4″ Finishing Washer, then one of the included 3/16″ washers below it, or you can just use the included 3/16″ washer by itself. I opted for the finishing washer.

A finishing washer is a great accent. Imagine with a stainless button cap bolt :)
A finishing washer is a great accent. Imagine with a stainless button cap bolt 🙂

This is purely cosmetic. As you cinch down on the button cap, the finishing washer will slightly swell over the sides of the flat washer, and it provides a nice rounded contour. With stainless bolts in place, I think it will look pretty slick.

So I put in the rest of the bolts, putting a little bit of blue thread locker on each one, snugged up the pannier mounts, and I was finally finished.

Finished Mounting!
Finished Mounting!

The plate looks pretty good on the bike.  I didn’t buy it for the plate only, but because I have also purchased the Happy Trails top box (The big box one) and quick disconnect plate.

I was going to go ahead with mounting those tonight, in fact I started to decide where I wanted to mount it.

This is where I would like to mount my rear top box
This is where I would like to mount my rear top box

I realized that I only had so much room to work with, and I want to make sure that I am not covering the stock tool kit, as I keep my documents in there, and I also wanted to have a few inches of clearance so I could also still utilize the small gap for cinching down stuff to the seat. Also, I may end up mounting a RotoPax to the rear of the Top Box.

But soon after reading the directions, and trying everything for a fit, I realized that the included bolts did not fit in the included rubber pucks. The pucks, have a steel washer in them, and the hole in the washer is not large enough.

The washer pushes out rather easily, it is not molded in very well. So tomorrow when I go to get the stainless bolts for the T2, I will also pick up some properly sized Stainless Washers for the rubber pucks. I could drill out the washers, but as I stated, they are steel, and would rather replace with stainless. I wonder if their supplier made a change to the pucks.
I will try and do a better job with documenting the installation of the quick disconnect plate and top box.  Hopefully though, this write-up helps you in your installation of the T2 Luggage Platform.

Until Next Time

Previous post

Rider Review: Boots - Alpinestars Effex Goretex Boot

Next post

March Roundup!

The Author

Mic

4 Comments

  1. March 31, 2010 at 1:14 PM — Reply

    Mic,

    I share your frustration about manufacturer’s instructions. It’s why I also do a write up of what my process was.

  2. April 1, 2010 at 9:27 AM — Reply

    […] Be Part of the Adventure! « Happy Trails T2 Luggage Platform Installation – 2008 KLR650 […]

  3. Steve
    January 25, 2011 at 11:07 AM — Reply

    Other than getting new bolts, I had no problems. The instructions were fine because there is only one way that I saw, to attach it to the bike. It is sturdy and has worked very well for me.

  4. January 25, 2011 at 11:40 AM — Reply

    I’m a stickler for good instructions.

    I should get around to updating this article. I no longer have this plate installed on my bike. After mounting the Happy Trail Top Box, using, again, their instructions and parts, the top plate eventually fatigued enough along the edges, and the aluminum cracked all the way down the sides.

    I have since then, had a plate made for me.

    I do love their box’s. They are very nice, and the welds are splendid.

Leave a Reply