Intro: The No-Weld Fuse Box for Early Model Harley-Davidson Sportsters
This idea stems from the need to organize the fuses and tame the web of wires jutting out from within the frame and ending up hanging wildly around the fender and under your seat. As the headline states, this is a no weld project; meaning rivets will replace any spot welds required for assembly. The equipment in the photo are the reccommended tools for completing the project effectivly and safley.
Aluminum flat stock-1/8" is plenty
Rivets (varying in size)
Rubber bungees for securing. Otherwise extra tabs can placed to secure box to frame
Cordless Drill and bits
Angle grinder and cutting wheels
ear and eye protection
high speed air tool and attachments
Step 1: Cut Tabs and Box Body
This step is fairly rough. You must carefully measure the 3 panels that make up the body. The critical measurements are the (1) distance from the fender to the frame, (2) the distance between your fender rails (3) the hieght of the box when mounted.
Pictured are the tabs bent to 90 degrees. I used about 14 (mostly because I mis-measured the panels a number of times). They can be as narrow or wide as you like.
Once the tabs are cut, begin measuring the frame for the panels. If you are good and smart, you should only need to make two cuts for the whole box--plus the slot cuts to bend to 90. Obviously, I reinforced my panels with some riveted tabs. NOTE: Add some to the inside of the box to maintain rigidity. You will know if it s not strong enough when you go to strap it to the frame using your rubber bungees and the box gives too much and distorts.
NOTE: The key is to mount lower on the frame then is pictured: the rubber mounting system requires a two stud-flanges that resist against down tubes and secure the box to the frame.
Step 2: Rough Mounting
Take you reinforced box and measure where to cut slots for seat tube clearance. This measure ment will determine how closely your box sits against your frame and how well it clears the tubes. I used the high speed and the iron bore attachment to notch the semi-circular holes. Easy. You can use the grinder and a file. Not as fun or fast, however.
Once determined, the rubber mounts can be riveted to the box. I riveted underneath and strecthed the rubber around the tubes and secrued them using extra tabs to catch the rubber at the top. This is where issues can arise, since all seats are not created eaqual and will sit lower on teh frame and against the top of the rubber strap, causing a rocking sensation (and not the good kind).
Step 3: Finish Mounting and Routing
The fuse holders are simple and can purchased cheaply at any AutoParts dealers. I chose to rivet these into place since the rubber mounting system makes for easy removal and replacement of blown fuses. I also sprayed some adhesive to the inside of the box to insulate against any exposed wires making contact with the aluminum.
Since the wires exit the frame where the box is mounted, the box covers the wires from exposure to the elements and limits any unruly behavior. Taillights and flashers can run along the downtubes.
And there you have it--one way to (relatively) tame the wildness that are 70's Sportsters.