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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After looking around online at people safety wiring stuff on their motorcycles, it became clear to me that people don't know what they are doing. So here is my guide.

The main function of Safety wiring a fastener is to keep it from loosening. So either you can safety wire a bolt to something stationary, or to another bolt. Either way the entire purpose is to ensure that the fastener cannot work its way loose. This requires positive engagement. The safety wire must be oriented in such a way as to facilitate this. It is possible to drill safety wire holes into stock bolts. I replaced my fasteners with bolts that are made to be safety wired.

When safety wiring two bolts together, you want to make sure it looks like a backwards S. This ensures that if one bolt tries to loosen, it is automatically tightening the other bolt and vice versa. If safety wiring to a hard point it should look like a backwards J. This creates the same effect.

First thing is first PUT ON SAFETY GLASSES
I cannot stress this enough, you are working with stainless steel wire .032" thick. If it hits your eye... 10 times out of 10 it is puncturing it. WEAR SOME SAFETY GLASSES

These are the tools I will be using. I like to do my twists by hand, it is how I've always done it. Safety wire pliers exist but I don't like them.


Here is how I did my oil fill cap, I bought this on Revzilla. Comes safety wired with an E-clip. Notice how I have mine oriented, this ensure that the cap cannot loosen.


These are the two front caliper mounting bolts that I will be safety wiring together


More safety wire is better than not enough, I cut off at least 14 inches usually. You need enough wire to grab and manipulate, otherwise you will have to start over


Figure out your starting point. I decided I wanted my pigtail to be at the top, so I've started on the bottom bolt.


Pull the safety wire through the bolt and ensure that both ends are decently equal


The bolt loosens counter clockwise, so we need to wrap one side under the bolt. I've chosen the holes close to perpendicular, this ensures there is positive engagement on the fastener. If the wire was pointed straight up towards the other bolt that would allow more movement of the fasteners. Which is exactly what we are trying to avoid.


Time to start the twist. You have to pull both legs taut. Then wrap the leg going around the bolt to the other leg. This is easier said than done, especially if doing it all by hand. It takes practice but ideally you want the first twist to be right up against the head of the bolt.


Then start twisting, don't worry about going towards the other fastener initially. Safety wire is very pliable, so I just start doing my twists towards myself. This allows me to ensure that my twists are tight. You don't want to be able to see any light in between the twists. 5-7 twists per inch is ideal with .032 thick safety wire.


Once your twisted section starts looking long enough, push it up towards the other bolt to see where it lays. It is better to be slightly short here, as it is easy to add another twist and impossible to get rid of one. This is just about perfect, once I pull it tight the twist should be sitting right against the head of the bolt.


Optional thing to do is add sleeving over the safety wire, this can save if from rubbing and abrading on the things around it. I don't want to ruin the finish on the surrounding area and want to protect the wire from getting ground down. This is just 2mm inner diameter high temp silicone tubing. The one downside to this is that is holds moisture which can corrode the safety wire.


Insert the leg of safety wire that will allow you to pull it tight. My angled pliers are smooth jaw so that they don't cut grooves into or damage the safety wire. I usually apply a lot of force at this stage, to really pull it tight.


Now wrap the other end over and pull it very tight as well. You don't want the part of the safety wire that is wrapped around the outside of the bolt on either side, to be able to come over the top of the bolt. That would mean it is too loose. Twist the wire again, this time the opposite direction of how you did the main twist. You want your pigtail to be about 6 to 7 twists


Use your pliers to shove the ends of the pigtails into one of the other holes in the bolt. This will ensure it does not snag on anything or anyone, it is very sharp and can easily cut you.


Finished product. Try and move the main section holding the two bolts together. A tiny amount of movement is fine, but it should be tight.


See how the holes used are close to parallel to each other, this is what I mean about positive engagement. There is less slack and neither bolt can loosen without tightening the other. The sleeving will make sure that the safety wire and the head of that bolt securing the ABS sensor wire are not in direct contact. Eventually it will probably wear through... I'm pretty sure tires are going to have to be changed before that happens though.

The rear caliper bolts are trickier as they sunken in.


This requires a bit of cheating. It is basically impossible to get twists against the head of the bolt due to the small space it is in. Get some twists started and then use pliers to grab the twists and twists them all. You may want to make your initial twists larger as they are all going to tighten up.


Otherwise it is the same process and it should look something like this.


There are more photos of the rear caliper job in the full album. Hopefully this helps people understand the purpose and the right way of doing it. I know motorcycle are not aircraft but taking a little care and doing things the right way always feels good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Dang, yeah hats off doing it "by hand" I have a couple pairs of safety wire pliers(like $5-10)....makes short work of safety wire.

Nice write and good looking safety wire...oh and you should grab some nylon tubing in bright yellow :smile_big:
By hand was how I was taught. Done it that way ever since. Safety wire pliers have always seemed less precise to me. It is too bad safety cable and safety cable guns are so **** expensive, that stuff is the best.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I never felt the need for safety glasses when doing this though. I mean you're just cutting it with pliers, it's not like there are pieces of wire flying around.
Hey they are your eyes, do as you will. I won't play with safety wire without safety glasses on. Unless you grab the legs before you snip... pieces can go flying. I've seen enough images of safety wire in eyes and personally have had safety glasses save my eyes multiple times.

Sponge was just making sure he didn't get any legal actions against him. :smile_big:
Lol. Safety wire is dangerous. Should only be done by a professional. I take no responsibility. I should add a huge legal disclaimer to all my how to's lol.
 

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I fully agree with Sponge. I use safety wire pretty much every day rigging sailboats. 99.9% of the time the tail goes with gravity, it's that other .% that you have to prep for. Fortunately, I am always wearing sunglasses. Maybe it should be called "nearly safety wire". Anyways, I think Sponge's time in California reminds him of legal etiquette :grin:
 

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Tyres look nice in the post with the brand coloured in.. Got any pics of the whole bike?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Forgot to post what bolts I used. 2 Front caliper bolts and 2 rear caliper bolts.

Did the 4 brake pad retaining pins today.

Here is the front, I would consider this dangerously close to being "neutral". I may purchase some .020" thick safety wire for these for more positive engagement. .032 is too thick to squeeze into that small space.


Here is the rear


I messed up the rear, I'll probably redo it tomorrow, think I accidentally undid a twist when I was running the wire through the bolt head.

Full album with more photos
 

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As an aircraft mechanic QA I would let these fly. There is a book that it used to regulate things like safety wire (AC43.13) and it states 7 to 11 twists per inch but the fact that you can pull over and put the kickstand down and look at the bike after as issue arises vs you know.... an airplane in flight, I really dont think it matters. Ideally you have the lowest bolt as the termination point which will then have the pigtail. The pigtails are bent back on themselves just so hands dont get stabbed. Its impressive how painful a safety wire stab can be. Think labor pains and they would be a close 2nd.....from what I have been told by the wifey....she has never been stabbed by safety wire but we do have 2 kids....so it obviously labor wasnt that painful.
 

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Automotive tire Engineering Auto part Motor vehicle Circle

Wheel Tire Automotive tire Motor vehicle Automotive design

The top image is what happened after the pilots had 20 touch and go's with side slip landings. Tire hit real hard and the bearing race decided it was done. Loads of friction caused the brakes to overheat and melt things.
The bottom picture is from the plane engine swallowing a bald eagle.
 

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crap. Safety wire thread. Um... Uh..... great job for hand twisting. The very first twist is often called the lock twist and it supposed to be really tight. Its hard to get a proper lock twist by hand but with safety wire pliers the lock twist is pretty easy to do.
 

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Here's my work on the bike.
Not bad for a first timer and I even safety wired my spare key to a ProBolt fastened to the top triple tree as per @tacotrouble . Great idea for not losing your key at the track. 👍

Gotta say between all the safety wiring and paint marking all the key nuts and bolts on the bike it's easy to do a quick check on the bike to make sure all is well. 🤓

This thread could use a stickie for others to find.
Tons of great info here. 🤙
 

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