Saturday, November 16, 2013

Macgyver0856 Belly Pan

I found a thread on recently where everyone was talking about a new belly pan being made and sold by one of the forum members, Macgyver0856. Unlike my trusty Tulsa belly pan which is made from thin, dull aluminum, the Macgyver pan is made from polished diamond plate aluminum. Unquestionably, Macgyver0856's pan has a lot more bling than the ubiquitous Tulsa pan.

When I removed the belly pan from the box I did not find any installation instructions. I am not sure if that is typical, or because Ray just assumed I knew how to install one. I removed my Tulsa pan so I could compare the two side by side. By comparison, the Macgyver pan is much sturdier, even though not that much heavier. As mentioned previously, the diamond plate is highly polished where the Tulsa pan is just a dull aluminum. Of course, this sits under the bike, so it is not that visible. So, unless you are leaning into the turns on The Dragon and KillBoy is taking your picture, it is doubtful that anyone will take notice of the shiny diamond plate.

As for construction, there is a rustic appearance to the notches which have been cut into the sides for mounting. Be careful when handling or you could easily slice open a finger on a burs. The sides themselves also have a much steeper bend than the Tulsa pan (see photo). The hole which has been drilled for the overflow from the coolant tank is in the proper location, but it too had a few rough edges.

Macgyver pan (top), Tulsa pan (bottom)

Like the Tulsa pan, the Macgyver pan is in two pieces with a front shield that can be removed to change the oil and filter. Unlike the Tulsa pan, Macgyver is using machine screws which match up to threaded clips on the stationary part of the pan. My only concern with this design is that the machine screws are not captive, or held in place to the removable shield. If engine or road vibration caused one of the screws to back out while riding, it is possible for a screw to fall out and potentially get caught under the rear tire and cause tire damage. If the screw are tightened properly, the likelihood of this happening is remote, but it is possible. By contrast, the Tulsa pan uses DZUS 1/4 turn captive bolts. They are a pain in the butt to attach and I have cursed them many times, but they probably are a safer option. The Macgyver screws go right in making reattaching the shield a breeze.

Machine screws are not captive and could work loose from vibration

DZUS fasteners on Tulsa pan are captive and more secure, but more difficult to reconnect

Installing the Macgyver pan was a bit trickier than the Tulsa pan, simply because it is stiffer and the sides are bent to an almost vertical position. One way to install the pan is to start on the left side while letting the right side hang free. Tighten the two 10mm acorn nuts on the left side, then bang the right side into place using the palm of your hand. I actually took the liberty of slightly bending out the tabs to more closely match the angle of the frame/lower cowl mounting area. The Tulsa pan, by comparison is more flexible and can be easily flexed to fit during installation. Regardless, installation should only take 10 minutes or less with either pan.

Installing takes a few firm whacks to force into place

So which pan is better? For sheer protection of the engine, and appearance, the Macgyver pan is the way to go. It is about the same price as the Tulsa (or similar) belly pan and the price even includes shipping. So, it actually may be a few bucks cheaper. It is a bit more difficult to install than the Tulsa pan, but that is the price that comes with a stiffer, more protective pan. If the shield fasteners were upgraded to the captive DZUS style, then I would consider it pretty near perfect

If you are looking for excellent protection for your engine, the belly pan from Macgyver0856 is a good choice.

For more information, or to order, email Ray at




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  2. Quick question for you: do you think adding lockwashers would help keep the bolts from vibrating loose? I'm looking hard at this pan, but after just having replaced my back tire because of a screw (nothing off of the bike), I'm not in the mood for a repeat.


  3. Mark, I would hate to say "yes" then have a screw come loose and ruin one of your tires. I cannot say with confidence that a lock washer would guarantee anything.

  4. With the pan properly installed , it actually bows across the center rib of the case. This puts enough tension on the screws to keep them firmly seated. With over 40,000 miles on my pan, the screws are tight every time I do an oil change!

  5. I am a new GL1800 Owner (2010) and my friends at Americade told me I need, among other things, a pan to protect the engine. I like the one described here, and wonder what the cost is. Installation seems simple enough, thanks for the video, also, How do I order One?