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Jeep LED Light Wiring - Randy’s Electrical Corner

Posted in How To: Electrical on April 2, 2015
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Photographers: Linda Jones

I’m sure you guys have had enough about me and LED lights. However, when a company tells me that it’s are better than some others on the market and tells me to prove them wrong, I can’t back down. So I told them if we did this and the lights suck, everyone would know about it because that’s how I’d write the article. The company said, “OK, go for it.”

Hi guys, it’s Randy. And I’m just as stubborn as ever. Earl, Crab Man, Joy, and Catalina all told me over and over again that I couldn’t get Mr. Turtle to jump through the hoop. Sure, it took me a while, but I finally got him through the hoop. Earl and Crab Man argued with me that he still didn’t jump, and OK, maybe he didn’t actually “jump” like Catalina, but he still went through the hoop.

Now, you might be sitting there asking yourself what in the world I’m going on about. When Max-Bilt told me that it looked at lights currently on the market and fixed a lot of the problems with theTrail Tail lights, I was interested. The company said it fixed the dead LED problem and showed me a cut-away of how. It increased the amount of lumens and bumped up the overall durability of the lights. Of course, I needed to see for myself.

The other thing I needed to see was how these lights installed compared to others. Some companies have the install down to a “T” with almost no thought needed. Heck, the lights almost install themselves. There are also companies who leave a lot to the imagination and you’ve gotta be part MacGyver to get the lights into your Jeep. So, me being me, I got a set of the lights to try out and install so that I could share the real world with you guys (and gals).

The Max-Bilt kit includes these really cool waterproof solder-filled heat-shrink connectors. All you have to do is strip about 3⁄8-inch from the wire on the Jeep side and the wire on the light. Put both ends in the connector and heat it up. I prefer to unplug the old taillight and then cut the plug off of it so that the new lights unplug like factory. The kit doesn’t include a license plate light, so that chrome thing is a license plate light from a local parts store to keep things legal. The Max-Bilt kit includes these really cool waterproof solder-filled heat-shrink connectors. All you have to do is strip about 3⁄8-inch from the wire on the Jeep side and the wire on the light. Put both ends in the connector and heat it up. I prefer to unplug the old taillight and then cut the plug off of it so that the new lights unplug like factory. The kit doesn’t include a license plate light, so that chrome thing is a license plate light from a local parts store to keep things legal.
Here’s how the wiring worked out between the ’04 Wrangler Rubicon and the lights. There wasn’t a diagram with the lights since they are designed to bolt on to about 30 years of Jeeps, but for ’04, this is how it’s done. Don’t forget, as was mentioned elsewhere in this issue (“Mixing Metals,” page 74), to replace the flasher if you don’t want turn signals on speed. Or, you could modify the flasher as I’ve done before. Here’s how the wiring worked out between the ’04 Wrangler Rubicon and the lights. There wasn’t a diagram with the lights since they are designed to bolt on to about 30 years of Jeeps, but for ’04, this is how it’s done. Don’t forget, as was mentioned elsewhere in this issue (“Mixing Metals,” page 74), to replace the flasher if you don’t want turn signals on speed. Or, you could modify the flasher as I’ve done before.
The Trail Tail lights include bolts, which is nice. However, they are of a standard thread, and the holes in the back of this later TJ are metric threads. So, I simply tapped the body to accept the included bolts. Another option would have been to go and get the correct metric bolts. Since this install was done up on a mountain and an hour from the nearest bolt store, borrowing a tap was the better way to go. The Trail Tail lights include bolts, which is nice. However, they are of a standard thread, and the holes in the back of this later TJ are metric threads. So, I simply tapped the body to accept the included bolts. Another option would have been to go and get the correct metric bolts. Since this install was done up on a mountain and an hour from the nearest bolt store, borrowing a tap was the better way to go.
Here is what they look like with the parking lights and reverse lights on. The picture I tried to take with the brake lights on just didn’t work. They were too bright and all you could see was a ball of red. The lights have been installed for six months now, and all LEDs are still lit up so I’m thinking maybe Max-Bilt’s claim was true. Check Jp’s Facebook page in another six months, and I’ll let ya know how they are doing. Here is what they look like with the parking lights and reverse lights on. The picture I tried to take with the brake lights on just didn’t work. They were too bright and all you could see was a ball of red. The lights have been installed for six months now, and all LEDs are still lit up so I’m thinking maybe Max-Bilt’s claim was true. Check Jp’s Facebook page in another six months, and I’ll let ya know how they are doing.

Sources

Max-Bilt
Eau Claire, WA 54703
715-210-0256
www.maxbilt.com

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