Adding Military Lighting to the Rear

How to Do It

Jesse KatzPhotographer, Writer

Some of us love seeing a well-built rig dressed in olive drab; in the same way we prefer a hot rod primer-black with a hot flame job. So when looking for the perfect taillights for our new Kevlar bodied CJ-7, we looked to the military. The military HMMWVs, or Hum-Vees, use a composite taillight that is common to many service vehicles.

The versions used on HMMWVs are unique because they are flush-mounted in removable, recessed buckets. Kascar is a company that specializes in all types of HMMWV parts and accessories. They have new, genuine replacement lights and mounting buckets available in two versions. They are both compatible with 12- and 24-volt electrical systems and feature blackout running lights. One uses standard, replaceable bulbs, and the other is an LED type. The standard version features a gasket-sealed, waterproof housing and each bulb is mounted on a trick little rubber airbag to isolate shock and vibration. The LED lights use a factory-sealed waterproof housing because the bulbs do not have an element to fail or replace. Not to mention that they are brighter than, and draw much less amperage than traditional bulbs. It will be necessary to run separate reverse lights, turn signals, and license-plate illumination in order to comply with state laws. Kascar sells turn signals and reverse lights from the same applications that will match the new taillights.

The military wiring is easily adapted to stock or aftermarket wiring harnesses. The gas filler will need to be relocated to the side of the vehicle using a TJ-style filler housing due to the larger physical dimensions of the new lights. To cover this hole and at the same time provide a great deal of protection to the corner panels, we installed corner panel guards from Off Your Rocker. The end result is one that would be well suited to any Jeep whose owner has painted over or traded out the stainless and chrome accessories that a previous owner installed.

Related Articles