A couple of people from my build thread said they wanted me to do a write up for how i added a tailgate light bar to the back of my 97 XJ. This is the way I did it, I'm sure there are a bunch of other ways it could be done.
These are the two things I ordered online:
The first step in this project is to install the Wiring Harness: Etrailer has a helpful video, if you don't know what to do, the video is located here: Install Wiring Harness
- I ran the 4-pole wire from the harness up the pillar to the area above the spare tire
- Also I used a spare 4-pole connector I had and added it in line with the wiring so that if i ever needed to tow anything, i had an extra connector:
-The next thing I did was to cut off the plastic lip that is on the top of the light bar, I used a band saw, but it could be done with a sharp utility knife, the plastic isn't too thick:
-The next thing to do is to make the tabs that will hold the light bar to the bottom of the liftgate. I made mine out of 1/8" bendable sheet aluminium, I made the tabs 3" x 1" and i bent them in half, like a hot dog roll.
-Then, I mocked up the light bar on the bottom of the liftgate, and marked where i wanted to mount the tabs to the liftgate, and the tabs to the light bar. I made 5 tabs, but only ended up using two, it seemed sturdy enough and I didn't want to hit any of the components for the latch mechanism inside the liftgate. Also be sure to align the light bar in the direct middle of the hatch.
-Then drill your holes in the tabs and the light bar so you can bolt them together. Make it so the top of the light bar is level with the bend on the tabs. Then you can bolt it together: I just used whatever I could find in my spare nuts and bolts box. I used 10-24" x 1" bolts, and cut off the ends.
-Now you want to drill the holes that go from the tab to the liftgate (holes can be seen in this picture):
- Then you have to drill the holes for the screw to go into. I placed the lightbar in the center where I wanted it to go and marked where I wanted my holes to go. When I drilled I placed the hole a hair above where my mark was so the light bar would be snug against the lip of the liftgate.
-Screw the lightbar + tabs to the liftgate:
-Now the light bar should be snug against the lip of the tailgate and look like this(you may have to adjust some of your holes if not):
-Now you want to fish the wire connected to your light bar up into the plastic trim piece on the liftgate:
-Then from the top of the trim, behind the rubber seal, into the trim on the top of the interior:
-Then you can plug the two together, I laid out the excess wire down the top trim piece toward the passenger side of the XJ: