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Cobra Jeep 10-28-2007 11:50 AM

My version of LED tailights (writeup, lots of pics)
Well after seeing all the nice bright LED tailights everyone has, I decided to do some of my own. I liked the LED's, and how bright they are. But, I DO NOT like the flush mount round ones everyone does. Just my personal prefrence. Not only do I not like the look, I also do not like that fact you lose your side marker, backup and tag lights. So I figured I would do it a little diffrently.
I like the stock jeep tail light the best. Plus I have some cool guards around them. With my YJ being a 93, the old ones were getting, well, old. The housings were cracked, leaked water, and had striped out lens screws. I saw all the nice replacements out there, but could not find any that were the stock style. I did finally find some at 4 wheel drive hardware, but for $70 each! I think not. I ended up scoreing a set of almost new tailights for cheap off here to replace my old ones. I said to myself, surely I could find a way to put LED's into a stock tailight housing. Well while at the local tractor supply I happened to run across some LED lights for a trailer. They have LED's for the side marker, and the drivers side has some for the tag.

They seemed pretty close the the size of the Jeep housings, only they did not have backup lights. So I picked one up to take apart to see how its made. I was wondering if I could put the guts out of it, into the Jeep housing. I took the lens off and the LED's are on a nice little one peice unit. (passenger side shown)

After taking the lens off and the old bulb out, I started the test fitting. I had to remove a clear reflector from the inside of the housing. (red circle) To allow the side marker LED's to have enough room.

After the first test fit I had to cut the corners off the LED insert (red circles) and then move the side marker LED's up one hole. (blue circle) The side marker LED's are held on with two screws, I just moved it up one hole, and used one screw.

I also had to do a little bit of trimming to the inside of the housing to get the assembly to set flush. (no pics) But the peice I had to trim was the peice that held the clear lens inside the housing. Now they sit in there nice and flush. It took a couple trys before I could get the lens to set flush.

Next came the wireing. The LED inserts have 3 wires, one for tail, one for brake/signal, and then a white one for ground. I took a pick and puled the peice out of the stock bulb socket, then cut the end off, and hooked the wires there. The white wire has a round terminal on it that will go under one of the mounting bolts. (drivers side shown)

Now I was ready to mount them and test them. They turned out real nice, and are real bright. I kinda like the look it gives the stock tailights.

Only problems I ran into was I got the tail and brake/signal wires crosed on the drivers side and had to go back and re-do them. (got in a hurry and didnt test before I crimped the wires on) I also had to get a new flasher. But all and all I am very happy with them. And I came out cheap too. The driver side light was $22, and the passenger side was $18.

Hope you enjoyed my writeup, and I will try to answer any question anyone might have.

rustywrangler 10-28-2007 11:53 AM

Looks good man.

King03Kev 10-28-2007 12:03 PM

I saw the same lights at auto parts store and was wondering if they would fit. Now I know. Nice job!

timatoe 10-28-2007 12:10 PM

Nice looking setup.

BlackRhino 10-28-2007 01:06 PM

Very cool. Definitely a lot cheaper than stock-style LED lights, and they look awesome. I still plan on doing flush mounts though.:p

Mr.B 10-28-2007 01:18 PM

I like it alot. I assume you left in the stock backup lights. Is there any problem without the side reflecter in?

FranknJeep 10-28-2007 02:33 PM

very nice. I will have to add that to my cool things to do list on my Jeep.

Cobra Jeep 10-28-2007 05:35 PM


Originally Posted by Mr.B
I like it alot. I assume you left in the stock backup lights. Is there any problem without the side reflecter in?

Yes, I left the backup lights alone. I have some aftermarket super bright ones. As for the side marker. Only thing I removed was a clear inner lens (shown in the pic) the outer red lens is still there. The side LED's are up aganst the red lens and are real bright. Only thing is they dont flash with the signal, but I dont see that being a problem.

Mr.B 10-28-2007 11:39 PM

It's been some time since I took my tail light apart. I thought that there was a reflector/separator type thing in there for the side light, and that is what you removed. I guess there isn't one there since there is only one tail light originally.

Cobra Jeep 10-30-2007 06:48 PM

The stock jeep housing had that reflector in it. You can see it in the 3rd pic. I put a red circle around it, but it didnt show up too good. The housing the LED's came in had no sutch lens. And the side marker LED's stick out to the side a little bit, as seen in the 2nd pic. So the clear lens in the stock jeep housing had to go, to allow enough room for the side marker LED's to fit in there.

dave_dj1 10-30-2007 06:58 PM

looks good man
i have two questions,
1) is there still illumination under the driverside light for the tail light?
2) why did you have to get a new flasher?

meansvt00 10-30-2007 09:43 PM


Originally Posted by dave_dj1
looks good man
i have two questions,
1) is there still illumination under the driverside light for the tail light?
2) why did you have to get a new flasher?

if you look in the pic youll see the back of the drivers side light has 5 leds on it they are clear to light up the plate
as for the flasher leds create less resistance and will cause the flasher to flash fast like when there is a bulb out:2thumbsup:

meansvt00 10-30-2007 09:45 PM

Very nice job COBRA JEEP:trophy1:

Cobra Jeep 10-31-2007 07:51 PM

Yep, meansv100 pretty much answered it.

Thanks for the compliments!

NewhampshireYJ 11-29-2007 06:28 PM

Sweet idea im doing that tomorrow. I might try to get a small strip of leds and use it for the backup lights. They look awesome.

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