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Unread 08-11-2007, 12:30 AM   #1
lupinsea
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2001 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Kenmore, WA
Posts: 3,586
Trail Night Lighting System

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Trail Night Lighting System Installation
By Lupinsea







CONTENTS


1) Vehicle Setup
2) Performance Review
3) Installation
4) Additional Resources




1) VEHICLE SETUP

This modification can be easily installed on Jeeps equipped with factory installed fog lights.* No other modifications are necessary.* No other modifications affect this install.

( For Jeeps WITHOUT factory fog lights, a switch will need to be wired into the dash. )



2) PERFORMANCE REVIEW

Overview:
A trail night lighting system consisting of additional driving lights placed along side the frame rail (Fig 1) and pointing outward (to the side) is fired by a relay which is in turned fired by the factory fog light circuit.* By tying into the factory circuit (Fig 2) the system takes advantage of a fused switch already installed in the Jeep to yield a very clean and tidy install.

Operation:*
Once installed, turning on the night lights is a simple matter of turning on the factory fog lights.* When the factory fogs switch on they fire a second relay which then feeds power to the extra lights along the chassis.* The trail lights will work exactly as the fog lights work: they shut off when high beams are switch on, and they automatically shut off when the headlights are turned off.

Given that most trails have numerous twists and turns it was thought that the high-beams on the headlights provide negligible benefit over the low-beams since the light cannot project too far before the trail is likely to turn.* Therefore, having the night-lights tied to the fogs which necessitates that low-beams area used was deemed acceptable to the author.

This, of course, is not the case with sand dune areas where forward projection would be desirable.

Protection:
The location of the lights poses some risk of damage, however, none of the authors body mounts evidenced any contact with trail obstacles and so this location should provide a measure of protection for the lights (Fig 11).* Indeed, on a recent trail run the Jeep scraped its rocker guards over a boulder projecting under the chassis with no ill-effects on the lights.* They came through without a scratch.

Wiring Integration Decision:
The goal was to utilize the OEM foglight switch while integrating with the factory wiring harness as little as possible. The theory being that Jeep does a better job of building a wiring harness to last than I do and so let's not mess it up by chopping it to bits and resplicing.

To this end the only connection to the factory wiring is one vampire clip that is snapped over an easy-to-access fog light power wire. And this only activates a secondary relay. The rest of the night lighting system operates on it's own from having it's own relay, fuse, ground points and wiring from batery to relay to lights.

On The Trail:
Often when running trails at night drivers can suffer from tunnel vision created by the headlights only lighting up what is directly in front of the Jeep.* Additionally, due to the light/dark contrast of what the headlights illuminate and what they don't, it becomes very difficult to see what is around the Jeep let alone around corners if the lights are pointing straight ahead.

The trail night lighting system simply lights up the area surrounding the Jeep greatly enhancing the driver's situational awareness (Fig 3 - Fig 10).* It also helps the driver follow the trail with some of the night lights pointing off to the side and at 45* angles.

With the lights tucked under the body there is a reduced likelyhood they will blind by-standars and other drivers. One has to get far on the side and lean down to see the glare of the lights.

Click Images To Enlarge

. . .
Fig 3 (left, lights off) and Fig 4 (right, lights on): Close-up view
Note: Standing near by, the Jeep body blocks glare from the lights.



. . .
Fig 5 (lef, lights off) and Fig 6 (right, lights on) Rear view of Jeep



. . .
Fig 7 (left, lights off) and [b]Fig 8[/]b (right, lights on) The Jeep seen from the front.



. . .
[b]Fig 9 (left, lights off) and Fig 10 (right, lights on) Showing the Jeep as seen from the side.
Note, the further out to the side, the more the lights are visible.






3) INSTALLATION

Note: Refer to Figure 2, Wiring Diagram To Connect Lights


Fig 2. Conceptual wiring diagram
(click to enlarge)

Re-Using OEM Fog Light Harness:
The original fog lights on the TJ are virtually useless at projecting light out in any usable fashion.* Instead, aftermarket lights were installed.* However, the stock fog light connector pigtail was snipped off and soldered in to the new aftermarket lights.* This provided easy connection of the new lights and retains as much of the stock wiring harness as possible, including the quality factory connectors.

Mounting Lights:
Placement and mounting of the lights is the first task.* The fog light replacements on the front bumper were set at a 45 deg angle outward (Fig 1) to light up the "pocket" of darkness between the side lights and head lights.* For the side lights, two light fixtures were used on each side (Fig 1).* These are tucked up tight against the frame under the body and point outward.* The forward lights point slightly to the front and the rearward lights points slightly to the rear.* Both side lights have a very slight down-angle to project the beam under the edge of the rocker panels.* Slim profile driving lights from the auto parts store are used for their availability and low cost.


Fig 1. Lighting Placement Diagram


In this particular instance, the forward lights are screwed into the frame after placing, marking, and pre-drilling some holes Fig 11).* The location (as seen in diagram Fig 1) actually is on part of the frame that angles inward, thus pointing the light slightly forward.* The rearward side lights were mounted to the body tub in the location marked on Fig 1.* The TJ body is of double wall construction so the small sheet metal screws won't penetrate the floor.



Routing Wires:
Once the lights are mounted the wires are routed.* On the passenger side the power wire drops down from the battery to connect with the first light near the body mount.* The wire then is routed through the frame rail to a hole near the rearward light to protect the wire from exhaust heat. *

On the driver's side the power wire drops down the far side of the brake booster and is routed along the hydraulic lines running against the inside face of the frame rail.* The wire is carefully zip-tied in place every few inches.

The two power wires are then routed along the top of the firewall and connected to a single wire that plugs into the secondary relay located next to the battery / engine computer (Fig 12).



From the relay location the primary power wire is routed along the wiring harness over the computer and tucking down the side to pop-up on the front edge of the battery to connect to the positive terminal.

A ground wire for the "switched" circuit runs from the relay and screws into the firewall with a sheet metal screw.

The "switched" wire is routed from the relay, following the primary wire, and along the edge of the hood to tap into one of the wires going to the front right fog light (Fig 13).* Thus, when the OEM fog light circuit is turned on, it fires the relay which turns on the side lights.



Protecting Wires:
Where possible cover the wires in a protective plastic split-loom sleeve.* This protects the wires from abrasion against any sharp edges.* Wrap several windings of electrical tape around the split-loom every 6" to close it up.* It is easier to do this as you are routing the wires rather than trying to do it at the end.* The author ran out of protective split-loom and still needs to finish off the last few feet of wiring harness.





4) ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Relay Kit:

It is highly recommended to use a pre-wired relay kit with socket.* They are a few dollars more than the relay itself and provide a very good unified plastic socket rather than individual plugs for the relay (Fig 14). Unfortunately, pressed for time I simply grabbed what relay was at hand.s

Slim Profile Light Kits
Lights or lighting kits can be had from many sources.* The side lights were off-the-shelf inexpensive halogen units from Schucks and came packaged as a kit.* They have a bright bulb, good wide beam dispersal pattern, and included a nice wiring harness, switch, and connectors.* I used the wiring harness but discarded the switch.* By coincidence, the included wiring harness perfectly matched the routing needed for the Jeep.

Rear Facing Light:
Rear facing lights were not installed so as to not blind the drivers behind me. On possibility for future expansion is to wire up another relay triggered by the back-up lights and wired in such a way that when the fog lights (now night lights) come on it closes a circuit in the relay so that when the Jeep is put in revers it the rear facing Trail light comes on. But when the fogs are turned off the circuit is open on the rear lights don't come on during reverse.

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Unread 12-10-2007, 08:32 AM   #2
Big-n-Broke-YJ
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1989 YJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Wilmington, NC
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nice write-up!

not sure how i just came across it but i thought i'd add a quick picture showing my rock light placement... one more in the front shining at my diff would be nice so spotters could have more light at the front diff but it's not really necessary...



rear facing light... also my reverse light...



4 lights on total.... two on each side.... the rear facing light wasn't installed in this picture and the front mounted light that will face my diff still isn't installed.... and obviously, i don't have my 3 driving lights turned on.

note: these are all normal 55 watt h1 bulbs

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'89 Wrangler, 4.0/AW4, 106" Wheelbase, SOA, custom XJ packs, 2" Body. Front High Pinion Dana 44 w/yukon super-joints, chromo inners and outers, and a Lincoln Locker. Rear Dana 60 w/Yukon 1.5" 35 Spline chomo shafts and detroit locker. 5.38 Yukon Gears. Hydro-Assist, 39.5x18" Boggers on 15x12 RockKrawler's w/ 2.75" of backspacing. Comp cut, tube fenders, custom bumpers and rock sliders, fuel cell, CB, Stewart Warner Gauges, SmittyBilt XRC8 Winch, 140 Amp CS-144 Alternator, Electric Fan, and a cooler of beer. 3897 lbs

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Unread 02-12-2009, 02:41 AM   #3
1994yj
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1994 YJ Wrangler 
 
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Location: Clarksville/Ft Campbell
Posts: 24
Awesome idea, i never thought of that!
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Unread 02-16-2009, 03:44 PM   #4
punkrockdrummer
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2001 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Forty Fort, PA, PA
Posts: 53
anyone ever have a problem with breaking the rock lights on rocks??? I am debating on going with a LED rock light kit so its much smaller and tucked away.
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Unread 02-10-2010, 09:43 AM   #5
omarl956
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2005 WK 
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Brownsville, Texas
Posts: 106
sorry for bringing back an old thread....but this is a hell of an idea on any offroad vehicle. Looks like it comes in handy during those night off-roading trails regardless if its climbing rocks or just following a trail. talk about 360 degree lighting around the rig.
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Unread 06-02-2011, 12:49 AM   #6
Akrick907
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2004 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: , Alaska
Posts: 41
Awesome! this is just what i was looking for I was planning on doing this to my TJ the goal being that the guy that is high of his A$$ would see me driving down the trail and think the aliens are back for another pass at him. lol Im glad I found this thread should help alot in how I place my lights!
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