Help me pick lights /bar? - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 6 Old 08-18-2017, 04:23 PM Thread Starter
AstroGuy
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1976 CJ7 
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: denver
Posts: 154
Help me pick lights /bar?

Hey guys, Im looking to build or buy a light bar for a 1976 CJ-7 (across top of windshield).
I want it to be 6 lights, with chrome housings and removable covers (chrome would be nice but I can get some made)
I would love a bolt on unit, but wouldn't mind putting something together either.

if anyone out there is a light guru and can throw me some part ideas that would be awesome

thanks!

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post #2 of 6 Old 08-20-2017, 08:56 PM
BagusJeep
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Location: Bali
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Have you got a hard top / soft top / open? How about a roll cage with front bars?

What will you use the lights for? This will dictate the beam spread.

I understand in the US you have lots of regulations and the government likes to put people in prison, do you know of ones which apply to this light bar?

Lastly, how much are you thinking of spending? I spend about $50 per light, other spend $300.

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1981 CJ7 258ci - Bagusjeep
1984 CJ7 258ci - Puthijeep
1981 J20 258ci - Gladys
1951 Willys CJ3A/MB/M38 - Little Willy
1995 Cherokee 4.0 - CHEROKEE
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post #3 of 6 Old 08-20-2017, 09:22 PM
BagusJeep
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Just throwing an idea out there.

There is a cheapish stainless steel Crown (they get a bad rap but I end up buying Crown a lot) bar that fastens to the windshield hinge and then goes up and over the screen. Part #: RT28009. Depending on how you look at these things, it is IMHO not pretty but it is functional. I would add a stabilising bar screwed into the windshield frame top, maybe two. A stable platform for the lights is essential on a 4X4, they can shake loose quit easily.

It has tabs for four lights, you could add your own fastenings to mount 6 lights but you will need to clamp the lights on tightly.

From memory the windshield is about 52" wide at the top so allowing for a bit either side and an inch between them, the lights would be 7" diameter / width maximum. This allows a wide choice of advanced lights or some pretty good cheaper halogens.

KC Daylighters in chrome would be age appropriate and cool and are around $70 each, using H3 bulbs in 55W to 130W range.

With 6 bulbs plus headlamps and ignition etc you would be running a high load with halogens, plan about 10 Amps for the bare minimum plus the light bar. The maximum you may be able to use are 100W H3 bulbs with a 600W light bar load (50 Amps + 10 Amps), maximum on 130W bulbs is about 800W (65Amps + 10 Amps), which any but the largest alternator would definitely struggle with.

This is because, if you have a reasonably stock charging system the alternator may only give you 40 Amps maximum at cruising speed and when off road at crawl speeds closer to 20 Amps. A larger alternator would be capable of giving more current at low engine speeds to maintain the system voltage but you would need larger cables and a larger fusible link.

You can run a high load for a shorter period but a 75 amp load would probably run down a stock battery too quickly and then the lights will start to dim. A larger alternator and wiring upgrades would be desirable!!

An alternative is an LED version of a daylighter (in stainless) which would be around $150 each but a load of only 20W each and they are available in spot and wide beams. This would draw around 10 Amps as a light bar and may be within the range of your current wiring.

If you are only going to use them off road then a spot light is probably not going to be very useful as you do not need to see that far ahead and having a saturated view of the nearer terrain is desirable, a wider beam driving lamp and lots of them will allow you to aim them across the width of the trail and have lights from different perspectives on the trail.

That would make a good $1,000 light bar.

For wiring, it is possible to drill, repaint and put a rubber grommet in the windshield top corner, then feed teh wires down through the windshield and out under the dash. Be sure to use the right size wires! They then need a relay and a feed from somewhere near the battery. I would recommend putting a dedicated ground wire from the lamps to near the battery negative, they will operate at a higher voltage if halogen and give more light,if LEDS this will not make such a difference but it is good practice in a CJ to have good grounds.
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BagusJeep lives in Bali.

1981 CJ7 258ci - Bagusjeep
1984 CJ7 258ci - Puthijeep
1981 J20 258ci - Gladys
1951 Willys CJ3A/MB/M38 - Little Willy
1995 Cherokee 4.0 - CHEROKEE
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post #4 of 6 Old 08-21-2017, 06:14 AM Thread Starter
AstroGuy
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: denver
Posts: 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by BagusJeep View Post
Have you got a hard top / soft top / open? How about a roll cage with front bars?

What will you use the lights for? This will dictate the beam spread.

I understand in the US you have lots of regulations and the government likes to put people in prison, do you know of ones which apply to this light bar?

Lastly, how much are you thinking of spending? I spend about $50 per light, other spend $300.
I will only ever use the lights in an offroad situation, I belive this will negate any legal issues?
I stopped counting how much **** costs, before I ever bought my first jeep. I would like it cheaper, but only if all other variables are the same..otherwise I just open the wallet and jeep it lol
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post #5 of 6 Old 08-21-2017, 06:21 AM Thread Starter
AstroGuy
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: denver
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BagusJeep View Post
Just throwing an idea out there.
Thanks for the excellent info, I wont be going stainless or led (I had overlooked the electrical requirments, but might as well address them with the lights anyway, get the biggest alternator I can find, upgrade battery to an ultima gel, nice cables, and wiring for everything not stock) I hopefully wont need a second battery, but that will be determined when the amplifier and other stuff is done.

I think KC is the right choice being a classic staple, I want to replace the kc covers with chrome covers and have them etched custom. knowing 7" will fit in x6 array is good info.
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post #6 of 6 Old 08-22-2017, 02:12 AM
BagusJeep
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Location: Bali
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The rule of thumb on charging systems in a CJ is to get an alternator that can keep pace with the electrics at around crawl speeds. Look up a popular one such as an SI series alternator and it will be too small, the output curves at around 1500rpm need to show it can keep pace. You will need to go to a larger alternator than the one you have, the CS144 for example could be keeping pace if wired properly.
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1981 CJ7 258ci - Bagusjeep
1984 CJ7 258ci - Puthijeep
1981 J20 258ci - Gladys
1951 Willys CJ3A/MB/M38 - Little Willy
1995 Cherokee 4.0 - CHEROKEE
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