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Unread 01-18-2006, 05:43 PM   #1
bfr
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2004 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: North Georgia
Posts: 1,410
55w Reverse Lamps

My goal for this upgrade was to safely add 55w lights to the back of the jeep that are operated by both a dash mounted switch and by shifting the transmission into reverse. I had one blank in my factory switch panel, so I chose to use a factory fog light switch to make the install as clean as possible.

Materials:

20ga wire
12ga wire
Solder
12ga ring terminals
20ga ring terminals
12ga female disconnect terminals
20ga female disconnect terminals
20ga wire taps
12ga inline fuse holder
Heatshrink tubing
12v 30A relay
1 factory fog light switch for a 1999 TJ
18-22ga non insulated butt connectors
55w fog lights (H3)
3’ of ” angle aluminum
Self tapping sheet metal screws
Diode
Electrical tape

Tools:
13mm wrench
Soldering iron
Plastic spoon
Key ring Swiss Army Knife
Power drill
Wire stripper/crimper
Lug wrench
Multimeter
Assorted nut/screw drivers
picks
1999 TJ FSM
2004 TJ FSM

Step One: Disconnect the negative battery cable

Dash Prep:
1. Remove the trim piece from the top of the dash.
2. Remove the two screws that go from the radio bezel into the dash. (early TJ’s have a third screw behind the ashtray)
3. Remove the radio bezel by pulling out.
4. Remove the four screws that hold the switch panel to the dash.
5. Carefully pull the panel away from the dash.
6. Remove the blank by prying up on the retaining tabs on the top & bottom of the panel. (I found that a pick with a 90 degree bend worked well)


Switch Prep:
A 1999 TJ fog light switch has four pins.
Pin 1=dimmer signal
Pin 2=switch output
Pin 3=12v in
Pin 4=ground

I thought about buying a pigtail for the switch, but they seem to be ridiculously expensive, so I had to come up with another way of connecting the switch. I ended up using 18-22ga non insulated butt connectors to connect 20ga wire to each pin on the switch. I slightly crushed the pin end of the butt connector because the inside diameter of the connectors is a little too large to snugly hold the pin. After altering one end of the connectors to fit the pin, I crimped 20ga wire into the other end and used heat shrink tubing on all the connectors.

Reverse circuit tie-in:
In order for these lights to work as intended I needed to find a wire that puts out 12v when the jeep is in reverse. I could have spliced into the harness near the reverse switch on the transmission or in the monster connector behind the dash on the driver’s side. As luck would have it, jeeps with the compass/temp mirror make finding this circuit simple, as one of the wires in the mirror harness (which is on the dash just under the trim piece) carries the signal from the reverse switch. I tapped this wire and ran a 20ga wire to the wire which connects the switch and the relay. I put a diode in this wire to isolate the signal of the dash mounted switch from the reverse circuit.


Main power wires for lights:
I used 12ga wire to power and ground the lights. I put an inline fuse holder about three inches from the positive terminal of the battery, and then ran the wire across to the driver’s side of the firewall and then through the rubber grommet above the gas pedal. After getting through the firewall I routed the wire to the cavity behind the switch panel (where I put the relay). From the relay I ran the wire along the bottom of the dash (where the glove box hinges) to the side of the tub and then back to the passenger rear corner of the tub.

Light mount:
I used a piece of aluminum angle attached to the stock tire carrier to mount the lights. I look at this as a temporary mounting as I hope to move these lights to a future tire carrier. I put the aluminum as close to the tailgate as possible and then bent it until it “looked right” and mounted the lights at each end.


Connections:
1. Switch pin 1 20ga to O/D harness panel dimmer
2. Switch pin 2 20ga to relay pin 86
3. Switch pin 3 20ga to fused 12v
4. Switch pin 4 20ga to ground

5. Relay pin 86 20ga to Switch pin 2
6. Relay pin 85 20ga to ground
7. Relay pin 30/51 12ga to Battery (fused)
8. Relay pin 87 12ga to + side of lights

9. +side of lights 12ga to Relay pin 87
10. -side of lights 12ga to ground

11. reverse circuit wire 20ga to connection #2 wire

In the end this setup works exactly as I hoped it would. The lights mirror the function of the factory backup lights, and can be turned on with the dash mounted switch.

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Last edited by bfr; 01-30-2006 at 09:21 PM..
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Unread 01-18-2006, 05:51 PM   #2
willy peter
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2001 TJ Wrangler 
 
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Location: West Point, NY
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Get those at Wal-Mart? Those appear to be the same lights I used for my backup lights. I bolted them to the back bumper right below the spare tire. Mine aren't wired as complexly as yours, I HAVE to flick a switch to turn mine on.
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Planning on more, just saving up the cash.
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Unread 01-18-2006, 05:54 PM   #3
bfr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willy peter
Get those at Wal-Mart? Those appear to be the same lights I used for my backup lights. I bolted them to the back bumper right below the spare tire. Mine aren't wired as complexly as yours, I HAVE to flick a switch to turn mine on.
yep, smallest I could find
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Unread 01-18-2006, 05:54 PM   #4
OffRoad98
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My God thats one hell of a write-up. I too did mine a similar way to this, but mounted my lamps to the underside of the rear bumper. they help A LOT!
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Unread 01-18-2006, 06:30 PM   #5
bfr
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...........................edited
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Last edited by bfr; 01-30-2006 at 09:19 PM..
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Unread 01-18-2006, 06:40 PM   #6
Dolfy
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Location: Schwenksville, PA
Posts: 550
That's an awesome write up! Gonna have to make note of this one for when I need to put the lights on the back of my rig. I just can't stand how weak the factory ones are!
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Unread 01-18-2006, 06:45 PM   #7
bfr
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finished panel
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Unread 01-19-2006, 12:05 AM   #8
xnight
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Awesome!!!!
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Unread 01-30-2006, 09:24 PM   #9
bfr
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I have edited my setup a bit all pins on the switch are used now.
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Unread 03-15-2006, 07:05 PM   #10
bigtar
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2000 TJ Wrangler 
 
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Could you have spliced into the reverse light wire in the back of your Jeep to get the wire that puts out 12V in reverse?
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Unread 03-15-2006, 07:30 PM   #11
Oman Jeep
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I'm a little too tired to read your diagram properly but it looks like your auxiliary reverse lights will ALWAYS come on when you engage reverse?

I ended up wiring my PIAA 1400's (great wide angle beam) independently - as I figured there would be times when I don't want to light them up but do want to reverse (traffic cops behind me for example )

I will eventually do an Auto / Off / On setup when I have enough electrical stuff to warrant a custom switch bank using Contura switches - but for now the PIAA switch only allows for on / off.

Anyway - just make sure you're not going to need to reverse and not have the 55 watters light up.

Still - it's a great mod to have - literally night and day difference.



Even in the city I love having them for reversing into a parking spot at night.
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Unread 03-15-2006, 08:05 PM   #12
heezy101
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Location: Bucks County PA
Posts: 237
im looking into doing this mod but i want to mount the lights in a way that my rig still looks stock from the rear. i was thinking using the power radio antenna motors to rotate the lights down from somewhere up between the frame rails. i dunno, just thinking about it. i've seen someone mount lights in the "W's" in warn rear bumpers, i like this idea but i don't have warn rear bumpers , anyone else have some really trick setup?
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Unread 03-15-2006, 08:11 PM   #13
Oman Jeep
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It's not really trick - I just mounted them symmetrically on top of the rear bumper... because I have a factory fog light there anyway (export specification) they don't look so out of place.





I thought about cutting a hole in the bumper to flush mount them - but then couldn't be bothered as they're only a temporary mount until I have the funds to do the Road Armor rear bumper which has cut outs designed specifically for these PIAAs.
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Unread 03-15-2006, 08:50 PM   #14
bfr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigtar
Could you have spliced into the reverse light wire in the back of your Jeep to get the wire that puts out 12V in reverse?
the jeep's harness isn't up to powering 55w lights. You really don't want to over heat those factory wires, have them melt their insulation & cook your jeep.
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Unread 03-15-2006, 08:57 PM   #15
bfr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oman Jeep
I'm a little too tired to read your diagram properly but it looks like your auxiliary reverse lights will ALWAYS come on when you engage reverse?
even tired you read it right. I wanted them on any time I'm in reverse. The switch is just so I can turn them when i want (mostly when loading my cargo carrier or little trailer)
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