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-   -   Low cost, no cut, no drill LED install (http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f9/low-cost-no-cut-no-drill-led-install-517672/)

Dragon158 02-08-2008 08:52 AM

Low cost, no cut, no drill LED install
 
I would have submitted this for a technical write up, but I posted it somewhere else first. :(

I've wanted to upgrade the tail lights in my Rubicon after the first week I owned it. But I did not want to cut a hole in a perfectly good tub, not after spending what I did for my low mileage 2004 Rubi. I shopped around but couldn't find a real no cut, no drill solution. So I came up with the idea to make my own tail light housings. I work as a heavy equipment/ diesel mechanic and began looking for something around the shop that I could use to fabricate my own custom housings. After a little thought I came up with a perfect & very cheap solution. A co worker had recently replaced an exhaust system on a large truck using 5" straight pipe and various elbows, he had to make a few cuts and had 2 feet of straight pipe extra. Before I did anything I did a test fit to see how the light and grommet would fit into the pipe, it was a near perfect fit. So I cut a 1 & 3/4" section from the piece of straight pipe, as seen below.
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d5...D/100_1270.jpg
Then I had to fabricate a back for the housing, I cut a piece of 1/8" plate with the shop plasma cutter and made a 5" diameter circle.
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d5...100_1267-1.jpg
Next I had to weld the newly cut circle to the 1 & 3/4" exhaust pipe section I cut earlier. I originally was just going to tack it in a few spots, because I thought I might have trouble getting a decent weld into the corners, but it welded pretty easy, so I did the entire piece. I also welded from the inside, because it needs to be smooth for the flush mounting. You can see it here after I painted it.
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d5...D/100_1300.jpg
I removed the old tail light and used it as a template for drilling the mounting holes. I made both left and right housings at the same time so I could be sure that both would fit exactly how I wanted.
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d5...D/100_1303.jpg
I had to cut the factory harness and wire in a new harness that I fabricated myself. It's pretty easy, 1 ground, 1 turn/brake and 1 running, for a total of 3 wires.
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d5...D/100_1259.jpg
I was able to find small connectors in my shop to use to connect the new LEDs up with, but they can also be found at Radioshack. Because I had made the housing only 1 & 3/4" deep I had to cut and break the LED housing a bit. The new light was made to accept a plug, because the housing was so low profile a plug wouldn't fit, if I used the original plug the housing would have been 4" deep or better and it would have defeated the purpose.
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d5...D/100_1306.jpg
I coated the back of my new fabricated housing with some silicone sealer, so it would act as a gasket and not destroy the paint under the housing after I mounted it. Then I installed them.
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d5...D/100_1305.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d5...D/100_1311.jpg
It was a pretty easy job, although it took me some time to gather up the parts and find the time to put everything together. I also installed LED reverse lights, I just cut 2 holes in the stock bumper and mounted them up. But I have yet to do anything about a tag light, I've been driving for 5 months now without one and have to get that done, before I get a ticket.
Here's a link to all the photos I uploaded, if you have any questions feel free to ask. Comments are welcomed, as this was my first real mod to my Rubi that didn't come in a box : )

LED Housing Photos

HTOR 02-08-2008 08:59 AM

neat idea! good job for thinking outside of the box

hazmat 02-08-2008 08:59 AM

Got any pics with the rev lights?

Roughneck 02-08-2008 09:05 AM

Really nice work! Wish I had access to a plasma cutter.:drool: I'd like to see a daylight pic, kinda close to see what the finished porduct looks like. I agree about not wanting to cut a hole into my perfectly good tub.
cheers, LT

EvilM0nkey 02-08-2008 09:05 AM

can you take a side angle picture of the tail lights?
Great idea!

Panici 02-08-2008 09:18 AM

I've been planning to do the exact same thing this summer! :)

jcssurf 02-08-2008 10:42 AM

Doesn't that defeat the whole purpose of LED's? They allow you to flush mount, which protects them off road. Which still kind of seems like a waste of time to me.

But if you were just looking for some high performance brake lights, they're nice. And kudos on the low cost fab work.

Zoom By You 02-08-2008 10:58 AM

Looks good!

nyy845 02-08-2008 11:03 AM

wow, good job. I like that they are pretty low profile

'B'wigstrailrig 02-08-2008 12:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jcssurf (Post 4788524)
Doesn't that defeat the whole purpose of LED's? They allow you to flush mount, which protects them off road. Which still kind of seems like a waste of time to me.

But if you were just looking for some high performance brake lights, they're nice. And kudos on the low cost fab work.

I dont think using LEDs is about flush mounting. I hate that my lights look like the ones on my boat trailer.

wenkebach 02-08-2008 12:32 PM

Excellent job! Where did you get the LED's, and how much did you spend on them?

probesport 02-08-2008 12:46 PM

not bad, nice work :thumbsup:

beryl 02-08-2008 03:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 'B'wigstrailrig (Post 4789097)
I dont think using LEDs is about flush mounting. I hate that my lights look like the ones on my boat trailer.

a lot of people get them because they have torn up their stock lights because they stick out so far...but i agree, i like the look of the round lights much better.

Zoom By You 02-08-2008 04:01 PM

I wonder if there is some type of 5" PVC or metal end cap, you could use, instead of having to make/weld the light housing....

opiv 02-08-2008 04:08 PM

Nice work. You should start selling those as a complete kit before someone else does.Those don't look as easy to damage as the stock units since the housing is metal.


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