Under-carriage Lighting System
Short Cuts

By: Darren Wiessner - 5/2001



Introduction

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Rock lights parts pile
approx light positions.jpg
Approximate Light Positions

Have you ever been out 4 wheeling at night and found yourself in a tight spot, whether it be a boulder under the pumpkin or a rock under the transfer case? Well, say goodbye to those long nights by installing a set of rock lights. A great set of rock lights can be installed for less than $100 and a couple of hours. These lights will take the guesswork out of 4 wheeling at night and they will really save your buddies the headache of having to get in and out of the rig to check your line or to see if you're going to bottom out and bash some of those expensive components.

Tools and Parts:

You will need just the basic tools for this install: Ratchet, socket set, 3 inch socket extension, crescent wrench, medium phillips screwdriver, drill, drill bits, wire crimpers, and pliers. Here is a list of parts I used to build my rock lights:

For a grand total of: $84.94 plus tax and beer

Installation of lights

I decided to go ahead with the side lights (2"x 5") first as there was an obvious place to put them. I wanted them somewhere where they would be protected, yet still shine plenty of light on the ground. Right behind the front fender wells, there is a small lip, just big enough to fit the lights. It requires a little jimmying to get around the e-brake cable on the drivers side, but once it's in, you're set. After setting the light in place and checking where I would need a hole for the light mount, I drilled a hole through the lip. I then put the light in place, with the mounting bolt through the hole, tightened the nut and the light was mounted. After doing the passenger side, the side lights were mounted and good to go.

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Drilling holes for the lights behind the front wheels Lights behind the front wheels installed
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Through the grill, you can see the hole used for the front light Looking up at the front light installed
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Drilling through the floor for the rear light Rear light mounted
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Basic light wiring diagram The toggle panel

Once the side lights were mounted, it was time to move on to the front light. This one was even easier than the side lights. Of course I was still looking for that perfect place to mount them where they would be protected and still shine bright, but this time I needed to focus the light on the front axle. I found the perfect place right behind the front bumper. Not only did this meet my standards for where I was going to mount, but there was even a factory hole which peeked out right between the front grill and the radiator. I stuck the mounting bolt through the factory hole, pointed the light towards my front axle, tightened the nut, and I was ready for light number four.

The rear light was probably the most difficult to install, only because it required drilling through my floorboard. Luckily I am still running carpet in my rig, so the bolt is almost unnoticeable. I found a place that would suit my needs nicely right above the rear driveline. First, I pulled the carpet away and got underneath my rig. After a few minutes of mustering up the guts, I drilled through the floorboard. It came out beautiful, right where I planned, about 3 inches in front of the backseat. Once again, I popped the mounting bolt through, tightened down the nut, aimed it towards the rear axle, and got ready for the wiring process.

Wiring

The first step in wiring, was to remove the six screws that hold on the dash behind the steering wheel. Once gone, you will see a plate held on by (3) screws in the lower right hand corner. This is what I used to mount my toggle panel. I removed the panel and with the help of my drill and some super glue, I created my toggle panel. After disconnecting the negative battery cable, I grounded out each of the lights. This wasn't difficult, the side and rear lights were all able to ground directly to they're own mounting bolts. The front was a little more difficult since the grill was painted. I had to extend the ground wire slightly and found a nice ground on one of the bolts on the factory bumper that holds the plastic guard on. After grounding the lights, I ran wire from each light into the engine compartment and connected the wires together. Once the wires were run and connected, I ran the main wire through my usual wiring hole, a large rubber grommet in the fire wall right behind the steering wheel. I connected the wire to the accessory connection on the toggle. Next I ran a power wire with an inline fuse from the battery, through the same grommet, to the power connection on the switch. Lastly, I grounded the toggle to a bolt behind the dash on the steering column. I put the toggle panel on, screwed back on the dash, and voila, I was finished. Now for the moment of truth.

The Verdict

One word can describe my feelings for this modification: WOW! At first I was a little worried when I turned the lights on around 6 pm. It seemed like they weren't going to flood enough, but once it got completely dark, they were amazing. Not only are these things awesome for off-roading, but they look cool sitting in the driveway and make working on the Jeep easier at night. For the little amount of money and time I spent on them, my under-carriage lights were well worth every cent I paid for them and much more. Happy trails.


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Night time Front view Rear view

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