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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It has been said the rear lights on a JK are a little lack luster. I for one would have to agree. I kicked around several ideas on how to add better lights. But knew I had to keep them out of harms way. The last thing I want is to rip them off every time I go wheeling. Here is how I resolved the problem.

Buy integrating the lamps into the bumper. You can see how they’re not as susceptible to those “jumping rocks” that, like to damage everything they can.

- KC rear back up lamp kit #517
- Two ¼” x 4” stainless steel carriage bolts.
- Two ¼” stainless steel washers
- Two ¼” stainless steel lock washers
- Two ¼” stainless steel nuts

Bumper trimming:
The first thing you need to worry about is where to notch the bumper. Looking under your Jeep you will note a few obstructions we need to keep clear of. The tail pipe for starters, taper of the rear crossmember (this is what we’ll bolt the lamps to), and the brackets to hold down the rear bumper. I measured 7¼” from the outer edge of the lamps to the build out. This will keep everything safe and out of the way.

Next, use a Phillips head screwdriver and remove the bezel from one of the lamps. We will use this to measure the cut outs. Hold the bezel up to the 7¼” mark. Draw the outline with a pencil. Make sure this is kept square with the top of the bumper. For better visibility while cutting. I used masking tape as a guide. By taping the outside edge of your cuts with it.

To cut the bumper I used an air powered cut off wheel. A dremel with a HD cut off disk can also be used. Remember measure twice and cut once!!! It is best to cut a little too small and sand out the difference. Once you make the first cut, slide the lamp into position for a test fit. Cut / sand as necessary for a snug fit. Keep in mind using a slower speed on your tool is best. The plastic will melt rather than cut if you use a high RPM.

Now that the bumper has been prepped, we are ready to install the lamps. These photos illustrate how the lamps bolt thru the crossmember.

Start by removing the mounting brackets from the bottom of the lens. Set hardware aside. Now remove the small carriage bolt from the brackets. This bolt is too short. We will replace it later with the new 4” carriage bolt.

Time to drill the mounting hole. Mark a vertical line on the crossmember centered between the hole in the bumper. Take the mounting bracket and align the square hole over this line with the brackets bottom flush with the bottom of the crossmember. Mark the location of your hole. Use a 5/16ths bit and drill the hole all the way thru both sides of the crossmember. Now to make the proverbial square peg (carriage bolt) fit into a round hole. Take a small file and square off the hole on the outside of the crossmember. Spray the bare metal around the hole with primer or some kind of Rust-oleum to keep it from rusting out.

Using the new 4” carriage bolt, washers and nut, secure the mounting bracket. Reusing the factory hardware install the lamp assembly. We are installing the lamps upside down from there factory configurations. The lenses and bezels will need to be flipped upside down to shine light in the proper pattern. The factory instructions outline how this is done.

The Manual provides a complete write up on this. I’m not going to waste anyone’s time rehashing all the details. But here are a few JK specific notes.

-There is plenty of room behind the rear tail lamps for the relay. This will keep it dry and keeps the wire pulling to a minimum.
-The white wire in KC’s loom taps the factory back up lights. On my ’07 and ’05 Jeeps this is the white wire w/ a gray stripe.

-The power cable is green. This is easily routed under the Jeep. I followed the trailer wiring harness to the battery. However, my trailer hitch was installed by the dealer not the factory. So take that for what it is worth.
-I added a second control circuit to KC’s design. This allows me to turn them on even when not in reverse gear. (I am going to add more info on that later)

If anyone has any questions please let me know.

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

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105 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Sorry I forgot to add this everyone. I promised to update this thread with this information. I honestly thought I did until someone PM’ed me about it.

Here is how you can add that second control circuit to KC’s design. This allows you to turn the auxiliary lamps on even when not in reverse gear.

To control the relay under KC’s schematic. The white wire is taped to the factory’s reverse lights. When you hit reverse gear, power flows over the white wire to turn on the relay. What we are going to do is provide a second power source for this line.

This first schematic shows one way you can add this.

In this example. The white wire in KC’s loom is now shown here as both blue and green wires. We are going to add the gray wire. This is simply hooked up to an ignition hot line and thru a switch that you can mount on your dash. When you turn the switch on. Power flows to the relay to turn on the new lights. To get an ignition hot line, I taped the left cigarette lighter plug in the dash (your right is constantly powered).

You will have to add two diodes to this splice to keep every thing from back feeding. This is the black triangle shaped emblem in the gray and blue wires. They are used in this diagram to protect both the factory’s wiring and yours. Without them when you hit the switch, electricity will also flow backwards thru the factory reverse light circuit. This can lead to damage. Also when you shift into reverse, power intended for the lamps will also be sent backwards into the cigarette lighter. Not good. You can get the diodes at Radio Shack. You will need make sure it’s rated for a minimum of 12v @ 15-20amps. The gray strip on the diode tells you which end is wired toward the KC lights.

Here is another method you may want to use.

With this diagram if you use a SPDT center off switch. You will not have to use any diodes. This will also enable you to turn off the lights while you are backing up. This is the method I used on my old Jeep. The problem I found here was. Setting up my switch bank. I wanted to keep everything uniform. But you are very limited what style switches are available. I found I always kept them on anyhow so I didn't bother with the new Jeep.

If you have any questions about this let me know.
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