In Australia, using a ReadyRamp is identical to any bike carrier that is used on the back of a car or 4x4. That is, by the letter of the law, it should not obstruct the licence plates or the lights. If it does, then they need to be replicated.
Now of course you can buy these 'Lightboards' from a number of places pre-made, but I thought I could make one that suited the ramp better.
I've made it from a few components easily available parts from SuperCheap, Bunnings and/or ebay (I think all up it was about $60), and should be easy if you're familiar with a wiring diagram, a soldering iron and a drill.
Step 1: Things You'll Need
- Drill or drill press
- Set of Drills
- Soldering Iron
- Socket set
- debur tool or small round files
- Marking tool or center punch
- Long nose pliers
- ~1.1m of Square section aluminium extrusion (25mm was ideal)
- Square section end caps to suit
- ~2.0m of trailer wire (5 core)
- x2 Combination lights (indicators and brake lights)
- Licence plate holder with light
- Trailer plug (round or Rectangular to suit vehicle)
- Hook/loop roll
Step 2: Mount the Combination Lights
First things first...prepare and mount the combination lamps.
As you can see, the combination lights I purchased (through ebay) have two attachment studs and a wire coming out of the back. You'll need to drill holes for each attachment stud and the wire in the bar itself. In the front side, this will be a smaller clearance hole (for my installation this was a 6.5mm hole for a 6mm stud) but on the back this hole will need to be much larger, to allow clearance for the socket head (in my case 16mm), and to do the wiring later on.
Mark out the holes using a square and either a pencil or scribe/center punch. Rather than measuring, use the lamp itself as a guide with the square for the most accurate finish.
If you have one, use a drill press and clamp for the easiest and most accurate drill. Drill the smaller hole through both front and back first, to ensure that the two are aligned, then drill the larger hole in the back. Drill another 6.5mm clearance hole in the front side for the wire to come through. You may need to clean up the holes with a file or debur tool.
Trial fit the light and ensure you can use the socket on the stud/net.
Repeat for the other lamp.
Step 3: Mount the Licence Plate Holder
Installation for the particular licence plate holder that I purchased (again from ebay) was very similar to the lamps from step two, except the electrical wire hole needed to enter into the bar on a different surface.
Drill holes, debur/file as per step 2 and trial fit.
Step 4: Attachment and Trial
I used a hook/loop material which came in a roll (from Bunnings) to secure the lightboard to the ramp itself. This can be cut to any length; just allow a good couple of inches of overlap.
Do a trial fit on the vehicle too, just to be sure...
Step 5: Wiring Up the Left Hand Indicator
Wiring is relatively simple, just follow the attached diagram and directions.
- Feed the trailer wire all the way through the bar from the right hand side and out the other end.
- Temporarily install the left hand lamp. Pull the lamp wiring out the left hand end.
- Wire strip all the ends and tin ready for connecting
- Join up the correct colours; yellow for the flasher, Red and brown for the lamps.White is the earth.
- Test your work using a battery. With LED's, they can be sensitive to the polarity, so ensuring they work at this stage can be crucial. White on the negative, and the other colors on the positive worked for me.
- Tape up, or use heat shrink around each of the joints
- Pull the whole lot slowly back into the bar, and do a final fix with the stud/nut.
Step 6: Wire Up the Licence Plate Holder
Now this is slightly tricker...
- Pull the trailer wire from the right (without pulling from the left combination light) through one of the larger clearance holes. A screwdriver and needle nose pliers come in handy at this stage
- Pull the wiring for the licence plate through the dedicated hole, and then the same larger rear clearance hole
- Strip wires and tin the ends of the licence plate lamp ready for soldering
- Cut away external trailer wiring sheath to expose the wires within; about an inch and a half will do
- Strip away about an inch of the white, brown and red (if your licence plate is fitted with brake lights) and tin with solder.
- Splice the wires together and solder.
- Wrap each wire individually with electrical tape.
- Test the wiring with the battery, using the technique in step 5.
- Carefully ease the wiring back through the hole.
- Fix using the nuts/stud.
Step 7: Wire Up the Right Hand Indicator
Wiring up the right hand indicator is like a combination of the Left hand one, and the Licence plate.
- Pull the trailer wire through one of the rear holes
- Remove the external sheath and strip the green, red, white and brown wires
- Temporarily install the combination light, bringing it's wiring out through the same rear hole.
- Cut wiring to as short as you can (so that once it's pulled through, it will remain within the bar)
- Strip wire ends, tin, connect and solder as per Step 6.
- Test to ensure it's all working.
- Easy the wiring back into the bar.
- Tie a knot in the wire at the end (so that if pulled in the future, the knot will have to pull out the end cap which should be much harder than pulling apart your precious electrical connections!)
- Drill an appropriate size hole in the right hand end cap and install. Install left hand end cap.
- Test again to just make sure...
Step 8: Wire Up Your Trailer Plug
- Trial fit it on the vehicle again, and trim the wire to the correct length to reach the vehicle trailer plug (~1.5m)
- Strip and tin the ends of each of the wires
- Use the wiring diagram and/or pictures above to attach the correct wire in the correct pin.
- Test...this time on the vehicle!
Step 9: Congratulate Yourself!
Time to sit back and admire your work on the car or 4x4.
I like this design particularly, because it will allows the ReadyRamp to be used without taking the lightboard off, although taking it off is really simple too. I put the softer velcro on the back side to avoid scratches between the lightboard and the ramp, and with a few loops of the hook material on the cord, these double as retainers for the wiring when it's not in use.
Hope you've enjoyed the Instructables. Any questions, feel free to ask!