Introduction: DIY LED Tail Lights
Hello and welcome to my Instructable!
Today I wanted to cover LED Tail Light installation. The project vehicle is a 2000 Jeep Wrangler. For those of you who don't know, aftermarket Wrangler parts are ridiculously expensive. I wanted to find a good LED Tail Light replacement for the factory "box" shaped lights, but could not find a pair for less than $150. This is where I took a trip to good old Walmart. I went to the automotive section and found their "trailer" lights. I decided to go with these oval shaped ones and spent less than $30 for both. Installing them is pretty easy, check it out!
Materials & Tools:
- LED Tail Lights (The main attraction).
- Butt Splice Connectors (Used for your new wiring harness to connect your old plug).
- Angle Grinder (Or other cutting tool to create a slot for the new lights).
- Buddy or Roommate (To serve as your hands to line things up and test your new lights).
Step 1: The Mock Up
Always doing a quick mock up before installing is best. With these lights you can pretty much face them any direction you'd like. I went with diagonal. If you have a buddy, have them hold the light in place; this way you can take a step back and see how it looks. Thanks roomie!
Step 2: The Stencil
This part is pretty important. I created a stencil of the light on a piece of cardboard. I then transfered the stencil to my desired spot on the Jeep and traced the outline with a pencil. This ensures that I get a perfect fit when it is time to place the light. Utilize your buddy or roommate again to get the perfect line up.
Step 3: The Cut
Before you cut, always make sure you know what is on the other side; also be sure to block any sparks from reaching fuel lines and the tank. My cut was done very carefully with a 3" angle grinder. If you have fancier methods available (like a plasma cutter), use them! After my rough cut, I touched up the edge of the metal with some sand paper.
Step 4: Wiring the Lights
The wiring is very simple! The LED has a positive, negative and ground. I removed the harness from my old tail light and frankensteined it onto my LED harness by connecting positive to positive, negative to negative. The ground was simply locating a screw to the frame. This allows me to use the factory plug. I used heat shrink butt splice connectors that create a nice water tight seal.
Once the wiring was done, I put the light into place! (I had to use a rubber mallet to assist because it was such a tight fit.) Quick test and then I moved on to the other side.
Step 5: Testing and Final Results
Once I finished the other side, my buddy and I went through the blinker and brake light check. Everything was good to go. I drove outside into the darkness and was impressed by my results.
Hope you learned something! I am always willing to answer questions. Thanks for stopping by!