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Rugged Ridge Phase 3 – Black Bear Jeep LED Off-Road Lighting

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Our third shipment from Rugged Ridge arrived today. Five boxes filled with goodies This shipment is for our third phase of the Roadfly Black Bear Jeep Build. We did a 4.5-inch suspension lift in our first phase. See Installation of 4.5 inch Rugged Ridge Lift Kit with Shocks  and Completion of Rugged Ridge 4.5 Lift Kit with Shocks. We added super strong Rugged Ridge XHD steel bumpers, winch, trailer hitch and reinforced Spartacus tire carrier for our second phase. See Second Shipment from Rugged Ridge, Phase 2 Begins and Installation of Rugged Ridge Bumpers, Winch, Spare Tire Carrier and Hitch. For our third phase we decided to upgrade our existing lights and add additional LED off-road lights.

Old school off-road lighting was typically 6 inch round lights with 100 watt halogen light bulbs. Think KC Hilites. Some off-roaders would run 4 to 6 on a light bar across the top of the windshield. Others put one on each A pillar. Some put two on the front striker bar. And then still others would do all or some combination of the above. This usually resulted in a significant additional draw on the Jeep’s electrical system of between 600 and 1,000 watts. That much energy consumption usually involved some type of upgrade to the Jeep’s original electrical system. With the improvements in lighting technology, most off-roaders have gone to LED’s, significantly reducing the energy consumption and largely eliminating the requirement of any electrical system upgrade.

While the 6-inch round off-road lights are still available and used by some wheelers, more are switching to square and rectangular LED lights and smaller 3.5-inch round lights. Rugged Ridge has both the old school 6-inch halogen lights and a great selection of rectangle, square and round LED’s. We decided to go with a combination of rectangle and round. We liked the rectangle look on a windshield light bar so we started with Rugged Ridge’s Windshield LED Light Bar Kit with three 13.5-inch rectangle lights (#11232.26).  These lights draw only 72 watts a piece and put out 6072 lumens. On the hood we went with the  Hood Light Bar Kit with five 3.5-inch round LED lights in textured black (#11232.14).  These lights draw only 18 watts each and put out 1080 lumens. This is a particularly good option for the hood because you can angle the two outside lights by 20-30 degrees and the next two by 10-20 degrees providing a broad light dispersement for the front of the vehicle.  We are trying to decide whether to mount two of the  3.5 Inch Round LED’s (#15210.41) on the striker bar or one 13.5 Inch LED Light Bar (#15209.11).  We also have two of the 3.5-inch lights that we plan to install on the rear bumper – either by cutting holes in the rear bumper or mounting on top by fabricating some type of mounting bracket. This light set up may be a bit overkill, but I’ve never heard a guy who was off-roading at dusk saying he’s got too much light.

So while we were doing lighting, we decided to upgrade some of the OEM lighting on the rig. Rugged Ridge has some great LED stock replacements. We are replacing the OEM brake lights with Rugged Ridge’s  LED Tail Light Set  (#15209.11) and we are replacing the OEM fog lights with their  LED Fog Light Mount Kit (#11232.27).. We are still trying to decide how to wire up all of these lights. Rugged Ridge does not have a simple plug and play type wiring product. We have their A Pillar 4 Switch Pod (#17235.58) and their Single Connection Wire Harness  (#15210.69), but we still need to come up with a wiring plan. Our initial thoughts are to wire the windshield light bar lights on one switch, the hood light bar on another, the front lights on a third and the rears on a fourth using a separate wiring harness for each. Once we figure it out we will let you know. Check back to see how the install goes and learn from our mistakes.

 

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