Applicable vehicle: Any SUV Needing More Light When Offroading (In Reverse!)
Above: 99 Mitsu Montero. Below: 92 TLC FJ 80
The flat surface above the drip rail is the perfect spot for mounting a reverse light. In the up position (first picture) the light is in a good location for the light pattern. In the down position the light will not interfere with the cargo door, yet is below the factory roof rack. The wires sprout next to the mount rather than under it as I'd previously thought. I did this so I could easily access them if I needed to redo the silicone that keeps water out. I haven't had to redo it on the FJ80 after 8 years and 95,000 miles.
In the second picture you can see the same setup on my Toyota Landcruiser which currently has a Thule roof rack on it. It is obvious how well protected it is by the rack; Without the Thule up there, the light can still fold down if struck, or it can be folded down so it's below the factory rack if one is expecting some hits. I've never hit either one on anything. On the FJ80 the upper section of the tailgate interferes with the light's beam when open, so I close the upper section when using the light for unloading, and setting up camp.
My lamp is a Hella Halogen Work Lamp called the Double Beam FF. It has two 55 watt bulbs and a superb reflector that is clearly well designed. I've had the same setup on my TLC for 8 years with absolutely no weathering on the case and the lense and other parts are still as new. This light was specifically designed for German farmers to mount externally on a heavily vibrating tractor to work at night in the fields and shows its pedigree. The model number is AS 163 FF. Be sure you also request the mounting bracket if it is not included. The mounting bracket is essential when mounting this on sheetmetal. It distributes the load on the thin metal, and, more importantly, allows the lamp to swivel up and down and pivot side to side as it was designed. I absolutely do not recommend this light without the bracket as it's not possible to mount it on the roof. My particular light was available in 4 light patterns: A,B,C,D. I use B because it has an arc cutout that clears the rear spare for minimal glare.
I wired this light by running a single heavy guage (12ga) wire all the way from the battery to the rear of the cargo area. This is admittedly too heavy, but I also used this to power a rear fog and anticipate needing plenty of power to the rear for other items. It has a fuse at the battery, and terminates in a terminal block. One terminal is used to power the Hella rear lamp relay, and another wire comes from the dash switch (find a key-switched hot wire) which throws the relay and powers the lamp. I installed my switch in a dashboard switch blank, and ordered one to replace it with should I sell or trade - Very simple. The only pain was getting such a thick wire through the firewall; I solved it impatiently by simply drilling through the driver's floorboard and installing a grommet and plenty of silicone (there have been no leaks after 45,000 miles). From there, it goes under the carpet and into the left rear trim panel where the relays are stuck to the inner quarter panel with double stick tape. Get a quality relay as you don't want to have to go back in there to replace one - it's a time consuming thing to pull back the cargo left side quarter trim as it's all one big piece. Getting the power out the roof was also solved simply. I just drilled a hole through the roof and ran the wire from there to the relay, put a grommet in the roof, and used liberal silicone.
Room for Improvement?
Be aware that using these lights "onroad" is very dangerous, and is also illegal in most areas. Neither the author nor ORN condone using these lights for purposes other than offroad.
A couple of suggestions when installing your own auxiliary backup lights:
You can buy a waterproof marine
grommet for the roof hole if you don't like the look of 3 wires in a glob of
Powder coat the bracket for a couple bucks. (You can see the 80's is looking pretty sad. I'll be taking both brackets off and the foglight brackets to have them all powder coated when I have some time this summer.)
Put shrink wrap on the wires for a more "sano" appearance.
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