Check out any ‘top Jeep modification’ lists, or fire up Google and type in ‘best Jeep upgrades’, and it is inevitable you’ll see all kinds of people recommending a lighting overhaul into powerful LED technology.
And for good reason, really.
LED (light emitting diode) lights are substantially brighter than the stock factory lighting, provide a deeper light throw and use up far less energy. Plus, their brilliance makes them much safer for everyone and they are far more durable than stock – especially for anyone who loves taking their vehicle off-pavement.
Now, some people get a little gung-ho and end up slathering their entire vehicle in LED auxiliary lighting from light bars to cubes, to bumper mounted spot lights. If that’s you, then great, more power to you – just remember to only use those things off-road.
But for many others, simply swapping out those halogen headlights and incandescent tail lights, will do the job nicely.
Project Grey Wolf already has a set of Quadratec Gen II Stealth LED Headlights, but when it’s right passenger tail light went out last weekend, we decided to skip just throwing a new bulb in the unit, and instead installed some new Quadratec LED Tail Lights.
So, what is involved?
Well, you may think this is an entire process, requiring some cutting and splicing of factory wiring, as well as total deconstruction of the factory tail light and chopping the Jeep’s sheet metal for fitment. Something that would basically take up an entire afternoon, right?
How about just 10-15 minutes of your time, instead. And one simple hand tool – a Phillips screwdriver - with no splicing or other modifications needed.
First off, before installing, let’s take a quick look at the product. Quadratec’s LED Tail Lights are injection molded in order to produce a consistent high-quality appearance and finish, while retaining that popular classic factory look. .
Both tail lights also come with a harness that directly mates with the factory wiring, as well as retainer attachments that secure the wiring into the same factory holder. They also each include a resistor unit that metallically clips out of the way on the Jeep’s sheet metal body rib. This resistor ensures the tail lights never have any hyper flashing issues.
While the product’s reverse lights maintain the standard incandescent #3157 bulb, they can be upgraded with an LED version if desired – such as Putco’s 360 Reverse Lamp bulbs. We elected to keep the incandescent ones in place, as Grey Wolf already has Quadratec Fog lights integrated in its Teraflex Rear RockGuard Outback Bumper and tied to reverse – providing plenty of visibility when backing up.
Now, as far as installation goes, Quadratec’s LED tail lamps arrive in boxes with labels indicating left and right side, and include ‘C’-shaped adapter plates which need to be pressed into position before the lights attach. The middle photo below is before, and the right photo is after plates are installed.
Then, using your Phillips screwdriver, remove the two inner tail light screws from the stock tail light housings. Make sure to put them somewhere close and safe as you will reuse on the new lights.
Next, pull the tail light housing off the Jeep and unlock the factory harness.
You can then remove the factory light. Now, take out both outside screws on the factory housing and install them into the new tail lights. One word of caution, don’t over tighten the screws as that can crack the housing.
Once the screws are in place, find the resistor plate and make sure the metallic clips are pointing towards the outside of the vehicle. Press the clips on to the sheet metal body ribbing until secure – this will hold the resistor plate in place. On the passenger side, make sure that resistor and wiring sit up and out of the way of the tailgate check bar. It isn’t difficult to do, just lock those clips in a little higher.
After the resistors are firmly in place, couple the factory harness to the provided harness on the new tail lights and make sure all wiring is securely tucked inside the tail light opening.
Finally, position the Quadratec LED tail light into place and replace/tighten the two inner side screws, once again making sure not to over tighten.
That’s it. Really.
Now go enjoy that peace of mind knowing your tail lights have the brilliance to safely cut through any weather condition, as well as giving out ample lighting to see when reversing.