How to install an LED light bar on the roof of my truck?

If you are like most off-road and truck enthusiasts, one of the things you’re probably REALLY interested in is installing LED lighting. This whole market of upgraded lighting has exploded in the last 2 years and everyone is very eager to get their truck’s upgraded as soon as possible! One thing that has become a trend though in the last few months is redneck style roof mounting… You’ve probably seen it done where you live and heck, maybe you’ve done it yourself.

The white truck in this picture mounted the light bar on the roof incorrectly. The black truck is done right.

The white truck in this picture mounted the light bar on the roof incorrectly. The black truck is done right.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I hate the look, but I can’t blame some people! They buy a 50″ light bar for their truck and it comes with brackets – so you mount it on your truck, right? I believe the secret to successful lighting upgrades is education, so I’m going to show you the right way and the wrong way to install a roof mount light bar on your truck, the biggest trick is getting a hold of a vehicle specific roof mount kit. If you installed your light bar like this, then you did it wrong:

THE WRONG WAY:

When you use the “universal” brackets that come with the light bar and just mount them to the top of your roof skin it LOOKS STUPID! Don’t do it! These “universal” brackets are a cheap way to mount your light bar, and then guess what happens – your truck looks cheap!

Listen, I don’t mean to belittle your manhood because you didn’t know any better, but now you don’t have any excuse. Let me show you the proper way to mount a light bar to your truck, it’s important to find a good vehicle specific light bar bracket kit, or fabricate something that works the same way, the end result should be something like this:

THE RIGHT WAY:

GMC Canyon Roof Light Bar Canyon LED Roof Mount Light BarOn this Canyon, a set of N-Fab roof mount light bar brackets were used for the install. The first thing you’ll notice is that it looks better than the first set of pictures. Getting the light bar up and off of the roof makes the whole setup look great. Secondly it allows you to position the light bar in a more usable way. Getting the light bar up and away from the roof allows the light bar to not be blocked by the roof skin right in front of it.

Here’s another example on another vehicle of how to properly mount an LED Light bar on the roof of your truck:

Vision X XPI LED Light Bar

XPI light bar has two sets of holes on each side that both bolt on the mounting feet. Since we’re doing a roof mount, we got to choose which hole to use and decided on the top one. That brought the Light Bar closer to the roof.

Vision X XPI LED Light Bar Roof Mount install

Vision X XPI LED Light Bar roof mount install completed.

 

photo 2 (1)Probably the best way to find out which vehicle specific light bar bracket to use is to first contact Headlight Revolution. They know what works and what doesn’t and can definitely get you set up with not only a light bar bracket, but also the right mounting and wiring components to make it all work.

 

Wiring: When you get the light bar properly mounted to your roof, and all the holes are sealed to become waterproof, it’s time to run your wiring. DO NOT just run the wiring loosely through the door jam.  The best way to do this is to drill a new hole in your roof near your roof mount brackets and run the wiring down directly into the cab of the truck. This is the best method because it is the shortest distance for the wire to travel, and it has the least chance of getting smashed in your door jamb.

Drill a hole in the roof, run your wiring through that hole and seal it up with waterproof silicone.

Drill a hole in the roof, run your wiring through that hole and seal it up with waterproof silicone.

Drill a hole in the roof, run your wiring through that hole and seal it up with waterproof silicone.

Drill a hole in the roof, run your wiring through that hole and seal it up with waterproof silicone.

 

However, if you’re really not sure how to do the install, you should either be prepared to drill holes in your roof as a learning experience, or hire a local professional install shop to do it for you.

If you need any help with what bracket kit you need for you truck, just ask!

GMC Canyon Roof Mounted LED Light Bar

If you have a GMC Canyon or Chevy Colorado, and you want to put a roof-mounted light bar on it you’ve probably found that nobody makes a vehicle specific kit. A friend of mine wanted to add this type of Light Bar setup to his 2007 Canyon and I found a product that actually works really good!

Canyon LED Roof Mount Light Bar

You’ll need these items to make it work (Click the links to see each part):

For this installation we actually installed Nut-Certs into the roof, drilled a hole through the roof for the wiring to go through, and used stainless steel cap bolts from the hardware store. All I wanted to help with was to show pictures that it can be done, show you what size light bar to use, and some pictures to give you an idea of how it all goes together.

We used the Vision X brand XIL-801 Flood Beam LED Light bar, it’s 42″ long and fit perfectly on the roof of this Canyon. We got all of the parts to do this install from Headlight Revolution, so if you want to replicate this install contact Headlight Revolution at this link: HERE.

How To Install HID Low Beam Headlights in your 2007 – 2013 Chevy Silverado, Suburban and Tahoe

One of our good friends at HID Light Reviews recently published a new video showing step by step how to install an HID conversion kit for the low beam headlights in any 2007 – 2013 Chevrolet Silverado, Suburban or Tahoe, using this HID kit from GTR Lighting – the install is the same for all of these trucks. You can see it here:

 

Whether you want to install new HID lights, replace your entire headlight assembly due to damage, or just replace an old bulb this video will help you out. This video applies to 2007-2013 Chevy Tahoe, Suburban, and Silverado.

HID Kit provided by GTRLighting. Find more information about hid lights, led lights, and other automotive accessories here: http://gtrlighting.com/

Camaro HID Headlights found in northern Minnesota!

1984 Chevy H4666 Conversion

This Camaro mixes ’80s style with new technology using HID Headlights!

I had the pleasure of attending the Cars & Coffee event in Bemidji, MN this past labor day weekend and there was a 1984 Chevy Camaro there with aftermarket housings and an HID kit. I’m not much of  a fan of the color used (8,000K) on this particular car, but the lighting upgrade was great! The way the owner of the car did it was to replace the original 4×6 sealed beam headlight housings with a pair of new 4×6″ composite headlight housings then added an H4 HID conversion kit. This headlight system was totally plug and play for this Camaro and the output of light from these headlights over stock was absolutely incredible! If you want better lights then you should look into a Camaro 4×6 Headlight kit for your car – you’ll never go back to regular lights again!

GTR Lighting Camaro Xenon

4×6 Headlight Housings and a GTR Lighting HID Kit fitted in this 1984 Chevy Camaro.

The Bemidji Cars and Coffee event was a lot of fun and it was cool to see other people from northern Minnesota and how they’ve been enjoying their cars and trucks this summer! At the event there was a Nissan 350z, Eagle Talon TSi, a new and an old Honda Civic as well as a new Jeep SRT8 and and a new Dodge Ram, about 18 vehicles total.

Auto Makers Introduce LED “Bulbs”

LED Light Bulb

New LED technology: Reflecting LED “bulbs”

Since the introduction of LED lighting in automobiles it has been common practice for manufacturers to construct an array of forward (or rearward) facing LEDs in a housing which holds a flat structure. This flat structure holds the configuration and it projects in a linear direction. Today, showcased in the tail lights of the 2012 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ, GM has broken tradition with the use of an all new bulb-style LED apparatus (pictured below), following Ford’s lead by introducing the use of this bulb in the 2010 Mustang. In the aftermarket, when consumers would search for high quality LED bulbs they are required to purchase a product that is shaped like a traditional light bulb, but is covered with various LED bulbs. For example, here is the GTR Lighting TW6 high power LED bulb replacement:

GTR Lighting TW6 Bulb

This type of product works great, but it doesn’t have the full 360 degree output left-to-right & top-to-bottom, forward-and-backward type of illumination like an incandescent bulb. The best an LED bulb replacement has been able to achieve is nearly solid side output and a strong forward output. But because LED bulbs have a strictly linear output (spot light) style, in order to get something useable the LED needs to be incredibly powerful, this is because a light housing relies on the reflector behind the bulb, as much as it relies on the bulb itself, to create the desired output.

The new LED “bulb” found in the new Chevy cars is part number L123OR-4C, Manufactured by Osram (Sylvania) and it is called a “Joule” bulb. Another noteworthy piece of information is that they are made in the USA. Other identifying marks on the bottom of the product are the numbers 07182011 and 102382.

Osram Joule LED Bulb

Made in the USA LED Technology

They’re bulb-shaped, so they fit into a traditional lens and reflector housing with a push-and-turn base, drastically reducing the replacement cost of the tail lamp after crash damage (costing about half as much). They typically last the life of a vehicle and are unaffected by shock and vibration, so they’re ideal in extreme applications.These so-called “Joule” lamps incorporate the LEDs, the thermal management (that ring sitting just behind the reflector housing), and the control circuitry (which resides in the connector).

Osram Joule LED Bulb

Looks like a bulb, but with LED tech.

Osram Joule LED Bulb

Looks like a bulb, but uses LED tech.

What makes this product so interesting is that it inserts into a traditional reflector style housing the same way a normal incandescent bulb would. It has a wire connector that plugs in with 4 wires, presumably the common ground, parking lights, brakes and a signal to activate blinking.

OEM LED in a Reflector Housing

Twist style bulb LED

The bulb has several red LED components placed inside the round base that face upwards through the acrylic shell of the bulb lens, then the top is shaped like a mushroom and diffuses the light output both forward, to the side, and most importantly back to the reflector.

Osram Joule LED Bulb

Reflects backwards onto the housing.

Osram Joule LED Bulb

The light from the LEDs inside the base travel up the shaft to the top part that diffuses the light output into different directions.

Osram Joule LED Bulb

LED Bulb Side View

The way a reflector housing works, is that it simply reflects the light in different ways. It does not rely on the bulb itself to promote light output in a direction away from the housing, but back into the reflective surface and the housing itself directs the light outward. LEDs have a hard time doing this because they do not output light backwards into the housing, but only forwards and to the sides. This last picture shows how good the LED bulb developed by Sylvania for use in cars and trucks really works. The entire housing is illuminated and it is probably just as bright as a regular bulb, but creates less heat, uses less electricity and lasts longer.

LED Bulb in Housing

This photo shows how well the new Sylvania LED bulbs work in a traditional reflector housing.