The Garage - LED Lights
The LED Backup Lights getting installed!

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Last Updated: 12/3/2013
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LED Backup Lights

etrailer.com
Address: 1507 East Hwy A
Wentzville, MO 63385
Phone: 800-298-8924
Hours: Monday - Friday
7.00 AM to 8.00 PM (CT)
Saturday 8.00 AM to 6.00 PM
Click here to visit their website.

Amazon.com, Inc.
Phone: 1516 2nd Ave.
Seattle, WA 98101
Phone: (800) 201-7575
It's a shopping website and
therefore open 24 hours a
day, 7 days a week.
Click here to visit their website.

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The "Photo Gallery" has some of my favorite pictures of my Durango, our family trips, and others of interest.


Leaving at night from my friends house and having to back out from his long driveway in the middle of winter was no fun! I couldn't see a d... thing and the fact that I almost took out his mailbox, made me to look into a better lighting solution for the rear. I wanted something which would install flush into my rear bumper. I know it will take some effort to get them installed, or any light for that matter, because my bumper is made from 3/16" steel and cutting through that isn't a two minute job.

After a good amount of research on the web, I came across these high powered white LED backup lights from etrailer.com which are now more comonly used on late model truck trailers and decided to give them a try.

I have read some good reviews about them and it seems truckers like them a lot.
The below image shows the LED light set with rubber grommets installed and the pigtail wires!


I have ordered previously from etrailer.com a 2" weld on receiver and was very happy with my purchase. I also like their customer service as they answered every email with all my questions within a reasonable time amount. This is always a good sign and more than good enough for me to order these LED Lights from them and not through a to me unknown ebay seller although I could have saved a few bucks!

Anyhow, this isn't some cheap light set people. I hope these LED Backup lights don't disapoint for the rather steep price and are worth it regarding reliability, and also quality.

I paid roughly 95 bucks for the light set which included two dollars for rubber grommets and 3 bucks for the pigtails plus the additional shipping. They arrived fast and well packed.
1-800-298-8924
The company was founded 1946 by Henry Bross as a small family business. In 1976 they constructed a massive new showroom, warehouse, and installation facility that quickly became a regional destination.

Massive warehouse, shipping, and installation facilities along with employees and management that have a deep history and passion for automotive accessories means that etrailer.com is able to deliver the top quality, custom fit supplies you need at a price that will fit your budget.

Manufacturer Description:
Sealed, 6-1/2" Oval LED Trailer Backup Light, Flush Mount, 36-Diode - Clear
These are sealed, oval, flush mount LED back-up lights. The light meet FMVSS 108 * requirements in any 360 degree position. This clear lights measures each 6-1/2" long x 2-5/16" wide x 1-13/16" deep.

The Lenses and the housings are one unit that is sonically sealed and therefore waterproof, providing protection to the 36 light-emitting diodes (LED's). The molded plastic housings and the durable lenses providing all-weather protection against corrosion.

Each light draws 0.275 amps at 12.8 volts. The light mounts flush, and a separate, industry standard, two-prong plug is used for the wiring connection to easily upgrade from incandescent lights. A mounting grommet and plug are required to complete the installation.

The main features are:
Clear, oblong light functions as a back-up light
Sealed, waterproof housing and lens unit
Corrosion resistant
36 LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes)
Accepts industry standard, 2-prong plug
Simple to upgrade from incandescent lights
Flush mounts with a rubber mounting grommet (required)

Dimensions:
6-1/2" L x 2-5/16" W x 1-13/16" D
0.275 amps at 12.8 volts each


Front View


Side View


Back View

Let's get started with the Install:
The simple plan here is, that the new lights will be wired in conjunction with the into the tail light build-in backup lights and therefore providing additional light. They will light up as soon as I put my shifter in reverse. I also will be integrating an external auxilary switch into the wiring layout, this way I can also disable them when I don't need them, like in the city or well lit locations. This just makes sense to me!

The rear bumper on my Dodge Durango is made from flat 3/16" steel plate and offers plenty of room for the LED backup lights. It's nice to have a flat surface for installing the lights. I inspected the bumper carefully on the inside for any license plate light or trailer hookup wires which my interfere with the install.
No problems here.

I began the install process by masking of both corners of the bumper, measuring and drawing the cut-out section with a MagicMarker on it.

Daddy, you got it all wrong, look here! Yes, of course I would have cut right into my bumper mounting plates if I left it like this. Great catch!

Measure twice cut once someone once said. After careful inspection I did re-drew the cut-out's on both corners of the bumper.

Now I am good to go and I drill a hole into the bumper which has to be wide enough to stick blade of a JigSaw through it. I use a medium size blade for metal blade to cut the oval alond my draw line. Spraying plenty of WD40 in intervalls onto the blade to keep it cool and lubricated. I took a while to get it done, 3/16" steel isn't a quick cut! I am removing the masking tape and clean the area up using shop towels, a universal degreaser and some Windex.

I slip the rubber grommet around the LED light. This keeps vibrations down and the groove allows for an esy install. I needed to grind just a tiny bit off here and there to make it fit using my grinder with a course wheel.

I am going around the edge with a halfround file, this takes care of any sharp edges which prevents insuries and the rubber from tearing out. It is also a more professional way to do things and looks better.

Before pop the lights in, I paint the edges and the exposed metal with some POR15 paint. This thick stuff applies well with a disosable small hand brush.

Next day the paint is dry and theLED Backup lighst is now installed and I get the lights correctly spliced in with the OEM backup lights.

After setting my tools up and taking the tail light guards off the vehicle and pull the tail lights out. I hop in the cab and shift the truck into reverse and check with a small 12V cable tester which of the wires is the one providing power to the backup lights.

Turns out to be the purple wire on my Durango and I am using a Tap Splice Connector to splice the plug wire from the LED light into this existing wire. I use my Hakko Solder station, some resin core solder, and a "3rd hand " to hold the cable temporary in place while soldering.











































Shrink tubing will make this section waterproof and prevent any future corrosion to the joint. I then wrap the cable in electric tape and over that a nice layer of Black Friction Hockey Stick Tape to prevent rattling.

I route the harness below and behind the bumper and then plugged into the LED backup lights. I drill a small hole and use a self-cutting metal screw to attach the ground (negative) wire ring terminal securely to the chassis.
The project is now completed, it was fairly easy and took about 4 hours to do.

After a quick test everything seems to work as it should and went for some coffee and a donut to bridge the time until it was dark outside to see the if the lights were worth the time and money invested.

Verdict:
Although it did improve the lighting behind the vehicle, I am not really impressed with the outcome at this point despite what the camera seems to show (just look closely at the concrete patch behind it).

Before After
The difference of light output before and after the lights were installed.
After some more testing in pitch darkness at my friends driveway :-) I can report that it was a lot better navigating with the new lights but in all honesty I did expect more light output especially considering the steep price.

I'll give this upgrade an
"It's OK" stamp of approval.

This Project was completed on 04-27-2010



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