Watch for more clips and a full trip report from our latest outing in the days to come:
Watch for more clips and a full trip report from our latest outing in the days to come:
As promised, here’s a quick look at the output, both high and low beams, of my new Rigid D2 Dually High-Lows:
I’ll share an update as soon as I have a chance to hit the trail with the since re-aimed lights.
My goal in building Smokey is always to prioritize functional modifications over more appearance-minded installations. However, a Christmas gift and a closeout sale led me to pick up a pair of Rigid D2 Dually H/L dual-beam LED light pods.
Why a dual-beam light pod? I tend to wheel at or near the end of the line. Typically, that would mean leaving any auxiliary lighting turned off so as to not blind the driver in front of me. But, with these Rigids putting out just 607 lumens in the low setting — less than half of my factory headlights — I’m betting the low beam will afford me the extra light I need to see brush and drop-offs along the side of the trail without being a hindrance to other drivers.
It’s also worth noting my installation utilizes the Rigid Industries wiring harness and three-way switch included with the lights. I’ll eventually add a central switch/accessory control system, and incorporate these lights into it, but for now, all the electrical components are installed as recommended by the manufacturer.
Using a ratchet and a T-40 Torx bit, remove the two recessed button-head bolts at the front lower edge of the Jeep’s A pillar. Give the exposed paint a thorough cleaning, followed by a couple of coats of wax. Then, placing the rubber gasket included with the light mounts, align the mounts to the factory bolt holes and secure them with the factory hardware. There is a slight amount of play here, so make sure the mounting bracket is straight and level. You can hold it in place as you begin to tighten the bolts to prevent unwanted movement.
A word about light mounts. There are probably as many, if not more, mounts available as there are companies selling LED pods to mount on them. The key factors in my decision to go with the Poison Spyder Customs mounts were (a) that they included a rubber gasket to protect my paint, (b) their design helps hide the lights’ mounting stud, at least from the side and (c) they came powder coated from the factory. (I really lucked out here, as Poison Spyder’s Spydershell powder coat is a no-kidding exact match for the custom-blended satin powder on my front and rear bumpers.)
Open one of the individually bagged sets of mounting hardware. You should have one stainless steel mounting bracket, one carriage bolt, two nylon lock nuts, two bolts, one flat washer and one lock washer. Drop the carriage bolt into the rectangular slot along the bottom of the bracket. Next, looking at the underside of the light, insert the lock nuts with the top/acorned end of the nut facing toward the center of the light pod. Next, insert the bracket so the nuts are to the inside of the mounting slots. NOTE: Rigid’s brackets may be used facing either direction. I oriented my brackets so the longer end of the bracket is facing the rear. This results in the light sitting lower on the mount, revealing less of the stainless steel bracket. The light has less room to rotate upward this way (though it still can rotate up at least 65 or 70 degrees), but it provides an aesthetic I prefer.
While one person can complete this step, having a second set of hands will make it far easier. While holding the light pod in place (it’s top-heavy, and won’t stay on its own), slide the flat washer and lock washer onto the carriage bolt, then thread the nylon lock nut into place. Secure hand-tight so the light will remain in place, but leave loose enough to allow for aiming and adjustment later. Now, repeat this process on the other side. And, see my thoughts on aiming your LED pods below.
Rigid provides about 10 to 12 inches of well-insulated wiring out the back of its D2 Dually pods. The most convenient way to run your wiring is under the cowl. To access this area, use your ratchet and a T30 Torx bit to remove the two button-head bolts on each side of the Jeep. There’s just enough room without removing the windshield wipers to run the wiring between the body panel gap and under the cowl. Doing so will allow the Deutsch connectors to protrude far enough past the forward edge of the cowl panel to provide access for making the necessary wiring connections.
A word of warning here: The cowl bolts are secured underneath the cowl panel by a sheet metal clip nut. In Smokey’s case, one of these nuts was loose enough that removing the bolt allowed the nut to drop free of its sheet-metal home, rattling menacingly into the great void below my Jeep’s windshield. After 30 minutes of digging around with a magnetic probe and a flashlight, I’d found it and re-secured it to its home. Learn from my mistake. Remove these bolts with the hood up, and with one hand on the nut underneath the bolt.
Start by laying out your wiring harness, then tuck the battery connections away behind the battery. Do NOT connect the harness to the battery at this time. Run the harness along the factory wiring loom that runs along the back of the engine bay. Leave the fuse holder exposed above the engine for convenient access.
Routing your in-cab wiring will most-greatly affect the two leads that run to your light pods, so leave those loose and unconnected at this time. Next, use a coat hanger or similar object to puncture the rubber seal over the firewall pass-through to the right and below of the brake fluid reservoir.
Inside the Jeep’s driver’s side door, remove the kick panel between the door and the dash. Most JKs I’ve been around have allowed me to remove this panel by hand, but use a flat-head screwdriver or similar tool to gain access, if necessary. This panel is held in place by three or four tension clips. It should pull free with relative ease.
Now, channel your inner contortionist, and crawl under your dash in the driver’s foot well. Pull the switch terminals through, and run them to the open area exposed by the missing kick panel.
Remove your left sun visor with an appropriate-sized Torx bit. (I was in a rush, and left mine in place. It’s doable, but you’ll have much more leeway to work if you remove it.) Next, use a small Phillips-head screw driver to remove the plastic screw in the lower of the two holes in this trim panel. (A tip for easy removal. Use gentle but firm inward pressure on this screw as you turn the screw driver. Doing so keeps enough pressure on the screw to keep the plastic threads (seriously, Jeep?) engaged long enough for successful removal. Now, you can remove the top trim piece between the windshield and the A-pillar. There’s a plastic Christmas-tree fastener securing the rear of this panel to the underside of the sport cage, but it will pull free with a little care. Next, remove the plastic A-pillar panel by firmly pulling it toward you. There are three tension clips and one plastic clip (at the bottom) holding this piece in place.
Once you’re sure you have enough wire to reach your switch, secure the remainder in place with a zip tie and replace the kick panel.
I routed the wiring through the top hole of the trim piece removed in Step 6 and then installed a fully wired switch into the grommet, then pushed the whole unit through the hole. However, I recommend you insert the grommet first, and route the terminal ends of the wiring harness through from the back side. Connect the terminals to the switch as instructed.
Before cleaning up and reinstalling all your panels, connect the harness to one of the lights and the battery to perform a quick function check. Then, disconnect from the battery and reinstall your interior panels to complete that part of the installation.
With the interior wrapped up, cover the exposed wiring in the engine bay with a suitable split wire loom and zip tie it along the factory wiring loom along the back of the engine bay. Route the wiring outside the weather stripping and connect each of the lights to the wiring harness. For an added measure of weatherproofing, I wrapped each Deutsch connection with electrical tape. (NOTE: Do NOT run your wiring harness over the factory weather stripping as shown in the passenger-side photo above. This will cause interference when closing your hood. Instead, run the wiring for the right-side light around the edge of the weather stripping to ensure no chafing or wiring damage occurs.)
Remember you haven’t yet tightened your lights into their final position. Aiming off-road lights, which aren’t legal for on-road use (PLEASE, don’t be that guy!), is a personal preference. For my purposes, I’ve aimed mine 15 degrees to the side and just above my high beams. Another good habit is to go test your aim in the type of terrain you’ll be wheeling in the most, to make certain the lights’ beams are to your liking. Once you’re satisfied with your aim, tighten down all bolts.
Is ‘wow’ enough of a review? I’m not sure which impresses me more, the amazing amount of light coming from these little pods, or the fact that Rigid Industries’ new ‘Pro’ version of this light puts out 4,700-plus raw lumens, a full 1,600 more lumens than these! In the photos above, you can see the un-aimed low (left) and high (right) light output of the left-side light in relation to my stock low beams at 25 feet from my garage door. By the way, that American flag is lit each night, not that you can even see the light on it with either Rigid beam shining that direction! The D2 Duallys have an impressive heft to them, along with a solid build quality. Even the wiring’s thickness and tactile feel exude quality. Yes, I’m impressed. As an added bonus, the Rigid logo, which I’d expected to be white, is in fact a light silver, complementing my black-and-silver color scheme.
Installing these LED pods, which greatly outshine my headlights, only made me more determined to get LED headlights and fog lights to complement them. And, seeing the rat’s nest of wiring growing in my engine bay (it’s only a CB, rock lights and these Rigid pods) has me longing for a more professional power-distribution system, too. All things in time, I suppose.
About two hours (If you’re not trying to film your installation! Watch the installation here.)
$237 (Lights: $199, plus $13 shipping via Rigid’s website; Poison Spyder mounts: $24.99 via Amazon, with free shipping)
Keystone Automotive Operations, the new parent company of Warn Industries’ off-road accessories segment, receives average marks from its employees, according to workforce-review site glassdoor.com.
In 67 reviews, Keystone employees rate the company 2.7 out of five stars overall, with just 29 percent of workers saying they would recommend the company to a friend. While such reviews put Keystone in an “average” category, a troubling 77 percent of Glassdoor respondents reported their hiring experience with the company as negative.
No profile was available for Keystone’s corporate parent, LKQ Corporation.
Read the full Keystone profile on Glassdoor here: https://www.glassdoor.com/Overview/Working-at-Keystone-Automotive-Operations-EI_IE21956.11,41.htm
Related story: Keystone Automotive reels in Warn in latest industry buyout
In the latest stunning off-road industry acquisition, Keystone Automotive Operations has purchased the aftermarket-parts division of Warn Industries, according to online reports.
Keystone is a subsidiary brand operated by multinational firm LKQ Corporation.
Learn more here:
Other off-road industry buyout news: