Off-Road.com Article – JK Steel Tail Light Install
Article and Photos courtesy of Off-Road.com and Pete Bach
We’ve made a lot of improvements to our ’07 Jeep JK Rubicon over the last three years. Some were major cutting-and-welding projects, while others were simple bolt-on replacement parts. Surprisingly, a few of the small, bolt-on parts, were some of the most valuable and useful components that we installed on the Jeep. Warrior Products has contributed once again to the strength and capabilities of our Jeep with its Steel Taillights.
We have ripped our factory JK taillights off on trees in the past. They stick out beyond the Jeep’s body, mount with two small screws, and beg to come in contact with trees and rocks. We had wanted a stronger, bolt-on replacement for these light boxes for years now, but we found nothing that addresses this issue well until Warrior contacted us with their solution – steel light boxes.
The Warrior Steel Tail Lights are a simple fix and nearly a direct replacement for the factory JK taillights; however, there are some very noticeable differences, especially in strength. The thick steel is a welcome material used in their construction. They are strong little units that sit more tucked in on the body lines of the JK. They would be much harder to hit on trail obstacles…and if they do, they appear as though they will hold up to a pretty hard hit.
Another great aspect of these light boxes is the way they mount. Rather than run a screw through a self-tapping tab like the factory did, Warrior made use of the existing two mounting holes but used larger nuts, bolts and washers to secure one side. The other side requires two holes to be drilled in the JK sheet metal, and then fastened with two more bolts. These light boxes are designed to be very stout and secure … and they are.
Before mounting the boxes up, some clearance issues need to be addressed to fit the new LED taillights into the Jeep’s body. While we didn’t blink an eye when the directions called for cutting the body, we believe that some Jeep owners might hesitate a bit in this area. Fortunately, the body area that needs the cutting remains behind the light boxes so it’s hard to mess this part up. Essentially, you only need to slightly open up the existing factory hole. Trust us; even with our shaky, Sawzall hands, the cutting is quick and easy … just don’t forget to spray a little primer or paint onto your freshly cut metal edges.
Once we had everything cut and ready to install, we wired up our new LED tail/stop lights and backup lights. Warrior offers their 4-inch tail/stop light and 2-inch backup lights separately and notes that you can use any light preferred, but we highly recommend using their lights. They are a perfect fit within their grommets, look great mounted up and are some of the brightest lights we’ve seen on a Jeep. Without the Instruction Sheet from Warrior, we would have been lost during this part of the install. The directions are well laid out, color-coded and detailed enough that we had no troubles in figuring out what went where. The Warrior light kit can even be ordered with load resistors that eliminate the fast blinker affect associated with the JK when making LED light modifications, which we also recommend purchasing.
Warrior offers three Steel Light Box styles to choose from. The style we chose has provisions for the 4-inch taillight and 2-inch backup light. A box with only a 4-inch taillight is available, as well as the Steel Light Box with no holes at all, for custom light placements and sizes. Pretty nifty!
After mounting was complete, we were not terribly happy with the way the light boxes looked with the rubber molding trim that fits between the box and Jeep body. The trim tends to bulge out after the bolts are tightened snuggly. We opted to remove the trim and squeeze a fine bead of black silicon into the seams instead. The light boxes form very well to the contours of the JK corners so very little silicon was used. We think they now look better than factory…and work better in every way.
If you are tired of tearing off your JK’s taillights or simply want a cool, custom look to the rear of your Jeep, check out Warrior Products Steel Taillights.