One of the many Jeep accessories I got at Christmas was a pair of Smittybilt Euro Light Guards – to match the ones on the headlights and provide a little extra bush-whacking protection to the expensive plastic tail lights that stick out 2 inches. One of the easier DIY installs I’ve tackled, it wasn’t without it’s own trying problems. Finally getting the photos off of my phone and onto here for the Jeep world to see.
I had wanted to pull the tail lights for a while anyway, they had somehow gotten some water inside and there was something growing in one that was partially blocking the light. nothing serious, just looked dirty. Removal was straight forward – undo the three screws and take off the lens cover. On the inside of these all plastic reflector-like covers was where I found the funk. A quick trip to the hose with a dish scrub brush and it all came clean in seconds and they looked like new.
After that there were 3 screws inside the housing that hold the light to the back of the jeep body. The pic below has the bottom two removed and only the top one left in. These screws were an issue, they are very small 1/4 drive machine screws. I’ll get to more on that later. After all the screws were out the light pulls away from the Jeep’s tub and there is just enough wire inside to get the connector plug out of the hole and disconnected, then run through the backing plate on the light guard and re-connected.
Caution here – **don’t let the jeep-end slip back into the tub**. It is really hard to fish out from the bottom and poke back through the hole, especially if you are doing this by yourself and no one is there to grab the end. Another issue was on my right rear side there was a “T” connector added in for the trailer lights that was too big to to come out through the hole. Had to reach up into that side and disconnect it – then reconnect that light inside the tub. Big Pain in ass. Lots of old dirt and mud in there that fell in my face and eyes, and my big fat hands just are not made to work in small places. Grrrr…
This is when those hose small screws now proved to be another hassle. they were barely long enough to go through the light and catch anything on the Jeep. The light guards are heavy and me and my engineering background didn’t think they would take the bouncing and shaking of typical off-road use. I searched the garage and found a bunch of metal roof screws left over from some job half a decade ago that worked much better – #10 x1.5″ metal roof screws. These cut themselves some new holes and really held the whole assembly on tight.
Once firmly mounted the last thing was getting the lenses back on, which was a little tight and of course some of those protecting bars of the cage were right over the screw holes for the lenses. My foam gaskets on the lenses were in good shape, so I didn’t mess with replacing them, something to check if you are doing yours, save you some bulbs. To re-secure the lenses I used a hand screwdriver to ensure sure I didn’t strip the screws, the plastic hole, or crack a lens. Got it all back in one piece…
Only other obstacle was my 102″ whip CB antenna that kept beating against the new guard. I decided to run it inside of the cage. I threaded it down form the top of the antenna and it was perfect. Finally, to prevent it grounding out the signal I covered the bottom part of the antenna with 3 feet of 5/16 rubber aquarium hosing. Genius….