Metal fab time with a Hobart 190 and SWAG OffRoad Finger Brake

In September 2014 Mike was feeling the itch to start creating his own mods. He’d been considering it since he installed his amp and backup camera in 2013 and couldn’t find any aftermarket brackets he liked. Plus after spending hours on jeep/shop forums, he had lots of ideas for things to make! He started out with a Hobart 190 MIG Welder and a metal band saw. He quickly realized that to make lots of the things he was interested in he’d also need to add a shop press and a finger brake, which he got for Christmas. He started out making some basic, useful things for around the house.

Hydro Blue Freedom Jeep JK Unlimited Comes Home!

Not to be left out of the fun, Helen decided she needed a jeep of her own!  In September 2013 she placed an order for her very OWN Hydro Blue Freedom Edition Unlimited, which was ordered sight unseen.  It was a new color for 2014 Wranglers and when ordering opened there weren’t even any promotional pictures of the color available!

He was finally delivered on October 29, 2013, after being held hostage in the Kirby rail yard for ELEVEN long days.  He was immediately christened Celticon, for Helen’s love of all things Irish.  His first REAL mod was another set of Welcome Distributing’s GraBars™, even though he was still a baby.

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SpiderWebShade, Pioneer 8500, ACE Engineering Pro Rear Bumper and more!

Future updates took a little bit longer to decide what else he needed and wanted.  Father’s day he got a new SpiderWebShade.  August was a stereo overhaul before the drive for our move to Texas: Pioneer 8500 head unit, amp, Infiniti BassLink sub, backup camera and Polk speakers all around.  September saw a new friend for War Pig in the works, but more on that later.  In early December it was time for ANOTHER new set of upgraded shoes, Rugged Ridge XHC 17″ wheels wrapped in 315/70-R17 DuraTracs.  For Christmas 2013 he got a new ACE Engineering Pro Rear Bumper and Cargo Rack.

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Adding LED Reverse Lights to Your JK(U)

FINALLY had a chance to do two small mods still left from Christmas.

I picked up the new LED reverse bulbs that my friend Ryan told me about. Man, are they BRIGHT!!! Cost about $20 from ebay. They came from China, but got here remarkably fast.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/301416596414?_trksid=p2059210.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

Keep in mind, this auction is for EACH BULB, so you need to order TWO!!!

Started by removing the taillight. Remember, you only need to take out the torx screws on the inside, not the two Phillips head screws on the outer side.

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Next, twist the reverse light housing to remove it from the taillight. It’s the circular tab at the bottom.

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To remove the bulb, you just pull straight out.

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If you look closely at that picture (you may need to enlarge it some), you’ll see at the bottom right of the socket there is a white plastic piece, and top left is a metal contact. Make sure you’re holding yours in the same orientation.

When you take the new LED out of the package, unfortunately there isn’t a positive/negative mark on it. But if you look at both sides of the base, you’ll see that the wires that make the connection are on the top of the plastic pins on one side, and on the bottom on the other. You’ll want to hold the bulb as I have it oriented in this picture, with the wires at the bottom.

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Then holding the housing in your left hand and the bulb in your right hand as shown above, you just plug the new LED into the socket.

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And in!

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Make sure the small metal clips grab onto each side of the plastic tab. You can see it in that picture. It’s right in the middle of the plastic tab.

Then slide the socket back into the housing, making sure to align the tabs so that it will lock in place when you twist it closed.

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Once you have the socket secured in the housing, just line up the taillight on the rear quarter panel (make sure everything is flush!) and put the torx screws back in.

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You’ll see you can see the new bulb shows through the lens cover, but it doesn’t bother me.

Before:

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During (right bulb replaced):

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After:

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Since it was still light out, the pictures don’t really do these bulbs justice. But looking at the new LEDs installed and you’ll be seeing spots for the next fifteen minutes!

Now I can’t wait to get my backup camera installed and take advantage of the new lights. Mike and I took my jeep out Friday night and when he threw it in reverse to back into a parking place, the camera screen came up, but it stayed black. He sat there for a couple seconds and started talking to it, asking why it wasn’t showing the video. Then I reminded him we were in MY jeep and the camera wasn’t connected yet.