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General Articles - Extras

Placing/Installing A Rock Light

Article written by Moab Man

Date Added: 05/08/2006

Not many ever wheel in the dark, but let me tell you - you're missing out. Night wheeling can take an all too familiar trail and seemingly change it entirely. But, before heading out into the dark, rock lights could be a real benefit.

With the excitement of night wheeling comes the risk of jagged rocks puncturing some soft vital area, say maybe the oil pan or differential cover. Nothing takes the place of good ole armor protection, but with a rock light, you can safely navigate these can openers.

Before we get to installing it, let's consider placement. It is common to bolt them on under the rocker area pointing forward. Although no position is ever perfect, in my opinion, this is not a good place for rock lights.

Many lights in this position could easily be crushed while using your sliders to play on the rocks.
Forward facing lights are blinding to the spotter, who is most likely looking into the lights, trying to bring you forward.
From the lights back, you're in the dark. The first half of your rig has gotten through, but the rear is in the dark.
What I would propose is placing the light at the front of the rig pointing backwards. By placing it in this manner, you keep the light out of the eyes of your spotter and it will be in a safer place than under the rocker area of your rig. For those with Jeeps, mounting the light is really simple.
Between the front grill body mount and the round tube behind the front bumper, there is a plate that a light will mount to perfectly.
So why mount the light here?

As I said, no spot is perfect. But, I feel this is probably the best spot for these reasons:

In this position the light is directed backwards and out of the eyes of your spotter.
Physically, this light is in a pretty safe position. On YJs and CJs, the shackles will keep the light well-protected. On a TJ, you have to be a bit more careful on your approach so as to not crush the light.
Positioned at this end pointing back illuminates the whole underside, so there aren't any dark areas.
What I don't suggest is mounting the light directly on the bottom of the bumper. This area is way too vulnerable. I know my suggested position is not that different in location, but it is enough to matter. Additionally, if you find bigger lights are being crushed, a smaller light will tuck nicely within the mounting plate's protection.

Note: Although we used a Jeep for this article, most vehicles will allow some similar type of mount position.
We wired our lights to a small toggle and located it in one of the accessory switch blanks in our TJs dash.

Note: Wiring the lights is pretty easy - we strongly suggest using a relay. If you haven't wired a relay, then please take a moment to read our article on wiring a relay.
The relay was located halfway to the rock light itself and the battery from which we would draw our high power. (Mounted on passenger side wheel well under the K&N cone filter)
Here you can see the entire underside of the Jeep is lit up from front to back.

Final Thoughts

After the MoabJeeper Magazine "Labor Day Run Through Moab" trip, I have to say I was quite happy with the location of the light. As said earlier, the entire underside of the Jeep was illuminated without any dark areas.

I also received much positive feedback from others during our night run, specifically on the positioning of the light, no blind spotters, and how this one light lit up the entire underside of the vehicle.

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