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2012 Backup Bulb Hack & Auxiliary Light Install Write-up

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Old 01-15-2013, 08:24 PM   #1
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2012 Backup Bulb Hack & Auxiliary Light Install Write-up

Why
I had my windows tinted to 15% which was okay until I got my camper shell put on which also has tinted windows from the factory as I believe most of them do. Backing up at night was a leap of faith, I literally had to inch out no matter where I was - was only a matter of time til I tapped a pedestrian or nailed another car. Tail lights are not tinted, by the way. I am the TL;DR BOSS so this post is excessively detailed and lengthy. I find myself reading every post from a 'mod' thread before I jump in to it so if anyone else is out there who does the same - cheers, this is for you.

Considerations
I knew that I could do the '886 Backup Light Mod' and even bought $15 of bulbs and some cutting dikes today. I chose dikes (diagonal pliers) because two or three people in there said it worked just fine, and I didn't want to fork out dough for another rotary tool since that doesn't guarantee perfection either. Result: Two broken bulbs, immediately. #@$%! Alright - screw it, I was off to go get some bulbs that didn't require cutting even if I couldn't get as many lumens as others. Anything would be an improvement. I also picked up some $20 dual 55w fog lights that caught my eye. Keep in mind that they may get smooshed if you have a severe departure angle while on trails. Worth the risk for me, my truck is on the road 99.9% of the time.

Parts Purchased




  1. 100ft of 12 gauge wire - Autozone, $24.99
  2. Bussman Inline Fuse Holder (included 20a fuse) - Autozone, $2.49
  3. Tridon 4 Pin 40A Relay - Autozone, $6.99
  4. Pilot NV-100Z Driving Light Kit - Autozone, $19.99
  5. Dorman Terminal Ring Connector - Autozone, $3.39
  6. 22ga-10ga Crimp Sleeve - Home Depot, ~$3.00
  7. 12ga-10ga Female Disconnect - Home Depot, ~3.00
  8. 2 x Philips 30w GY6.35 Halogen Bulb - Home Depot, $7.97 (each)
  9. 2 x Philips 75w GY6.35 Halogen Bulb - Home Depot, $6.44 (each)

    I already had crimp tool, wire ties, and electrical tape. You may have some of this stuff laying around already, and you can always source things at places like Radioshack too. I only went to Home Depot and got the rest of this stuff because I broke my Sylvania 886's trying to snip em off their base. Oh yeah, some wrenches and sockets are helpful - I only used 10mm and 12mm for this entire project.
Just The Backup Lights

Really was too simple. If you're thinking 'WTF, 75w bulbs?!' let me explain - I knew I was going to be running a dedicated wire from the battery and use a relay for the under bumper lights anyway. The only reason I didn't leave them in is because the inline fuse holder I got came with a 20a fuse and by my calculations running 2 x 75w and 2 x 55w under bumper lights would have been almost 22 amps. You never want to run near the max of that value anyway - so I tested the passenger side with the 75w and decided I'll keep it in mind later. My 12 gauge wire and fuse holder can handle a 30amp fuse so it's a possibility. I have zero worries over the tail light housing melting, I have a manual transmission truck so I don't hang out in reverse for more than a few seconds.

The 75w bulbs only put out 1100 lumens which is kind of wimpy compared to the 50w Sylvania 886's (1257 lumens). The 30w bulbs put out 750 lumens which is still a significant leap from the stock 18w 264 lumen bulbs. Honestly, I'd still rather have the Sylvanias but I'd cry if I broke another set. Anyway, on with the install.
Step 1 - Remove these bolts (10mm)

Step 2 - Remove tail light and disconnect main harness
There are two clips (pictured) on the tail light. Pull the light straight back to get them to release - took more force than I thought so keep the thing perfectly straight so you don't break anything. When it releases be gentle, some wires on the tail light were wrapped around bolts on the body of the truck and I had to jiggle 'em to get them off.


Step 3 - Remove factory backup socket & bulb, tweak prongs
If you didn't know or want to check, your backup bulb is the bottom most socket on the tail light assembly. My wires were kind of twisted from the factory down there so pay attention to that. Pull on your factory 921 bulb straight out and set it aside should you need it some day. Avoid touching any bulbs with bare hands, I used the sleeve of my sweatshirt. Inside the socket you'll see these prongs - use a tiny flat head screwdriver or a paperclip to push them downward and upward. This is necessary since the GY6.35 base bulbs do not have any prongs to snap in here. After tweaking my bulbs fit perfectly tight and the glass part of the new bulb was also recessed a bit in to where the factory bulb would go. Very snug and completely reversible, I popped my factory bulb in for fun and it widened the prongs again by itself and worked fine.




Step 4 - Insert new bulbs, do reverse of above steps, test
Again, don't touch bulbs with bare hands. I lined up the two stalks coming off the new bulb with the now narrower prongs of the bulb holder and pushed gently. Went in fine, could easily tell when I had pushed it in far enough. Popped back in the tail light, reconnected harness, pushed tail light back in to truck (those two grey clips make a loud snap when in), and screwed in the 3 bolts.

I should have done a before and after shot but trust me, they're a lot brighter - about 3x as bright as stock based on the lumen output. The life expectancy is better than any of the other 886 and similar bulbs and I don't expect vibration to be an issue with longevity nor the bulbs falling out. 30w x 2 should be perfectly safe for the stock wiring too.





Installing Auxiliary Lights
Again, I knew these things could get screwed up offroading but it's worth it for me, I'd probably total the truck backing up blind sooner than break these cheapo lights. These steps pick up from having the tail light removed. Disconnect your negative battery terminal.
Step 1 - Splice in to the factory backup bulb postive wire
I just cut the noted wire in half and stripped both ends (my tool did this perfectly on the 16ga setting). The factory put some electrical tape bundling the wires together, I removed some of the tape to have a little more room. I used a length of my 12 gauge spool wire maybe 18" long and crimped these three ends together. The opposing end of this 18" wire is seen in the picture too, yellow jacketed female connector. These slide perfectly on the relay pins. Apply some electrical tape, heat shrink, or whatever you want over any wire connections.






Step 2 - Run this new wire to where relay will be
I chose to route it through a hole in the truck where the headlight pushes in. I then got on the ground and routed the wire directly up through the first circular hole in the back rear of the cubby. You may want to add your female connects on later if you're going to try to run a couple wires through these tiny holes. Use a grommet or whatever you feel comfortable with to prevent the insulation from chafing off any of your wires!

Step 3 - Connect ground to relay, run wire with inline fuse from the battery
I used one of my terminal ring connectors (there are two in the package listed in parts section) on a piece of 12 gauge wire that was maybe a foot long, crimping it on. Since I don't have any black wire I just marked it with a black sharpie marker and wrapped a little electrical tape on both ends. The other end received another one of the yellow female connects since they fit so well on the relay pins. I ran this through another of the three circular holes in the back of the cubby, down to a bolt I found underneath the truck - almost underneath the tail light actually. It faces off to the side of the truck, was easily accessible, and 10mm. Rough up the paint anywhere you ground - I used a tiny piece of sandpaper and was very controlled in my sanding to ensure I didn't overdo it larger than the terminal ring anyway.

I cut a piece of wire about 18" long and stripped both ends. I put the second of the two terminal ring connectors on it, crimped, and on the opposing end put one piece of my inline fuse holder. The second piece of the inline fuse holder was paired with about 16 feet of wire using a crimp and taped up well. I have to guestimate on the length of wire to go from engine to up in that rear cubby as I had someone holding the spool under the hood while I rummaged around underneath the truck, zip tying this positive wire to an existing loomed wire I found going all the way back. Don't run it through or over anything that may chafe the wire, keep it safe with a ton of zip ties or even getting a wire loom if you want. When I finally reached the rear of the truck I ran it up through another one of the circular holes in the cubby, added the yellow female connect piece, done. I have no pictures of this process because I was getting covered in dirt and leaves while getting dirt in my eyes every ten seconds. Wear safety goggles or just 'use the force' when you actually go to attach a zip tie.

Step 4 - Mount backup lights and ground them
I found two holes in the bumper that were ideal for this as they're both equally spaced to the left and right of the license plate. They're also on a less curved area of the bumper so they can sit pretty level. I would have preferred them be directly under the tail lights actually but if I need a wider beam pattern I can just adjust them aiming more toward the sides of the truck.

This mounting location was ideal since there was a 12mm bolt close by that I removed, sanded a bit, and grounded to. The wire leads on the light kit are very short so it was ideal (the lights are prewired, 1 bullet connector for + and a ring connector for ground).
Step 5 - Run power from relay to light #1 and #2
The light kit included a power wire with inline fuse holder (and 15a fuse). I didn't notice this when I bought it, but this kit was designed to go on the front of your vehicle I guess so the wire was very short. This was not used, nor was the switch. I really needed brighter backup lights, if i decide I want to use these lights for sending a message to tailgaters or cleaning up in the dark after a day of fishing I'll get a sleeker switch and wire that up.

What I did use was the white wire and the blue wire. The white wire had a female connect on one end that (lucky me!) fit right on the last remaining pin of the relay. The opposing end was something new to me - a double-bullet female connector. Basically, you run this white wire down to the first light and plug the light's very short positive bullet ended lead in to one of the spots on the female. You then run the blue wire (which is male bullet on one end, female bullet on other) from the second spot in the double-bullet female across to the second light and plug in that light's male in to female. I should have just taken a pic instead of typing this out. It's easy though.

Zip tie the slack of the white wire and blue wire somewhere (wire loom running length of tail gate worked great). Connect ground wire on your battery, wa-la. I was pleased that I could admire my work in a manual transmission vehicle by moving shifter to R then turning key two clicks.


These lights combined with the upgraded backup bulbs have solved my problems entirely. I'm typically a law abiding citizen but didn't even bother checking in to them here. I wouldn't have been able to see anything with no tint on the cab - the camper shell was the killer. This had to happen before I mowed somebody over.





Will aim them a little more tomorrow.
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Old 01-19-2013, 07:44 AM   #2
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This should be a standard on how to write up a modification. Clear, clen, good pictures, and a fun read.

I also broke two of the other bulbs, at the point of bending the cut tabs back to fit in the socket.

The few times I am going to really need the brighter lights are like having a good sleeping bag on a cold night..

Heading out to Home Depot this morning, the one near my house has 5 in stock
Following your directions, I think my only potential spot may be inserting the bulb in the socket.

Thank you
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Old 01-19-2013, 07:09 PM   #3
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Thanks for the great write up, went smooth as silk and now have two very bright backup lights.
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Old 01-20-2013, 12:31 AM   #4
hour [OP] hour is offline
TL;DR BOSS
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Awesome to hear some feed back man.

You know, I'm still jealous of those who have the 885/886 mod working stellar - I could not justify breaking more bulbs. I'm still kinda bummed I spent over $15 on two 885's and $8 on cutting dikes only to eff em up in a matter of seconds. Sucky! Order similar bulbs online with cheapo fluorescent bulbs for your standard light fixtures and your shipping costs will balance out. I hate going to HD/Lowes and paying $9 for an 18" cabinet light. Just think ahead a few months, make an order at 1000bulbs.com/similar site, rest assured that you will break nothing... enjoy lights.
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Old 01-20-2013, 04:52 PM   #5
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Great writeup man! I'm assuming it's the same for the 05-11? I've been wanting to do the 886 mod for awhile so I can see without having to roll down my windows every time b/c of my dark windows.
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Old 01-20-2013, 05:47 PM   #6
hour [OP] hour is offline
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Autozone says the 05's use the 991 bulb too so we all have the same bulb stock and the same kind of bulb holder. I think that size is pretty common for a lot of vehicles out there.

So yea, backup bulb mod should be e-z using this method. If you get brave and purchase the pricey bulbs and cut (successfully), bend the contacts closer together like in this guide instead of jeopardizing the bulb's prongs any more. Hell, if I successfully did the 886 mod I wouldn't test my luck bending anything else on the bulb.
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Old 01-21-2013, 04:16 AM   #7
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After reading this thread and the other one where this info was posted in, I purchased the 30 watt bulbs from Home Depot and installed them on Saturday.
During daylight you can tell they're a little brighter than stock, but nighttime is where these really shine. Much better illumination and it's nice to see more light thrown to the sides of the truck to help gauge distance when backing up. One thing that's really nice is that the wires and housing do not get hot at all with these bulbs - I wouldn't go any higher for fear of wiring issues in the future.
I'm going to keep my eyes open the next time I hit IKEA as they have a shitload of different 12v lighting products and bulbs that you don't ordinarily see anywhere else, but to be honest, I don't think you'll find better bang for your buck than these 30 watt bulbs.
Thanks OP!!
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:00 AM   #8
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Nice job bro,

I want to look into an extra set of floods/fogs for reverse,

I have the 886 mod and yup, ruined two bulbs before getting two right and in, they are bright but you are a better man than me, Good job finding the other bi-pin bulbs that fit in there and work w/out trimming,

Love the camber top also, I want one so bad but just use my bed to much for it,

Great looking RC bro,

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Old 01-23-2013, 08:39 AM   #9
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What's the deal with people ruining the bulbs installing them? Are they like headlight bulbs or something don't touch the bulb? Reason I ask b/c I haven't done mine yet hoping to this weekend.
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Old 01-23-2013, 09:45 AM   #10
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Well the 886 bulbs are a 90 degree bulb molded into a plastic housing with the appropriate connector on them, you just want the bi=pin part where the pins are soldered to metal ends that resemble the actual tabs that would make the connection when the plug was plugged into the bulb,

After ruining one bulb, and I didn't have a Dremel, I used a pair of Stakons, they are a tool used by lots of guys who perform electrical work and use crimp connectors, or "butt connectors" They have very hard steel "nippers" that can cut and "nip" away so i used them to completely "nip" away the whole connector from the bulb,

That way i was looking at the entire bulb assembly w/out any plastic on it, then I could cut them off where I needed to.

It'll hopefully make more sense when you see them,

Sorry I have no pictures,
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Old 01-23-2013, 12:16 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KWMF View Post
Well the 886 bulbs are a 90 degree bulb molded into a plastic housing with the appropriate connector on them, you just want the bi=pin part where the pins are soldered to metal ends that resemble the actual tabs that would make the connection when the plug was plugged into the bulb,

After ruining one bulb, and I didn't have a Dremel, I used a pair of Stakons, they are a tool used by lots of guys who perform electrical work and use crimp connectors, or "butt connectors" They have very hard steel "nippers" that can cut and "nip" away so i used them to completely "nip" away the whole connector from the bulb,

That way i was looking at the entire bulb assembly w/out any plastic on it, then I could cut them off where I needed to.

It'll hopefully make more sense when you see them,

Sorry I have no pictures,
Thanks man! Whenever I run by autozone or where ever and pick some up I'm sure I'll be able to figure it out.
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Old 01-23-2013, 12:21 PM   #12
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I think I'll just run out to home depot and grab a couple of these http://www.homedepot.com/p/t/2030014...6#.UQBGE2eKx8E
I saw a couple other guys using these in another thread and no cutting required
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