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Put a new set of LED strobes on my Taco

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by BenWA, Jan 24, 2012.

  1. Jan 24, 2012 at 12:16 PM
    #1
    BenWA

    BenWA [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I used to have some Whelen hideaway strobe bulbs hidden inside my tail lights and fog lights, but the power supply crapped out and I wanted to go with LED's this time. I bought some cheapo LED strobes on eBay for $18, and I got what I paid for (i.e., not bright at all). :rolleyes:

    So I finally got around to doing it right with some Maxxima LED strobes hidden below the tailgate. :cool:

    First, here's a vid to show the finished product:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MehQ2yNIN7g


    Part # for the Maxxima strobe units that I used is M20373YCL

    [​IMG]

    The light units are nice and compact, but still over an inch deep in dimension, so I had to scratch my head a bit to figure out where to mount them to the rear of my truck. I wanted them to be as stealthy as possible when not in use. Didn't want them haning too low under my bumper, for fear of them getting torn off if I bottom out over an off road obstacle.

    So I decided to recess them into a spot underneath my tailgate, which required cutting some holes in the metal that is in the gap between the bottom of my tailgate and the top of my rear bumper, such that the bodies of the light units are concealed inside the frame with just the lenses poking thru the holes that I cut.

    I posted this thread to ask about cutting holes into my truck:
    http://www.tacomaworld.com/forum/technical-chat/198086-cutting-large-holes-through-steel-how-do-you-do.html

    Here's the general location of where I put them (tailgate is removed in pic). The LEDs in this pic are the cheapo eBay ones that are being replaced:

    [​IMG]


    Note: the metal that I cut through is part of an upside down U-channel frame cross-member, but from what I can tell it is non-structural, so I didn't have too much problem with cutting holes in it. A lot of folks on here will probably scoff at the idea of cutting holes into a frame member for lights. But I did it. If you are worried about comprimising the strength of the frame, you could always beef it up with some reinforcement if you were so inclined.


    Here's the inside of that frame member where i cut the holes so you can see what it looks like under there:

    [​IMG]


    Back on the outside, I started by making a paper template to mark where the holes get bored. I bored the adjacent holes with a bi-metal hole saw and then cut out the straight parts in between with a cutting wheel:

    [​IMG]


    I used a center punch to mark the centers of the two holes, the metal was so thin that the punch went straight thru!

    Drilled the twin holes with the hole saw. Not as smooth as I had hoped, as the hole saw "walked" around a bit before it punched thru, but I held it steady and it got the job done rather barbarically:

    [​IMG]


    Cleaned up the burred edges with a drum grinder:

    [​IMG]


    Now time to cut the straight parts between the adjacent holes with a cutting wheel:

    [​IMG]

    Took a lot of cleaning up with a rasp and a file:

    [​IMG]


    Painted the cut edges with black Rustoleum to keep things rust proof, don't want my frame to rust. :rolleyes:

    To mount the lights, I made mounting brackets by folding some steel pieces that I got at Home Depot using a bench vise. The brackets allowed me to mount the lights from the inside of the frame member:

    [​IMG]

    I mounted them to the inside of the frame member using industrial strength velcro (don't laugh, it works great!). That way they are easily removable should they ever need servicing or replacing.

    Here's a nice blurry pic of what the bracket/light looks like when mounted from the inside. Note that I grounded each light head individually to a screw drilled into a flange on that same frame member:

    [​IMG]

    Once mounted, you can barely see them:

    [​IMG]

    You probably would never know they were there if you didn't know where to look:

    [​IMG]


    Here's a video to give an idea of what they look like... the camera doesn't capture the rapid strobe effect of this particular flash pattern, but at least you get an idea of brightness:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGgWzR0dEG4&feature=g-upl&context=G2610f0eAUAAAAAAAAAA

    In person, they are VERY bright.

    I wired them to an FJ Cruiser foglight on-off button that is similar to the Taco's stock fog button, except it has a built in LED so you know when the strobes are on. Part # is PT297-35070-AS

    [​IMG]

    I also wired in a separate momentary push button that I got at Radio Shack that is used to "scroll through" the flash pattern choices, of which there are 20+ to choose from.

    I plan on using these strobes mainly to supplement a Wheelen magnet mount rotator that I have for the roof for highway work.


    So there you have it. I'm very happy with how they turned out.
     
  2. Jan 24, 2012 at 3:32 PM
    #2
    iroc409

    iroc409 Well-Known Member

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    Looks nice. I've actually really wanted to do this with auxiliary reverse lights and a rear fog light. Haven't really had the time or money to complete it, though.
     
  3. Jan 24, 2012 at 3:43 PM
    #3
    Forster46

    Forster46 Very nice how much?

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    Man I like these, these are smaller than I thought they would be. I'm betting they will be brighter once you get them wired to your battery.
     
  4. Jan 24, 2012 at 4:15 PM
    #4
    BenWA

    BenWA [OP] Well-Known Member

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    They actually look brighter in person than in the video, even in daylight. I hope the 12V still makes them a little brighter though.
     
  5. Jan 24, 2012 at 4:19 PM
    #5
    NorthernTaco

    NorthernTaco Member

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    Nice job! Looks like a really clean install!
     
  6. Jan 24, 2012 at 10:30 PM
    #6
    BenWA

    BenWA [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Thanks! I'm really happy with how they turned out. :)
     
  7. Jan 24, 2012 at 10:35 PM
    #7
    707tothe907

    707tothe907 Superior Member

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    Awesome mod and write up, rep to you. Maybe look at some hideaway strobes for the front as well?

    But seriously, great write up.
     
  8. Jan 24, 2012 at 11:16 PM
    #8
    BenWA

    BenWA [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Thanks! :)

    Yeap, I am saving up for a pair for the front. They will be very easy to mount to my grille and patch in to the wiring that I have already done for the rears.
     
  9. Jan 24, 2012 at 11:17 PM
    #9
    SocalMan22

    SocalMan22 Founder Socaltacomas.com

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    What Mods!
    I like this setup good job
     
  10. Jan 24, 2012 at 11:19 PM
    #10
    907taco

    907taco Alaskan Assassin

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    are these easy to wire up? looks like something i might want to do at a later time. looks great!
     
  11. Jan 24, 2012 at 11:26 PM
    #11
    yota new.o

    yota new.o Well-Known Member

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    do you have a link from where you ordered them from
     
  12. Jan 24, 2012 at 11:43 PM
    #12
    yota new.o

    yota new.o Well-Known Member

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    thanks for the pm
     
  13. Jan 25, 2012 at 5:32 AM
    #13
    REDTRD

    REDTRD Woods & Water Edition

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    Click my build thread!
    Looks sick I like it!
     
  14. Jan 25, 2012 at 11:16 AM
    #14
    BenWA

    BenWA [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I bought them at a local shop in Seattle but I googled them and saw that you can get em online. I will find a link for you.

    Edit here's the link to manufacturer website:
    http://www.maxxima.com/products/7/Warning+&+Emergency.html#

    They were very straightforward to wire up. The instructions give an easy to follow wiring diagram. I did it right with a soldering iron and heat shrink.
     
  15. Jan 25, 2012 at 5:33 PM
    #15
    BenWA

    BenWA [OP] Well-Known Member

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  16. Jan 25, 2012 at 5:58 PM
    #16
    Boerseun

    Boerseun Well-Known Member

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  17. Jan 26, 2012 at 10:24 PM
    #17
    Forster46

    Forster46 Very nice how much?

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    Where did you get your rotator?
     
  18. Jan 27, 2012 at 7:24 AM
    #18
    BenWA

    BenWA [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I don't remember to be honest. It's a Whelen Guardian magnet mount, and I got it online about 5-6 years ago wherever the least expensive option was at the time. I paid about $150 for it.

    Here's one current dealer, but it's more than I paid:

    http://www.public-safety.com/product_info.php?products_id=4340
     
  19. Jan 29, 2012 at 11:00 PM
    #19
    Forster46

    Forster46 Very nice how much?

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    Interesting... Well I have a friend who owns a towing company so I will ask him about it. He's also the assistant chief at my fire department. Maybe he can get me a good deal on one somewhere.
     
  20. Jan 29, 2012 at 11:04 PM
    #20
    TnRedNeck721

    TnRedNeck721 GO VOLS!

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    nice man! i thought about doing something. not that i NEED to. but just to do it.
     
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