Offroad Lights, Headlights & Limb Lifter
Rigid D-SS Pro spot and Limb Lifter
The latest addition to the Jeep is a roof platform and better off-road lights. Back in 2016, we had to drive back to Whistler at night, kilometers away on unassumed roads. Heavy rainfalls left boulders on the road too big to just roll them away (or over). That was the moment where our urge for off-road lights was born.
Before we head east to the Maritime this summer and then back home via Esker Lakes Provincial Park in Northern Ontario, we decided to make some upgrades.
1. Roof Platform from Adventure Rack Systems (ARS)
2. Off-Road lights from Rigid
3. Limb Lifter home-made
The plan is to carry spare tires, bicycles and more on the roof. We have to get as much weight off the hitch as possible. The two Propane Gas Tanks mounted on the tongue of the trailer increased the weight by over 30 kg.
All these changes are part of our master plan to travel the Dempster Highway one day soon we hope.
The Roof Platform
The platform is an addition to the ARS Pro Rack that is already installed. It is the ARS Pro Rack platform. Keep in mind that the ARS Pro Rack fits the hard top, NOT the soft top. The five panels of the platform have debossed holes. The frame has a groove to slide Rope Eye Tie Downs in any position needed.
There is some weight to the platform, but we can actually stand on the platform to view the world from a different perspective. We have to make a few minor changes on the rack to keep the parts secured and organised. We have two 20 liter metal gas cans, a Honda Generator, spare tires for the trailer and possibly one more for the Jeep, bicycles, the High Lift Jack and a ladder to climb up.
Jeep JK stock lights are bad
When we bought the Jeep, the first upgrade was replacing the headlights with the PIAA XTREME WHITE PLUS, a $100 simple and quick improvement.
Now we had more time to research the expensive LED options. Eventually, we decided not to upgrade. LED lights don't produce enough heat and therefore won't melt the ice and snow on the lens here in Ontario. We could get heated LED headlights, but the XTREME WHITE PLUS provide enough lights for a comfortable and safe drive.
Headlight Update, November 2020: About five years and still going strong. We have the same light bulbs and drove over 160,000 km since we installed them. We polished the lenses once to restore the original shine.
Going off-road is a different story. The headlights and fog lights provide reasonable illumination, but a far cry from actually seeing the path ahead.
The headlights are below your eyes and cast a shadows onto the trail. Gravel and boulders cast a lot of shadows and it is almost impossible to judge the depth of holes and waterbars. So the solution is a light source above your eyes, except when there is rain or fog.
We got the Rigid D-SS PRO Spot lights that set us back almost $400, mounting brackets NOT included. Once on the trail, we will adjust the position and mounting location. The $3 muffler bracket is doing an outstanding job for now.
The improvement is best described with WOW !!!
For a more dramatic display, check out the YouTube video Rigid D-SS in use and see the night pictures from our trip in the Timiskaming District.
The first example is on a more or less open trail.
The second example is on a trail with dense trees on both sides.
The 'Side shooter' option illuminates the trail beside the Jeep better than any fog lights.
There is no question in our mind, this is the one light solution that fulfils all our current requirements.
The Rigid lights come complete with harness and light switch.
The cable is under the Cowl Panel for the Windshield Wiper Motor. The connectors are tucked behind the mounting brackets of the ARS Pro Rack.
The cable with the on/off switch goes into the cabin and up the A-Pillar on the driver's side. There is drilling a hole into the plastic required.
UPDATE August 28, 2018: Up north near Esker Lakes Provincial Park, we picked Blueberries again this year. Every day we stopped at our secret location to add berries to our stash plus a cup for breakfast. One day we were late and had to pick at night. That's when the Rigid D-SS PRO Spot were very helpful. It made picking the berries as easy as during the day. Next time we plan to use them, I will have the tools ready to fine adjust the lights. They did point a bit too low.
The law requires that the off-road lights are covered. We didn't get one with the lights, so it was time to search the garage for some spare parts. We cut a plastic sheet to the size we needed. Rounded the edges and very carefully applied heat with the heat gun. We bent the plastic sheet to fit exactly over the lens. A few holes on the sides to stuff a velcro strip through. Hot glue to lock the strips in place and the covers are ready for prime time.
The design is based on the size and mounting location of the lights. It should protect the lights from branches and possible bumps from an upper angle.
Took some bending and adjusting, but the general setup works for now. The cable feeds through the Rope Eye Tie Downs of the rack platform.
The cable connects to the hood latch with a screw carabiner. We can disconnect the wire from the hood and secured them to the Rope Eye Tie Downs. This makes the wires almost invisible and don't pose a danger in urban areas.
Can't wait to head out and find new trails.
|First published on June 30, 2018 |
Last revised on April 16, 2021
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