Custom Hot Rod – 1971 Montgomery Ward T555 Trail Master Trike Build

Montgomery Ward T555 Trail Master Three Wheeler Trike

Montgomery Ward T555 Trail Master Three Wheeler Trike

Everybody has probably seen a Montgomery Ward 3 wheeler, but had no idea it was called a T555 (pronounced Tee Five Fifty Five) and also nicknamed the Trail Master. These things can be found at any antique show, your grandpa’s shed buried under old blankets and sawdust, or on your parent’s home videos from the 70’s. These were produced by Montgomery Ward in Omaha, Nebraska in the early 1970’s and were all built by hand. Only a few are left in operation today and from time to time you can find one that was restored and able to be ridden today.

This is what most of these 3 wheeled death traps look like nowadays.

This is what most of these 3 wheeled death traps look like nowadays.

I got a hold of one of these things, found in an older gentleman’s garage – hadn’t been touched in decades, and I fell in love with it! There was just something about the American nostalgia about it, and the cool shape and design, knowing it was hand-built 40 years ago by Montgomery Ward, I just had to have it – and I had to fix it up! Like most vehicles that I own I can’t just leave them stock, I had to customize it and make it mine.

We started with the frame: Moved the seat back 5 inches, and removed the flange in the middle of the frame in front of the seat. We had the whole thing powdercoated a metallic black, and the front fender and foot-wells were coated in Line-x bed coating for durability. The wheels were also taken apart and powdercoated silver to match some other components on the engine.

Next we had a new seat made out of waterproof vinyl by a local upholstery shop, took the engine apart, powdercoated the cover panels and ordered a bunch of new drivetrain parts. We got all new bearings, new brakes (custom made lines), new twist-throttle handlebar grips, a new brake handle, built a custom battery box for a Vision X battery and built a wildly custom intake an exhaust using a K&N filter, and a custom mini-bike style exhaust muffler. Everything got the presidential treatment! No expense was spared, and the whole project probably cost me about $5K with buying the trike, new parts, powdercoating, custom fabricating, and other labor.

We actually found an updated engine from a 1980’s snowblower to use instead of the original one, but it was still the Tecumseh HM80 used to power this American Made beast! The reason for going with the newer engine was not that the original was worn out, but the new one had less antiquated electronics controlling the ignition and came with a built in electric-start for use with a 110v extension cord! We thought about upgrading to a 10hp engine, but thought we should at least keep the engine original-ish.

On the front of the T555 trike we did all kinds of stuff there too. We found some motorcycle handlebar grips that had a really cool Harley/hot rod look to them, pointed on the ends, and an integrated twist-style throttle. Also, we tossed the original two-handle brake levers and installed a brand new single lever brake handle, with all new brake pads, and all new cables which had to be custom made. Also mounted on the handle bar is a Vision X LED Light bar and a dirt-bike style ignition kill switch.

The original headlight on this thing was a 4.5″ round halogen incandescent lamp that was actually routed through the wiring as part of the ignition circuit. We pulled it off and installed a direct replacement (same brand as the original also) JW Speaker brand 6045 LED headlight. JW Speaker still even had the rubber retaining rings in stock to hold it in place so we were even able to use the stock headlight bucket.

 

The finishing touches on this trike was a set of red LED driving lights mounted to the rear of the truck, activated on the same circuit as the headlight. We used a pair of GTR Lighting 7″ long LED Lightning strips because they are super low profile (don’t really even notice them when off), and they are waterproof, and insanely bright!

GMC Canyon Roof Mounted LED Light Bar

If you have a GMC Canyon or Chevy Colorado, and you want to put a roof-mounted light bar on it you’ve probably found that nobody makes a vehicle specific kit. A friend of mine wanted to add this type of Light Bar setup to his 2007 Canyon and I found a product that actually works really good!

Canyon LED Roof Mount Light Bar

You’ll need these items to make it work (Click the links to see each part):

For this installation we actually installed Nut-Certs into the roof, drilled a hole through the roof for the wiring to go through, and used stainless steel cap bolts from the hardware store. All I wanted to help with was to show pictures that it can be done, show you what size light bar to use, and some pictures to give you an idea of how it all goes together.

We used the Vision X brand XIL-801 Flood Beam LED Light bar, it’s 42″ long and fit perfectly on the roof of this Canyon. We got all of the parts to do this install from Headlight Revolution, so if you want to replicate this install contact Headlight Revolution at this link: HERE.

The difference between Real JW Speaker LED Lights and fakes!

We’ve been hearing reports of people purchasing JW Speaker brand LED fog lights and headlights, from supposedly trustworthy retailers on the internet, only to find out that they were lied to, and what they received was a cheap Chinese knock off! I wanted to take some time to put this comparison together for you to make sure you’re actually getting what you paid for!

In today’s world of modern technology it’s becoming easier and easier for lazy companies around the world to copy somebody else’s innovation. Now, the Wisconsin, USA company J.W. Speaker Corporation is no exception! We recently got our hands on a set of real JW Speaker 6145 lights, and JW Speaker 8700 Evolution headlights and tested them against a counterfeit version to see what the differences are. What we found was not surprising. Afterall, if a product is worth copying in the first place, then somebody out there thought it was a great product and instead of creating their own they were unethical and just copied it.

The lights looked similar in size and shape, but all of the details were missing. The JW Speaker lights had way more light output, they are built with better materials (sealant, wires, connectors, lenses, etc…) and the fit & finish of the JW Speaker brand products was much nicer.

Here are some comparison pictures of the visuals of the JW Speaker products versus their Chinese counterfeit knockoff products to give you an idea of what to look out for when you’re trying to purchase the real thing. Hopefully this posting will help some people out if they are worried about being scammed by a seller.

Especially you should watch out for dishonest sellers trying to sell you the real thing on websites like Amazon, eBay and other international sales platforms on the internet. If you have any doubt, just compare their products to this review and there should be no question if it’s real or not!

 

First, here’s a comparison of the real JW Speaker 6145 LED fog light, and the Chinese knock-off version:

JW Speaker real and fake 15

It’s important to know if you are buying the real deal or someone’s cheap knockoff. Here’s a comparison picture side by side showing the JW Speaker 6145 and it’s terribly performing counterfeit copy.

 

JW Speaker real and fake

All JW Speaker LED fog lights are built using the industry’s best practices, even down to the details like how the lens sealant looks when finished! Not only is it important for the sealant around the lens to look good, but a poorly applied lens sealant will also cause moisture problems.

 

JW Speaker real and fake 2

On the original JW Speaker 6145 you can clearly see the Speaker logo embossed on the fog light bezel. The knockoff is blank.

JW Speaker real and fake 3

All JW Speaker LED headlights and fog lights come with a lifetime warranty, but they also tell you exactly what month and year they were manufactured. Here you can see the real one shows a sticker with the production date listed.

JW Speaker real and fake 4

Real JW Speaker lights do not cut corners, so in this side by side example you can see that the real one uses thick metal construction and high quality hardware components. The cheap Chinese version has thin metal attachments, and low quality components which will give you more issues during install.

 

JW Speaker real and fake 5

JW Speaker LED headlights and fog lights are sealed to IP67 waterproof ratings. This is evident in how the wires are sealed at the back of the housing. The Chinese knockoff of this light does not do a good job of sealing the back side of the housing from moisture.

JW Speaker real and fake 6

With real JW Speaker lights you will never find cut corners on quality even when it comes to the wiring and connectors. Here you can see that not only does the JW Speaker product use the highest quality connectors, but also heavier gauge wires.

JW Speaker 6145 real and fake beam patterns

Here you can see the real JW Speaker LED fog light beam pattern is brighter, taller, wider and has less weird shadows in the beam pattern. The fake light has a very small and un-impressive beam pattern.

 

Now, here’s a comparison of the real JW Speaker 8700 Evolution LED headlight, and the Chinese knock-off version:

 

JW Speaker real and fake 7

This is the JW Speaker 8700 Evolution side by side with a Chinese counterfeit knockoff product that’s supposed to look like the real thing. But trust me, they are very different!

JW Speaker real and fake 8

The back side looks very similar, but it’s the important details that matter such as the type of harness that is used, the moisture vents, and the wiring connections.

JW Speaker real and fake 9

The real JW Speaker headlight uses high quality moisture vents on the back side that are sized properly for the application, where the cheap knockoffs use random over-sized vent covers that will fail over time.

JW Speaker real and fake 10

JW Speaker LED headlights are sealed to an IP67 weatherproof rating, the Chinese knockoffs have no IP rating to speak of. You can see the different wiring methods used by both here and one is safe to use and the other is not. The Chinese version has the wires covered because they don’t want you to see how easy it is to get water into their housing.

JW Speaker real and fake 11

When you knock off a product you need to cut corners everywhere to make it cheaper. Even in the connectors! JW Speaker uses the industry’s best quality H4 style connectors, where the Chinese copy uses a low quality, inexpensive connector that is prone to having crimp and connection issues.

JW Speaker real and fake 12

The JW Speaker 8700 LED headlights are DOT and SAE approved, and it says so right on the lens! The cheap Chinese copy is not DOT, ECE, SAE, or any other 3-letter acronym approved by anyone! Also, JW Speaker LED headlights are made in the USA!

JW Speaker real and fake 13

Real JW Speaker LED headlights are easily recognizable because you can see the company logo stamped right into the bezel of the light. There’s no doubt if you’re getting the real thing here!

JW Speaker real and fake 14

One of the reasons JW Speaker LED headlights are better than cheap copies is they use the best materials in the business, and they do all their own product engineering. It’s not a randomly selected LED, it’s not an off-the-shelf optic, and it’s a custom built power supply. Here you can see that the knockoff headlight uses a tiny high beam projector, and cheap LED chips.

JW Speaker real and fake 16

All JW Speaker LED headlights will have identifying marks on them, including a handwritten inspection label so you know you’re getting the real deal!

JW Speaker real and fake 17

All JW Speaker LED headlights will have identifying marks on them, including a month and year label to indicate time of production, so you know you’re getting the real deal!

JW Speaker 8700 real and fake beam patterns

Here you can see the differences between the high and low beam outputs on the real versus fake headlights. The genuine JW Speaker products have no funny shadows being thrown around, and have a much higher power high beam. The Chinese knockoff lights look like the high beam might be better, but when shining down a road a couple hundred feet, the real American made JW Speaker headlights go about 3 times further down the road!

Hopefully this comparison helps you from getting ripped off in the future when you are trying to get a good quality product. Why waste your money on a cheap knockoff when the real thing is available from reputable dealers like Headlight Revolution, Black Top Racing, and Headlight Superstore!

How to install KC HiLiTES 7″ LED Headlights in the Jeep Wrangler

We recently came across this product install of the 7″ Round KC HiLiTES LED Headlights in a Jeep Wrangler. Keep reading to see how this Wrangler owner did the project.

Re-posted from the Wrangler Forum.  Write-up and pictures by user HSKR4X4 on http://www.wranglerforum.com.

KC HiLiTES 7″ LED Headlight Install

Install time: 20-45 minutes
Rating: EASY!
Let’s get started! Hopefully I am making this as easy as possible for those that are experienced and to newbies that have never touched their Jeeps. Here is what comes in box. (Make sure you obviously have both lights and both harnesses before starting)

KCHILITES 7INCH ROUND LED HEADLIGHTS

Tools needed:
Flat Head Screwdriver
T10 Torx Screwdriver
Pick Tool

First you need to undo the blinker/running lights on grille. You have two options depending on what you find easier. You can pull red tab, press the harness bottom tab and pull harness, or you can just twist the light housing and light when come out with harness still attached.

jeep wrangler blinker and harness

Next, opening hood. On each side of front of hood you will have two latches. You will need to pull back those hood latches on each side for hood to open enough to unlatch hood lever under hood. **Note** to Jeep owners that have never owned a Jeep before. There isn’t a hood lever to pull inside of Jeep.

Jeep wrangler hood latch

After propping the hood open, you will see on the top of grille 6 black push button tabs.

push tabs under jeep hood

Here is where you will need the flat head screwdriver and pick.

First take flat head screwdriver and pop at the plastic pin in the tab. (If the entire push button comes out that is fine)
Then take pick and gently go under tab to pop out.

After all 6 tabs are completely pulled out it is time to gently pull corners of grille. On each end of grille there is tabs behind and also down lower middle section. By pulling one or possibly even both ends “gently” that will help pull the rest of grille from Jeep.

taking out push tabs to release jeep grille

Place grille aside and this is what your Jeep should look like at this point.

removed Jeep grille

Now it is time to start pulling your factory headlights! Grab your T10 torx screwdriver (I’ve heard some Jeeps have a different size) and unscrew the chrome ring that goes around the actual headlight.

unscrewing jeep headlights

**BE AWARE THAT ONCE ALL FOR TORX SCREWS ARE PULLED, THE HEADLIGHT CAN FALL OUT** Make sure you are holding light in place with one of your hands!

unscrewing jeep headlights 2

Now that the ring is pulled, gently pull light out so you can see wiring harness behind.

**Note** My harness will be different due to having the KC HiLiTES H4 coversion 7″ Headlight upgrade.

On the wiring harness you will need to pull the red tab out then push the harness tab button and pull wiring harness apart.

jeep wrangler headlight harness

Once you have both headlights and harnesses pulled this is what you should have and what stage your Jeep should look like. Good time to grab some glass cleaner and wipe the grime off the chrome ring.

jeep with removed headlights removed jeep headlights

NOW TO THE UPGRADE!

Grab your new KC HiLiTES LED Headlights and harnesses and attach the yellow three pronged plug in to the back of headlight housing.

KC HiLiTES 7inch LED headlight back and harness

KC HiLiTES 7 LED headlights with harness attached

Now take headlights back to Jeep for final install!

Take wiring harness and plug back in to the green harness that is hard wired in to the Jeep. (Make sure after attaching harnesses to push back in red tab)

attaching KC HiLiTES 7inch  LED headlight to jeep

Next is lining up the headlights. (There is 4 little rectangle grooves that match up with the 4 rectangle boxes that will help you line up new headlights perfectly)

Once you have your headlight lined up, slide back on the chrome ring and start screwing in the 4 torx screws.

KC HiLiTES 7 inch LED headlight in place

Now that you have both headlights installed, check to make sure your low/high beams work!

KC HiLiTES 7inch LED headlight high and low

ALMOST DONE!!!

It is now time to put the grille back.

On each end once again there is two tabs and the rest will be holes to help you line up grille.

reinstalling jeep grille

Once lined up gently tap in from one side to other and you will see/hear everything go back in to place.

reinstalling jeep grille

Now that grill is lined up, take the tabs and put back in the 6 holes then take the 6 pins and slide in to the tab holes (They can only go in one way due to the grooves so don’t force)

jeep tabs and pins to hold grille

You’re now at the FINAL STEPS!

Put the blinker/running lights harness or lights back in.

installing jeep blinkers

Close hood and latch down…

DONE!!!!

installed KC HiLiTES 7 inch LED headlights

If you want to get your own set of 7″ Round LED Headlights from KC HiLites, you can find them for sale and many other LED headlights to fit your Jeep Wrangler here at Headlight Superstore!

Flexible White Tube with White and Amber LEDs for Custom Headlights

I spent the week in Las Vegas for the 2014 SEMA show recently and a new product caught my eye… probably because it was used in a TON of vehicles, and I’ve never seen it before.

At first glance it looked like just an accent piece or something, like a white trim piece… then at night they turned them on!!

White silicone or rubber strips used for custom headlight accents.

White silicone or rubber strips used for custom headlight accents.

Here are the accent strips lit up. They shine bright white, and blink amber.

Here are the accent strips lit up. They shine bright white, and blink amber.

 

The cool thing about these strips is that they stay on with the parking light signal and illuminate white, then because they also connect to the blinker trigger, they blink amber when using your turn signals.

White for "parking" lights, and amber for blinkers.

White for “parking” lights, and amber for blinkers.

The harness has 3 wires: ground, + parking and + blinker. Also, the strip is trimmable to fit any application.

The harness has 3 wires: ground, + parking and + blinker. Also, the strip is trimmable to fit any application.

When turned off, they are just subtle white strips, much better looking than the common yellow LED strips that most people are using.

Here are some of the vehicles at the car show sporting the GTR Lighting flexible rubber LED tubes :

 

Headlight Upgrades for new style 2015 Ford F150

The new U-Shaped headlight housings coming on the 2015 Ford F-150 are definitely a unique new style, they even have an aftermarket style flair to them that many enthusiasts are already falling in love with. Gone are the days of having to replace your headlight housings with aftermarket units in order to have an aggressive look!

This new U-Shaped F150 headlight will come in an LED version, designed by OSRAM, with built in high power LEDs, or you can get the less expensive option that comes with halogen bulbs. If your truck has the halogen bulb option, you’ve still got options! You can upgrade to LED or HID headlight bulbs by using the products outlined in this article. Aftermarket LED conversion kits are still not brighter than HID, but they do turn on instantly, they last longer than HID and they are significantly easier to install.

Here are the products that you can use to upgrade these new headlights, fog lights, and tail lights:

2015 F-150 U-Shaped Headlight Bulb Upgrades:
Low Beam: H11
H11 LED Conversion Kit Upgrade
H11 HID Conversion Kit Upgrade

High Beam: HB3/9005
HB3/9005 LED Conversion Kit Upgrade
HB3/9005 HID Conversion Kit Upgrade

Fog Lights: H11
H11 LED Conversion Kit Upgrade
H11 HID Conversion Kit Upgrade

Rear Parking Light / Brake Light / Turn Signal Bulb: Red 3157
3157 LED Bulb Upgrade

Reverse Light Bulb: White 3157
3157 LED Bulb Upgrade

Here are some close-up shots of the stock headlights so you can double check, if your headlights look like these, then the products listed above will work for your truck:

Will the JW Speaker 8700 be the new Jeep LED Headlight Option

Most Jeep enthusiasts know what types of LED headlights are available for their vehicle, and arguably the most popular option in recent years has been the JW Speaker model 8700 LED Headlight. This model of the available Jeep headlight options has the most futuristic and unique look, and the best light output of any other 7″ round LED Headlight on the market, so it’s no wonder that they are the most popular.

Because it has become such a popular product in the Jeep community, it’s no wonder it has caught the eye of Jeep corporate. At last year’s SEMA show (2013) the Mopar booth had Truck-Lite LED headlights branded with the Jeep logo.

Now in 2014 at the Jeep booth they have JW Speaker 8700 LED headlights, factory equipped with H13 connectors, and the Jeep logo branded on the inner bezel. Why does Jeep keep debuting different LED headlights at their booth with the Jeep logo? My guess is they are just feeling the water for the market, throwing options at the wall to see what sticks and to see what people like.

Here are the pictures from the Jeep booth, showing the JW Speaker LED headlights marketed in the Jeep booth at SEMA 2014:

If you like the sound of a Jeep with LED Headlights, you can get your own at Headlight Revolution here. All you need is the JW Speaker 8700 and the adapter harnesses.