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.

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.

Which Bulbs Fit the 2015 Nissan Altima SV?

I recently got my hands on a new 2015 Nissan Altima SV and at the time of writing this there is no database online or at the dealership that said what bulbs the vehicle took for headlights and fog lights. We wanted to upgrade the low beam headlights and the fog lights to LED or HID bulbs so to do the install we just had to tear the car apart and find out what it had under the hood!

Here’s what we found: On this particular 2015 Nissan Altima SV it used H11 low beam headlight bulbs and H11 fog light bulbs. We ended up going with 2 pairs of the GTR Lighting H11 LED Headlight conversion kit found here. These fit in the stock fog light and headlight housings perfectly with no modification necessary. They were 100% plug and play. We installed the lights, zip-tied up all the wiring and turned them on. That’s all there was to it!

Here are the pictures of a comparison between stock and the new LED bulbs from GTR Lighting:

The H11 LED headlight conversion kit from GTR Lighting is plug and play on the new Altima and they are WAY brighter than stock bulbs!

The H11 LED headlight conversion kit from GTR Lighting is plug and play on the new Altima and they are WAY brighter than stock bulbs!

The H11 LED headlight conversion kit from GTR Lighting is plug and play on the new Altima and they are WAY brighter than stock bulbs!

The H11 LED headlight conversion kit from GTR Lighting is plug and play on the new Altima and they are WAY brighter than stock bulbs!

The H11 LED headlight conversion kit from GTR Lighting is plug and play on the new Altima and they are WAY brighter than stock bulbs!

The H11 LED headlight conversion kit from GTR Lighting is plug and play on the new Altima and they are WAY brighter than stock bulbs!

The H11 LED headlight conversion kit from GTR Lighting is plug and play on the new Altima and they are WAY brighter than stock bulbs!

The H11 LED headlight conversion kit from GTR Lighting is plug and play on the new Altima and they are WAY brighter than stock bulbs!

 

As you can see from the above pictures, the LED headlight kits are twice as bright as the original lights, and here you can see the completed lights.

GTR Lighting H11 LED Bulbs installed in the fog lights and low beams.

GTR Lighting H11 LED Bulbs installed in the fog lights and low beams.

GTR Lighting H11 LED Bulbs installed in the fog lights and low beams.

GTR Lighting H11 LED Bulbs installed in the fog lights and low beams.

GTR Lighting H11 LED Bulbs installed in the fog lights and low beams.

GTR Lighting H11 LED Bulbs installed in the fog lights and low beams.

GTR Lighting H11 LED Bulbs installed in the fog lights and low beams.

GTR Lighting H11 LED Bulbs installed in the fog lights and low beams.

HID Headlight Solution for 2014 Ford Fusion

Many people have been trying to install an HID conversion kit into the new 2014 Ford Fusion and have been running into a bunch of HID issues. Most of the time what happens is after the install you will test the lights and they work fine, but then when you start the engine to drive the car the headlights no longer work at all. We have tried several different types of ballasts and none of them work except for the brand new GEN 4 CANBUS ballast from GTR Lighting. This new series of ballasts (The Hylux Series) features the newest CANBUS integration technology in the market and works as a plug and play option for the new Ford Fusion. It can be expected that the new GEN 4 CANBUS ballast from GTR Lighting will work for any new Ford vehicle with similar CANBUS issues.

HID Issues are Solved with the Hylux ballast from GTR Lighting

HID Issues are Solved with the Hylux ballast from GTR Lighting

We tried a ballast from Morimoto, the 3rd gen ballast from GTR Lighting, a ballast from DDM tuning and a cheap eBay ballast we had laying around and they all did the same thing, worked with the engine off and as soon as the engine was started they quit working. This happens because the CANBUS system is activated on these cars to start controlling and monitoring the headlights once you start the engine to drive it. The ONLY ballast that was totally plug and play, NO extra parts, NO splicing or cutting – just plug it in and go, was the new GEN 4 ballast from GTR.

GTR Lighting GEN 4 CANBUS Ballasts are called the "Hylux Series" and are plug and play on new Ford vehicles for doing HID Conversion Kits.

GTR Lighting GEN 4 CANBUS Ballasts are called the “Hylux Series” and are plug and play on new Ford vehicles for doing HID Conversion Kits.

Simple solution, buy that ballast and use it with any HID bulbs that fit your Ford for a no-hassle solution! Easy. The Hylux series ballasts come in a 25w, a 35w and a 55w version, you can learn more about these ballasts and purchase them for your HID install here. It is safe to say that ANY of the new Hylux ballasts will work seeing as they all use the same CANBUS module integration. This is great news because for a long time the only good CANBUS ballasts out there were only available in 35w and now you can get a really high quality CANBUS ballast in any power level from GTR Lighting.