How to install an LED light bar on the roof of my truck?

If you are like most off-road and truck enthusiasts, one of the things you’re probably REALLY interested in is installing LED lighting. This whole market of upgraded lighting has exploded in the last 2 years and everyone is very eager to get their truck’s upgraded as soon as possible! One thing that has become a trend though in the last few months is redneck style roof mounting… You’ve probably seen it done where you live and heck, maybe you’ve done it yourself.

The white truck in this picture mounted the light bar on the roof incorrectly. The black truck is done right.

The white truck in this picture mounted the light bar on the roof incorrectly. The black truck is done right.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I hate the look, but I can’t blame some people! They buy a 50″ light bar for their truck and it comes with brackets – so you mount it on your truck, right? I believe the secret to successful lighting upgrades is education, so I’m going to show you the right way and the wrong way to install a roof mount light bar on your truck, the biggest trick is getting a hold of a vehicle specific roof mount kit. If you installed your light bar like this, then you did it wrong:

THE WRONG WAY:

When you use the “universal” brackets that come with the light bar and just mount them to the top of your roof skin it LOOKS STUPID! Don’t do it! These “universal” brackets are a cheap way to mount your light bar, and then guess what happens – your truck looks cheap!

Listen, I don’t mean to belittle your manhood because you didn’t know any better, but now you don’t have any excuse. Let me show you the proper way to mount a light bar to your truck, it’s important to find a good vehicle specific light bar bracket kit, or fabricate something that works the same way, the end result should be something like this:

THE RIGHT WAY:

GMC Canyon Roof Light Bar Canyon LED Roof Mount Light BarOn this Canyon, a set of N-Fab roof mount light bar brackets were used for the install. The first thing you’ll notice is that it looks better than the first set of pictures. Getting the light bar up and off of the roof makes the whole setup look great. Secondly it allows you to position the light bar in a more usable way. Getting the light bar up and away from the roof allows the light bar to not be blocked by the roof skin right in front of it.

Here’s another example on another vehicle of how to properly mount an LED Light bar on the roof of your truck:

Vision X XPI LED Light Bar

XPI light bar has two sets of holes on each side that both bolt on the mounting feet. Since we’re doing a roof mount, we got to choose which hole to use and decided on the top one. That brought the Light Bar closer to the roof.

Vision X XPI LED Light Bar Roof Mount install

Vision X XPI LED Light Bar roof mount install completed.

 

photo 2 (1)Probably the best way to find out which vehicle specific light bar bracket to use is to first contact Headlight Revolution. They know what works and what doesn’t and can definitely get you set up with not only a light bar bracket, but also the right mounting and wiring components to make it all work.

 

Wiring: When you get the light bar properly mounted to your roof, and all the holes are sealed to become waterproof, it’s time to run your wiring. DO NOT just run the wiring loosely through the door jam.  The best way to do this is to drill a new hole in your roof near your roof mount brackets and run the wiring down directly into the cab of the truck. This is the best method because it is the shortest distance for the wire to travel, and it has the least chance of getting smashed in your door jamb.

Drill a hole in the roof, run your wiring through that hole and seal it up with waterproof silicone.

Drill a hole in the roof, run your wiring through that hole and seal it up with waterproof silicone.

Drill a hole in the roof, run your wiring through that hole and seal it up with waterproof silicone.

Drill a hole in the roof, run your wiring through that hole and seal it up with waterproof silicone.

 

However, if you’re really not sure how to do the install, you should either be prepared to drill holes in your roof as a learning experience, or hire a local professional install shop to do it for you.

If you need any help with what bracket kit you need for you truck, just ask!

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.

WARNING: HID Bulbs Will Melt Subaru BRZ Fog Lights – Try These LEDs Instead!

Did you know HID lights will melt the fogs on your BRZ? We will show you what happened to our BRZ and show you 2 good high power LED options so you can STILL have upgraded fog lights.

 

brz

If you’re like us, we love the look and power of HID bulbs in our vehicles and will use them any chance we get. So when it came to updating the Subaru BRZ we went all out and put HIDs in the headlights and fog lights. The strength and intensity of HID lights make them a perfect safety upgrade in headlights and fog lights during poor weather conditions. However, we found out that HIDs were not an ideal choice for our Subaru BRZ fog lights. In the Subaru BRZ, the power of the HID bulbs was too great for the fog light housings; within a few days they began to melt.

burnt fog lightburnt fog light 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HID light sources provide the brightest illumination available and are considered the benchmark against which other forward lighting technologies are measured. HID light sources provide three to four times the light output of standard halogen light sources and promote better driving visibility by providing enhanced peripheral vision and improved down-road illumination. HID Bulbs use up to 65% less energy than conventional lighting and can last up to 10 times longer, but all of that light creates heat. I recommend never installing HID bulbs in Subaru BRZ fog lights. We had these 35w HIDs installed in the fog lights for 1 week until we noticed some bubbles forming on the lens. Then within another week we also noticed the chrome reflector starting to flake and melt. As soon as we could, we ordered new housings and replaced them with new LED lights instead.

So now what, are you stuck with dim, yellow light in your BRZ fog lights? Not to worry, we’ve found two great options from Black Top Racing that will look great and keep your fog light housings intact.

Their first option is a 950 lumen 80 watt LED bulb from GTR Lighting. These bulbs will give you the crisp, white light of HID, with the long life and simplicity of LED bulb replacement.

led_fog_light_kit_level_1 2

Comparison of stock bulb and GTR Lighting LED Bulb in fog light housing.

 

Their second option is a complete LED Conversion Kit that boasts 2,200 lumens per bulb—that’s up to 2.5 times the output of standard halogen bulbs! Totally plug and play, this kit will give you the crisp, white 6000k look of HID without the higher HID price tag. Although the LED Conversion Kit doesn’t quite match the power level of HID, the LED Kit is a great choice where heat and melting issues arise. The LED bulbs in the Conversion Kit are molded from aluminum to conduct and dissipate heat through the bulb.  Also, an embedded fan in each bulb creates a forced-air cooling system to cool the bulb, prolong the bulb life, and protect your fog light housings.

 

LED bulb in housing.

LED bulb in housing.

Comparison of stock bulb and GTR Lighting  LED Conversion Kit bulb in a fog light housing

Comparison of stock bulb and GTR Lighting LED Conversion Kit bulb in a fog light housing

So if you want to update your Subaru BRZ fog lights, learn from our mistake and looking into these other great options. And if your looking to make any other upgrades to your Subaru BRZ, take a look at all the other BRZ specific options Black Top Racing has to offer.