SPOTLIGHT (Post-Mounted): Installation w/ lots of pics!!

Discussion in 'FJ Cruiser' started by LandCruiserSteve, Jan 21, 2008.

  1. The Unity Post-Mounted Spotlight for the FJ Cruiser



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    Before I even get into it, I just want to throw in some warnings and disclaimers.


    PLEASE READ:

    This installation is not a simple "plug 'n play" modification. And, possible irreversible damage to your FJ may occur if not done correctly and/or any deviation from the instructions takes place.

    Please refer to the spotlight manufacturer's instructions as the primary source of information when performing this installation, and only use my write-up merely as a reference as to how I happened to accomplish it.

    Also, even though my actual installation will be a dual spotlight installation (driver and passenger side), the manufacturer of the spotlight (Unity) states that some interference with the dashboard airbag deployment on the passenger side possibly may occur under certain circumstances if a spotlight is installed on that side. So, proceed at your own risk if you plan a set-up similar to mine. (I'll be posting up pics of the passenger side installation once it's completed.)

    This write-up will only chronicle the installation of the driver's side spotlight. (The passenger side's installation procedure is identical.)

    And lastly, if you’re the least bit unsure about your skills for a project like this, I highly recommend that you have your spotlight(s) installed by a professional shop that specializes in Unity spotlight installation.


    Purchase:

    I ordered the dedicated mounting/installation kit(s) directly from UNITY HAS THE RIGHT LIGHT

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    The driver side installation kit part number is #11RH. (The mirror-image passenger side installation kit would be #11LH). $31.94 each.

    Unity Manufacturing Co. - Detail

    Unity Manufacturing Co. - Detail


    NOTE: Even though the driver side installation kit is designated as "RH" (right hand), this particular mount is also used for a number of other vehicle applications, and Unity has determined that the RH mount is to be used specifically for the FJ Cruiser driver's (left hand) side. (This can be verified by checking Unity's vehicle application guide on their web site.)

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    However, the actual spotlight(s) (model 330CL) that are specific to the FJ Cruiser were kinda expensive from Unity.

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    So, I ordered them from Unity Spotlight 330CL (245,000 Candlepower)--Vehicle Lighting Solutions, Inc. ($113.95 each)

    The spotlight housings are available in either chrome or black. I got the black ones, however, I painted both the chrome mounting bracket and the swivel base of the spotlight itself for a totally "blacked out" look.

    As far as obtaining them locally, check Unity's web site for dealer locations, or check your phone book for stores/shops that specialize in automobile safety equipment.

    Also, most major cities will have shops that cater to equipping commercial trucks, school buses, tow trucks, etc. and they typically have access to Unity's products.


    Tools Required:

    High-torque electric drill
    Long-shaft 1/2" drill bit
    Misc. other drill bits
    Dremel tool
    Socket wrenches
    Screwdrivers
    Allen wrenches
    Misc. electrical connectors, cable ties, etc.
    Masking tape
    Touch-up paint
    Patience and courage


    Preparation:

    Remove the control handle from the spotlight shaft.

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    If you will be painting the chrome spotlight swivel base and mounting bracket, mask as necessary, sand the parts, prime, and three coats of gloss black paint. (The spotlight head is easily removed from the swivel base by opening the beam housing and unbolting the retainer bolt.)

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    For safety precaution, disconnect your battery's Negative (-) terminal prior to actual installation.

    Cut the included mount bracket template to precise size. And, tape it exactly three inches from the base of the external A-pillar cover where it meets the cowling by the windshield.

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    (Also, you might want to use masking tape in the general area of where the mounting bracket holes are to be drilled in the event of drill bit slippage.)

    Use a pencil or a pilot hole punch to mark the exact location of the 1/8" mounting bracket screws. (Remove the template after the marks have been made.)

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    Remove the driver's side grab handle and remove the interior A-pillar cover by pulling out and down from the top. (The cover will snap off will a little bit of pulling.)

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    Remove the grab handle mounting bracket and the side curtain airbag tether strap (if you have one).

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    Tuck the tether strap up out of the way.

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    Take a deep breath. The scary stuff is about to begin.


    (Continued in the next post . . . . )
  2. Installation:


    Drill two 1/8" holes into the external A-pillar cover where you previously made your marks with the template. (De-burr as necessary.)

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    Lay the spotlight mounting bracket gasket in position.

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    Place the mounting bracket over the gasket and attach it with the included self-tapping metal screws.

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    NOTE: It's very possible that the included 1/8" screws may not be long enough and thick enough for a good "bite" into the A-pillar. I encountered this problem when I realized that the mounting bracket had a very slight amount of play to it. So, I ended up using inch-long #10 screws instead.

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    It's absolutely imperative that the spotlight mounting bracket is attached to the A-pillar as solidly as possible. Not just for the sake of a secure mounting, but the mounting bracket itself will also serve as a drill alignment guide for your 1/2" hole once it comes time to drill it.

    You do not want that mounting bracket off-axis, even in the slightest for this reason alone. If it is, your 1/2" hole may end up someplace inside your FJ where you didn't want it!! :eek:


    Slide the included drill alignment guide sleeve into the mounting bracket and secure it with the flat-head side tensioning screw.

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    Using the drill alignment sleeve as a guide, begin drilling your 1/2" hole as straight in as possible. Periodically stop and check your progress, as well as let the drill bit cool down.

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    Eventually, your drill bit will appear precisely at this location on the inside of the A-pillar. (Due to the angle of the drilling, yes, the inside hole in be somewhat oblong in its shape.)

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    The inside hole will be somewhat jagged, so it will probably be necessary to de-burr and file the edges of the hole. Use a coat of touch-up paint to cover the exposed edges of the hole.


    Temporarily replace the plastic interior A-pillar cover, and run the 1/2" drill bit through the hole by hand (bit removed from the drill). Nudge the bit up against the back side of the plastic cover until a dimple appears from the outside. This will be your "mark" for cutting a hole in the plastic for the spotlight shaft to protrude through.

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    Again, remove the plastic interior A-pillar cover and use a combination of smaller drill bits and a Dremel tool to shape a clean hole that will accommodate the spotlight's handle shaft.

    You may have to repeatedly replace the plastic cover to determine exactly where the shaft will be coming through.

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    Remove the drill bit and alignment sleeve and insert the spotlight shaft from the outside of the truck all the way until the swivel base meets the mounting bracket. Then secure the spotlight within the mounting bracket with the side tensioning screw. (Remove masking tape from the exterior A-pillar cover.)

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    This is what the spotlight shaft will look like in the interior once the spotlight is inserted.

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    Replace the side curtain airbag tether strap and the grab handle mounting bracket.

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    Slide the interior A-pillar cover over the spotlight handle shaft and reposition the cover into place.

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    Slide the rubber filler gasket onto the handle shaft all the way to the interior A-pillar cover. Then slip the retaining ring into position and secure with an Allen wrench.

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    Replace the grab handle and re-install the control handle by gently sliding it onto the handle shaft and rotating it until you feel the shaft's notch line up with the inside of the control handle.

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    Once installed, the control handle should be at the same angle as the head of the spotlight itself.

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    Now you can relax . . . . the hard part is over. :D


    (Continued in the next post . . . . )
  3. Wrap-up:

    Drill a 5/16" hole into the plastic interior A-pillar cover next to the spotlight shaft that will accommodate the supplied rubber grommet, and feed the spotlight's power cable through. (Depending upon your dexterity and luck, you may have to temporarily pull back / remove the interior A-pillar cover to feed the cable down through the top of the dash right below the plastic cover.)

    Use the supplied retaining clip to secure the power lead to the shaft.

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    The single power lead should appear up under the dash by the driver side kick panel where it can eventually be connected to a fuse terminal inside of the interior fuse box. A 20 amp fuse is recommended.

    I happened to use an Add-A-Circuit for my connection. However, since there are a dozen different ways to provide power to auxiliary add-ons on the FJ, I'll leave that up to you.


    Positioning of the spotlight head is set by loosening the side tensioning screw on the exterior A-pillar mount and rotating the entire spotlight assembly until there's about a 90 degree free-travel movement of the head.

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    For reference, the "parked" (down) position of the head should sit about an inch from the windshield, making sure that operating windshield wipers do not contact it in it's lowest position.

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    Once positioned, tighten the tensioning screw.

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    Adjustment of the free-travel friction/dampening is made with an Allen wrench at this location.

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    Adjustment of the spotlight head rotation friction/dampening is made with an Allen wrench at this location.

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    Now, replace any previously removed panel parts, remove the masking tape, re-connect the Negative (-) terminal on your battery, and use a large towel to wipe off the sweat that you're drenched in. And, guess what . . . . . ??










    . . . . you're done!!!! :bounce: :bounce2:



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    Last edited: Jan 23, 2008
  4. And, here's the second spotlight installed on the passenger side. Literally identical in the installation process with no surprises. :) :)


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    To activate (or turn off) both spotlights simultaneously when they're being used together as off-road driving lights . . . . .

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    . . . . . I installed a "master" spotlight power switch.

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  5. Very nice job. I've been thinking of doing just the drivers side.
  6. jbs11

    jbs11

    Messages:
    35
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Awesome. I've been looking for one of these for my 4Runner, and they have an install kit that will fit. How is the brightness? I really want one that is HID, but can't find any through-the-A-pillar or through-the-roof mountable. Maybe I'll try a conversion kit, but not sure how well it will work with a reflector.
  7. 96r50

    96r50

    Messages:
    2,818
    Looks great, I've wanted to do one of these for a long time but never knew they were available. Awesome write up!
    How does the handle control the light? How do you make it tilt/twist etc?
  8. Thanks, 96r50!! The main interior control handle rotates the up/down movement of the spotlight, and the twist grip on the handle takes care of the 360 degree side-to-side movement.
  9. 96r50

    96r50

    Messages:
    2,818
    Thanks!
  10. John Bennett

    John Bennett

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Lufkin, Texas USA
    Great write-up and photos!

    Thank you for taking the time to document this.
  11. CapnHawk

    CapnHawk

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Steve: Have you encountered any problems with the right-hand installation? Unity does not recommend a right-hand spotlight installation on my Tundra and the truck looks out of balance with just a driver's side spotlight mounted on my truck.

  12. TrAiLbUs1

    TrAiLbUs1

    Messages:
    512
    Location:
    Toostoned AZ
    Damn cops and their spotlights:lol: Nice detailed install Steve!:cheers:


    You should get a GO light for the roof ..then you would be spotting everything!

    Searchlights

    I have to get one, they are soo cool in person absolutely amazing!
  13. Dutch107

    Dutch107

    Messages:
    1
    Very informative and detailed outline. I have all the parts, I just need the courage to do it!!! One question - did you install a higher amp alternator? With all the lights runing at once, I would assume that your power drain might be more than the standard alternator/battery can handle. Since I have various off road lights and a second battery in my truck, plus I pull a trailer with all those lights to power, I decided to replace my alternator with a high output/heavy duty one. It was a simple swap out and I don't get that dimming effect when the engine slows to an idle.
  14. timbo11

    timbo11

    Messages:
    1
    first off, awesome write-up. it made me decide to do this for myself...

    i just wanted to know what kind of circuit you have hooked up for the master switch because im interested in doing that for mine
  15. MoabFJ

    MoabFJ

    Messages:
    26
    Location:
    *Nor-Cal*
    Nice, very clean install.
    I have a Go Light ready to mount, but this is tempting..

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