shaving lights... am I nuts?

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Let's just start off by saying that I'm not a big fan of the pre-1976 tail light scheme on FJ55's. To me, the lower half, which includes the backup light and reflector, looks like it was tacked on at the last minute.

Keeping that in mind, we will now proceed into blasphemous territory... :D

DSC_9594.jpg


Here's a shot of what the rear end currently looks like... the brake lights and turn signals look fine to me, but that lower end... blecccchhhh!

So, that brings me to the Photo-chop:

proposed_lighting.jpg


I was thinking of removing the backup light and the reflector, and adding some PIAA-style 55w backup lights (or 'driving' lights) recessed into the tailgate. I thought about locating them in the bumper, but they were too low, or out to the side underneath the brake lights, but it looked kinda weird.

What's prompting me to go this route is that if you look in the first photo (which is rather dark), you can see that there is a kink in the sheetmetal right between the reflector and backup light on the driver's side, and they are bent toward one another. Trying to bend this back straight is going to be a mother...

There's also several other small dents in that corner, and the lower quarterpanel is rotten to the core.

Just something I'm tossing around so I'd appreciate some feedback, even if it's to tell me I'm nuts. :D
 

Southeast Overland

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I love the idea of removing the back up light and reflector. My quarters are pretty rotten. I can remove those and that will make it a TON easier to patch w/ new metal...but where to put the back-up lights? I'm not sure about your placement - I'll have to think about that - but I definately like the idea of removing the old location. Note though that my Pig is no where near pristine so if you have a stocker in good shape I would not recommend this.
 
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Thanks for the feedback.

I'm not set on the placement either...

The more I mull it over the more I'll probably just recess them into the rear bumper. I could probably fab their own housing on the bumper and just swap the guts, to kinda make it look "OEM".

Does anybody know what purpose the reflectors on the bottom served? I thought maybe they were so people could see your rig when you were parked, but other than that I don't see their purpose.

On the plus side, if I do shave the reflectors, I'll have a pretty nice pair of stock reflectors to offer back to the community, and the backup light lenses are in pretty good shape too (had to work a bribe in there...) ;)

One interesting thing is that I had moss terrariums growing in both of my backup light lenses. It was actually kinda pretty until I looked at the backup light housings... just a wee bit rusty. :eek:
 
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I personally like the idea of shaving them. And the best place to put them would be in the bumper. Because of their location in the tailgate, if you ever want to put on a spare tire carrier then the reverse lights would be covered up.

my .02
 
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That is true... something I didn't think of. Thanks. :)

Here's more of what I'm thinking about now:

proposed_lighting_2.jpg


The bumper will be completely different (I stretched the stock one in the pic), but that's the general location. Dual 55w bulbs should be plenty bright for backing up, even at that height.

I'll probably be ordering the two-tone brake/turn lenses from Foxfab sometime in the future too, though I'm going to still get a replacement all-red lens for the time being... I noticed that slocruisers now is carrying the tail light seals too.
 
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What kind of damage do you have there? It's hard to see in the picture but if it's caved in like mine was, an easy way to pop it back out is with a deflated football or soccer ball stuffed in there strategically! Re-inflate ball slowly and pop goes the sheet metal!! I've done it before. It works slick and fast and sure beats pulling it out!

The purpose of the reflectors is so folks can still see you if your lights are burned out.

I'll get dibs on a reflector or two if possible.
 

inkpot

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Howdy! I have never seen a set of the reflectors that really reflect. They are just red dots. Pretty worthless. The backups are OK for just stock lights, I put better Halogen bulbs in mine. For serious rear lights, lots of folks mount big floods on or above the rear corner posts. My 5/76 Piggy has the same setup. Isn't the cutoff for just the 78/79 models? John
 
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I like the idea of moving them I think your first location just looks poor though. That makes them look like more of an afterthought than the stock location. I would say in the bumper or directly under the turn signals.
 
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Consider putting all of the rear lights in the bumper. Especially since your brake/turn signal lights are siamesed anyway. And sort of gas can or tire carrier will obstruct the factory lights unless you move the tire/cans inboard a good bit. This reduces the usable room for whatever you want to mount there (and restricts tire size too). We've run into this problem on the '60 and '62 series rigs routinely. Adding tail lights in the bumper itself solves the problem of obstructing the factory lights. Since you are looking at doing body work and removing some of the lights from the fenders, just move all of them.


Mark...
 
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Consider putting all of the rear lights in the bumper. Especially since your brake/turn signal lights are siamesed anyway. And sort of gas can or tire carrier will obstruct the factory lights unless you move the tire/cans inboard a good bit. This reduces the usable room for whatever you want to mount there (and restricts tire size too). We've run into this problem on the '60 and '62 series rigs routinely. Adding tail lights in the bumper itself solves the problem of obstructing the factory lights. Since you are looking at doing body work and removing some of the lights from the fenders, just move all of them.


Mark...

If you do this you could just throw some '78ish FJ40 light assymblies in there.

hmmmm....
 
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Late model Fj40 lights have character. But that's about it. Dim, expensive, easily broken, very sensitive to corrosion and not water proof. I put sealed lights in all my bumpers. Trailer lights basically. No character at all, but they are bright, sturdy, immune to corrosion, water proof and inexpensively sourced preacticaly everywhere (even Walmart!).


Mark...
 
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I 2nd the waterproof trailer lights, all the loggers and truckers here swear by them, very easy installation in the bumper in a rubber cushioned gasket that hold them in place in the square tube
 
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My new trail pork project is all dented up in the back, and I had planned on bending some 14 gauge diamond plate to fit the rear corners... and then I was going to do some sort of round recessed trailer back-up lights somewhere near the stock location. The factory setup looks really cool, but is too vulnerable (and $$) for me to run on a trail beast. I would like to see any pics of this kind of thing if you get it done.
 
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Here's kinda what I'm looking at now:

rear_end.jpg


I'm going to keep the stock brake lights and turn signals, because I feel that without those the back end is too bare. Also is a mock-up bumper/hitch along with the backup light placement. I'll probably have some sort of cage around the light for protection as well, but haven't gotten that far yet. :)

As an aside, ain't that a sweeeet tailgate? :D

No rot, just some pitting on the cargo surface where it meets the weatherstripping at the bottom... oh, and a couple of small dings that you can see in the photo. It's the one glimmer of hope that keeps me going. ;)
 
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Nice and clean.

That tailgate looks really good that way, now you got me thinking about it as well.:idea:

I was reading MarkW's remarks and I must say that I agree. Today I had my tailgate down and used the corner of the bumper as a step.

If those lights were mounted internally on the bumper (straight below from where you have them), then the step would still be there.

The lights would not have their lenses flush with the surface of the bumper, rather they would be about 1/4 inch "in" from the surface, not even touching that part of the bumper. Just kind of shining through the hole.

Just a thought, heck, it's your bumper!:)

Where did you get that color of military green? (or is it PhotoShop)?

Thanks,
George
 
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That green looks like an etching primer I used to buy at the local parts store... really liked it at first, but found my paint to scratch off and chip easily after topcoating... I was probably doing some prep work wrong (not sanding enough or spraying it on too thick) oh well...
 
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scouthead wins the prize. :D

It's Dupli-Color self-etching primer from AutoZone. The metal was sandblasted, then pre-etched (and treated) with phosphoric prep & etch, sanded, and coated. It's primarily protection right now because unfortunately it's been raining on and off lately... :(

That's the one drawback to having an 'outside' work area.

I've been looking into using Zero-Rust as a primer, so the tailgate will probably be re-blasted and re-coated. I mainly wanted to protect the one part of the pig that was mostly rust-free from the elements, though it does appear to be sticking pretty well, and passed the fingernail test with flying colors. I had to scratch it with a screwdriver to get it to come off.

As far as the bumper goes, the backup lighting will be more protected than the way it is now. Just another quick 'n dirty mock-up to keep the brain juices flowing. :D

Thanks for the feedback fella's, I appreciate it.
 
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Yeah, I used that primer on my old '61 scout for the same reason- working on it outside and needed something to protect the metal. I have to say it did protect the metal very well while I did bodywork elsewhere (spent several damp nights outside and got rained on once)... I think the paint I used later wasn't compatible with that type of primer, and loosened it or something. It sure seemed nicely cured and hard before painting over it... and it applied well.
 

Gumby

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Late model Fj40 lights have character. But that's about it. Dim, expensive, easily broken, very sensitive to corrosion and not water proof. I put sealed lights in all my bumpers. Trailer lights basically. No character at all, but they are bright, sturdy, immune to corrosion, water proof and inexpensively sourced preacticaly everywhere (even Walmart!).


Mark...

I just put some very nice LED tail lights on sale at Carquest on my trailer. Very slick.

For the 55 trail rig I prefer semi-trailer sealed units. The mount in a rubber gasket. When mashed against something they just pop out or push in. Worst case scenario you can duct tape them to the bumper to get you home.

I think I like the idea of smoothing the lower part of the quarter panel a lot.

In fact that last pic has me thinking about trimming the lower two inches from the wheel well back. That sure would eliminate a lot of complicated body work.
 

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