Anyone that owns a TJ hopefully does so for all the right reasons. Life style, the freedom to drive down the freeway topless, taking that little used trail at the end of the “road”….well, you know what I’m talking about. Anyone that owns a TJ realizes it is not a vehicle that is stacked with the creature comforts that you commonly find in other vehicles. Sure, we have doors….but some of them actually pull away from the vehicle as you drive down the highway…..and with a head wind, it gets worse. Road noise can be pretty loud depending on the current selection of doors and tops. And while the headlights and factory fogs are adequate for the job, there is room for improvement. Yeah….it’s a TJ…..and we love BECAUSE of all those things and more.
But have you ever had to find a spare part or tool in the back of the TJ during a late night trail run? I have…..and I’ve learned to carry an extra flashlight, no thanks to my dome light, just so I can find the part I am looking for. On my TJ, the interior dome light (all one of them) is rather puny to say the least. Yes, it satisfies the requirement for having a light…..but that is about as far as it goes.
Time to upgrade that dome light into something useful on the trail and at the same time, cut the current draw by a factor of 10. Enter Roundeyes.com and their TJ LED dome light upgrade. Roundeyes is a performance lighting company that has been developing aftermarket lighting solutions for some time now. With a goal to provide you with better nighttime visibility and safety, I believe they are right on target after looking through their product listing.
The upgraded dome light is a bright white LED light (compared to the yellow glow of the factory bulb) that does a good job of lighting up the back of my TJ. For those of you that have two dome lights, you’ll see double the light compared to my single installation.
The company that makes the light assembly claims it is 4 times brighter than stock. I didn’t have a light meter to verify the claim but it is brighter, that I am sure. The kit is pretty unique in that it will fit a multitude of lamp assemblies as it comes with 5 different lamp adaptes. Plug the LED assembly into the correct adapter, insert the adapter into the dome lamp socket, and secure it in place with the supplied double sided tape. It doesn’t get much easier than that.
Removed from the clamshell package, you can see the small plug that is built into each lamp adapter. For my dome light, I ended up using black adapter. The kits includes double sided 3M tape in 3 different thicknesses.
For the dome light challenged, there is even a pretty good set of directions. A quick glance through it is recommended. There were a few cautions that made good sense…..take a couple of minutes and familiarize yourself before getting started.
I used a small flat blade screwdriver (per the factory service manual) to carefully pry the dome light cover off of the dome light assembly.
More Dome Light
With the lens removed, I pulled the factory bulb directly out of the lamp socket. No twisting, no turning….just a straight line pull to get it out.
I plugged the LED assembly into the proper adapter and then plugged the adapter back into the dome light bulb socket. I grabbed two pieces of double sided tape and applied them to the back of the LED assembly. The assembly was then stuck to the dome light assembly.
Here is the BEFORE photo of the factory bulb in the dome light. As I mentioned earlier….kind of yellowish, which is typical for this type of incandescent bulb.
And the AFTER photo of the LED upgrade assembly plugged into the dome light. A much brighter white LED light is provided and does illuminate the back of the TJ better than the factory bulb.
Other advantages to the LED upgrade? How about 1/10 the power consumption. This doesn’t mean much until you discover that you left the dome light on and it ran the battery down. Don’t believe it can happen? Been there, done that, skipped the t-shirt I did! My TJ is not my daily driver and as such, it sits in the garage from Tuesday to Saturday while I vanpool to work. Yes, a factory dome light will kill the battery. In addition to the reduced power, I doubt you’ll ever see the LED assembly fail. They have a very long life expectancy and are not susceptible to the typical vibrations and bouncing that can cause normal bulb failure.
I had a chance this past week to speak with Bruce Wade, President of Roundeyes Inc. It was an enjoyable discussion that touched on a lot of off-roading topics. Bruce also runs OutbackToilets.com. While it may sound odd to include this information in an LED installation write-up, I find it very applicable. I ran the Rubicon Trail several years ago and to be quite frank, the trail is a pile of crap in some places….literally. The trail draws thousands of recreationists every season and they all seem to want to take a dump and leave it behind. If you are heading out that direction, or to any other recreational area such as Johnson Valley, take a few minutes and visit this site….then do the right thing and get your “crap” in order. With the increase in our sports popularity, and technology improving our rides and making them more and more capable, we all need to take notice of these situations and put forth the effort that will ensure we have these great trails and OHV areas available to our children and their children.
That is about it for now. Check out the Roundeyes web site for some very cool LED lighting alternatives. And for those folks that are electrically challenged, this is one of those mods that is easy to do and the consequences of failure are pretty remote. Enjoy!
As time permits, I might see what else will look good on the TJ. Tell Bruce you saw the write-up here….if you’re lucky, he won’t charge you extra! <grin>
Good trails and remember to TREADLightly!