After much searching the Internet for guidance, I recently installed a 50-inch light bar over the windshield of my 2015 Jeep JK. It took me a while to find good information online, so I thought I’d share some general information for other Jeep owners looking to install a light bar.
- Mounting the Light
- Wiring the Light
Different models of Jeeps are going to require slightly different approaches to installing a light bar, so what you see here might not be exactly the process for your Jeep. Different makes and models of light bars may also require some variation from what I present here. That said, the general, process – mounting and wiring – will be consistent across different Jeeps and lights.
Also, fair warning, I’m not a professional Jeep mechanic, so I can’t guarantee that I did everything according to best practices.
Mounting the Light
The kit that I installed was a 50-inch light bar from Raxiom. I used a Raxiom windshield mounting brackets and a Raxiom wiring harness for the install. I could have used mounts and wiring from other manufacturers, but wanted to keep it simple, so stuck with a single brand for all of the components.
Step 1: Attaching the mounting brackets to the Jeep’s A-pillars next to the windshield
This step was dead easy. The windshield mounting brackets kit came with bolts and foam pads to protect the paint on the A-pillars from the metal of the brackets.
It’s really just a matter of installing the pads between the bracket and the A-pillars and screwing them in with an Allen wrench.
Step 2: Bold the light bar to the brackets.
Again, this step was very simple. I would recommend having a second person to help you hold the light bar in place while you use the bolts provided the bar to attach it to the bracket.
Step 3: Run the light bar wire through the Freedom Top gasket and into the cabin.
To connect the light bar to your electrical system, you’ll need to route the wire from the side of the light through the gasket in the Freedom Top panels and into the Jeep. This part is pretty easy.
Just loosen your right Freedom Top panel, and slip the wire between the panel and the A-pillar on the Jeep. Then reconnect the Freedom Top and tighten it. The wire will now be inside the cabin. You’ll connect it in the next step.
Wiring the Light
The most time-consuming part of installing a light bar on a Jeep is connecting the wiring from your Jeep’s electrical system to the light. In my case, I used a wiring harness that came with a switch built-in, so I didn’t need to connect the light to the switches in my jeep.
This saved me some time upfront. Eventually, I will likely integrate the wiring into the existing switch panel on my Jeep dash (where the switches for my differential locker and sway bar are located). I’ll update this post when I do that – or write a separate post on it.
Step 1: Running wires through your Jeep’s firewall.
To be able to control your light from inside your Jeep, you’ll need to run wiring from your battery into the cabin of your Jeep. Here’s how I did it.
There is a hole (covered by foam and a rubber gasket) in the metal of the Wrangler’s firewall in the upper left corner, near the steering column.
Coming from the engine compartment, I used a metal BBQ kebab stick to poke a small tunnel through the foam and gas.
Then, I used a coat hanger with a small loop bent into the end to pull the portion of the wires through the firewall. Wrapped the coat hanger and wire with tape to help hold them together as I puled the wire through.
Step 2: Connect wires from battery to light bar
So that the wire coming from the light bar above wouldn’t be loose in the cabin, I wanted to tuck it inside the plastic covering on the A-pillar and the side of the dash. To do this, I had to remove the A-pillar plastic cover on the left (which requires removing the left sun visor), then pop off the plastic cover that covers the side of the dash.
I ran the wire up the side of the dash and A-pillar and connected it to the light bar wire which was coming down through the space between the upper portion of the A-pillar and the Freedom Top gasket. I wrapped that connection in electrical tape to protect it and make it more secure.
Later, after everything was wired up to the car battery, I tucked the wire coming from the engine compartment inside the plastic paneling on the side of the dash and A-pillar. This hid the wire and protected it.
Also coming through the fire wall was the wire for the switch to turning the light on and off. I ran up through the dash and pulled it out through an opening just under the steering wheel, then stuck it on the dash.
Step 3: Connect wires to battery and secure
With the wires through the Jeep’s fire wall, the rest was fairly straightforward. I ran the wire harness along the top of the firewall inside the engine compartment and connected the leads to the battery.
I used zip ties to secure the harness in various places and keep it tucked out of the way and off the hot parts of the engine.
That is basically it. Getting the wires through the firewall and up along the dash and A-pillar was the most difficult and time consuming part of the install.