CJ-7 Projects


Lightforce Lights - H.I.D. High-intensity discharge Upgrade

HEI Ignition System (GM Style) Installed in the AMC 360 V8
Getting rid of gremlins and improving performance

Installing 23,000 Volt Offroad Lights

Autogage Tachometer Installation

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 Centralia PA
Project CJ-7
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Off-Road Lights
by LightForce Product Review / Installation.
from Off-Road Lights


Jeep Dana 300 TeraLow - 4:1 Gearset for the Dana 300 Transfer Case

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Engine Overheating Basics - 16 Common Causes of an Overheated Engine

Fan Clutch Diagnosis
How to tell if the Fan Clutch in your Cooling System is failing or has failed.

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Information they display & their importance.


From the
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Ultra-Cool Hand Throttle for Free!

Jeep V8 Swap Tips

The Exploding Clutch

Radiator Protection using 6 bucks worth of material

Cracked Under Pressure - Fixing a smashed fingernail

A Cheap, effective alternative to undercoating

Home-built Saginaw Gearbox Brace for the cost of lunch!

Ammo Box Storage - Mounting Them for Quick Disconnect

Home-built Serious Skid-Plate protection for the Oil Pan for under 20 bucks!

Ramp Travel Index
RTI / Ramp Travel Index  What it is and how to calculate it, with and without the ramp.




Project Jeep CJ-7   
Off-Road Lights

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Offroad Lights


Purchased from:
Off-Road Lights
Tel: 253-256-4439


Give them a call for a great price on a set.

Project Jeep CJ-7 Gets a Set of High Power LightForce Off-Road Lights

LightForceOne of the essential accessories that this offroading Jeep needs (among a lot of other essentials) is a good set of off-road lights.  There are a lot of off-road lights available on the market.  A lot of popular names like Hella, KC Daylighter, among other names right down to the Wal-Mart or Pep-Boys plastic specials for about 20 to 40 bucks.  

Going back several years I had been looked at some of the quality off-road lights on the market for a set that not only looked good, but also performed well and had good reviews by people who actually used them, not just what the ads say.  A few years ago I ended up buying a pair of LightForce off-road lights for my Toyota Truck.  These were lights that were previously unknown to myself, probably because they were manufactured in Australia and sold mostly abroad.  So why would I go with something that I had never seen being used on the trail?  What brought my attention to these lights was two things; what people on the Internet were saying about these lights and "who" exactly was using them.  

At the time I found out they were being used in 40 countries by not just civilians but also police, security, marine, search and rescue, fire services, and in military applications such as in the Persian Gulf on U.S. Hummers in Desert Storm operations.  When costs were compared between the popular brands and these LightForce lights, they were much the same, if not less expensive than some other light sets.  But that was where the similarities ended.  

After doing some reading and asking around, I contacted a US distributor.  I bought a set, installed them, did a review on these lights for the Toyota Truck Install (Click Here) and have been using them ever since.  That was several years ago.  Today, they are still mounted to the front of my Toyota.  They've been on the trails and whacked, jarred around, pelted with mud and rocks, frozen, baked and I even ass-ended a Lexus in a snow storm (not my fault, really...) giving them a good smack, and they still work great.  I can tell you this: These are tough, powerful, lightweight lights.

So, when it came time to choose a set of off-road lights for Project CJ-7, the choice wasn't hard to make.  The same set of RMDL170 'STRIKER' 170mm diameter lights.  The following is an install / review of these lights on Project CJ-7.

Light weight yet very strong housing.
My choice of lense filters, Amber, 
Yellow dispersion filters and clear.
Constructed of Lexan.

Mounting the Lights

I pondered several mounting locations on the Jeep.  I looked at mounting the pair on the front bumper high-center and I looked at out-board location at about where the frame rails are. Both places seemed not quite right.  I decided to mount them right in front of the windshield hinge, using the rear view mirror bolts as a mounting point.

For this location I could have pre-purchased a set of mounting brackets from any popular off-road accessories shop or catalog.  But I decided to fabricate a set of brackets  (so what else is new...) out of 2x2 stock I had laying around.

The bracket were pretty simple to make.  I decided to use the existing holes from the rear-view mirrors and "sandwich" the bracket between the windshield hinge and the rear-view mirrors with the use of slightly longer stainless steel bolts.

As pictured above, this 2x2 stock steel was use and one side cut off, leaving a "C" shape.  The length was about just slightly longer than the rear-view mirrors mounting bracket, approx. 3 1/4 inches.  Next I cut a little bit of style into the bracket by holding up the bracket and the Lightforce light, and tracing the shape of the Lightforce mounting base onto the bracket I'm fabricating. Then the sharp corners were rounded off with a grinding wheel and a file.  Click the image to the right to zoom in.

Next up was to drill some holes.  I used the rear-view mirror mounts to trace the holes where the bracket will mount to the windshield hinge.  Then a test- fit as seen below.  After checking for clearance and positioning, the Lightforce 170's were held up for marking and drilling holes for the the mounting base.  Then another test fit. Click images below to zoom in.

Holes drilled for mounting to the hinge.
Hole drill for mounting the Lightforce base.

The brackets looked good so it was time for primer and paint.  Gloss black will do fine.  It's always a good idea to give anything that will get bolted down plenty of time to dry because paint may look and feel dry until you clamp down in it.  I gave it about 3-4 days since temperatures were pretty cold in the garage. With the brackets dry and ready to go, it was time to mount them permanently. The gauge of the stock 2x2 steel was about 16 gauge or somewhere close to 1/8th inch thick so I used 1/2" long stainless steel bolts and a stainless lock washer on each. The lights were mounted up, adjusted and tightened.

The location ended up looking great.  As far as performance in this location, testing will come later but I think it will be better than bumper mounted due to the height off the ground.  Additionally this location will help to keep the lenses clear of mud and safer from possible trail damage.  Another plus is that there isn't any obstruction of my view in this location as I was concerned about.  The light is below the line of sight, just barely visible from the driver seat.


Below are a few additional views of the mounting location and brackets. Click images to zoom in


Things To Consider When Wiring Your Off-road Lights...

When wiring anything in your vehicle that draws heavy current such as high powered offroad lights there are a few things to consider.  Number one, make sure you use wire that is rated for the amperage that the accessories is going to pull.  It is always better to have wire that is OVER rated rather than wire that is not rated high enough.  If wire is used that is not rated to handle the current that your accessory will pull, the result could be overheated wires that could melt the insulation, causing a short or worse yet it could result in a fire.  If you know how much current your accessory will draw you can determine what gauge wire is appropriate for your application.

Personally I like to use wire that far exceeds the current draw of my accessory.   It's overkill but in a few applications I've used heavy gauge stranded industrial wire with water and chemical resistant insulation. That way there is no question as to whether the wire is rated high enough or not.  If this approach is taken, it is very wise to place a fuse at the battery end as close to the battery as possible.  Most wire in a vehicle, if shorted out, will burn up before the battery overheats and possibly explodes.  If wire that is over-rated for vehicle use is used and a short occurs, a short will most likely result in damage to the vehicle of some sort unless a fuse is put in line as close to the battery as possible.  With the fuse there, in the case of a dead short, the fuse will burn out first before any damage could occur. 

With accessories that pull a lot of power it is always better to get your power directly from the batteries positive terminal rather than tapping into the existing fuse block or wiring harness.  In most cases the vehicles existing fuse block is not rated to handle the additional load of high powered accessories such as off-road lights.  If you are the kind of person that likes to add all kind of goodies to your vehicle it might be worth installing an additional fuse block that handles non-critical items like off-road lights, CB radios, power inverters, a compressor, etc.  This additional block can then be powered by a heavy duty wire capable of carrying the current required of all the accessories on the block.  Be sure to fuse the block at the battery.


Using a Relay

In almost every case where high current is required the switch use to turn on the power should not handle the load.  That is better left to a relay.   What is a relay?  A relay is a device that, through a magnetic induction coil, turns on the power for you.  The switch that is installed in the cab of your 4x4 actually only powers the relay itself which draws very little current.  In my installation I used a 30 AMP relay from Radio Shack (Auto Relay Cat. Number 275-226) to do the switching.  I used an LED lighted switch in the cab to let me know the lights were on.

Wiring Diagram

The method I used for wiring the lights, for the most part, follows the diagram pictured above. In my case however, I had installed a secondary fuse block for accessories which was where I was tapping into the 12 volt power source.  As in the diagram I first ran a wire from a 12 volt power source (my secondary fuse block) to the switch on the Jeep's dash and then to the relay. (Follow the relay's wiring schematic when connecting the wires to the relay)  One of the relays terminals goes to ground.  Then I ran a heavy gauge wire from the fuse block to the relay placing a 30 Amp fuse in fuse block for the lights.  It's wise to disconnect the power at the battery until all wiring is done.   Then I ran a single heavy gauge wire out to the lights and split it into two leads at the lights.  If you do this be sure the single wire is rated to handle BOTH lights since it will carry the current of both.  The diagram shows two leads coming from the relay.  Then I ran the second wire of both lights to a good ground.  If the wires will not be soldered together and crimped connectors will be used it's a good idea to put a dielectric paste on the connectors where they come in contact.  This will prevent corrosion as time passes ensuring a good connection.   I then double-checked all my wiring before plugging in the power. 


More Info About the LightForce Lights: 

Information about the Lightforce lights used in this review:

  • The midsize 'STRIKER' 170mm diameter light.

  • Variable focus with optional clip-on filters 

  • Super strong polyamid hi-tech construction 

  • Hi-impact polycarbonate lens 

  • 12v 100 watt Xenophot® long life globe 

  • 351 000 candlepower output per light

General Lightforce Information

The Base...

Lightforce says that they are produced from the latest engineering plastics and formed using injection moldings making them extremely durable, lightweight, corrosion resistant Ultra Violet (UV) light resistant, and impact resistant.

The Reflector...

I requested the 170 mm reflectors which is one of the three sizes of reflectors that Lightforce offers which include 140, 170 & 240mm reflector diameters. The 170 mm reflectors looked quite unique in design and of higher quality compared to what I was used to seeing on the market and on my vehicle. What the company says about their reflectors is that they are computer designed and molded using an injection molding process. A high quality vacuum metallised finish is used to produce a beam that optimizes the light energy produced by the bulbs.

The Lenses...

The lenses are of an interesting shape, sort of a shallow conical shape. It seems that there is a good reason for this design and that is serves some purpose like possibly deflecting heat. Lightforce reports that the lenses are made of a virtually indestructible, shatter-proof lens material called "POLYCARBONATE (LEXAN)" which can withstand a violent impact and extreme thermal shock.


This is nice. By simply rotating the front housing, the light can be focused to obtain a pencil beam or progressively rotated to flood broad areas.  With a dual, over lapping  light system a wide bright beam can be projected to light the trail.  

The Bulbs...

The company offers various bulb options.  All Lightforce lights use long life Quartz Xenon bulbs which produces a reported 20% more light than standard halogen bulbs resulting in a brilliant white light. They are also available in different voltages and wattages and are easily replaced requiring no tools.  Two bulb options I chose were the horizontal and vertical filaments.  The difference between the two is the horizontal will produce an oval, broader beam of light.  The vertical filament will produce a rounder, more spotlight like beam with about 20% more candlepower due to the filament's profile.



Filter Options...

Each reflector size has available a variety of filter options, each for different purposes.  The filters I chose were the clear, amber and Yellow.  One of the nice things about these offroad lights is the ease of changing the filters.  They are simple to attach and detach by clipping onto the front reflector housing.

  • AMBER - For highlighting contrast in damp or foggy conditions

  • YELLOW - Bright High Contrast in foggy conditions

  • BLACK - Opaque protective covers for lights when not in use

  • BLUE - For marine, police and security applications

  • CLEAR - Protective cover for the lens, standard with driving lights

  • GREEN - Specifically for spotting animals with sensitive eyes

  • RED - Most popular for study of nocturnal animals and night hunting of light shy animals. 

  • DISPERSION FILTERS: Available in clear, red and infra-red for 140 & 170mm reflector sizes. These filters transform the beam into a soft edged flood light, especially useful when boating, camping or using as a general work light.

  • INFRA RED FILTERS: Used with 1st, 2nd and 3rd generation Night Vision Image Intensifiers with an 840-920 nanometer wave length. 

Lightforce also makes an extensive and versatile range of handles and accessories for portables including battery packs.  Take a look at Off-Road Lights for additional information on their product line.

Lightforce Lights Tough Test
How Tough are they?
Watch this ...


Additional Installation Notes

In the typical install you may need to take the dimensions into account when deciding where to mount your offroad lights. (Dimensional diagrams of all three sizes are pictured below click here).  The bases of these lights do not require the surface to be level so if your mounting them on the front bumper of your offroad rig the factory bumper can be bolted onto even if  it is an angled surface. If you're worried about protecting the lights from heavy underbrush a prerunner bar is a good way to protect them. Not to mention they look good.  Lightforce also makes accessories for remote operation of the lights from inside the vehicle which is an option used frequently in emergency vehicles.  Also nice for spotting game.

If your looking for a good set of lights for offroad or onroad driving these are a class above your average lighting systems.  As I said before, I've been using these lights not only on the trail but in long back woods commuting where I see deer frequently.  I have to say that the distance these lights throw their beam is very nice. They're tough, durable, powerful, good looking and very light weight.  Check out the cost and compare them to your other high end lights.  As far as quality for the dollar I went with this light years ago and made a good buy.  There was no doubt the Jeep was getting a set. 

The people at Off-Road Lights are a U.S. based distributor of high intensity lighting systems made by Lightforce of Australia.  The following is their website address: http://www.Off-roadlights.com

Converting Candlepower to Watts and vice-versa & Other Offroad Light Information

Lightforce Lights - H.I.D. High-intensity discharge Upgrade


Purchased from:
Off-Road Lights
Give them a call at:
for a great price on a set.





Dimensional Diagrams

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240-dim.gif (17733 bytes)

Project Jeep CJ-7 ~ Off-Road Lights

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Latest trips Offroad
... trail reports with the Project CJ-7
click here.

Sounds System, Raised the Rear Seat
Storage below and a great place to mount 6x9 Speakers for Great Bass ... In a Jeep!

York AC Compressor Conversion.  What used to pump Freon, now pumps compressed air to the front and rear bumpers.  125 psi,  2 gallons of storage, air fittings at the bumpers, enough CFM to power air tools!.  Click Here for more  Details


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Mud Tire Reviews

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Need a Garage Plan?

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T-18A Transmission Rebuild & Short Shaft Conversion