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How To: Reverse Lights (In Reflectors/Under the bumper)

Discussion in '4th Gen 4Runners (2003-2009)' started by wnelax04sr5, Jan 28, 2015.

  1. Jan 28, 2015 at 10:28 AM

    wnelax04sr5 [OP] New Member

    Apr 6, 2014
    First Name:
    2004 SR5 4X4 Galactic Gray
    DISCLAIMER: I ended up having some issues with my aftermarket rear quarter panels that made fitment next to impossible. If I had a week of free time, fiberglass, and hours on end with a dremel, I could have done it, but as it was, it just wouldn’t fit. Despite the fact that I didn’t mount them in the way I planned, the steps are still the same, and I’ll fill in any blanks best I can. No point in not doing a write up since I completed 90% of the work.

    This mod is something that I took from @gaterose on T4R ( ) and decided to give it a shot. The stock 03-05 reverse lights emit next to no light, and I can’t see a thing when I back up at night.

    So first, here’s a parts list of what I used:
    Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 1.16.56 PM.jpg
    In addition to these parts, there’s a few other tools and odds and ends you’ll need. For starters, you absolutely need a rotary tool of some sort, dremel or the $19.99 Wal-Mart kit that I bought. You will not be able to trim the reflector housing in a timely or non-frustrating manner without one. I also used a soldering iron and solder extensively, wire strippers, and shrink tubing for cleaning up wiring. As far as odds and ends go, I picked up the L brackets to mount the lights to the bumper, hardware (bolts, nuts, washers), and electrical tape.

    PART 1:

    The first step is the get the reflectors out of the bumper if you’re using your existing reflectors, if you’re buying new ones to work on, worry about taking them out later.

    1. To get the lens off the housing, 10 minutes at 200* in the oven will do the trick to loosen them up.

    2. Trace the face of the light on the lens

    3. Drill holes in each corner of where you traced, it’ll be easier to get the tool in to start trimming this way.

    4. Cut out your traced area, don’t remove everything at once, its much easier to take more off than put it back.

    5. I had to remove a lot of the backing in order to get my lights to fit, the housings are quite large

    6. Be careful to not break the lens, its very easy to do. Loctite super glue puts it back together like a charm though.

    7. Once the lenses fit the lights perfectly (or to your liking) that’s why I sanded the surface and started painting them. I used black plasti-dip because I wasn’t sure whether or not I’d want them black, but I’m happy with it.

    8. In-between coats and while drying, this is where I extended my wiring harness and wired the DT connectors to the lights

    9. I used about 14’ of extra wire (better safe than sorry) right after the fuse but before the relay in the purchased harness.

    11.The wiring was a bit unruly, so I used electrical tape to tie it together, it’ll be hidden so I wasn’t too worried about it not being gorgeous.

    12.I then turned my attention to my switch. I decided I wanted to have the lights exclusively switched, not triggered by the reverse lights, at least at the moment. I put the switch in the center console in the location of a switch blank, and it requires some clearancing to make it fit, but it isn’t too bad to do.

    13.Switch in the console, top view

    14.Switch in console, side view (you can tell it obviously doesn’t sit flush, but you can either recess it or or trim the bezel)

    15.Underneath, where the harness connects to the switch (it’s a perfect fit)

    16.Bumper Removal. First take off the rear mud flaps, then inside the rear quarter panel is one screw attached to the top of the fender, and one on the bottom to a support, remove them. Then take off the two screws the right and left of the hitch receiver, and the bolts along the base of the rear hatch door. After this, the bumper should pull off fairly easily

    17.This is where things got annoying for me. After unscrewing the reflectors and popping them out, youll need to trim the stock location to fit the lights and bracket

    18.Test fit along the way so you don’t remove too much material, and make sure you can have the lens, light, and bracket all mount securely the way you want

    19.Silicone in the lens once you know for sure where you’re putting it, then attach the light to the L bracket and mark for the holes to drill in the bumper.

    20.Drill and attach L bracket and light, make sure its aimed how you want and sits how you want it. You can silicone the edges of the light if you have a big gap, or not if you don’t feel like it. (picture credit to gaterose)

    21.Repeat for other side

    22.Now to move on to wiring. If you used a pre made harness like mine, all that needs to be done is routing of the wire, battery to switch to lights.

    23.Wiring can be sent through the rear vent on the drivers side of the bumper to the lights

    24.I removed the drivers seat, all the trim along the door sills, and ran the wiring through where the stock harness goes and through the carpet to the center console. From the battery I went through the drivers side wiring grommet, under the dash, and into the center console, then connected it all up. You can’t see a thing.

    25.Plug it in, put your interior back together,reattach bumper, and test everything out!

    PART 2:

    I didn't end up mounting mine in the reflectors, it just wasnt gonna work without a ton of modification and body filling, so heres how I did it.

    1. Locate the two holes in the bumper to the left and right of the hitch receiver.

    2. Using an L bracket, mount the light to the bumper using the holes already in the bumper.

    3. Run the wiring to the top of the bumper, secure it, and plug in to the harness coming through the vent, reattach the bumper, and thats it!
    lights on

    Last edited: Jan 29, 2015
    Yoterguy96 and Bob like this.
  2. Jan 29, 2015 at 12:00 AM

    Utah Misanthrope

    Jul 31, 2014
    First Name:
    Land of Fake Beer
    The Gray Bastard
    3RZ, OME, 5.29s, 4.7, locked/locked
    Good stuff.
  3. Jan 30, 2015 at 7:22 PM

    wnelax04sr5 [OP] New Member

    Apr 6, 2014
    First Name:
    2004 SR5 4X4 Galactic Gray
    Output shots
    IMG_20150130_184044_489.jpg IMG_20150130_184049_411.jpg
    4RunningNashville and bahndrvr like this.

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