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Old 01-13-2020, 11:11 PM   #1
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Adding Additional Lighting

I was thinking about adding some additional lighting to the front of my van. I have a 1994 E150. I was thinking about adding something in or around the grill or the front bumper. I was thinking about adding something more along the line of a fog light with yellow lenses or yellow bulbs to help cut through any incliment weather. I will most likely be adding a roof basket later and adding some additional clear lights up top.

For now I am interested in adding something to the bumper/grill. There are a lot of options out there (KC, Hella, PIAA, etc.). Are any of the brands better or worse than others? What options have you guys used or seen as far as mounting the lights?

Thank you.
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Old 01-14-2020, 11:33 AM   #2
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When I bought my van it came with Rigid lights that had not yet been installed in the Aluminess front & rear bumpers. It took a while before I got them installed, so I got to see the difference first hand. Where I park the van I have to back it into a very tight space in a dark area. Having the back-up lights in the rear bumper makes a huge difference. They also come in very handy when backing into a camping spot in the dark. Especially the ones where they line the parking area with boulders, forcing you to squeeze in.

I live in an area where we don't have much need for fog lights. However, driving the van home from Colorado a few months ago, I got caught in some weather while driving through the Silverton / Durango area. It was late at night and snowing like hell!!! The fog lights in the front bumper really helped me see the road, or more importantly, the edge of the road.

I also have a set of Rigid lights in the front bumper that are similar to the ones in the rear bumper, although I just haven't been in a situation where I felt I needed them yet.

I don't know how it is for a van, but in my experience with other vehicles having lights on the roof shines a ton of light across the hood causing a fair amount of glare.
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Old 01-14-2020, 12:02 PM   #3
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I just installed a PIAA RF LED light bar in my van grill. I wish I had done it sooner. For less than $300 I have high beams that actually work. SAE street legal and super high quality. Makes my mountain commute so much safer.

There it is in my grill above the license plate.

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Old 01-14-2020, 12:05 PM   #4
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I have a 2000 Xterra that I use for hardcore off road travel, since my SMB doesnt have 4wd...yet.

So on my rig, I bought some knock-off ARB Intensity style lights. I bought them with low expectations...but they basically compete with the sun in terms of light output. So after having them on there a while (they do draw some serious power for LEDs so make sure to wire a switch that will handle the load, i went with 12g) I have decided that my van needs them too. The best features to me are:

- Large diameter with amazing light output (plus they won't look too small on a full size vehicle like a van)
- Inexpensive if you go the knock-off route. ARB units are $700...each. These were $110 shipped and they are all metal housing that, upon inspection, appear to be well made.
- The covers are interchangeable. I have orange covers for snow/rain/fog, clear covers for the desert, and a diffuse cover which I haven't used yet. But it's really nice to just be able to pop a cover on/off and go.

I accept all criticism for being cheap and buying knockoff, but I defend my position that I don't have the baja racing team budget...therefore I cant buy the baja racing team kit. Hopefully this helps.





Here you can see the lights in comparison to the headlights which are LED....and the PIAA lights on the roof rack which are quite pitiful in their light output.
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Old 01-14-2020, 01:28 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by yippee View Post
...For now I am interested in adding something to the bumper/grill. There are a lot of options out there (KC, Hella, PIAA, etc.). Are any of the brands better or worse than others? What options have you guys used or seen as far as mounting the lights?

Thank you.
As simplesez notes in his reply, you can get PIAA's that are SEA compliant. I've been using them for many many years and never had an issue (never even had a bulb go out), and been very pleased with the performance.
If you go to their web site, try the "clearance" section. Many times they have some lighting kits that are discounted considerably (40-60% off) - and they stand behind them proudly.

EDIT: amp draw factors greatly into my selection, I like being able to use the lights and not worry too much about the power draw - PIAA use considerably less then their counterparts.
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Old 01-14-2020, 01:35 PM   #6
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Just know that in some states, forward facing auxiliary lights must be covered unless offroad. An unlikely ticket, but you never know.




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Old 01-19-2020, 01:32 PM   #7
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I have gone the mid range (not PIAA, but not Amazon cheapos) route and have been happy. Two pencil beams on the roof rack plus two pencil/floods aimed slightly to the side, plus one flood on each side and two floods on the rear. I like the rear floods on the roof rack vs rear bumper because they don't get blocked by obstructions as easily when you're backing up. For simplicity my backup lights are on a switch not switched to the actual backup lights (plus when I'm backing up in public I don't blind anyone behind me).


I switched all my driving lights (using relays) to only come on with high beams, so when I dim my lights all the driving lights go off, hopefully that keeps me from getting tickets. I do know it's probably quite the load on the alternator when I flick everything on and off at the same time (roof rack lights are LED, brush guard lights are older incandescent). I only use the roof rack lights off road, I do use the brush guard lights on the road when no one is coming at me (I swear that's still a thing, you know, dimming your lights to oncoming traffic, all evidence to the contrary )


If you do roof rack lights for off road, while I do really like the pencils on dirt roads at night it's not like I'm at risk of overdriving my lighting on a dirt road (this isn't a baja prerunner truck), I've really liked the combo pencil / floods that I have on each corner of the roof rack, really lights up the sides of the roads if I'm looking for a turnoff or a place to camp.



One thing I would consider if you're looking for true "fog" lights (which you might be based on the fact that you're thinking yellow) they need to be really low to be useful... if I had fogs mounted on my brush guard (Quigley 4x4 so pretty high up) they wouldn't be usable in fog / heavy weather because they're not low enough to cut under the fog, they would just reflect back in my eyes. The roof rack mounted lights are deadly in heavy fog, much worse with them on then off. On a tall rig like ours not sure how to get a light low enough to be a true "fog" light without risking ripping them off everywhere.


I've been buying my lights off superbrightleds.com, they seem to have a pretty decent sweet spot (not PIAA expensive, not Amazon junk that all the reviews say you have to silicone when you buy them or they'll leak... not that there aren't probably better quality things on Amazon just hard to tell the difference a lot of the time). superbrightleds.com is also a good source for bulbs for interior lights when you're going all LED inside.



My 2 cents.


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Old 01-20-2020, 06:25 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simplesez View Post
I just installed a PIAA RF LED light bar in my van grill. I wish I had done it sooner. For less than $300 I have high beams that actually work. SAE street legal and super high quality. Makes my mountain commute so much safer.

There it is in my grill above the license plate.
Which model or part number did you use---that's a clean slicking looking install!
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Old 01-20-2020, 10:00 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yippee View Post
I was thinking about adding some additional lighting to the front of my van. I have a 1994 E150. I was thinking about adding something in or around the grill or the front bumper. I was thinking about adding something more along the line of a fog light with yellow lenses or yellow bulbs to help cut through any incliment weather. I will most likely be adding a roof basket later and adding some additional clear lights up top.

For now I am interested in adding something to the bumper/grill. There are a lot of options out there (KC, Hella, PIAA, etc.). Are any of the brands better or worse than others? What options have you guys used or seen as far as mounting the lights?

Thank you.
Here's a few easy DYI ideas to carry your lighting.
Before I switched to a black stock bumper and had a bull bar (2" conduit pipe)welded on to carry some aux. lights. I had a SS shower grab bar bolted on my original chrome bumper which I mounted Hella driving lights. In both cases I had the wires run thru the pipe.
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Old 01-20-2020, 11:13 AM   #10
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Which model or part number did you use---that's a clean slicking looking install!
I did the white wide/driving hybrid. 10 inch bar

PIAA 26-07110
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