It's the little things...

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TreXTerra

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I'm curious about the little things. The cheap purchase or mod that makes things a little easier on the trail or a little more comfortable in camp.

The one that comes to mind for me is installing an LED light in my lift gate.

I already have LEDs in my dome lights, so I had some extra current to work with. I tapped into my cargo area dome light and ran a wire to the switch on my d-pillar. I placed it facing forward so it didn't get broken during loading/unloading. The switch itself was a leftover from some off road lights I purchased, so I just pulled it and some wiring out of the parts bin.



I have a couple of these LED flood lights on my rear bumper as reverse lights. I picked up another one for $15 (I spent more on the hole-saw) and found a spot where I could fit it on the plastic panel without hitting the door's structure.



I oriented the light so the lens put some inside the cargo area and some out away from the back of the car.



Showing off the red LED dome lights



Total cost, not including the hole-saw (because I will use it on other projects) was $15 for the light, some salvaged parts from the miscellaneous bin, and some electrical connectors I had leftover from other projects.

Best $15 mod I've done.
 
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VCeXpedition

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Nice, TreX. LED lights are game-changers for sure. What used to cause worry, incandescent lights are power hogs, is now so easy to overcome with LED's. I don't worry at all about power consumption from lighting now.
Those are nice round LED's and pretty bright too, can you provide a source or name for that particular light? Seems stout enough to go in the bumper too.

Thanks, Dan.
 

TreXTerra

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@fj80toyman, the light is completely sealed and is made for outdoor use. I picked it for this because my buddy buys them in bulk for the bumpers he builds (alliteration, hell yeah!). I don't have the specs on it, or even know where to buy them except from him. It's a 4" round flush-mount, so I'm sure you could find something similar. I've seen other people put in LED strips, but I wanted something recessed because I know I would probably slam the tailgate down one day and smash a surface-mount light on something.

Here you can see the lights set in the bumper:



They are wired into the reverse lights. The stock reverse light bulbs have also been replaced with little LED projectors that fit in the stock housings. With the manual trans I can put the car in reverse with the ignition on (but engine off) and use the reverse lights to set up camp, load motorcycles on a trailer, or whatever needs to be done.

EDIT: Is your avatar photo of Elephant Hill? If so, I remember squeezing the family FJ80 through that section many, many times.
 

VCeXpedition

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Thanks I like those precisely because they're flush mounted, that's what I'm looking for for the same reasons you did. If you happen to break open a source, let me know, otherwise I'll look around.

And good catch on the photo, but technically it's AFTER the actual Elephant Hill, right? ...on the way to the Green/Colorado Convergence. The rangers call it "DuPont Narrows" because all the paint that gets left on the walls. I didn't leave any :sweatsmile:. What a cool place.
Dan.
 

Steve

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Earlier this year, I added pair of LED strips inside my cargo area that come on when the lift gate is opened, and another pair on the inside of the lift gate that operate with a separate switch. They make a huge difference, and we've used them frequently over the past several weeks on our cross-country trip. You can see them in my build thread.
 

mmnorthdirections

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It is the little things. I added a strip LED under console because my wife and nav was unable to read the maps and the over head was just bad for both of us at night. So the solution was a reversed wired relay that illuminated the switch when not powered so we could see it at night of the parking circuit.
Then push the switch and BAM. The location for the switch was a non used AUX input for the OEM radio (GONE). Works great and cost $15.00.
IMG_0037.JPG IMG_0038.JPG
Little lite/switch to the right is the one....
 

Wolvee

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LED's will always be the first thing I ever do to a new vehicle. It was like seeing the sun for the first time when I swapped out all my incandescents in the F-150.
 

Overland-Indiana

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I've got some of those surface mount LED strips, i really need to get them mounted on my hatch. It is so dark back there with just the cargo light.
 

hardtrailz

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Little things:

I have found that having a couple zip ties, electrical tape and a pocket knife in the crago area and in each door panel has come in handy a ton of times on the trail. They are easy things to bury in your rig and then a pain to get to when you need one quick. They really take up little space and having 3 points to easily grab or tell someone to get them from is one of the little things that has been a major plus for me.

Stashing a funnel under the hood along a fender or by the battery has been another little thing that has been repeatedly handy for me. Nice not to spill any fluids or have to go look for a funnel.

Magnet mount LED flashlight/worklight are a great thing when you have a trail repair in the dark. Stick to the fender or frame or bumper and get light where you need it with hands free. Also works as an under hood light if you have a vehicle without one. I keep several and they have proved handy a million times. Cheap and effective little thing. Like this one:
 

Lars

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#1: Bed Lights -- Wired to the interior dome lamp.


#2: Under-Hood Lights -- Wired to a pin switch replacing one headlight screw.




#3: Hood Struts -- I remember a day when all cars had auto lifting hoods, and work lights under them from the factory
 

VCeXpedition

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Hey maktruk or Lars, can you post up the brand & part numbers for those hood struts? That's a great mod.

Sent from my HTC One_M8 using Tapatalk
 

maktruk

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I got mine thru mcmaster-carr. Significantly cheaper too. I'll try to find the receipt with the strut weight ratings.
 

TreXTerra

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I got my hood lifters retrofit through Off Road Gorilla They did a Group Buy for an XTerra forum so I jumped on it. Hood lights are another one I really want to do at some point.
 

Lars

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I got my hood lifters retrofit through Off Road Gorilla They did a Group Buy for an XTerra forum so I jumped on it. Hood lights are another one I really want to do at some point.
I did my hood lights with scrap parts I had laying around. The only thing I purchased specifically for that project was the pin switch.