Model Year 2018 and Newer How to: DIY Retrofit Rear Reflectors

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Thread: How to: DIY Retrofit Rear Reflectors

  1. #1
    Senior Member stupidchicken03's Avatar
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    How to: DIY Retrofit Rear Reflectors

    Alliteration aside lol, if you or anyone else wants to do something similar, I am in no way responsible for anything you may or may-not mess up. But if it turns out awesome and you get tons of compliments, then I am fully responsible

    Ive been wanting to turn the rear bumper reflectors into working lights (not fog lights) for off road/in the middle of no where. My original idea was to put in a 2x2 LED square pod in there, then I found these KC Cyclone lights for a great price. Figured Id give these a shot, and if I dont like it, I can switch it up to the pod later on.

    So here is the rear reflector im talking about


    This is what it looks like behind the bumper from under the car. There is 1 single plastic rivet that holds it in, along with a couple clips on the top.


    With it removed, you can see the two clips on the top, and the plastic rivet on the bottom corner.


    Testing the light to make sure it works (always smart before installing lol).


    The KC lights I used (also avail in different colors): https://amzn.to/2wcRNyq

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  3. #2
    Senior Member stupidchicken03's Avatar
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    Then I tested at night to see the real output. This was a single light, im planning on 1 in each rear reflector.




    Unfortunately there is no easy/non-intrusive way of getting inside the housing. At first I tried using a heat gun to heat the sides up and used a small flat head screwdriver and razor blade to try and pry the red reflector out of the black plastic housing, no luck. So I figured the old bake in the oven trick might not work – especially since this is softer plastic compared to headlights. I thought about removing some of the back of the housing, but I do want to try and keep these water tight as they are from factory. So I figured my best option was to use a small cutoff wheel on my dremel all the way around the edge. When im ready to put it back together, Ill use a small bead of clear silicone on the inside, a small bead of jb-weld (or similar) around the hold the two pieces together followed by maybe another line of clear silicone.

    At least those edges will not be seen once everything is back in the car... so that's my hope anyways lol.


    Had to remove some of the "shelf" inside the housing for the LED to sit in.

  4. #3
    Senior Member stupidchicken03's Avatar
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    Next, I measured as close to center of the red reflector as I could, and used a hole saw to cut a circle out. I chose to cut the circle just slightly smaller than the actual Cyclone light, so the light can sit behind the reflector and not “fall out”.


    Then marked abouts where the rivets on the lights were going to sit, and took a small file to the reflector. Didn’t need to do this, just thought it might look nice.


    My original idea was to take a long bolt and put it through the center of the light, drill a small hole in the back of the reflector housing, and silicone the hole shut. So here is how I “mounted” the light. I used a carriage bolt with a washer on top, through the light, washer, nut.


    Everything tightened down

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    Senior Member stupidchicken03's Avatar
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    So of course, like it seems every time you work on your car (especially modding something), things don’t go as planned. I originally was going to just throw the carriage bolt through the back, throw a nut on it to tighten it to the housing and call it a day. Welp the issue I ran into was that where the bolt needed to go (keeping the light flush and center to the back of the reflector) was not an easy “straight through the back”. The shelf inside the housing was in the way. So I had to trim a lot more out of the housing than I thought I would have needed to.

    Here is a picture of the front of the housing where I had to go through the shelf along with on top and below it.


    A view from the back, can see how much of the shelf had to be taken out.


    So now I could not simply use a nut on the back of the housing to secure the bolt. So my next idea was to create a tunnel for the bolt to slide in/out of. I ran to my local Lowes and picked up 2 different sized metal spacers that had an inner diameter large enough for the bolt to slide through.

    Here’s what I came up with.


  7. #5
    Senior Member stupidchicken03's Avatar
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    For anyone who might end up being crazy like me and wants to do this, these are the two part numbers from Lowes for the spacers lol


    So now I needed to hold the spacers into the correct area. So I dropped the light into the housing and taped the reflector to the housing where it needed to line up. Then I threw a nut onto the end of the bolt with the spacers on, placed the light up against the back of the reflector and taped them together.


    Then it was time to bust out the good old JB weld lol. It is far from pretty, but it got the job done and you’ll never see it when its installed on the car.

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    Senior Member stupidchicken03's Avatar
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    While the JB weld was drying, I was able to remove the reflector from the housing and mount the light to it. I used 2-3 small dabs of JB weld in a couple areas around the light, then some clear silicone all around the front seal.



    I then used some black silicone on the back of the reflector. I ended up spreading a small layer across the entire back to somewhat “black out” the reflector. As well as drilling a small hole just large enough for the lights wiring to pop out from the back.

    Once everything was dry, I again taped the reflector to the housing and used JB weld in a handful of half inch lines or so all around the perimeter followed by a thick line of black silicone. How it turned out.


    Did all of those steps twice, one for each reflector. Also used a dab of black silicone to close the hole from the wiring.

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    Senior Member stupidchicken03's Avatar
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    Next it was time for all the wiring. Its probably overkill, but I soldered each joint together, then used heat shrink on top followed by electrical tape wrap haha.


    Here’s the harness I made for the ground. Runs from the rear passenger light over to the drivers side and grounds out on the rear bumper beam.


    The power harness was basically the same, but instead of having a small connecting end like the ground, the power ran all the way to the engine bay. I ran it up out of the way of any moving suspension part and heat from the exhaust.

    In the rear I ran everything (power and ground) through the rear bumper beam. Fishing it from hole to hole all the way across. The green wire was just a pull cable that I attached my actual harnesses to and pulled them through end to end.


    That was it!
    This is a pic sitting in the drivers seat looking out to the passenger side mirror. Car is on, in neutral with the parking brake on.

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    Senior Member stupidchicken03's Avatar
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    I posted up a couple pics on IG and a few people wanted to see some output pics. So here those are.

    This is me sitting in the rear hatch with the hatch open



    Standing to the side



    Overall Im happy with how it turned out. It was a lot more work than I originally had planned in my head haha. I was then toying around with adding two more of the same lights onto the rear of the roof top basket. KC sells straps that will mount the light to a round bar. I could then wire those two lights together and make a weatherpack connection on the basket. Run the wire and just tap into the bottom bumper lights. So 2 lights all the time and 4 when the basket is on. We’ll see how things progress!

  12. #10
    Senior Member stupidchicken03's Avatar
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    I ended up adding 3 more lights onto the back of my Yakima Loadwarrior basket.

    These 3 lights tie into the same wiring as the rear bumper lights, so all 5 turn on/off with the same switch.

    Here are a couple teaser shots.




    Ive got a lot more pics of them on/off with some night shots in my build thread.

    Those pics start around this post here: http://www.subaruxvforum.com/forum/s...ml#post1750290

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