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
Offroaders Guide
to Gearing up
for Offroad

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Onboard Air
Converting a York
AC Compressor
to Pump Air

Trailering Safety and Trailer Hitch Information


Off-Road Truck Driving Techniques and Safety

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

AMC V8 Engines
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Chevy Small-Block V8 Engines Manufactured by General Motors - Production: 1955?2002

Hemi Engine - All about the Hemi Engine

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351 cubic inch V8 Engines manufactured by Ford

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AMC V8 hp/Torque, Compression & Bore/Stroke by year

Engine Size Conversion Table
Converting engine displacement from CID, Liters, C.C.

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.

Automotive Gauges & Instrument Functions
Information they display & their importance.


From the
Department of Cheap   Tricks and Useful Tips

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
H.I.D. Upgrade
for Lightforce Lights

Back to Project Index

Installing the HID Conversion



After checking everything out and reading over the installation guide, it was time to get down to business.  The first thing I had to do was decide where I was going to mount the ballast.  With the old lights, I only had to install the light and run a wire to each light.  With these lights, since they are powered by an variable voltage AC current ballast and the power output can be quite high, I need to mount each ballast in a safe, dry place within about 3 feet from the light itself.  My previously mounted Lightforce lights were mounted at the lower corners of my windshield so a prime location for the ballasts was below the dash somewhere.

I decided to mount them below the dash, to the left of the Driver's legs on the tub's inner wall.  This put the ballast directly below the light within about 2 feet, close enough to run the high voltage wire.  There was plenty of room to work with and I came up with an aluminum mounting plate to mount the ballast's mounting bracket to.  My mounting plate consisted of two pieces.  First an angled piece (90 degree angle), 1¼ x 1¼ about 3 inches long.  This was drilled and bolted to a seam in the tub.  See picture to the right.

Driver side, angle piece

The second piece was a flat plate with 6 holes drilled in it.  Four holes at the corners were to hold the ballast's bracket down, the other two holes were to bolt it to my angled piece already mounted to the tub.

Passenger side, angle already
mounted, plate mounted.

On the driver side, I had to contend with 3 different things.  First I had wires running behind the plate and a grounding block (for grounding electrical devices) located behind the plate as well.   I also had to clear my parking brake.  I located the mounting plate to clear all three things without any problems.

Next I mounted up the ballast mounting bracket.  I faced the wires down for clearance reasons and also thinking about water shedding down if they ever get wet.

The ballast clips in to the bracket easily.  I added a couple of nylon wire ties to hold the ballast down to the bracket just to be safe.  The Jeep will see a lot of jarring around and I down want to shake the ballast loose. 

There are 2 wires that connect to the ballast, the 12 volt wire lead to the ballast and the high voltage wire that runs up to the lights.  I ran both wires behind the plate.  In my case I ran the two wires up to the bottom of the dash, then jumped out an inch or two to the rollbar, up the rollbar for about 6-8 inches, then forward again jumping over to the windshield hinge where the lights are mounted.



Upgrading the Lights

AS I stated before, I'm already using the Lightforce RMDL170 'STRIKER' 170mm diameter lights, which are mounted to my CJ-7's windshield hinges.  The kit comes with replacements for the two 2 RMDL-ARM assemblies (below).  The lights were removed from my custom windshield mounts and brought over to the work bench.

At the work bench the two 2 RMDL-ARM assemblies were removed from the RMDL170 Lightforce Lights.  The new HID bulbs are already mounted to the RMDL-ARM assemblies so the only thing that is needed is to swap the RMDL-ARM assemblies.  With the Lightforce Lights, the reflector un-screws off of the RMDL-ARM assembly.


Carefully insert the new RMDL-ARM with the Xenon bulb down into the reflector and screw it in. 


Wiring the Lights

In my case I already had the lights mounted and powered.  For more on this installation, see LightForce Lighting Install/Review.

However now the power would be diverted to the ballast instead of the lights and a high power wire would return back up to the lights to power them.

The wiring followed the diagram below.  Both lights are going though a 30 amp relay, which in turn powers the ballasts, which in turn power the lights.  Read below about further wiring considerations.

My wiring connections to the ballast was tapping into the pre-existing wires I ran to the lights before during this installation:  LightForce Lighting Install.  The changes to the wiring were minimal.  The 12 volt power source (previously to the lights) was clipped and the electrical ends pictured below were crimped on.  The wire lead that goes to the ballast was also clipped and these ends added.  When using these types of wire ends a good suggestion is to crimp the female end onto the power source so that if they ever became unplugged and powered on, you won't have an exposed 12 volt end bouncing around.  I then wrapped them up with electrical tape and wire-tied them to the rollbar.

Wiring Considerations

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.


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 each of the ballasts and split it into two leads, each one running to a ballast.  If you do this be sure the single wire is rated to handle BOTH ballasts since it will carry the current of both.  The diagram shows two leads coming from the relay to each of the HID ballasts.  Each ballast has a power input wire with a positive + (red), and a negative - (black) wire, which I attached to using quick connects, pictured to the right.   High voltage output voltage from the ballasts is carried by a wire connected to the HID light.  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 applying power. 

Testing, Final Thoughts
& Additional Info


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





Project Jeep CJ-7 
H.I.D. Upgrade
for Lightforce Lights

Back to Project Index




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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


Dick Cepek's 2008 F-250 Super Duty Project Vehicle ? Project CRUSHER

Warn X8000i
Winch Installation

ARB Air Locker Install
Jeep Wide Track Axles Swap

Mud Tire Reviews

Building a Garage?
Need a Garage Plan?

Reader's Rigs and Seriously Stucks!


Jeep Trans Swap Info
T-18A Transmission Rebuild & Short Shaft Conversion