Project Diesel Chase is coming along quite nicely thanks to the sweet chase rack and ironclad bumpers that now adorn the truck. With these additions, it was time to make sure that we could see during our midnight adventures.
Anyone who has ventured into the outdoors for a night or two knows just how dark the fringe can be, especially when it’s overcast or the moonlight isn’t helping out much. It’s not until you have traveled outside the ambient glow of the city that you realize just how ineffective factory lighting truly is.
The bumpers currently mounted to our 2008 Dodge Ram can be ordered with auxiliary lighting holes and housings for both the front and rear. The dimensions of these mounting locations were designed for Rigid Industries products specifically, the D-Series LED lights commonly referred to as pods.
We can tell you that we were impressed with the quality of these products from the beginning. Everything from the light housings to the harness, mounting hardware is built to quality standards. In the same way, you feel the quality when unboxing a new iPhone, we thought the same of Rigid’s lighting equipment.
We ordered our bumpers with mounts on the front and rear bumpers. For the front, we opted for the D2 Driving lights (PN 50231), and we will be utilizing the standard Rigid mount. For the rear, we opted for the D2 Diffused Flush Mount (PN 51251). As you can see, the bumpers were actually built with the lighting and mounting holes already cut and drilled to accept this specific Rigid light and mounting solution – pretty convenient.
We figured that the driving optics up front would give us some good all-around lighting when driving off the beaten path. We planned on adding more lighting to our chase rack — something that would be able to project much farther out in front. But for now, we were after a good lighting source mounted down low for a variety of off-highway situations.
Out back, we chose the diffused optic pattern as it gives a strong concentration of light nearby. We were looking for this sort of application as we intend on using these primarily as reverse lights. The low area lighting will also help with the hookup and inspection of trailers, and equipment.
The lights have a quick-connector about 12 inches away from the light itself. From there, the appropriate wires and hardware are included and assembled to connect to the battery, relay, inline fuse, and a rocker switch to mount in your preferred location.
The Rigid Facts
We spoke with Brian Godfrey at Rigid about our trick new lights. He really helped us gain a better understanding of our new setup and the whole LED world in general, including what matters and what makes a difference.
Do the numbers really matter? “Raw lumens are what LED manufacturers claim their LEDs produce at full power,” Godfrey said. “This number sounds great, but has nothing to do with how well the light will perform. Raw lumens do not factor in the optics, which direct the light forward. Lens can restrict the light or drive current. Combining these factors and then measuring the true light output at a single point is called candela and will always be larger than the raw lumens number.”
Godfrey continued, “Taking high output LEDs and pairing them with ineffective optics or lens will cause your final output to suffer tremendously. The optics direct the light where you want it and high-quality optics ensure a higher candela and longer light projection.”
Testing products before they hit the market is a huge deal, and as Godfrey explains Rigid did plenty of testing. “We test the light output in our light lab where we have a goniophotometer and light spheres,” he said. “These two things provide us with factual data and numbers that can’t be made up. We test all of our lights with both of these to ensure our information is correct. We also have a UV exposure chamber, pressure vessel testing, IP6XX testing, vibration table testing to ensure our products stand up to MIL-STD-461F compliance, and before each light goes out its quality checked by going through additional testing.”
The lights we are installing on Project Diesel Chase are not SAE or E-Mark compliant so we will not be able to run them while driving on the street. The patterns of the lights play a part in the design as well. Godfrey said the driving pattern is a “wide horizontal mid-range beam. The dually driving optic provides both spot and flood beam patterns at the same time. It expands at 45 degrees, providing a wide pattern of light to the side for greater visibility both on and off the trail.”
Godfrey said the most common applications for these lights are as backup lights. “We have also seen the diffused lights used as scene and camp lighting. The driving lights are used a lot to replace the factory fog lights on a vehicle, he said.
Thanks to the complete wiring harness provided by Rigid (mentioned above), the installation was extremely simple. To begin with, we mounted our new LEDs in the appropriate locations. The D2 Driving Lights mount to the provided tabs inside the front bumper with the back positioned below. The side mounts allow you to adjust the projection up and down, secure that position, and readjust at any time.
The flush mounts we’re using out back have four mounting nuts and bolts for each light and a thin rubber weather seal that rests between the light housing and whatever it is that you are mounting the light through – in our case the rear bumper. We set these in place before bolting the lights to the bumper which should protect the powdercoat finish on the bumpers, and prevent any moisture from getting in-between them.
Next, we simply took our wiring harnesses and set these connections in place. Since we didn’t want to provide power to the system just yet, we simply taped them in place to give us an accurate representation of how much slack we would have. Relays were then bolted in a safe location and the wires were secured out of the way with zip ties. The switch wires were then routed through the cab where they can be connected to the supplied rocker switches.
The last part of our install process was to route the lighting wires to the appropriate lights. The fronts were a short route away but we had to add some additional length to get to the rear bumper for our application. To do that, we simply cut and soldered in some additional wire, and sealed the connections with heat shrink. After checking the connections, we attached the leads to the battery terminals and flipped the switches to check out our new lights.
Since a picture is worth a thousand words, we figured we would just let these before and after shots speak for themselves. We have many hours on these lights now, and they continue to perform flawlessly. The additional lighting out front has worked wonders when driving through the desert or looking for our favorite hunting spot in the early morning hours when the landscape is still cloaked in darkness.
The rear lights enabled us to see any potential obstacles which could have otherwise gone unnoticed until it was too late. They have also been extremely helpful for trailer hook up, inspection, and loading. Moreover, we have used them to temporarily illuminate our camping site while getting set up for the night.
If you can use some additional lighting power on- or off-road, check out Rigid Industries’ website and Facebook page, or give them a shout using the details listed below!