Off roaders as well as over landers need better night time visibility for maneuvering their vehicles without hurting the vehicles on off road trails.
Rather than the past, now there are lots and lots of better light options off roader can choose due to the development of LED technology.
In this guide we’re going to look at how to mount a LED bar properly, how to properly aim it and overcome problems that can occur while installation and after installing the LED bars.
- 1 Mounting options & locations
- 2 Mounting light bar with drilling the roof
- 3 How to mount a light bar on the roof without drilling?
- 4 How to do wiring of LED light bars?
- 5 Where do you aim a light bar?
- 6 How to stop wind noise from light bar?
- 7 Wrapping up
Mounting options & locations
There are a couple of locations you can mount a LED bar on an off roading vehicle. Below are the most suitable positions for mounting a LED bar.
Light bar roof mounts
Better to mount a large 52″ light bar.
- Mount over the windshield with long vertical brackets
- Mounting to roof racks/ rails with brackets
Mounting light bar with drilling the roof
Bull bar mounts
Better place to mount two or three small light bars. Can easily mount light bars through clamping without any drilling.
Behind grill light bar mount
This is also a better place to mount a decent size light bar smaller than larger roof light bars.
These are pretty common locations light bars can mount on to an off roading vehicle.
Even though there are many roof drilling LED light bar mounting options in the market, most vehicle owners don’t like to make holes on their vehicle body.
It’s fair because drilling can cause huge problems later due to rusting.
Because of that you can mount light bars to your off-roading vehicle roof without drilling.
To bull bars and grills you will be able to find clamping options easily to mount light bars without drilling.
How to mount a light bar on the roof without drilling?
First of all I should tell you that all off roading vehicles will not be able to mount a light bar without drilling.
Because you know that to mount a light bar without drilling we should have some sort of clamping points or existing bolts (like in jeep wranglers) to mount a light bar without drilling.
With that in mind, let’s look at what are the best possible options you have.
Through existing bolts (in jeep wranglers)
This is the very easiest as well as best and sturdy method to mount a LED light bar over the windshield without drilling.
If you have a jeep wrangler, you have to loose the bolts placed at the bottom of the two sides of windshield first.
Then place the brackets you received with the LED light bar and then you can mount the LED bar to through these brackets easily.
You can watch the video below to get more understanding.
This no drilling mounting option is convenient for you, if your vehicle has a drip edge roof gutter.
Most of the old vehicles and jeep wranglers also have this type of gutter.
A clamp that attaches to gutters will connects with the light bar through simple adopters.
This is also a very sturdy and easy way to fit a LED light bar without drilling the roof.
Only disadvantage is most new vehicles don’t have this type of gutter. Their roof and doors are finished eliminating the need of a roof gutter.
Through roof racks.
This is the next better way to mount a LED light bar on the roof without drilling.
There are brackets that fit with the roof rack easily, from different manufacturers according to the vehicle models.
The disadvantage is if your roof rack is placed far behind the front of the vehicle, light bars also have to be placed somewhat behind the windscreen level.
So the visibility near the vehicle can’t be obtained through this kind of mounting system.
If your vehicle has roof rails installed, then also you can easily mount your led light bar to those roof rails through brackets without drilling the roof.
Through third brake light mount
This will be another suitable mounting option for pickup trucks. Most of the new pickup trucks may have a third brake light behind the cabin.
You can remove that and install a special unit which can be used to mount a roof LED light bar.
This also has the same downside that previous mounting options have.
Because the light bar is mounted far behind the front of the vehicle, visibility near the vehicle will be lost.
Magnetic roof mounts
If any of the above mount options are not possible to use in your case, you can check about this magnetic light bar mounting brackets.
Personally I haven’t used this, but I found this during my research. You can look whether this is suitable for you!!
How to do wiring of LED light bars?
Wiring of a LED light bar is pretty straight forward with most of the aftermarket light bars.
To get a better understanding of how to do that you can watch the below video of wiring a light in a off road vehicle.
The basic process is generally the same for any vehicle.
Where do you aim a light bar?
Aiming a light bar is pretty easy. It only needs a flat road or surface, screw drive or suitable tool to release and tight the bolts on the two sides of the light bar.
First park the vehicle on the flat straight surface at dark time. Make sure your light bar is placed flat (specially if it is on a bull bar, the clamps that light bar mount to the bull bar can be loosen and light bar can pull or twisted to one side.So make sure light bar mounts properly to the surface)
That is the horizontal adjustment of the light bar.
Then turn on the light bar. Now you will be able to see where the light beam goes, how far and angle of the light falls.
Now loose the bolts on two sides of the light bar and adjust the light bar to lite up as far as possible.
It’s best to check the visibility after sitting on the driving seat.
Adjust it in a vertical direction up or down until you can see everything clearly in front of the flat road/surface without any dark spots.
How to stop wind noise from light bar?
After installing a light bar over the windshield you may encounter a whistling noise from the light when speeding up the vehicle.
This may not be a problem for some drivers while some drivers find this noise annoying.
But don’t worry this is not a huge problem and it can be fixed with a very small trick.
What causes a light bar to whistle?
The whistling sound comes from the light bar when wind goes through the gap between the bottom of the light bar and roof.
When you drive at some speed, windflow through that gap vibrates the heat sinking fins behind the light bar.
Those fins vibrate at high speed like a guitar string and cause that whistling noise.
Mostly the last fin (most closer to the roof of the vehicle) is the reason for this sound.
To stop this whistling noise we can increase the mass of that fin. so it will be hard to vibrate due to the airflow like previously and wind noise will reduce/ go away.
To do that vehicle owners commonly use a cheap door/edge trim. This can be found easily from your local store.
Then insert those trim to the bottom fin (and another one or two fins closer to that bottom fin if you want.) and sniff off the trim at the end after properly entered to the fin.
With this small solution you can solve that annoying light bar whistling sound when you drive.
In this guide I mainly focused on mounting options of LED bars for off roading vehicles, light bar mounting options without drilling the roof , how to aim the led bars properly and solutions for annoying whistling sound coming from the light bar when driving.
As an extra, I attached a video for how to do wiring of the led light bar when installing an off road vehicle. Hope that will be helpful for you.
Make sure to adhere to the rules for using these kinds of light bars on streets in your states/ countries. Check those rules before installing these light bars. These rules can differ from country to country.
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Have fun and safe off roading!!