Under-Hood LED Lighting

Under-Hood LED Lighting

Since many of the trips I take are on longer remote routes, I’m often stopping every few hundred miles (generally whenever I stop for fuel) and spending a few minutes doing a brief look-over of my vehicle. It helps with catching some of those little problems like leaks and fluid levels before they become much bigger issues. Many of these quick checks are done in the engine bay, where lighting is generally horrible, even if under the lights of a  fuel station or such. Sure, I have headlamps and flashlights, but there is a certain convenience with under-hood lighting, even if it’s just supplementing lighting from a headlight or flashlight it’s still helpful in my opinion. On my old rig, I had retrofitted some cheap led’s I had drilled holes for, however they only worked marginally well and eventually failed. I’ve caught myself wanting something similar in my FJ, particularly after I’ve relocated my winch solenoid under the hood and often have trouble trying to connect it in the dark if I don’t have a light source handy. I spent some time searching the forums and web for a better solution than my last rig, and stumbled across some LED strip lighting on the TacomaWorld forums. After reading some reviews and looking into the product, I decided to give it a shot. A quick email to Brad of Anti-Dark Lights had me in line to receive a kit the following week, and although they’re mostly sold towards the Toyota Tacoma’s, they’re a pretty universal product. At the time of install, I was supposedly only the 2nd FJ running this kit, but I think it’s an easy install and doesn’t take too long at all, and could easily be installed on other vehicles.

 

I purchased it as a complete kit, coming assembled with all required mounting hardware for a “standard” installation. Zip-Ties, 3M Zip-Tie mounts, and your strip lighting. Everything was very high-quality; the lights were encapsulated in a rubber-type resin, and all mounting adhesive was quality 3M product. From taking with Brad during and after the purchase, he’s an extremely helpful guy. He went out of his way to make sure I had no issues installing it on my FJ, and was able to put me in touch with the first guy that installed one on an FJ. Brad’s a stand up guy, so feel free to drop him a line if you have any questions about purchasing, install, or using this for other applications.

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Prior to application, I cleaned the area of any dirt/mud and then wiped clear with Acrysol for a clean surface for the 3M to bond to. It was perfectly do-able with one person, but two people would certainly help.

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These are the 3M backed zip-tie mounts included in the kit. For proper application the surface should be prepped just as done above.

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While it’s possible to complete this without drilling an additional hole for the pressure switch, my winch cable routing didn’t allow me to use any pre-existing holes. I drilled out a hole in the fender in a clear area for the hole, and the only additional hardware I used was a fender washer for a bit of a cleaner looking install.

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Lit up at night; it gives great coverage of the entire engine bay.

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In all, I’d highly recommend this kit as I think it’s very helpful and will be used a lot either on the trail or in normal day-to-day use of your vehicle. The cost on this kits runs from $45 unassembled (but with all components other than wire loom) to $65 fully assembled. Part of the reason I’m so happy with this kit is also the outstanding customer service from Brad, and we’ve talked a fair amount after my purchase and he’s a genuinely great guy. Buy with confidence, and don’t hesitate to contact him with any questions; all his info is on his business card in the first picture.