We all know that adding auxiliary lights to any 4WD is an important upgrade, but it shouldn’t be about having the biggest and brightest in the street.
It's more about choosing the right combination of lights that best suits your usual driving conditions.
When I was a young fella, my father always said: "Don't buy shit. Spend the money and get something that will last". That was one of his most well-worn phrases. Like most young blokes, I didn't always listen but, as the years rolled by and life threw me a few curve balls, I eventually came to realise the old man was right.
Thirty-odd years down the track, I’ve found myself investing in a set of Lightforce XGTs. The budget wouldn't stretch far enough to buy the HID version at the time but my thinking was, if I bought a high quality system to start with, I could then build it up over time. It's probably just as well, because if she who counts the beans had found an invoice for the HID version, I'd have found myself swinging from the rafters by the testicles. So, here we are...
There were several reasons I settled on Lightforce.
Firstly, Lightforce engineers its lights to withstand a significant impact. To me, that was of high importance. When you think of it, your auxiliary lights are right out front. They're in the firing line and vulnerable. The last thing you want is to be having to babysit the bloody things. If you're out in the country and are unlucky enough to hit a roo on the road, it's good to know your lights have a fighting chance of surviving the impact.
The other big one for me is that they are manufactured here in Australia, so parts and technical support are only a phone call away. I figured easy access to support was important if I was going to build a system over time. Lightforce also has a custom-built division that can tailor a product to specific requirements.
I’ve had the XGTs on the front for a couple of years now. They've stood up to a fair amount of punishment in that time so, as far as I'm concerned, they've earned their stripes. I even had a horse try to eat one of them once. True story, ask Borgy!
Anyway, enough of my dribble. Let's get this upgrade underway.
This is a straightforward conversion suitable for DIYers. It’s not complicated but it is fiddly in places. You need to take your time with it and be patient, especially where cutting the hole is concerned.
NOTE: This guide is for a genuine Lightforce conversion kit only.
STEP 1: Remove the light.
STEP 2: Remove the four hex head screws from the rear access plate while keeping pressure on the plate.
STEP 3: Remove the rubber gasket from the housing.
STEP 4: Remove the complete bulb holder and cut the wires close to the housing. This will not be reused.
STEP 5: Gently remove the blue dress ring. Do not touch the reflector surface. The housing is now ready for drilling. The hole can be drilled on either side.
STEP 6: Measure the position of the 16mm hole as per the instructions. These measurements must be accurate. If you are out by one or two millimetres, you run the risk of cutting into a vertical partition within the housing.
STEP 7: Cut the hole in the housing. Use only the supplied hole saw, as it is specially designed not to penetrate into the reflector, and remove any material that may have fallen in during drilling.
STEP 8: Insert the small supplied cable through the gland then through the housing. Now insert the gland into the cut hole until it clicks into place. Once in, it cannot be removed. Tighten the seal nut, which is a left-hand thread.
STEP 9: Insert the new HID dress ring and original housing gasket. If you are going to use the optional wide angle focal rings, insert one of them into the back of the dress ring now.
STEP 10: Fit the corresponding connectors to both ends of the cables.
STEP 11: Feed the wires of the bulb through the retainer spring and seat it into the dress ring.
STEP 12: Position the bulb in accordance with the supplied instructions.
STEP 13: Attach the aluminium spring retainer to the spring and feed the wires through the opening.
STEP 14: Fit and connect all high voltage connectors.
STEP 15: Connect all terminals from the bulb to the inserted cables and take up any slack.
STEP 16: Fit the rear access plate while tightening the four screws in a cross pattern to ensure a good seal.
STEP 17: Refit the light.
STEP 18: Repeat the above steps with the second light.
STEP 19: Fit the ballasts as per the instructions. If your lights were fitted with a genuine Lightforce wiring harness, you’ll not need to use the loom adapter supplied. The ballasts will simply plug straight into the main feed.
As the XGTs are designated long-range lights, I chose to fit a 30in single row Lightforce light bar to the roof rack to produce a wider angle of illumination to assist when scanning for roos and wombats. The combination is perfect for my usual driving conditions and the light bar alone is great for offroad.
Most nights of the week, I drive along a network of country roads with a very heavy wildlife population. Good lighting is absolutely essential for my vehicle. The HID upgrade, in conjunction with the light bar, has made a massive difference to both the intensity and quality of the light output.
It's a proud moment when a fellow offroader looks over your rig and says, "ahh you've got all the good gear," but it's also very satisfying when she who pinches the pennies eventually comes to realise the true value of your investment after having avoided numerous roos, wombats and the occasional deer!