Military Rear Lights
Updated October 13, 2016
Rear Running/ Turn Signal Lights
Above shows the new rear light assembly. It comes with a new 'bucket'.
Remove all the light bulbs first so they don't break. Remove the bucket rivets by using a drift punch to drive out the center steel pins from the outside-in, then drill off the heads with a 1/4 in drill. You may have to hold or clamp the 3 fingers of the rivet inside the back fender wells before drilling.
The military connector is not compatible with the vehicle harness so you will need to cut it off.
I removed the black aluminum 'U' boxes that protect the wires. There's one on each side. There are 2 1/4-20 bolts on the bottom that bolt through the body. You will also have to remove the wire harness clamps. They're probably full of mud and junk anyway so this will be a good time to clean them out. Separate all the wires and you will see the connectors that go to the rear light, the grounds and the power connector and ground that goes to the side marker. The picture on the left shows the completed job.
Use #10-24 stainless screws 3/4" to 1" long with nyloc locking nuts and stainless bolts to mount the new plastic buckets.
I took the bulb out of the 4th position since it won't illuminate anything. Within the plastic enclosure, I tied the backup bulb wire to the wire going to the fourth bulb and left the military wire (23) in tact. Now I have a hot whenever the reverse is engaged. I'm going to tie this to a relay that will turn on a couple of bigger aux lights I'm going to mount in the rear. This will give me a real backup light.
I think I can pickup a higher amperage source from the trailer hitch power wire or the trailer brake control wire (which I don't use)
Military Wire No.
Civilian Wire Color
|Brake/ Turn Signal||
|Splice to Backup|
Bulbs are not critical so you can use whatever 12 volt bulb that will fit.
NOTE: On the plastic housing rear lights you need to ground the left bolt looking at the rear of the light.
If the wiring doesn't match the numbers just take a continuity meter and see which wires go to which bulbs.
I cut the connectors off the original tail lights leaving about 10" of wire. I cut the military connectors off the new lights at the end.
I made my splices by soldering the wires together, painting them with brush on electrical tape with shrink tubing. Don't forget to put the shrink tubing on the wire before you solder it.
How the Bulbs are Wired.
The top bulb is the running light. The second one down is the brake turn signal and the third is the backup. I removed the bulb from the 4th socket and jumped the 3rd and 4th together. Now the military connector that connects to the 4th goes hot with the reverse signal. I'm going to wire this to a relay that controls a couple of rear facing lights to provide some real backup illumination.
Your light may come with 24 volt bulbs and the infrared led circuit boards in the bottom positions. If you energize them you won't see visible light. Remove and replace the boards and bulbs per the above chart. The led board should come out like a light bulb with a push / twist.
The blackout lens shades are only for vehicle spacing while in convoy and the blackout red rear is a brake light. I cut out the red lens so I would have a reverse indicator.
Cutting out the Blackout shades.
Cut the heat staked edges holding the blackout V shades inside the lens cap and the shades will fall out leaving clear lenses for the back-up indicators (they won't light up much of anything but satisfy the law)
Feed the wires through the hole in the bucket. The light unit bolts to the bucket from the rear. The tail light is waterproof so you don't have to worry about sealing the wires leading out the rear of the bucket.
Wires running out the rear of the lights. Notice the ground on the top left. I screwed the existing 3 grounds together with a SS 10-24 screw and tied it to a big loop connector to go over the 3/8" rear bolt. Use 3/8 UNC x 3/4 Inch stainless bolts to mount the military light in the new bucket. You might want to use some antisieze on the threads in the light holes.
You must ground the left rear bolt or the military lights will not work. The whole light is tied to ground internally with a clip connector that goes over a pin. Some lights come with the upper 2 sockets grounded to the left bolt and the lower 2 sockets to the right bolt. If this is the case jump a wire between both bolts.
Close up of the ground setup where I tied the 3 existing grounds with a 10-24 screw and a nyloc nut to a large copper ground ring that fits over the 3/8 mounting bolt.
I painted the faces Black so I had to carefully mask off the lenses.
The military lights do not have a built in reflector like the civilian lights. This means that they are not DOT approved. For safety purposes I added the rear facing red reflectors like the hmmwv's have.