LED Reverse Lights Second Gen 90-91
If you drive a 4runner, especially the 90’s models, you know how terrible the reverse lights are. Its a pain to back up especially in the pitch-black off-road country. There are a lot of products out there to improve visibility, but nothing really put the lumen output we wanted to see, so we decided to build our own! This blog is a step by step guide to what we did to make our own custom LED reverse lights that fit our 91 Runner.
We purchased these LEDs because they fit inside the interior cavity of the current reverse lamps. Be sure to measure that hole and not the lens. Then, we had to figure out how to make them usable. Two of the LED boards fit in the space on the 91 4Runner. Using a small piece of plastic from the trash, we were able to glue the boards to each other using superglue. It was actually perfect. They dont need much.
The hardest part was the connector, we ended pulling the old bulb out and smashing the glass out of it to reuse the threaded base of the lamp.
The center of the base is a small lead wire where the lighting element used to be attached. You want to solder the possitive wire to that lead wire. We did this by carefully wrapping the wire around the stem and filling the center with solder. Once we were happy with the connection, we insulated the rest of it by filling with hot glue.
See how we were careful not to touch any of the metal housing? Careful to not create a short. Positive and negatives have to remain insulated when making this DIY adapter. If you dont want to do this, save yourself some time by purchasing these (pre-made adapters) Of course, you could just cut the wires and hardwire, but we wanted to minimize the alterations from factory.
Finally, the ground (negative) had to be attached. We drilled a small whole in the side of the connector for the negative to loop through before soldering. Solder sticks out the outside of the connector, so be careful. We ended up smashing the connector slightly to offset the elevation of the solder point.
Then using some connectors laying around from computer parts, we slipped them over the + and – post of the LEDs. Then, stripped the end and soldered the ends to the homemade adapter and shrink tubed them. The hard part was soldering the lead to the inside of the old lamp base.
After everything dried, we took the LEDs and using thin 3M tape adhered it the front of the cover and using a strip of Gaff tape secured it from the back.
The difference between the new LED and old lamp is incredible in both output and color. You can see how bright it is in the photos below.
Notice how the LED on the right outshines the left? The beam width, color and luminosity overpowers the old. The light isn’t just brighter, but actually more efficient because its mounted directly to the lens, so light is thrown further.
That concludes this project. In the future, we plan to replace or modify the lens to look cleaner and mount the LED a bit more “professionally”. 🙂 We’ll update this post if we do.