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How-To: Install an LED tailgate bar - Posted: 08-06-2008, 07:40 AM
Hi guys. Respectfully submitting my write-up to the how-to section in hopes that it can help someone out. I had actually written this up awhile ago before the how-to section was created and forgot I had it until a friend of mine at work bought a Ram and wanted tips on installing one of these.
The link to the original is here for reference since it turned into a multi-page thread with some pretty good info on wiring reverse LEDs in and stuff.
Applicable models: Ram and Dakota
Applicable makes: Any DODGE (ha, just kidding)
Applicable years: 1st gen thru 4th gen
INTRO: I got the LED bar installed, but after I was done I noticed it was kind of crooked in a sense that the right side was 1/4" higher than the left. Thought I could eyeball it but I guess I'm not that good. And I'm a perfectionist, so I took to the driveway to fix my mistakes, and thought I'd post some pics and tips for those who haven't done this yet.
Things you'll need: Level or measuring tape (for perfectionists like me), masking tape or pencil (for marking heights), patience, and an extra pair of hands wouldn't hurt.
1) I started by removing the bar altogether (from the first crooked attempt). For those curious, even though the 3M stuff is supposed to be good for only one stick, you can remove it and stick it back on and be fine. I used a screwdriver and gently pryed the brackets away from the truck. It's also recommended that you clean the spots you're going to stick the brackets to prior to installing them.
2) Then I lowered the tailgate, and marked with a pencil where the tailgate comes down to (when lowered), so this way I knew how high I could put the bar again (first time the tailgate was hitting the bar, I went up too high). You could also use masking tape for marking the heights, but I had my bedliner to write on. You can see my pencil lines in the first pic.
3) Then I took the tailgate off, and what a difference in ease of install. I didn't remove the tailgate the first time, just figured I could stick and be done, but I would definitely recommend it! Makes it 10 times easier.
4) What I found out then was that the hole for lowering the spare tire is aligned with how low the tailgate will be when lowered. In other words, the top of the hole would be your line for installing and not having to worry about the tailgate hitting the bar. (See pic 2) (NOTE: In second picture, that's before I removed the bar from my first attempt, so it's a little higher on the hole, but I made the white line line up with the red line so you'd know what I meant)
5) Then when you install the bar, the top of the bar should be at the line you just made, and also should match up to the top of the spare tire lowering hole.
6) Before you press the bar on you could check it with a level like I did, but I dunno if that's necessary or not. But I'm a perfectionist. (TIP: In my original thread someone pointed out that if you use a level, the truck itself may not be level on the ground so the level may not be accurate, so it may help to measure from the top of the bed down, or from the bumper up. Thought I would throw that in there because it was definitely a good point.) Then press on the bar (here is where a second pair of hands will come in handy) and you're finished.
Done! Just plug the bar into the 4-pin harness and you're good to go (and if you have the reverse bar, splice the reverse wire too). See the original thread for tips on hooking up the reverse bar wire to the truck wiring, there are several different ways to do this.
- Mike -
2005 Ram 1500 Hemi "Big Horn Edition"
Line-X OTR bedliner || HuskyLiner floor liners || Bully tailgate lock || "Fire and Ice" LED tailgate bar || AutoVentShade rainguards || Magnaflow cat-back exhaust || Mopar OEM nerf bars
(Member #75, Red Truck Club)
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