Installation Time: Afternoon
June 06, 2016
Look good, but LED tailights are a problem
These guards would be pretty easy to install, but there are a couple of issues.
The main issue id they are not really meant to fit LED tail lights. It's kind of interesting that I have a set of Rugged Ridge LED taillights, but these guards are NOT a bolt-on fit. With that said, I made the guards fit, but it was risky as I had to use a screwdriver to lever the lens cover in place. The problem is the LED light assemblies and attached wiring are mounted to the lens. It is impossible to mount the taillights with the lens on, so you have to leave at least six inches of wire from the plug leads inside the taillight itself. The lens will not completely remove from the taillight with unsoldering wires, which I wouldn't recommend. I had to wedge the lens partially inside the guard and try holding everything in place while starting the mounting screw. That was problem 2 - the stock mounting bolts are too short. The bolts that came with the guards are too small for my TJ, so I couldn't use them. I found some screws that would work and was able to get all three started. Then I couldn't get the lens to fit inside the guard.
I finally had to use some silicone spray on the wires where they kept the lens from sliding on. That helped but I had to use a large flat-blade screwdriver to pry the lens out far enough for the wires to slide in. Then the LED reverse light assembly on the lens hung up and could not possibly clear the taillight housing without some seriously risky prying. I ended up getting the whole shebang installed but not without the cold sweat of fear dripping off me while prying and forcing the lens into place.
Note the stock photo of the guards shows them mounting over Rugged Ridge body armor. I also had this in place, and that was another factor in making the stock mounting bolts too short.
Bottom line is I dread ever having to remove the taillights or guards because it is going to be a major project! Since I have LED lights they should last the rest of the life of my Jeep, and the guards should help keep them from getting messed up. Crossing fingers!