I have busted a few lights and even now have crack in one of my side marker lights. I've been backed into a tree by a spotter and luckily didn't shatter my light. If you have ever priced these at the dealership they are expensive. So I started looking for a little protection. I've seen and even used those wire protectors, while they will stop the incidental rock, they do little to protect the sides. I found that Sun Performance make guards for the front and side marker lights. These are fairly sturdy and will protect the lights from the larger objects. Now the rears I found guards that looked very similar to the front ones. A couple of different manufacturers make these. Mostly you see them called Euro guards, the ones by Mopar are expensive.
(6) #12x1 Hex Head Screws
T-15 Torx screwdriver
1/8" Allen wrench
3/8" Combination wrench
1. Remove the T-15 Torx screws from the front marker lights, insert the spacers in the hole and install the guards with the supplied screws.
1. First you will need to position the guard over the lens. I just made certain that there was an equal distance all around the lens. I also made certain that I positioned the bend in the bottom front coner over the corresponding bend in the flare. I drilled the first hole (I suggest the upper rear), install screw and nut with the 1/8" allen wrench and 3/8" inch combo wrench. I didn't tighten it down all the way. I then pressed in on the guard and drilled the bottom front hole and inserted the screw and nut. The bottom front hole is the hardest to insert the screw and nut. Then just drill the remaining holes. Don't forget to tighten up the first screw and nut.
1. These are a real pain since they aren't perfect for the headlight. Remove the (3) T-15 Torx screws for the bezel and install the guards. The pain is getting all the T-15 Torx screws to engage the holders in the grill. Once you get them started, you will be able to tighten them all down. Don't crank down on the screws to hard, the metal edges of the guard can crack the plastic headlight surround. The guard would be better if the ring was larger, but it does it's job of protecting the light.
1. The set of guards that I bought had a slot at the bottom, so I could slip the lights into them. Some of the others actually require you to remove the light and thread the connector back through the guard before you install it. If you have this type then you will need to disconnect the lights. The driver side is easy since you should be able to pull the connector through the body hole and then disconnect it. The passenger side is worse, you may be able to reach it by pulling the flap back on the rubber fender well and disconnecting it. On the 2003's it is a real pain to get to since it is up behind the charcoal canister. I had installed my OYR corner guards so I needed a longer bolt to fit in here. I tried to find a replacement screw, but it was real hard to find a #12-24 screw that was 1" long. After a while I gave up and found a #12x1 stainless coarse screw. To get the light off you will unscrew the 4 screws in the corners of the light bezel, and remove the bezel. You may need to insert a screwdriver between the edge and pry it out, don't drop it. Now you will be able to see 3 bolts holding the assembly on to the body, remove these with the 3/8" socket. Remove these, but be careful of that light bulb that you are working around. Once the light is off, installation is just the reverse.
Do these light guards provide good protection? I've already banged them off of a couple of branches and haven't damaged the lights. Now I admit that these are not designed for off road racing, nor pushing down large oak trees, but if you need to push on a branch they will survive. A horizontal tree branch will be able to get past the bars, but usually if the branch is big enough to do the damage then the light guard will take the brunt of the impact and most likely save the lens. The other branches that are small enough to get past the guards, will still hit the guard frame and have some of the force dissipated. The most susceptible one to damage from a branch is the front marker light. If a branch hits the guard hard enough it will still crack the lens, but any hit that hard is also going to leave a mark on the front fender. The most hits so far have been the rear taillights. I constantly get them into the bushes and saplings when I try to turn around in tight spots. I ran these on my last 2 TJ's and didn't break a single lens. I did manage to push in the back of my '98 when I was spotted backwards into a tree, I hit hard enough to stall the engine. The only other damage was a slight bow to the guard. I have shattered a couple of rear taillights and marker lights on my CJ's and YJ, but not yet on any of my TJ's. The difference: Most likely my experience, but the guards have still saved me a couple of times. I used to run the grid style covers, but these would compress when the tree branch struck and break the lens, so I switched over to something a little heavier. I would imagine that if you drove straight into the point of a branch, no guard would save the lens, but with these you would at least have the chance of it hitting a bar.
The front turn signal guards are starting to rust already. The powder coat is coming off. It looks like I will be taking these off in the future and stripping all the powder coat off and repainting them. I had figured that the Sun Performance guards would be better than the Steel Horse ones I had bought in the past, well I should have bought the cheaper Steel Horse ones (yes, I said that). I'm not impressed with the powder coat. Oh well.
This page last updated: 16-Apr-2008
and Design © 2002-present WanderingTrail, Ron Seegert
Common Sense and Safety should always be observed when working on your vehicle or doing modifications. Jackstands, wheel blocks, disconnecting the battery are a few of the basic safety precautions that should be used and may not be mentioned in the write ups on this site. You are responsible for your own installation, these write ups are a helpful guideline and should not be taken as an official installation instruction. My write up may be different from the kits currently out there, so alwasy double check the manufacturers installation instructions when installing anything. I try to keep the site up to date with changes that have occured as I discover them, but may not have the latest unless someone lets me know. If you feel that an install is above your capabilities after reading my write ups, I recommend getting together with a club and getting some help. Only a few times have I needed to employe some actual help from a shop to get something done. Usually welding or A/C work.
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