Nilight 50" LED light bar install with Apoc Industries custom brackets


ericbphoto

Old Redneck just wingin' it.
Supporting Member
U.S. Military - Veteran
TRS 20th Anniversary
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Feb 7, 2016
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Age
55
Location
Wellford, SC
Vehicle Year
1993
Make / Model
Ford Ranger
Engine Type
3.0 V6
Engine Size
3.0L
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
6"
Tire Size
35"
My credo
In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are different.
Original Poster: Ericbphoto

Difficulty: 3 out of 10

Time to install: 4-8 hrs

Disclaimer: The Ranger Station.com, The Ranger Station.com Staff, nor the original poster are responsible for you doing this modification to your vehicle. By doing this modification and following this how-to you, the installer, take full responsibility if anything is damaged or messed up. If you have questions, feel free to PM the original poster or ask in the appropriate section of The Ranger Station.com forums.

Brief Explanation:
At the 20th Anniversary Trail Ride in 2019, several companies were generous enough to donate items to be given away. I came away with a Nilight 50” curved LED light bar (combination spot and flood) and a pair of custom mounting brackets from Apoc Industries. First of all, I would like to thank both of these companies for their generosity. These seem to be fine products and I am very happy to have them. I would like to also recommend them to any of you who are considering a purchase of this type.
Neither item came to me with installation instructions. But this is not terribly complicated and I have many years of experience with this type of installation. So, for those of you less experienced, I will share with you how I accomplished the project. If you are just installing the light bar and want to use the brackets furnished by Nilight, I would recommend a slightly shorter light bar, perhaps the 42” version, because with the 50” models, the feet on the brackets will be too wide to mount on your roof. The Apoc Brackets allow you to match the light bar to the width of your roof for a very nice look.
My installation is on a 1993 Ranger Splash edition (Gen 3 RBV) It should be similar on any other Ranger, Explorer, Bronco II or Mazda B-series.

Tools Needed:

  • Tape measure
  • Marking pencil, marker, crayon
  • Hammer (optional)
  • Center punch (optional)
  • Drill
  • 3/8” drill bit
  • 1/8” drill bit for pilot holes
  • 7/16” wrench
  • Wire cutter
  • Wire stripper
  • Electrical crimper
  • Threaded insert (riv-nut) setting tool – optional. But will make life a million times easier
Parts Needed:
  • wiring harness including;
  • switch
  • fuse holder
  • fuse
  • wiring
  • relay (optional but strongly recommended)
  • wiring connectors
  • weatherproof sealant (such as Permatex Black silicone adhesive) (optional but recommended)
  • wire ties
  • hardware to mount relay and switch as needed

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Step 1:
Decide where the brackets belong. The Apoc Brackets mount to the side of your roof, behind the weatherstripping for the door. This makes a very clean installation that looks great in my opinion. The next few pictures show the bracket stuffed in place and held by the weatherstripping until I could measure and finalize the placement. You can hook a tape measure to the rear top corner of the door as a reference point. I used the little point in the bottom of the Apoc logo as a reference on the bracket and made a mark at this point on the roof so I could find the position after opening the door and removing the weatherstripping. For a Gen3 body, 20 ¾” from the rear edge of the door worked out well. Any further back and the middle of the light bar would have hit the roof above the windshield. Too much further forward and you will run into the curve where the A-pillar meets the roof. For vertical alignment, the Apoc bracket has a notch at the front and rear edges that I aligned with the first bend in the roof’s sheet metal. I tried to point that out in the next photo.

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Step 2:
Once you have determined where you want the bracket, remove the weatherstripping and place a mark on the roof in the center of each mounting hole. I used a silver Sharpie marker but pencil, crayon, pen, etc. will work as long as you can see it easily. After marking, remove the bracket. I then used a hammer and center-punch to finalize the locations where I would drill. This is optional. However, a good center-punch dimple will help prevent your drill bit from “walking around” when you start drilling. You don’t want to scratch up your paint with the drill, do you? Repeat this process on the other side of the vehicle with the same measurement from the back corner of the door.

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alignment.jpg



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Step 3:
Now, we drill the holes – all 6 of them. I recommend using a pilot bit to make a small hole first. This will further help keep the final drill bit centered where you want it. I would use a 1/8” bit for the pilot. Then enlarge the holes to the final 3/8” size. Be careful when the bit finishes going through. You don’t want to push it so far that you mess up the headliner. Also, on mine, there was another angled piece of metal behind some of the holes. So, when my drill bit punched through, the other piece made the bit walk to one side and I got an oval hole. It wasn’t bad enough to hurt anything. But it makes the next step even more difficult and could make it harder to seal everything against water intrusion. If it happens bad enough, you will have a useless hole.


Step 4:
The Apoc brackets came to me with threaded inserts ( commonly called Riv-nuts, which I believe is a brand name). These things work like pop-rivets. You stick them in the hole and then you have to somehow pull the back part forward to expand the insert until it clamps tightly in the hole. Apoc supplied a ¼-20 screw with 2 flat washers and a 5/16” nut as a spacer. The theory is that you put the insert in the hole, then use the screw/washer/nut combo, by tightening the screw and magically squeeze the insert into position. It didn’t work for me. I have been doing this kind of work for over 37 years. I gave it the good-ole college try 3 times. No go. Your experience may be different. Good luck to you.

My solution was to go to Harbor Freight and buy a threaded insert setting tool. It works like a pop-rivet gun. You thread the insert onto the stud on the tool, with the flanged end of the insert closest to the tool. Then stick it in the hole and squeeze the handles to set (expand) the insert. You may need to squeeze once, then thread the tool into the rivet some more and squeeze again to make sure you get it tight. Just get it tight so it doesn’t move or rotate in the hole. Don’t try to break it off like a pop-rivet stud. Then unthread the tool from the insert. It works and the tool was in the neighborhood of $20. So it’s not too bad of an investment. Save yourself a lot of time, trouble and headache and just go buy this thing. Getting a better quality tool is always recommended in my opinion. But this one will get the job done.

Another solution to this would be to remove the headliner so you can hold the inserts with pliers to keep them from turning while you expand them. Or, if you choose to remove the headliner, you could just use regular ¼”-20 nuts and lock washers (not supplied) on the inside.
Their way. :(


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My way. :)

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Installed;

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Step 5:
Now it’s time to mount the brackets. I chose to place some sealant between the brackets and the roof to prevent water intrusion. I used Permatex Black silicone adhesive. There are other products out there that will work, maybe even better. I circled each threaded insert and ran a straight line of sealant along the top line where body and bracket meet. Apoc included an allen wrench to fit the screws they provided. Don’t forget to replace your weatherstripping.

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Step 6:
Now, carefully mount the light bar between the brackets using the screws and allen wrench provided. Be careful when handling the light. I found that the cooling fins on the back are easy to bend.

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Step 7:
Wiring. There are other articles available to cover wiring auxiliary lights and accessories and your installation will vary depending on where you decide to mount the switch and what path you decide to route the wiring from your light. I will mention just a few basic things here.
  • I strongly recommend using a relay to control your light. This reduces the current traveling through your switch and allows you to use much smaller wire to travel between the switch and relay.
  • I chose to order a wiring harness kit from Nilight. (photo below) This turned out to be a very nice harness including almost all the parts I needed for the electrical part of the installation. The rocker switch in the harness kit is round and installs easily in a simple drilled hole (5/8” if I recall). They also sell some nice rectangular rocker switches with labels and graphics.
  • Always use a fuse in your circuit. This protects your wiring in the event of a problem and could mean the difference between troubleshooting and repairing your installation or cleaning up the ashes of a burned up vehicle if the wiring gets hot and starts a fire.
  • I routed my wiring along the weatherstripping at the top of the door. I followed that down along the A-pillar to the cavity behind the front fender. From there I used an existing hole into the engine bay.
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Step 8:
Test it. Turn the light on and make sure it works. You may then want to do a night-time test. Make sure to keep the allen wrench handy so you can adjust where the light is aimed. Congratulations! It’s finished. Please be considerate of other divers and don’t use this light on the road where you could temporarily blind drivers of oncoming vehicles.

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