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The OEM backup lights on the Ram are pitiful, especially on a dark, rainy night. High output bulbs in the original housing are not much better. The best way to add light at the rear of the truck is to hang a pair of fog or flood lamps from the bumper or trailer hitch.
|The least expensive lights are $10 Grott rubber tractor lamps with a trapezoidal pattern 35W sealed beam.|
|A pair of aluminum L-brackets attached to the hitch with hose clamps will provide mounting points for the lights.|
|First Generation trucks can mount the lights on top of the bumper. They fit just below the OEM tail light assembly|
Sue's 2001 Ram has a pair of Hella 55W work lights, which cost $12 from Ohio Light Truck Parts in Dover, OH. These lights are much brighter than the 35W sealed beam tractor lights, but they are harder to find.
Northern Tool "Mini Wide Beam" halogen lights 55 W, 1.75" x 5", item number 18816-c150 for $8.99/pair
John Deere 650 HT dozer worklights. You need two of each - bulb - #AT220508 @ $13.27; eyeplate - #t175866 @ $10.03; and o-ring - # t177080 @ $2.55. Be sure your bulbs come with the disco ball looking reflectors they are available both ways. Be sure you go to an industrial equipment dealer not an agricultural dealer.
|Navigator 4 1/4" x 1 3/4" Backup Lights kit is available at Pep Boys or Camping World for about $30. Designed to be mounted on a trailer hitch, the kit includes two 55 watt halogen lights, wiring harness, mounting hardware and directions. HD TieWraps attach the lights to the trailer hitch.|
|Hella 90601 110W rectangular halogen work lights are available from ag suppliers like CT Farm&Country, Quality Farm&Fleet, TSC, and Northern Tools. The mounts were fabricated from HDPE and bolted with the OEM innermost bumper to subframe carriage bolt.|
|PIAA ion crystal 1500XT Fog light kit $175|
Sources for lights:
Wiring Backup Lights
Always use a relay to feed the high power backup lights, and fuse the circuit to prevent fire if the lights or wiring are damaged. Tapping directly into the wiring harness will overload the wiring and drastically reduce the output of the lights. For best reliability, splice the wires with solder connections instead of using the "scotchlock" vampire taps.
Because I often work at the back of my truck at night (getting tools, hitching trailers, unloading wood, etc), I prefer to manually switch my backup lights. NOTE: this is not legal because the law states that the transmission must be in reverse for the lights to be on. To be legal, the lights should use a relay to turn them on with the factory backup lights.
If you don't have a trailer hitch, you can remove on of the tail light assemblies and tap the Violet/Black-stripe wire to feed the relay. B+ will have to be run from the battery to the rear of the truck. Find a good ground or run one from the battery.
If you have a trailer hitch:
From TSB 08-33-96
|2||B40 12LB||TRAILER TOW ELECTRIC BRAKE OUTPUT|
|3||L76 12BK/OR||TRAILER TOW RELAY OUTPUT|
|4||A6 12RD/TN*||FUSED B(+)|
|5||L63 16DG/RD||LEFT REAR TURN SIGNAL|
|6||L62 16BR/PK||RIGHT REAR TURN SIGNAL|
|7||L1 16VT/BK||BACK-UP LAMP SWITCH OUTPUT|
FIGURE 1: 7-Terminal Trailer Tow Connector
|* some trucks have orange or red/orange wires for B+|
Other sites with useful wiring tips:
TDR Threads with useful information: