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Old 05-17-2017, 02:51 PM   #1
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Which lights wiring kit for a 97 Jeep Wrangler?

I'm setting up my Jeep as a toad, and I'm down to the wiring for the tail lights. The Hopkins kit for the Wrangler cites 1998 to 2004....has anyone tried this on a 97, or do I need to go with the universal wiring kit and spice everything in?
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Old 05-17-2017, 07:00 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Northviewinn View Post
I'm setting up my Jeep as a toad, and I'm down to the wiring for the tail lights. The Hopkins kit for the Wrangler cites 1998 to 2004....has anyone tried this on a 97, or do I need to go with the universal wiring kit and spice everything in?
Northviewinn,
Well, this depends on how energetic you are and how well you handle little jobs. I've done quite a few Jeep wirings for towing and, up to this present '15 we have, they were all done the same, with nothing but two, Radio shack diodes and, some solder. And, when it's all done, your Jeeps tail lights are your toad lights, WITH NO ADDITIONAL BULBS OR SOCKETS!!

All your Jeeps tail lights are in a wire loom that runs right by your left calf when you're in the drivers seat. All you need to do is, release what clips, metal tabs etc that hold that loom up under the door sill. Then, with your trusty test light, you find the right and left turn signals by probing the wires, note the findings. Then probe once more to find the running lights.

All you do next is, "Tee" into each line, right turn/brake and left turn/brake with the respective ones from the coach. You do the same with the running light wire. Ground goes to whatever ground you choose. Now, here's where the diodes come into effect. Just in front of each "Tee" that you did for the turn signal/brake light wires, you insert (solder in) a diode.

When you're all said and done, the project will cost you a whopping $3.00 for the diodes and a few cents for some solder and tape. Then, make all your connections in your front plug, that will be used for your pig tail from the coach. DONE!

AGAIN, I've done it this way for 8 different Jeeps of our own and, several friends Jeeps and every single one of them is still working flawlessly.

And the really good part, your Jeeps tail lights act the same exact way when you're towing it, as they do when you're driving it.
Scott
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Old 05-17-2017, 07:18 PM   #3
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Thanks for the advice, Fire Up. I'll hit a RS and get the diodes and wire. Are the diodes installed on the turn signal and brake wires for each side? That would make four diodes, wouldn't it? What about the running light line? No diode for that?
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Old 05-17-2017, 11:35 PM   #4
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Thanks for the advice, Fire Up. I'll hit a RS and get the diodes and wire. Are the diodes installed on the turn signal and brake wires for each side? That would make four diodes, wouldn't it? What about the running light line? No diode for that?
Hey Northviewinn,
For decades, Jeep Wrangler (and a zillion other makes) have been utilizing what's called a TWO FILAMENT system. It's a simple system. There are basically two bulbs back there in each tail light. One is for Backup lights and the other is for everything else. In that other bulb, there are TWO FILAMENTS in it. One filament is for running lights and, the other filament has two duties. It can be both a turn signal and a brake light filament. It all depends on the position turn signal lever.

If the turn signal lever is in the NEUTRAL position, then when the brakes are applied, you get a signal through that steering column mechanism, to the second filament in those bulbs, one on each side of the Jeep.

But, if the turn signal lever is utilized for a right or left turn, you break that signal system up and, when the brakes are applied, you get a brake light signal to the one that is NOT BLINKING.

So, in answer to your question, of all the wires in that loom in that door sill, you're only concerned with three.

1. Running
2. Right turn/brake (a single wire handles both operations)
3. Left turn/brake (" " " " " " )

Hence, the need for only TWO diodes. Now, you asked about the use of a diode in the running lights. No, there is no need for it. Some on here will balk at that. It's no big deal. What happens if you DON'T use a diode in the running light Tee is, when you turn your coach lights on, you'll be lighting up the front parking lights too. I kind-a always liked that 'cause it was a notification that things were working correctly when I looked in my monitor on the dash. It's not very bright when they're lit up.

But, this is an optional thing. If you feel like you'd rather not see those front parking lights in your monitor, then simply opt for another diode, in front of the TEE in the running light tie-in. It's a matter of choice. Now, some will put diodes in all kinds of other places in those RV wires etc. so the toad lights can not back feed the coach, should someone enter the toad and turn on the lights BEFORE you get the pig tail disconnected.

Well, not only is that no big deal, it's been done a few zillion times. Pretty sure no coach has ever burned to the ground, 'cause the toad back fed the toad lights into the coach. Sometimes when we're in the disconnect mode, the wife beats me to the Jeep and, fires up the engine when the pig tail is still connected. Guess what, the coach lights LIGHT UP! And, guess what, we still OWN IT. So, again, not a big deal.

This is by far, the cheapest way of wiring a toad. It works, and has worked for decades. Some are deathly afraid of even THINKING about tying into the toads wiring. Well, that's up to them. Now, on our '15 JKUR, the wiring in that Jeep is a tad more complicated than the TJs, YJs, and CJs. So, tying in the way I've done it for years, could cause some issues.

But, for Jeep owners or around '12 or newer, (that could vary by a year or two), there's actual aftermarket harness's that do all the "diode and soldering and T-in" for us. That harness is a whopping $49.00 on Amazon and is put out by Hopkins. I've been using that one for about 8 months now and, again, working flawless. Hope this helps some. Good luck.
Scott
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Old 05-18-2017, 06:40 AM   #5
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Again Fire Up, thanks. I'll get to RS, and if I have any issues, I'll contact you.
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Old 05-18-2017, 10:35 AM   #6
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Again Fire Up, thanks. I'll get to RS, and if I have any issues, I'll contact you.
Roger that Sir,
Below is a diagram I drew up when I setup our 2011 Honda CRV All Wheel Drive EX-L. You'll see the placement of the diodes etc. Now, one thing you'll see in that schematic is, the use of a "Tail light converter". That is used for toads that have AMBER turn signals. It allows for the use of regular brake lights etc., and, the use of AMBER turn signals. Again, it's not very hard to set up and, in a case where you're toad has a THREE FILAMENT system, (the "third" filament" is the single, amber bulb) you're toad, when hooked to a coach with a TWO FILAMENT SYSTEM, will make your toad, look and act, when towing it, just like it does when driving it. Followers of your toad will most certainly appreciate that. In your case, there's no need for a tail light converter. So, don't really focus on that part of the schematic. Other than that, the schematic is pretty close to what you'll be doing.
Scott

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Old 05-18-2017, 10:47 AM   #7
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This is what I am doing on my yj but might work for a tj
see attached pic and website
YJ Flat Tow Setup

hope this helps and safe travels.
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Old 05-18-2017, 11:38 PM   #8
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This is what I am doing on my yj but might work for a tj
see attached pic and website
YJ Flat Tow Setup

hope this helps and safe travels.
Mousemate,
Your diagram is almost identical to the one I drew up. The primary difference is, the connections are all in those super diode connectors instead of "Teeing" like I do. And, while the physical makeup is a tad easier on yours,( crimp connectors) instead of soldering jointed connections on mine, your setup costs considerably more than mine. The last time I checked on those "Diode kits", they hovered around $24 - $28 or more. Don't get me wrong here, they work. Lots of folks use them. I just figured if I'm going to use diodes, why not get them for around $3.00 or so, instead of a higher price and, all I have to do is do a bit of soldering which, I enjoy anyway. And yes, your system will work for CJs, YJs, TJs and early JKs. It will work for just about any TWO FILAMENT system.
Scott
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Old 05-20-2017, 02:29 PM   #9
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Fire Up,

I'm installing the diodes in the tee line that goes from the turn signal to the MH, correct?
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Old 05-20-2017, 03:54 PM   #10
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Fire Up,

I'm installing the diodes in the tee line that goes from the turn signal to the MH, correct?
Northviewinn,
Picture this. Two wires, both coming from the steering column, one going to the right tail light and one going to the left tail light. One of those wires, can carry the brake signal from the Jeep or, the turn signal from the Jeep, to each tail light. The other wire, does the same thing, only for the other side. You will "Tee" into the wire that is the left turn signal/brake and you will "Tee" into the right turn signal/brake wire. And you will use the right and left wires coming from the newly installed plug, on the front of the toad. Now, this is where it gets complicated and, where the diodes step into action.

If you were to Tee into those wires I suggested, with the leads from the coach, AND NOT USE ANY DIODES, here's what WILL happen. Driving down the road with the coach and Jeep hooked up. Now, you apply a turn signal in the motor home. OK, when that happens, you send a turn signal through the wires on the coach, to the pig tail and, to the "Tee" for the side you're signaling too. All is fine accept, At that Tee intersection, the signal from your coaches turn signal, WILL GO BOTH DIRECTIONS. It will go to the intended tail light on the jeep but, if there's no diode in that line, it will also travel up stream in the Jeeps wiring, all the way to the steering column. And, because, no one's driving the jeep and it's being towed, the turn signal lever is in the neutral position, correct?

So, the signal from the Tee intersection will go RIGHT THROUGH that steering column and head over to the opposite tail light and therefore, you using only one turn signal on the coach, will trigger both tail light turn signals on the Jeep to flash.

But, with a diode in line, just in front of that Tee, the signal you're sending from the coach, will hit that Tee, turn left and hit the diode and STOP DEAD, right there. But, it wall also turn right and head towards the intended tail light filament. I hope I've explained it right. If not, PM me and we'll get it all straightened out, no issues.
Scott
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Old 05-20-2017, 06:01 PM   #11
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Thanks Fire Up. I completed all the wiring this afternoon, and all signals are working as planned. I bought a Four pack of diodes, and installed them such that there is no backfeed to the Jeep or the MH. Tested them to confirm that signal power goes only to the lights from either the toad or the MH.

I followed your plan on the parking lights,and can see the benefit. Total cost for the diodes and a four wire auto harness was about $15.

Thanks for the help.
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Old 05-20-2017, 06:49 PM   #12
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Thanks Fire Up. I completed all the wiring this afternoon, and all signals are working as planned. I bought a Four pack of diodes, and installed them such that there is no backfeed to the Jeep or the MH. Tested them to confirm that signal power goes only to the lights from either the toad or the MH.

I followed your plan on the parking lights,and can see the benefit. Total cost for the diodes and a four wire auto harness was about $15.

Thanks for the help.
Northviewinn,
You're more than welcome Sir. Glad I could be of assistance. The system you used is as stated earlier, about the cheapest and yet, still works efficiently. There are many RV owners out there that shy away from what you just accomplished and prefer to install secondary sockets and bulbs in each Jeep tail light housing. Well, if that floats your boat, have at it. What I don't like about that is, the bulbs are almost always installed either sideways or, at the very least, not in the correct reflective back ground of the housing. Therefore, you don't get very good reflectance and or brightness as you do from the original, correctly placed bulb.

The newer Jeeps and other toads, as in around '12-13 and up, utilize a more complicated wiring system, normally known as CAN-BUSS. When a toad is setup to be towed that uses that type of electrical system, there are pre-made aftermarket harness's that do all of what you just did in your soldering and "Teeing" in. Only, all that's needed is to unplug the plugs from the back of the tail lights and insert the new plug and then, plug the original one into the new one. Then, run the four wires to the front and set up your plug on the front of the toad. I did that on our present Jeep, a 2015 Jeep JKU Rubicon. I used a Hopkins harness and it was about $40 from Amazon. Good luck on your new venture.

Scott
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