HMMWV Upgrades: How to Install HMMWV LED Tail Lights
“Looks like upgrading to rear LED taillights is not gonna be as easy as headlights. Anybody done it? Looks like all the rivets have got to be drilled out?”
Why install LED tail lights?
Same reasons you would want LED taillights on any other vehicle:
- Safety: LED tail lights are brighter and easier to see than the incandescent lights they replace.
- Durability: LED tail lights should last much longer than incandescent bulbs in any car. A HMMWV isn’t just “any car”, though. With the more rugged useage common in Humvees and much greater vibration incandescent bulbs don’t tend to last nearly as long as solid state LEDs.
- Low power draw: LED bulbs draw a fraction of the current of the bulbs they replace, leaving more to power other things, like off-road lights, radios, and cell phone chargers.
Where to buy LED tail lights?
Your best bet might be this eBay search (link).
Yep, it stumped me at first when I installed LED taillights in the Project HMMWV Battlewagon
The problem I encountered is that the LED tail light housings fit so snug in the tail light buckets that they are hard to remove. So hard that I thought the rivets around the tail light buckets had to be removed to get the tail lights out. Fortunately, they don’t!
The exact steps depend on what model of tail lights your Humvee has and what model you are installing.
- If you have newer tail lights, you may be able to take these 6 screws out, remove the lense assemblies and swap the new LED equipped assemblies in. If you know for sure, please leave a comment.
- However, most will have the older style of tail lights that require you remove and replace the whole tail light assemblies.
- If you need to swap the whole assemblies, then take out these 2 bolts from back side and the whole assemblies come out of the tail light buckets.
- Mine where in the surround pretty tight, but a flat head screwdriver lightly prying gently from the left edge, then the right, then the left, etc. gradually worked them out.
- You will also have to unplug all of the packard connectors (the waterproof electrical connectors) on the tail light wires. Your wires should all be numbered, making it easy to connect them to the new lights. However, if any wires are NOT numbered, make note of them before hand so you know what to connect them to.
- Once the old tail lights are out, installing the new LED tail lights is just the reverse of the removal process. I like to put a global of dielectric grease in each electrical connector to help prevent corrosion.
- If your wires aren’t labeled, then here is how to quickly figure out what each wire controls:
Using a 12v battery and test leads, put the negative lead on the pin in the packard connector of one of the wires coming off of the light and touch the positive to a different plug.If it lights, then black is on ground.If it doesn’t, then move the positive to another plug (in case the first time the + was on the wire for the IR light).
If it lights, then black is ground and you now know what light the positive wire controls.
If not, then move the black test lead to the next wire and repeat until you find it.
Once you find Negative, then touching our + lead to any connector will reveal what that wire controls.Mark them as you figure it out.
Installed and working LED HMMWV tail lights
More HMMWV articles can be found under the Humvee category menu above or by clicking HERE. You might also like the HMMWV section of our Amazon store where we have listed lots of replacement and upgrade parts for Humvees. We have also found a lot of HMMWV parts on eBay (link).
Please leave a comment if you have suggestions on how to better install LED tail lights in a HMMWV.
The Project Humvee Battlewagon
Gear Report acquired a real HMMWV (High Mobility Multi Wheeled Vehicle) from the US Army for use as our official field and shooting range vehicle. We have already posted about some of our upgrade projects (Project Humvee Battlewagon article links) and have a lot of really cool projects on the way. Consider subscribing so you don’t miss any of the cool reviews as we post them.
Here is our Project Intro (link) and our list of HMMWV upgrade projects.