I got some 2001-2005 Ford Ranger taillights off eBay for my 1997 ranger. The tails fit fine, except they switched to a 2 bulb setup in 2000.
THIS WILL TELL YOU HOW TO MAKE THE BRAKE/TURN/TAILS RUN ON ONE DUAL FILAMENT BULB. THE TAIL LIGHT IS THE MINOR FILAMENT, AND THE BRAKE/TURN SHARE THE MAJOR FILAMENT. WHEN TURN SIGNAL IS APPLIED THE MAJOR FILAMENT BLINKS, IF BRAKE ARE ALSO APPLIED THE MAJOR FILAMENT ON THE OPPOSITE SIDE STAYS CONSTANT.
I bought a trailer converter kit from Hopkins Mfg.. The real purpose of it is to be able to hook up a vehicle with separate turn signals to a conventional trailer lighting system.
Hopkins 38925 Taillight Converter
Go to the rear of your truck and up under the bed by the bumper, there is a connector that connects the rear light harness to the lead from the front of the truck.
Disconnect that and cut off the female end leaving about 3-4 inches so you can splice. Cut both ends of the converter wiring to 6/”. It may be helpful to pop out the little plastic rivets holding the wiring up so you can work on it easier.
Connect wires as follows:
Truck -> converter
- Black -> White (ground)
- Brown -> Brown (Tail/Parking)
- Green -> Red (Brakes)
- Orange w/ blue stripe -> Green (Right signal)
- Green w/ orange stripe -> Yellow (Left signal)
You also need to run an extension wire for the reverse lights, independent of the converter. use a section of extra wire you cut off the converter ends, and splice in between the Black w/ pink stripe wires.
After that is complete, you then have to splice the opposite side of the converter into the rear harness.
There are 4 outputs:
Converter -> Truck
- White -> Black (ground)
- Brown-> Brown (tails)
- Green -> Green (Right turn/stop) THIS WILL BE EXPLAINED BELOW!
- Yellow – Green (left turn/stop) SAME MESSAGE AS ABOVE!
So you will see 2 of a few wires lower in the harness, apparently the shared functions, like brake, reverse, tail run to one side and run back.. Splice the Green wire from the converter into the Green wire you cut when you chopped off the harness (the harness end, not the connector end which you already spliced!).
Then the green wire which is running back from the right side, cut that and splice the Yellow wire from the converter into the side of the wire that runs to the left. The idea is, the brake output runs through the turn signal wire son the converter, but needs to run through the brake light wires on the truck, since that’s where the dual filament bulb is connected to.
All done with the wiring! You can chop off the old turn signal bulb holders, then cap those wires and any unused wires so you don’t get confused in the future. use some plastic wire shielding stuff, electrical tape it up or use heat shrink on the splices. this is to make sure all the wiring is water proof.. Secure the converter and wiring with zip ties, plastic pop rivets etc.
NOTE: I used all butt connectors for the splicing in this job.
The last step which you may or may not need to do is replace your flasher relay with a heavy duty trailering one. I had to, because my turn signals would flash rapidly when the brakes were applied at the same time.. it was like $12 at Autozone.
1993-1999 were a (3) bulb taillight and will swap on to a 1993-1997 without any modifications.
The 2000+ are a (2) bulb taillight. However, the 2000 and 2006+ taillights have an empty chamber that will allow you to drill a hole and add the third light. Click HERE for more information. The 2001-2005 taillights do not have an empty chamber to add the third bulb to.