Original Poster: four100d
Difficulty: 4 out of 10
Time to install: 2-3 hours
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: Install 01-05 Ranger 2 bulb Tail lenses in a 93-97 WITHOUT using a trailer converter kit.
The 01-05 tail lenses have 2 chambers, the upper (clear) and lower (red). You will be using the upper chamber for your turn signal, and lower for the tail/ brake light. You will be making a new socket hole in the upper chamber (clear) horizontal to the factory hole.
Note: The turn signal and reverse light using the same chamber will not effect anything. How often does one go in reverse while using their signals?
In this mod I used smaller sockets and bulbs in place of the factory reverse sockets. The bulbs I used are 17.92 watts. The factory reverse bulbs are 26.88 watts. They are dimmer than factory, but still shine plenty bright to see and to warn other drivers that you are in reverse. Also, I have switchable auxiliary reverse lights installed under my rear bumper, so if I need more than 17.92 watts (x2) then I have two 55w lights at my disposal…
This tutorial assumes you know how to use the tools below, and know how to take out your tail lenses and change bulbs. If you do not know how to use some of the tools, or take out your tail lenses, you will need to figure that out before you read on.
If you read this tutorial and decide you are not sure about this solution and want more info on 93-97 to 01-05 tail light upgrade, go here.
- Small drill bit for pilot hole (1/8″ to 1/4″)
- Step drill bit (or drill bit matching diameter of lamp socket)
- Razor knife
- Soldering Iron and solder (or crimping tool and crimp connectors)
- Phillips screwdriver
- Wire strippers
- Electric heat gun (not mandatory, but helps make sockets flexible for easy install)
- 2 – License Sidemarker Sockets (Part #85814)
- 1 – 2 pack of 921 LL Bulbs
- 1 – 2 pack of Amber turn signal bulbs (3157-4157NALL)
- Cord Weatherstrip (Not mandatory, but adds a better seal to socket and is easily removed)
- Electrical tape
- Heat shrink tubing (Not mandatory, but it is better than just electrical tape)
Note: Use a towel to put the tail lenses on while working on them to keep from scratching them.
Gather all tools and materials and mark where you want to drill your hole for the new socket. I put my socket closer to the edge of the UPPER (clear) chamber, level / horizontally centered with the factory hole, but you can move it closer to the factory socket hole if you choose, as long as there is room for both. Once you are sure you have your hole marked and where you want it, use your drill and 1/8″ or 1/4″ bit to make your pilot hole.
Note: Try and use short bits; you don’t want the drill bits going through the outer part of the tail lens. If you DON’T have short drill bits, Go easy…
Once you have the pilot hole drilled, use your step bit, or drill bit matching the socket diameter and drill your hole for the round part of the socket. With the step bit, you can start it by hand. Then slowly drill a little at a time, checking the diameter to make sure you don’t drill it too big. Better to be a little on the small side, than too big. I drilled mine just a little smaller than the socket, then cleaned it up with a razor knife because the step bit left a beveled hole.
Once you are sure you have the round hole the right diameter, grab your razor knife and start slowly cutting out your notches. I started mine a little smaller and kept checking how well the socket fit as I was cutting the notches out bigger. The notches do not have to be absolutely perfect, but TAKE YOUR TIME!
Once you are done drilling and notching the holes in both tail lenses, make sure you turn the tail lenses (holes down) and shake all of the pieces of plastic out of them.
Install the 921 LL Bulbs in the new smaller sockets. Then insert and twist the sockets into tail lenses. It was cold outside when I done my tail lenses, so I used a heat gun to warm up the sockets (BEFORE PUTTING BULBS IN) just a little so they would go in the tail lenses easier. You may or may not have to heat them up. If you do, be careful with the heat gun, YOU CAN MELT THE SOCKET!
Remove the old tail lenses from your truck. Make note which sockets were installed in which opening of the 93-97 factory lenses. You should only have the sockets w/bulbs dangling out of the tail lens openings of the bed.
Tie into the reverse wires. You can either cut the factory reverse bulb socket out and solder the wires to the new socket, or you can use crimp connectors and tie into the reverse wires and leave the factory socket. If you decide to leave the factory socket, make sure you take the bulb out, and tape or zip tie it out of the way.
I cut my factory socket out, and soldered the new socket to the wires. Striped to Brown, Solid to Black. If you decide to solder them and you opt to use heat shrink tubing, put your tubing on before you solder them. Once soldered, use a cigarette lighter to shrink the tubing. Once your done it should look like this:
Repeat this step on both tail lenses.
Remove the clear turn signal bulbs and replace them with the yellow turn signal bulbs you bought. Then install the turn signal sockets in the upper (clear) chambers of the new tail lenses next to the new smaller sockets you drilled and installed. Install the brake/tail light sockets in the lower (red) chambers.
Get a friend, family member, wife, etc. to help you test the lights before you put everything back together.
Once you are sure everything works, you can now put the tail lenses back in the bed. Right before I put the lenses back in, I decided to use a little bit of cord weatherstrip around the new sockets I installed. You don’t have to do this, but it helps ensure a good seal.
Tape / clean up the wires if you want. Then install the new tail lens back in the bed. Wipe them off, and enjoy!
There may or may not be a better way to do this, but I just wanted to share what worked for me…
Not the best videos, but this will give you an idea of what it looks like. Like I said in the tutorial, the reverse lights are not quite as bright, but they are still bright enough.
Plus, does anyone really use their signals while in reverse?
Note: Click HERE to see the original submission/discussion on this modification.