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Discussion Starter #1
My only complaint about my 2011 Honda Ridgeline is the lack of effective backup lights. I tried to upgrade them with LED lights that had a magnifier. While brighter, they were also inadequate.

My reading here caused me to take the plunge and wire some new back up lights. I bought the following items.

25 feet of 12 AWG Red & Black Auto Zip Wire
25 feet of 3/8 wire loom
30 amp Fuse holder
Automotive Relay Shrouded SPDT 40/30 Amp and socket
16 gauge wire—black and red
Ring terminals and quick splices
Wire ties
55 watt back up lights

Some of this stuff I already had and the rest I bought. My first change was with the backup lights I ordered. What was listed as in stock was no longer in stock. So I got on Amazon and saw these 18 watt LED lights that are advertised as bright as a 55 watt bulb.


I started my project at the back end. I uninstalled my Bak Flip F1 bed cover.



Then I unbolted the passenger side tail light module and removed the bed side panels starting with the front and then the passenger side. There are some good explanations in this forum. Read several !!



You can see my white wire ties attaching my wire loom to the factory wire loom. You can also see where I entered the cab. This was a rubber plug that I made into a grommet and passed my loom through.

I neglected to take any pictures of the interior. I pulled all the plastic pieces under the back seat forward to disconnect them and then unbolted the seats. I also disconnected the passenger seatbelt. It was quite an effort to get all that done just to pull the loom through my grommet and under the sill plates. The sill plates pull up easily. I wire tied my loom to the factory loom under the sill plates to the dash. There is a kick plate that pulls out and exposes some electronics. I put my loom behind it. Open the glove box and disconnect as necessary as if to change the cabin filter, pass the loom above and behind the cabin filter box. Attach wire ties as you go to the driver’s side. There is a bundle of wires that penetrates the firewall high on the driver’s side, above the parking brake. I took care not to harm the wires when I passed my loom through to the engine compartment. The rest of the way to the battery was easy.



I put everything back together and attached my relay by the tail light.



The wires to the backup light are orange and green with a black stripe. There is a positive sign stamped on the plastic for the green wire with the black stripe. I used a quick splice to connect this to the relay for the backup signal.

Things changed a bit when I looked at how I was going to mount these lights. They mount so close and the plastic for the bumper has different heights. I could only see one place to put a light. The socket for a trailer plug was blocking the other spot. Okay, I’ll mount one light and see what happens. If I don’t get the illumination I want I will get some steel square tubing to get some height off the trailer hitch to clear the bumper.



I am very happy with the outcome!! Even with one light, everything is easy to see behind the truck. Here is a shot of the back of the truck with the LED backup lights and my 18 watt LED light.



This is my garage from about 20 feet away.

 

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Discussion Starter #3
In retrospect it is a bit of overkill. I made a system that can handle 30 amps and I'm only using 1.5 amps.

For the long term I am going to get some stainless steel square stock so that I can clear the bumper and still mount on the trailer hitch.
 

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Given that it uses such little power, I'm thinking you could replace the stock backup lights with LEDs, wire in a similar LED fixture directly to the backup lights, and still draw fewer amps than the stock incandescent bulbs. No relay needed.
 

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In retrospect it is a bit of overkill. I made a system that can handle 30 amps and I'm only using 1.5 amps.

For the long term I am going to get some stainless steel square stock so that I can clear the bumper and still mount on the trailer hitch.
Question.

Hard to see on my phone, but it looks like you have a 7-pin plug. If so, would it have been easier to tap into the reverse light on the hitch plug? That way if something ever goes wrong you won't loose your truck lights (hitch is on a different circuit)
 

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In retrospect it is a bit of overkill. I made a system that can handle 30 amps and I'm only using 1.5 amps.

For the long term I am going to get some stainless steel square stock so that I can clear the bumper and still mount on the trailer hitch.
Always better to over engineer than under engineer.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Question.

Hard to see on my phone, but it looks like you have a 7-pin plug. If so, would it have been easier to tap into the reverse light on the hitch plug? That way if something ever goes wrong you won't loose your truck lights (hitch is on a different circuit)
I originally was going to use two 55 watt lights. That changed when the set I wanted was unavailable. Some compromises were made, but the original plan was still in place. If something ever goes wrong; I will only be out the circuit I ran.

Another highly intelligent forum member noted that the lights I am using draw so little current that I could use these lights as extensions of the backup lights with the original bulbs removed.

I am still scrounging for some steel square stock that i can mount the lights a little lower off the trailer hitch to clear the bumper.
 

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I agree, one of my peeves about my Ridgeline is the weak backup illumination. Good idea, after 12 years of ownership I may finally install a stronger backup light and make it manual controlled from the dash. As far as LED bulbs go, I'd leave the stock incandescent ones in. Nothin will be gained by installing them and they may interact with any onboard control modules.
 
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