When I decided to add a 12-volt winch to my 71 Power Wagon restoration project my initial thoughts were to mount a LED light bar above the winch or install one under or in the winch bumper I fabricated for the truck. When I was taking measurements for the LED light bar I measured the slots in the truck’s grill and discovered two 21 inch LED light bars would fit in the grill openings.
The grill that came on the truck was pretty beat up from the hood latch sticking and pounding the grill when you close the hood. On one of my sweptline parts hunting missions I found and purchased a NOS grill in perfect condition with NOS grill inserts to match. To install the LED light bars the way I was thinking would require cutting the grill inserts in half which I didn’t want to do with the new grill. My old grill inserts had some broken and craked plastic pieces but with time, patience and some Gorilla glue I was able to repair it, and after some sanding and paint it looked like new.
So the experiement to mount the light bars in the grill was moving forward. I cut the old grill inserts in half to salvage the lower sections with the turn signal and parking lights. Initially I was going to fabricate mounts for the light bars and install them on the outside of the top grill openings. But, after more measuring I realized I could install them behind the grill leaving the face of the light bars almost flush with the grill. It not only looked better but it was much more secure.
With both light bars securely mounted I installed the lower grill inserts that I repaired and painted, the KC Hi Lite headlights, the turn signals and the grill itself. I was happy with the installation except for the small gap between the light bar and grill on both ends of each light. I had some heavy duty rubber left over from a lift kit installation on a CJ Jeep so I cut pieces to fill the gaps and glued them to the ends of the light bars using weatherstripping adhesive. With everything in place I wired the light bars to a toggle switch on the dash and included a fusible link for good measure.
Auto Education 101