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Discussion Starter #21 (Edited)
Magnuson Supercharger (2010+)

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===== Magnuson Supercharger (2010+)
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ANTICIPATION

I struggled powering up the San Juan mountains to attend the 2017 FJ Summit. When I saw Magnuson's tent with an installed working supercharger for the 2010+ V6 engine in the FJ Cruisers and 4Runners, my mind was made up: I was going to get one.

I didn't win one in the raffle.

I subscribed to the mailing list and waited.

Around December 2017, I learned that development had finished and they were going into production.

I saw @SuperSiick's post about his FJC supercharger install and his color-matched supercharger. That's what I wanted! He reached out to me, I asked if his shop could color-match it, he said yes, and I placed an order in January.

And waited... and waited... and in early April, it arrived:



In preparation, I had super-cleaned my engine bay:




INSTALLATION

BOOM





I was prepared for the coolant pump to not be able to go where the instructions suggest, on account of my aftermarket bumper. It ended up going nicely more or less on the other side (and a little lower):



It is "exposed" here. Though, if I hit something and take it out, that'd have taken out my regular radiator anyway so it's not a large increase in risk. I will get a fill plate.

One of the hoses for the coolant reservoir for the supercharger more or less completely blocks access to one of the engine relay boxes. I can probably wiggle it open if absolutely necessary. I have never had cause to go into that box before, so I am not terribly worried. The internet says it's Engine R/B No. 3 and houses the fuse + relay for the built-in AC inverter, which shouldn't ever be urgent:



Also, the bracket that supports the reservoir blocked access to a bolt I'd been using to hold my passenger inverter's relay in place. It's hanging loose (but snug) for now until I figure out a new point to secure it to.

The geometry of my TRD intake hose and its connectors was different than a stock intake hose, so one of the hoses had to come out the front and back under, rather than straight back:



Aside from that, everything went as planned and described! I did discard the included stickers from Magnuson and went with some brighter ones for the gas cap:



PERFORMANCE

Initial Impressions


  • The automatic transmission no longer leaves 2nd gear driving around town - doesn't have to!
  • When I floor the accelerator, my 305/65r17 (extra-wide) tires squeal on the pavement. I couldn't do that before!
  • I think I almost got the front wheels off the ground? Probably my imagination.
  • There is a very pronounced high-pitched whine/squeal whenever the engine RPMs increase quickly, starting at any RPM above 2000. For now, I grin like an idiot in response to this noise. It goes away once RPMs stop changing.
In Action


Dynamometer


  • Peak Horsepower: +27.2 = +13.9% (196.8 -> 224)
  • Peak Torque (ft-lbs): +45.9 = +24.6% (186.3 -> 232.2)
  • 3500 RPM Horsepower: +37.5 = +30% (112.5 -> 150)
  • 3500 RPM Torque (ft-lbs): +53 = +31% (170.5 -> 223.5)
These were taken with BFGoodrich T/A KO2 tires in 305/65r17 (part 00819) - 59.55 lbs each and Pro-Comp "La Paz" Series 29 17x8.5 6 on 5.5 wheels (part 5129-78583) - 39 lbs each. In all, there were 98.55 lbs per hub.

I suspect the 3000-3500 RPM range is where Magnuson's +30% HP / +28% torque numbers come from.

Attached is an overlay of "before" and "after" performance. I also got the raw data from the dyno runs, but they don't actually contain the HP and torque numbers - they contain the information necessary for the DYNO-MAX 2000 "Pro" software to calculate those numbers. I don't have that software (and I don't know what it does with those numbers [yet?]) so I can't create my own graphs. I've attached the raw data in spreadsheets in OpenOffice and Microsoft Excel format, if anyone wants to play with it.

Most of all, I'm excited how the torque curve has shifted: "peak torque" is now accessible from basically 3500RPM, instead of 4000... and it ramps up much more quickly!

(archive link)
 

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========================================
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===== Magnuson Supercharger (2010+)
=====
========================================


ANTICIPATION

I struggled powering up the San Juan mountains to attend the 2017 FJ Summit. When I saw Magnuson's tent with an installed working supercharger for the 2010+ V6 engine in the FJ Cruisers and 4Runners, my mind was made up: I was going to get one.

I didn't win one in the raffle.

I subscribed to the mailing list and waited.

Around December 2017, I learned that development had finished and they were going into production.

I saw @SuperSiick's post about his FJC supercharger install and his color-matched supercharger. That's what I wanted! He reached out to me, I asked if his shop could color-match it, he said yes, and I placed an order in January.

And waited... and waited... and in early April, it arrived:



In preparation, I had super-cleaned my engine bay:




INSTALLATION

BOOM





I was prepared for the coolant pump to not be able to go where the instructions suggest, on account of my aftermarket bumper. It ended up going nicely more or less on the other side (and a little lower):



It is "exposed" here. Though, if I hit something and take it out, that'd have taken out my regular radiator anyway so it's not a large increase in risk. I will get a fill plate.

One of the hoses for the coolant reservoir for the supercharger more or less completely blocks access to one of the engine relay boxes. I can probably wiggle it open if absolutely necessary. I have never had cause to go into that box before, so I am not terribly worried. The internet says it's Engine R/B No. 3 and houses the fuse + relay for the built-in AC inverter, which shouldn't ever be urgent:



Also, the bracket that supports the reservoir blocked access to a bolt I'd been using to hold my passenger inverter's relay in place. It's hanging loose (but snug) for now until I figure out a new point to secure it to.

The geometry of my TRD intake hose and its connectors was different than a stock intake hose, so one of the hoses had to come out the front and back under, rather than straight back:



Aside from that, everything went as planned and described! I did discard the included stickers from Magnuson and went with some brighter ones for the gas cap:



PERFORMANCE

My initial impressions were

  • The automatic transmission no longer leaves 2nd gear driving around town - doesn't have to!
  • When I floor the accelerator, my 305/65r17 (extra-wide) tires squeal on the pavement. I couldn't do that before!
  • I think I almost got the front wheels off the ground? Probably my imagination.
  • There is a very pronounced high-pitched whine/squeal whenever the engine RPMs increase quickly, starting at any RPM above 2000. For now, I grin like an idiot in response to this noise. It goes away once RPMs stop changing.
I'm going to do my best to get it to a dynamometer this week - I took "before" measurements and I can't wait to compare them to "after!"


Beautiful! Looks perfect. I am jealous :cheers:


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Discussion Starter #24
I see the mag cost is around 5.5k how bad was the install cost?
Magnuson said 14 hours, my shop managed ~16. I anticipated a bit more than the stock 14 because I expected the coolant pump to not fit with my aftermarket front bumper, which meant my shop was going to have to figure out a new install location and adjust or purchase the hosing accordingly.
 

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Discussion Starter #26 (Edited)
Engine Radiator Hoses

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===== Engine Radiator Hoses
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Sometime during the Lone Star Toyota Jamboree 2018, I nicked the lower engine radiator hose on one of the supercharger's pulleys, splattering some of its rubber across my hood:



The lower engine radiator hose does run very close to the pulleys - so much so that the official install instructions from Magnuson include cutting 1.25" off of the stock hose so that it runs closer to the fan blades, making room for the pulley system:



Without this modification to the stock hose, the hose runs extremely close to the pulleys:



Even with the modification, though, I'd still managed to flex enough to push the hose into the pulley. Could have been this:



That would be my guess, anyway.

So, I couldn't just put a new hose in, modified the way it had been before, because that clearly didn't work. What to do?

I ended up ordering a set of molded silicone "perfomance" hoses from HPS:



Here's a comparison of the HPS hoses versus a standard aftermaket radiator hose (left) and the Toyota OEM radiator hose (right):



I also picked up a set of OEM hose clamps from my local Toyota dealer as they had smoother edges and took up much less volume than the normal "worm gear" hose clamps:



It turns out that these clamps are re-usable and retain a very tight fit, but I wasn't sure if that would end up being the case so I went ahead and prepared to swap them all out, anyway.

The HPS lower hose was significantly longer than the aftermarket hose, and ran closer to the pulleys. I put it in without cutting it so I'd have a solid idea what I was modifying away from.

After trimming Magnuson's recommended 1.25" off the bottom side of the hose, the clearance looked a lot like it had before. I then very cautiously trimmed off more, ending up trimming 1.5" from the lower end and 0.5" from the top end. You can see how the clearance increased:



Unmodified hose


Modified per Magnuson's instructions


Final Hose


All done!



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Discussion Starter #28 (Edited)
Hood Scoop - Part 1

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===== Hood Scoop - Part 1
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Planning

I was planning on going to "Moab before the (FJ) Summit" this year, and reading about the temperatures there (and recalling my past battles with overheating) got me wanting to do something to ease the engine bay temperatures.

There are replacement hoods for nearly $1,000, and various louvering options that involve cutting big holes in the steel (but less money).

I didn't have the courage to spend that much money or cut big holes. But I had seen a few folks who'd opened up the fake hood scoop, either explicitly for airflow, or to put something in it:


  1. https://www.fjcruiserforums.com/forums/misc-technical-discussion/38712-vented-hood-scoop.html
  2. https://www.fjcruiserforums.com/forums/engine-performance/440241-functional-ram-air-hood-scoop.html
  3. https://www.fjcruiserforums.com/forums/lighting/508930-fj-cruiser-hood-light-bar-mod.html
  4. https://www.fjcruiserforums.com/forums/interior-exterior-visual-tech/83363-unique-mods-post-your-pix-here-5.html#post1350072
So, it could clearly be done. I could do that, right? Don't really need to buy anything but some aluminum grille material to put in place of the black plastic, right? A cursory inspection showed that that space was right above the radiator, so I figured that even if it wasn't an effective "ram air scoop," it might at least help hot air exit the engine bay more effectively at low speeds.

DISCLAIMER: I came out "OK" on the other side of this but I couldn't recommend anyone else do this, unless you've got a shop full of stationary tools and maybe a spare hood. There are so many points where I wish I had stopped or done things differently, and if I could go back to the beginning and start again I would stay stock.

Preliminary Inspection

First thing I did was order a set of the one-time-use plastic clips that hold the fake hood scoop fascia on.

Then, I took the front fascia off to see what I had to work with underneath.

There are ten nuts that hold the front fascia on, and seven one-time-use plastic clips.



The clips were so very one-time-use, and I lost a lot of paint wrestling them out:



Closer inspection revealed a network of angled but perforated thin steel plates - looking an awful lot like a muffler or baffle setup. There were enough holes and free space for air to flow (even all the way through to the back of the hood, through the small "channels" on the underside), but no direct shots through to the engine bay that would let debris or water fly directly in and hit anything important.

I'm not an automotive engineer, but it looks like Toyota either over-engineered the sturdiness of this section, or intended it to be used as a functional vent.

I then drove around on a hot day (97 fahrenheit ambient temperature in the sun) looking to see if my engine bay temperature was noticeably different than what I am used to. It didn't appear to be anything out of the ordinary. But what the heck, might as well, right? It certainly couldn't hurt....

Opening the Fake Scoop

Before I could worry about airflow into the engine through the hood, I had to open up the fake plastic scoop. The black plastic insert is held onto the color-matched plastic fascia by 4 clips and two plastic rivets (they put a tube through a hole, then melted the back of the tube so it spread out and couldn't be pulled out).




It was simple to remove the fake plastic grille insert:



I then painstakingly cut the back that it had been clipped to out with a hand dremel. I would have liked to use some kind of stationary tool, but the fascia is slightly curved anyway, so I'm not sure how much that would have helped. My lines were pretty good but not perfect:



OK! This can work! There is now technically airflow and I could bolt it back on and call it done!

But we have a couple other goals here, now:


  1. improve the airflow through that space into and out of the engine bay
  2. sweet-looking and protective grille in the open empty space to be sure debris doesn't get in
Grille

I ordered a length of black aluminum honeycomb automotive grille with 1/4" openings:



One of the other posts about the hood scoop on this forum said something along the lines of "If you're good with your hands you'll have no problem forming it correctly on a bench," so that's what I tried!



Now, I just had to find some way to attach the grille to the plastic front piece. Another thread recommended "silicone RTV" - and you just slather that over the inside of the plastic piece, and it goes through the holes in the grille and will hold it on.

Thinking about it, I didn't have any confidence in my ability to succesfully execute that, even though I'd ordered a tube of that stuff in preparation. The main issue was that without the original plastic insert pieces, the opening was flexible and I wasn't sure what the correct height was, nor did I have an easy way to ensure that it stayed in the correct position while the silicone dried. On top of that, the silicone situation would be a pain to replace or maintain down the road if I ever needed to. On the other had, it would be entirely internal and still look "stock." What to do?

In the end, I LIKE BOLTS THEY ARE REMOVABLE AND SERVICEABLE, so, I figured if I was extremely careful and measured multiple times, I could probably get a bolt pattern on the top that looked okay and held the grille in place. Then I could easily replace or update the part later on.

The rest of the bolts that hold the fascia onto the hood are M5, and luckily my 1/4" grille worked well with M5-08 x 12mm bolts - this way I only need one tool for "the hood scoop." I measured four or more times, and carefully put four holes in the top side and bottom side of the front plastic piece. I then countersunk them and test-fitted them through the holes in the grille. I drilled the holes slightly smaller than my M5 bolts, so that the bolts' threads would bite the plastic a little bit and not freely fall out as I moved and worked with the plastic insert.




On the underside (sorry, I forgot to take photos - this whole process was very nerve-wracking and most of the photos were actually staged and taken after each given stage finished, not during - I was too flustered!), I used a simple washer and a tension lock nut. The idea was to avoid having to take up extra space with a lock washer or (slightly taller) nylock nut, to minimize the problems fitting the piece back onto the hood. Remember that this was all flat on the underside before, and now I've added some nuts!

Regarding the placement: I was trying (and succeeded) to line the bolts up with existing holes in the hood, so they would have clearance to stick down and I wouldn't have to cut anything. Unfortunately, putting the bolts close enough to the opening of the scoop to give me confidence in its structural integrity meant I just-barely missed the existing holes and did have to cut:



I purchased a 3/4" hole saw with shank for this task. A regular "twist drill" was inadequate: the hood steel is very hard, requiring much pressure to get any cutting bits to bite, but also very flexible so it will catch and twist and bend once a bit's tooth does bite. The more teeth on the bit, the less force per tooth, and the cleaner the cuts.

HINDSIGHT: Put a tarp over your engine, under the hood before doing any cutting. Have a shop vacuum running next to all of your cutting. You will not be able to get all of the little metal splinters out of the hood afterwards and they will go everywhere. Tarp the engine bay and have a vacuum going, trust me.

HINDSIGHT: Wear gloves and a respirator. I had trouble breathing for ~24 hours after I did all this cutting and grinding unprotected, because I'm forgetful and lazy.

After thinking about it, I decided that 1/4" was still pretty big. I can think of tons of things that are under a quarter inch (such as a lot of the metal debris I generated cutting on the hood...) that could fit through.

I got some black aluminum screen door mesh, cut it to fit, and laid it under the honeycomb grille:



This puts the mesh in front of the whole thing. I test-fitted it behind the grille, too. Using the bolts that held the grille on as the anchor points, placing the mesh behind the grille did look a little better but created a "pocket" between the grille and the mesh where small debris could accumulate. I decided against that. Furthermore, with the mesh added and taking up close to the height of the washer I had had on, I was now concerned about the nuts on the top side being too tall - they need to be no taller than the plastic boxes to which the one-time-use plastic clips used to attach, or else they'll hit the metal lip on top of the hood and I'll have to drill more holes and I don't want to drill any holes I don't have to. So I did away with the washer. The grille + mesh already distributes force widely across the plastic, and the locking nuts turned out to line up darn near perfectly with the honeycomb holes. At the end of the day, after actually tightening the nuts down (rather than just hand tight for test-fitting), I think I had plenty of room to spare but one less part = one less worry.

With that said, I expect the mesh to be a "wear part," that I'll occasionally have to replace.

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Discussion Starter #29 (Edited)
Hood Scoop - Part 2

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===== Hood Scoop - Part 2
===== (part 1 here)
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Hood Vent / Scoop

Okay! The front fascia was ready to be put on! Now for good measure I'd just like to black out the area behind it and maybe open it up a little bit for improved airflow. It did need to be painted as I'd torn it up a lot removing the one-time use clips, the factory bolts, and cutting the holes to allow the grille-attaching nuts to clear and there was plenty of exposed, shiny steel.

I cut 9 more holes with my 3/4" hole saw, in places behind the now-open scoop area that I was confident were not structural. It looks like there may be welds holding the angled metal sheets together, and anywhere that I couldn't confirm wasn't such a spot, I didn't cut into. I could probably have added more holes. I could always do that in the future!



Note: I later went back and added two more holes for nuts+bolts to sit flush, allowing for six bolts across the bottom of the scoop, instead of the four shown here. This was because I found that the middle part of the vent opening would bulge up ever-so-slightly and look bad. After filling in the line of bolts so there aren't any extra-long gaps, it holds the correct shape.

I sanded the areas around where I had cut, and all of the areas that were visible through the scoop, gently with 220 grit to roughen the clear coat. I then went in with a sponge and microfiber towel and some "rubbing compound" to get in the cracks and even things out. I also hit the areas around the one-time-use clips and bolts that had had paint chipped off during the process of removing the plastic front piece.

I didn't worry too much about the rest of the hood that wasn't going to be visible.

I also - and looking at the masking afterwards showed that this was 100% critical - masked off the inside of the hood:



The "pockets" at the front of the hood, just behind the area I'd be painting, do "connect" to that area. I didn't just tape them off to prevent overspray from getting back into the engine compartment, but actually slid the tape up under there and folded it over, so that overspray couldn't get to the edge of those pockets, either.

For the hood latch, I masked it as best as I could with tape and then stuffed some rags into the empty space of the hood scoop area above the latch, to block and absorp any spray that might come down and turn my orange latch black.

HINDSIGHT: When you open the hood to mask it, any particles that you didn't successfully remove during your cutting, will slide back down the hood and get stuck and you'll probably never see them again. Double-check with the shop vac and maybe a magnet to make sure there isn't anything loose! I lost 2 nuts and a rivet-nut into my hood. As far as I know they're still there.

I painted with Rustoleum high-temperature gloss black engine enamel. It may be tempting to hit it from the top and sides, but straight-on from the front is what you need to focus on, so that the spray gets through the vent holes and blacks out the area not just immediately behind the scoop, but back behind the new holes you cut, too. The easy-to-access parts will take care of themselves and you can always touch them up. Shoot most of the sprays level with the hood.




Wait are those bolts / nuts in the clip holes? Yeah, let's talk about that:

No One-Time-Use Clips!

While I was painting, I was thinking about ways in which I could avoid using the one-time-use plastic clips to attach this at the end. I really wanted - especially at least until I was sure everything was solid and effective - to be able to take my handiwork off and inspect, service, and improve it.

Reattaching it with one-time-use plastic clips wouldn't allow that. I tried just omitting the clips and that worked fine for the four clips on the "wings" on the side - the bolts were enough to hold the plastic piece in place correctly - but the center of the top of the scoop was only held on by the clips and it flexed and bulged without anything holding it down.

The rest of the bolts have large fat heads that slip into plastic channels on the front fascia, and then it's like the fascia has bolts on it. I originally considered slipping a flange bolt into the clip receptacles on the fascia to add bolts that dropped down into what were previously clip holes - then I'd just use bolts on the underside of that, like the rest of the plastic piece!

However, there are openings in the underside of the hood to access the nuts for the bolts that came with the FJ. There is no direct access to the underside of the one-time-use clip holes. I would have to drill up from the underside of the hood, and at this point I had learned that the metal would twist and tear and require repainting. I don't mind blindly spraying Rustoleum black onto a surface that will be mostly hidden, but the underside of my hood proper will be very visible and I do NOT have adequate touch-up abilities - nevermind that the metal will deform and never look "factory" again.

Mabybe I could just contort my fingers, or use a tool? No. I lost 2 nuts into the depths of the hood before abandoning that idea.

Well, I'd already agreed to bite the bullet and have externally-visible bolt heads on the front plastic fascia, to hold the grille on. What are a few more, as long as they're symmetrical? What if I put a rivet nut in each of the clip holes? Then I could just drill a matching hole in the plastic fascia, coutnersink it, and put in a bolt that matched the rest!

The one-time-clip holes are too big for M5 (the size of the rest of the bolts on the fascia) rivet nuts. I lost an M5 rivet nut into the depths of the hood.

But M6 rivet nuts fit perfectly! I used M6-1.0 x 20mm bolts but those only caught about ~5mm into the nuts. The next time I'm working on the hood I'll swap them out for 25mm or 30mm bolts. Unfortunately, the M6 heads are bigger than the M5 heads so they don't match perfectly. But I guess that's maybe a "feature," as I can easily tell which ones to remove to take off the plastic, and which ones are for holding the grille onto the plastic piece:



Note: All hardware used was stainless steel (except the rivet nuts, which were the steel/zinc mix that is slightly yellow). All threads were locked with Loctite blue (removeable) before the final installation.

Back to Stock

I have retained the original fake insert and it can be slipped back in, blocking off my hood scoop modifications entirely:




It wedges in pretty tight, but I haven't yet figured out a way to secure it for off-roading. Still working on that. If I could've found magnetic, stainless steel grille and screen door mesh in black, it would be trivial to inlay some rare-earth (high-strength) magnets in the back of the plastic insert. But I don't think those products exist and if they do, they're certainly going to be way more expensive than the aluminum.

Was It Worth It?

I only have a rigorous test-drive of "whole front fascia removed" on a hot Texas day.
I need two more comparable hot days when I also have ~2 hours of free time, to get "with the scoop" and "with no scoop" data. I'll add those here eventually.

When I park and place my face in front of the newly-opened scoop, I can feel hot air (not a lot, but some) flowing out. Dropping the fake insert back in very perceptibly stops the flow. So it does work as a vent when stationary. Does it do enough to be useful? I don't know yet.

I suspect it doesn't. If you undertake this modification, probably summon the courage to open up the back of the scoop area all the way like the guy did in https://www.fjcruiserforums.com/forums/engine-performance/440241-functional-ram-air-hood-scoop.html . I'll wait until I have a real angle grinder/cutter and a real shop before I try to do that much cutting on my own.

All-in-all, this took me a week of 3-4 hour evenings plus two full weekend days, one on either end. There were many points where I wanted to give up, unconvinced that the end result would be worth it, but I had already cut on things that made that impossible so the only way out was forward.

I would not recommend this modification. I'll update this post and thread if that ever changes.


  1. These are probably a far better option for venting heat out of the hood: https://www.fjcruiserforums.com/forums/general-discussion/653938-installing-hood-vent-louvres.html
  2. One of these is probably a far better option for scooping air into the engine bay.
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Re: LED Headlight and Taillight Upgrade

So are you still running these lights? Other than the initial issues of getting them to operate properly and/or the way you wanted to, have they been reliable? I’m willing to do all this work to make them operate properly but I don’t want to have to scrap them in a few months when they stop working all together.
 

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Discussion Starter #31
Re: LED Headlight and Taillight Upgrade

So are you still running these lights? Other than the initial issues of getting them to operate properly and/or the way you wanted to, have they been reliable? I’m willing to do all this work to make them operate properly but I don’t want to have to scrap them in a few months when they stop working all together.
The VLAND LED headlights? So far, yes - coming up on around a year since I put them in. Remember that I

  1. replaced the stock connectors with my own, weatherproof ones (properly heat-shrunk and soldered)
  2. am running LED bulbs instead of HID bulbs
They went with me to the 2017 FJ summit, they launched airborne off the hump/ramp at the 2018 Lone Star Toyota Jamboree, they've been through heavy rain and scorching heat. Haven't put 'em through below-freezing temperatures yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #32 (Edited)
Boost Gauge

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===== Boost Gauge
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I got a supercharger, so now I need a boost gauge to show me that it's actually doing something, right? Right!

I ordered a 52mm illuminated 0-15 PSI Vacuum + Boost gauge from GlowShift.

Gauge "Pod" Installation

I made a mounting plan...



And executed on it...



And that part went off without a hitch:




As with the other side, when installing my USB ports + wall outlets, I had to cut a bit of the plastic behind the silver cover:



I then jury-rigged the illumination wires, and it looked pretty ok!



Vacuum Line

@SuperSiick fitted my supercharger with a barb for a boost gauge before shipping it to me, and I plopped the gauge's vacuum line on and it was nearly the perfect length to reach into the driver-side A/C panel cover. I ended up trimming around a foot off of the line, leaving enough slack to be able to pop the cover off and easily access the gague's connector to disconnect the line, if/when I ever need to remove it.

I ran the silicone vacuum line inside some corrugated plastic tube, poked a little hole in the existing rubber grommet in the firewall (it's starting to get crowded down there!) and shoved it through. The protective plastic tube is a boon here, since the grommet crushes on that instead of the vacuum line.



The upper-left-most corrugated tube contains the vacuum hose that feeds the boost gauge:


Illumination

Let's talk about illumination, though, because this part took three weeks.

The gauge came with four wires:

  1. Black - Ground
  2. Yellow - Power + "memory" (the gauge has color settings that you can cycle through, and they get lost unless yellow is always connected to power)
  3. Red - Switch on! (powering this wire causes the gauge to light up).
  4. Orange - Dimmer (powering this wire causes the gauge to dim).
The instructions from GlowShift said to hook the red wire to an "on when the car's on" fuse, and hook the orange wire into your headlights, so it will dim when you turn your headlights on, which is probably at night.

OK cool but that's not how the rest of my dashboard gagues work. I wanted the gauge to dim when I rolled the dimmer wheel down, and to turn off when it rolled all the way down. Could I do that? I thought so.

Illumination Harness and Plan

Just like I did with my center console, I made another illumination harness, this time tapped into the "RCSA Off" button, which was right next to where the gauge would be:



That took one evening (it helped that I'd done it once before). The little black box is the illumination control circuit that took three weeks...

Illumination Control Circuit, Revision 1



Remember that the FJ handles console and gauge illumination in an unusual way - the dimmer controls the voltage of the ground circuit, ranging from 0 volts (not dimmed at all) to "the battery's voltage" (11 to 14, depending) when fully dimmed. The idea is you can pull power for an illuminated thing from anywhere, and connect its ground to the dimmed ground cicuit.

To make this guage work on a circuit like that, I figured "well, I'll just put the dimmable ground circuit as the input power for the gauge's "Dimmer" circuit, and run the "switch on" power through a relay powered off the "dimmable ground." Then, as the dimmer wheel spins up towards dim, eventually it will have enough voltage to trip the guague's dimmer, and sometime after that it will have enough voltage to trip the relay and cut off power to the gauge.

I measured the gauge's wires to figure out what all of their switch thresholds were, bought some appropriate relays and resistors, and assembled the circuit.



It didn't work.

It turned off correctly, but it never dimmed. Also, it turned off right near the end of spinning the dimer wheel down, but didn't turn back on until the dimmer wheel was almost all the way back up to full brightness!

I thought I had gotten two things wrong:

  1. The necessary resistance for the circuit, after I'd soldered it all together. I had been trying to be very precise!
  2. The fact that a relay will activate at one voltage, but will stay active until the voltage drops much lower, leading to asymmetcrical behavior - when dimming, the gauge might turn off at the very end, but when un-dimming, it might not come back on until things were nearly completely bright again!
Back to the drawing board.

Illumination Control Circuit, Revision 2



This time, I used variable resistors (potentiometers or trimmers) instead of fixed resistors. That way, I could adjust them once everything was assembled, to get the tolerances just right!

In this dimmer control circuit, the "dimmable ground" powers the relay and the gauge's "dimmer" circuit, and the regular "illumination power" is run through the relay to the gague's "Switch on" circuit.

The relay starts active, letting the gauge light up (the "illumination power" line only has power, when the dashboard lights are on). As you spin the dimmer switch down, the "dimmable ground" voltage increases until it's enough to activate the gauge's dimmer circuit, dimming the gauge.

As you keep spinning the dimmer switch, eventually it provides enough power to activate the relay, cutting off the "illumination power" from the "switch on" gauge wire, causing the gauge lights to go off.

The trick here is that when the relay activates, it switches to powering itself off of the "dimmable ground," to a separate circuit with much higher resistance - so that the relay will deactivate and let the gauge light back up after you un-dim just a little bit.



It didn't work.

This one was a head-scratcher: It worked except when it was supposed to dim, the gauge's dimmer circuit would only get power for a split second, before that switch deactivated and the gauge went back to full brightness... and then it would dim again for a split second, and repeat. Flashing between bright and dim, when the FJ's dimmer was dimmed, instead of staying dim. The on/off worked as intended, and I was able to tune it quite well with the trimmer resistors.

I thought that the cause of the flashing was likely to be that the "dimmable ground" circuit isn't really supposed to let power flow out - it's supposed to have power flowing in from other devices, and maybe it couldn't actually provide enough sustained current to keep the gauge's "Dimmer" switch active. I'd have to use a different source of power, and fall back to using "dimmable ground" only as a switch signal.

Back to the drawing board.

Illumnation Control Circuit, Revision 3



Ok, here, it's the same idea except the "illumination power" is powering the gauge's "Dimmer" wire - but it's blocked by a transistor. The "dimmable ground" circuit is hooked up to the transister (through yet another variable resistor/potentiometer/trimmer) so that the transistor will only allow the "illumination power" to go through to the gauge's "dimmer" circuit, when the "dimmable ground" crosses a certain voltage threshold.

Transistors operate primarily based on the voltage - they don't draw much current - so this should be compatible with the miniscule power available on the FJ's "dimmable ground."



It didn't work. Exact same behavior as before.

I couldn't figure this out. If I dialed the resistance on the transistor control circuit up way high, so it never got high enough to activate... the gauge just stayed fully bright right up until it turned off. But if I dialed the resistance down so that the transistor would let the "illumination power" circuit (which is a real circuit that can provide real power!) through to the gauge's "dimmer," it... still flashed.

Pulling the gauge off of the control circuit and manually applying power to the wires as desired, caused it to behave - so the gauge wasn't broken.

My best guess is that the desired "start to dim" voltage was high enough that enough current passed through the transistor before it fully opened to duplicate the same "trying to pull power from 'dimmable ground' but it can't actually provide that much current so it craps out'" failure mode as before.

Fortunately, I had figured I'd leave the gauge installed with the dimming ability disabled (dial the dimmer transistor's resistor up to maximum, so it never tried to dim the gauge), so I could enjoy it while I pondered the problem.

Well, the first evening driving around with it, I realized that the un-dimmed gauge was absolutely, positively, way too bright! It dominated the other console lights, and ruined my night vision! I'd have to run it dimmed all the time, so all my work figuring out if I could dim it selectively, wasn't necessary. None of the gauge's input wires respond to variable voltage, so its brightness cannot be changed by just underpowering it (I tried every combination I could!) - it will run at either "off" or "on, but with the built-in dimmer active."

So, I just left the circuit in there but switched the gauge's "dim" wire to draw power from the "switch on!" circuit so it would just always be dimmed. I could have gone with a much smaller and simpler circuit, had I known.

Action Shots

Here's the boost gauge reading up to 7.5 PSI of boost while doing a 0-80 run on a highway on-ramp:


The Future

I believe 52mm is a fairly common gauge size, so I could put a different one in. If I can ever find a white-faced gauge with a white backlight and a simple illumination circuit (one wire for "power" and one for "ground" and no bells or whistles), I might try to improve this. Or, one with a black face and orange illumination. I just wanted it to match, you know...? I spent over $200 on electronic components and tools to allow me to diagnose, design, and build the "Illumination Circuit, Revision 3" that ultimately ended up not even being necessary. But I guess I'm ready for the next electrical challenge...

I gleefully threw Revision 1 into the trash bin when it was all over :D

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========================================
=====
===== Boost Gauge
=====
========================================


I got a supercharger, so now I need a boost gauge to show me that it's actually doing something, right? Right!

I ordered a 52mm illuminated 0-15 PSI Vacuum + Boost gauge from GlowShift.

Gauge "Pod" Installation

I made a mounting plan...



And executed on it...



And that part went off without a hitch:




As with the other side, when installing my USB ports + wall outlets, I had to cut a bit of the plastic behind the silver cover:



I then jury-rigged the illumination wires, and it looked pretty ok!



Vacuum Line

@SuperSiick fitted my supercharger with a barb for a boost gauge before shipping it to me, and I plopped the gauge's vacuum line on and it was nearly the perfect length to reach into the driver-side A/C panel cover. I ended up trimming around a foot off of the line, leaving enough slack to be able to pop the cover off and easily access the gague's connector to disconnect the line, if/when I ever need to remove it.

I ran the silicone vacuum line inside some corrugated plastic tube, poked a little hole in the existing rubber grommet in the firewall (it's starting to get crowded down there!) and shoved it through. The protective plastic tube is a boon here, since the grommet crushes on that instead of the vacuum line.



The upper-left-most corrugated tube contains the vacuum hose that feeds the boost gauge:


Illumination

Let's talk about illumination, though, because this part took three weeks.

The gauge came with four wires:

  1. Black - Ground
  2. Yellow - Power + "memory" (the gauge has color settings that you can cycle through, and they get lost unless yellow is always connected to power)
  3. Red - Switch on! (powering this wire causes the gauge to light up).
  4. Orange - Dimmer (powering this wire causes the gauge to dim).
The instructions from GlowShift said to hook the red wire to an "on when the car's on" fuse, and hook the orange wire into your headlights, so it will dim when you turn your headlights on, which is probably at night.

OK cool but that's not how the rest of my dashboard gagues work. I wanted the gauge to dim when I rolled the dimmer wheel down, and to turn off when it rolled all the way down. Could I do that? I thought so.

Illumination Harness and Plan

Just like I did with my center console, I made another illumination harness, this time tapped into the "RCSA Off" button, which was right next to where the gauge would be:



That took one evening (it helped that I'd done it once before). The little black box is the illumination control circuit that took three weeks...

Illumination Control Circuit, Revision 1



Remember that the FJ handles console and gauge illumination in an unusual way - the dimmer controls the voltage of the ground circuit, ranging from 0 volts (not dimmed at all) to "the battery's voltage" (11 to 14, depending) when fully dimmed. The idea is you can pull power for an illuminated thing from anywhere, and connect its ground to the dimmed ground cicuit.

To make this guage work on a circuit like that, I figured "well, I'll just put the dimmable ground circuit as the input power for the gauge's "Dimmer" circuit, and run the "switch on" power through a relay powered off the "dimmable ground." Then, as the dimmer wheel spins up towards dim, eventually it will have enough voltage to trip the guague's dimmer, and sometime after that it will have enough voltage to trip the relay and cut off power to the gauge.

I measured the gauge's wires to figure out what all of their switch thresholds were, bought some appropriate relays and resistors, and assembled the circuit.



It didn't work.

It turned off correctly, but it never dimmed. Also, it turned off right near the end of spinning the dimer wheel down, but didn't turn back on until the dimmer wheel was almost all the way back up to full brightness!

I thought I had gotten two things wrong:

  1. The necessary resistance for the circuit, after I'd soldered it all together. I had been trying to be very precise!
  2. The fact that a relay will activate at one voltage, but will stay active until the voltage drops much lower, leading to asymmetcrical behavior - when dimming, the gauge might turn off at the very end, but when un-dimming, it might not come back on until things were nearly completely bright again!
Back to the drawing board.

Illumination Control Circuit, Revision 2



This time, I used variable resistors (potentiometers or trimmers) instead of fixed resistors. That way, I could adjust them once everything was assembled, to get the tolerances just right!

In this dimmer control circuit, the "dimmable ground" powers the relay and the gauge's "dimmer" circuit, and the regular "illumination power" is run through the relay to the gague's "Switch on" circuit.

The relay starts active, letting the gauge light up (the "illumination power" line only has power, when the dashboard lights are on). As you spin the dimmer switch down, the "dimmable ground" voltage increases until it's enough to activate the gauge's dimmer circuit, dimming the gauge.

As you keep spinning the dimmer switch, eventually it provides enough power to activate the relay, cutting off the "illumination power" from the "switch on" gauge wire, causing the gauge lights to go off.

The trick here is that when the relay activates, it switches to powering itself off of the "dimmable ground," to a separate circuit with much higher resistance - so that the relay will deactivate and let the gauge light back up after you un-dim just a little bit.



It didn't work.

This one was a head-scratcher: It worked except when it was supposed to dim, the gauge's dimmer circuit would only get power for a split second, before that switch deactivated and the gauge went back to full brightness... and then it would dim again for a split second, and repeat. Flashing between bright and dim, when the FJ's dimmer was dimmed, instead of staying dim. The on/off worked as intended, and I was able to tune it quite well with the trimmer resistors.

I thought that the cause of the flashing was likely to be that the "dimmable ground" circuit isn't really supposed to let power flow out - it's supposed to have power flowing in from other devices, and maybe it couldn't actually provide enough sustained current to keep the gauge's "Dimmer" switch active. I'd have to use a different source of power, and fall back to using "dimmable ground" only as a switch signal.

Back to the drawing board.

Illumnation Control Circuit, Revision 3



Ok, here, it's the same idea except the "illumination power" is powering the gauge's "Dimmer" wire - but it's blocked by a transistor. The "dimmable ground" circuit is hooked up to the transister (through yet another variable resistor/potentiometer/trimmer) so that the transistor will only allow the "illumination power" to go through to the gauge's "dimmer" circuit, when the "dimmable ground" crosses a certain voltage threshold.

Transistors operate primarily based on the voltage - they don't draw much current - so this should be compatible with the miniscule power available on the FJ's "dimmable ground."



It didn't work. Exact same behavior as before.

I couldn't figure this out. If I dialed the resistance on the transistor control circuit up way high, so it never got high enough to activate... the gauge just stayed fully bright right up until it turned off. But if I dialed the resistance down so that the transistor would let the "illumination power" circuit (which is a real circuit that can provide real power!) through to the gauge's "dimmer," it... still flashed.

Pulling the gauge off of the control circuit and manually applying power to the wires as desired, caused it to behave - so the gauge wasn't broken.

My best guess is that the desired "start to dim" voltage was high enough that enough current passed through the transistor before it fully opened to duplicate the same "trying to pull power from 'dimmable ground' but it can't actually provide that much current so it craps out'" failure mode as before.

Fortunately, I had figured I'd leave the gauge installed with the dimming ability disabled (dial the dimmer transistor's resistor up to maximum, so it never tried to dim the gauge), so I could enjoy it while I pondered the problem.

Well, the first evening driving around with it, I realized that the un-dimmed gauge was absolutely, positively, way too bright! It dominated the other console lights, and ruined my night vision! I'd have to run it dimmed all the time, so all my work figuring out if I could dim it selectively, wasn't necessary. None of the gauge's input wires respond to variable voltage, so its brightness cannot be changed by just underpowering it (I tried every combination I could!) - it will run at either "off" or "on, but with the built-in dimmer active."

So, I just left the circuit in there but switched the gauge's "dim" wire to draw power from the "switch on!" circuit so it would just always be dimmed. I could have gone with a much smaller and simpler circuit, had I known.

Action Shots

Here's the boost gauge reading up to 7.5 PSI of boost while doing a 0-80 run on a highway on-ramp:

Supercharger Boost Gauge Road Test - YouTube

The Future

I believe 52mm is a fairly common gauge size, so I could put a different one in. If I can ever find a white-faced gauge with a white backlight and a simple illumination circuit (one wire for "power" and one for "ground" and no bells or whistles), I might try to improve this. Or, one with a black face and orange illumination. I just wanted it to match, you know...? I spent over $200 on electronic components and tools to allow me to diagnose, design, and build the "Illumination Circuit, Revision 3" that ultimately ended up not even being necessary. But I guess I'm ready for the next electrical challenge...

I gleefully threw Revision 1 into the trash bin when it was all over :D
Looking good man


Sent from my Moto Z (2) using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #35 (Edited)
All-Pro Sway Bar Links

========================================
=====
===== All-Pro Sway Bar Links
=====
========================================


This year during "Moab before the (FJ) Summit", I broke my passenger sway bar link and shredded my outboard passenger CV boot..

There was only a slight difference between a whole new CV axle shaft (~$70) and a new CV boot (~$40 for a tough & sturdy one), and the axle has to come out to swap the boot, that I might as well just get a whole new CV axle shaft. Probably actually less labor, with the added bonus of replacing any damage that wasn't visible under the grease explosion, or had accumulated while wheeling the rest of MBTS and FJ Summit.

That went on without issue.

But oh, the sway bar link.

Just like with the CV axle, I didn't want to just replace the failed part: I wanted to replace it with a tougher part so that it wouldn't break on me again. I went with All-Pro's heavy-duty sway bar links.



They arrived, and I went to take off the one remaining sway bar link to use as a reference for how long to set the new links (they're adjustable, by the way)... and, you know, to replace it.

Well, I couldn't get the upper driver-side nut off. My torque wrench tapped out at 80 ft-lbs, and my bodyweight wasn't enough to break the nut.



The last time I bought a cordless drill, I bought Craftsman's "bolt-on" contraption - where the "business end" is interchangeable - the idea being you can buy additional power tool attachments without having to buy the rest of the tool, saving space and money. But, of course, that was nearly 5 years ago and no physical stores had the attachments anymore. So, defeated, I gave up the weekend and ordered the impact driver attachment (my regular drill/driver couldn't break the nut, either).

It arrived today, and I lost no time in slapping it on the nut and squeezing the trigger. The impact attachment puts out ~116 ft-lbs of torque. It wasn't enough.

Well, fine, then. I had hoped it wouldn't come to this, but after having to borrow someone else's impact driver on the trail in Moab to break loose my lugnuts to gain access to remove the broken sway bar link, I was ready to buy my own. Golly, though, the big impact drivers are expensive!.

I now own two impact drivers, where before this I owned none:



And the big yellow DeWalt one impolitely informed the nut that I wasn't asking. Success! The last nut was off and I could put on the new sway bar links...

And that went off without a hitch. I did have to buy a second, ratcheting 19mm wrench to be able to tighten them down, but... I got them installed!



All-in-all, I'm a bit peeved (astonished?) at how expensive this stinkin' sway bar link ended up being. I could've spent a lot less if I'd ordered just a CV boot, a single replacement stock sway bar link, and had my shop do all the work... But, the wrenches and impact driver and sockets will all buy me significantly more time in the future, which is priceless. Or something.

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Aquiring more tools is always a great option!
 

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Discussion Starter #37 (Edited)
BudBuilt ARB Bumper Filler Plate

========================================
=====
===== BudBuilt ARB Bumper Filler Plate
=====
========================================


I don't recall if BudBuilt didn't offer, or I just didn't know about, the filler plate for the common FJ ARB bumper. But, whereas before I had a big open area, with radiator blades and supercharger intercooler pump exposed, now I have a slick shiny 4mm (1/8") red filler plate!

The holes in my bumper's upper lip were unthreaded so the provided hardware couldn't engage.

When I can get to a specialty bolt shop I'll be replacing the outer bolts with lower-profile stainless carriage bolts.

The other side of the two inside bolts is completely enclosed by the winch hardware and inaccessible to put a nut on the back, so I put some M6 rivet nuts in so the provided hardware could engage.

In doing this, I learned that my bumper is not on there straight, as the top of the filler plate does not line up with the edge of the bumper. It's a pain in the butt to adjust the ARB bumper, though, so I've just left it.

I'll be interested to see how connecting the bumper to the rest of the frame (in a second place) will affect its normal movement as I bounce around off-road.

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Discussion Starter #38 (Edited)
Blinker Wiring Harness Correction

========================================
=====
===== Blinker Wiring Harness Correction
=====
========================================


My front bumper (The ARB deluxe) has running lights and turn signals in it.

These were wired up by a shop that is not my usual trusted mechanic. They tapped the FJ's circuits with unreliable, non-weatherproof "slice clamp" splices and they used non-weatherproof connectors at the end of the splice. To their credit, this wiring job held up for just over two years before one side started to fail. You can see that not only does the blinker not illuminate, but it kills the running light instead!



Unfortunately, not only did they use clamp/slice splices (which damages the wire they're spliced onto) but they did it right at the base of the stock Toyota connector. That means that I couldn't remove their splice and the damaged section of wire and replace it: there wasn't any good wire left on the connector side to work with. On top of that the Toyota connector here is part of the car's wiring harness and I couldn't find one sold separately. I'm sure it would have been expensive even if I could.





I had two problems to address:


  1. Unreliable splice into factory harness beginning to fail
  2. Non-weatherproof connectors used to power bumper lights were full of mud and dirt and not making reliable connections.
To fix this wiring job, I was going to have to remove the factory Toyota connectors not just from the bad wiring job, but from my headlights, too (because I need to be able to plug both sides into each other)! This means that any other FJ Cruiser headlamp assemblies won't work without me having to cut, solder, and re-wire them. I'm a bit mad about that.

On top of that, I know Toyota will make parts for the FJ for quite a few years yet. Many of the parts are used in current-production 4Runners & Tacomas, and beyond that, many parts are standard Toyota parts, especially connectors, so I'd expect to be able to find compatible parts for many years!

After I replace the connectors with something else? Who knows if I'll ever be able to find those connectors again? As long as I don't lose the stash of extras I ordered, I guess I'll be fine.

I dove in and over the course of 5 hours cut out and replaced all of the following connectors, soldering & heat-shrinking new ones in place:


  • Left FJ wiring harness blinker connector
  • Right FJ wiring harness blinker connector
  • Left FJ wiring harness auxiliary blinker connector (added, will go to bumper)
  • Right FJ wiring harness auxiliary blinker connector (added, will go to bumper)
  • Left headlamp assembly blinker connector
  • Right headlamp assembly blinker connector
  • Left bumper blinker connector
  • Right bumper blinker connector
In all, there were 30 solder + heat-shrink connections to make and 21 of them had to be done on wires that couldn't be removed from the FJ, requiring that I contort myself to get a butane-powered soldering iron in place without melting anything important. I also gave all the new wire runs a fresh layer of protective corrugated tubing. Now the shop's crappy wiring is gone and everything looks like this:



... including the blinker harness that comes out of the FJ :(. But, the blinker works properly again!



In addition to the faulty wiring, one of the LEDs on the afflicted running light had gone out, too:



I've ordered a replacement, hopefully something tougher. The original was extremely cheap ($2.50) and I was curious to see how long it would hold up. This particular light is nonessential so I wasn't worried about it. The replacement is... a little tougher-looking, but it's hard to find solidly-built 1156 LED bulbs that are less than 36mm tall, which is the clearance available in this housing.

I may also try to make a gasket for the enclosure to keep it clean and dry when the time comes to put the new bulb in; the photo above shows how much mud and grime had gotten into the housing over the past year.

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The exact same thing happened to me a few years ago. The previous owner took it to a shop and the install instructions for my bumper say to do exactly that. Hate those little splicers. Luckily I was able to remove them, and just enough wire was available to solder a new extension wire on. It sucked. Sounds like you might have had a worse experience, at least you know its good to go for many years now.
 

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Discussion Starter #40 (Edited)
Re: Blinker Wiring Harness Correction

New bulbs arrived, they're 3x brighter (600 lumens, up from 200 before) and it shows!

First photo: Before. Second photo: After!

I laid a thin grommet of adhesive-backed foam in around the light assemblies; we'll see if that lasts and if it keeps the elements out.
 

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