How to move your third brake light behind the spare

Dirty Dog

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On todays episode of Getting Dirty with the Dog, we're going to install a spare tire carrier brake light.

I'm your host, Rowdy, and it makes me sad when the Broncos do poorly.
IMG_4560.JPG

Both our Jeeps have Smittybilt spare tire carriers on them. But the third brake light vibrates annoyingly. Doesn't bother her at all, but it irritates the crap out of me. So today, we're going to remove that light and replace it with THIS, mounted behind the spare tire.

This product is designed more to supplement your existing light than to replace it. So installation was slightly different. Tools needed for the normal install are a lug wrench (or impact gun) to remove your spare tire and some electrical tape. Added tools for this install are wire cutters, wire strippers a couple self-solder butt splice connectors, a heat gun, a 6mm hex key, a 10mm wrench and socket and a ratchet.

Start by removing your spare tire from the carrier. I have Rockstar II wheels, so that means using a 6mm hex key to remove the center cap, then use the keyway socket supplied with the wheels to unbolt the spare. Here is where we deviate.

For the standard install, you will now put the brake light disk on your wheel studs, remove the back cover of your OEM brake light, and disconnect the wiring. You will then use the two connectors on the new brake to connect the light in series with the OEM light. Then put the cover back on the OEM light. But for us...

Now open the tailgate. Remove the plastic grill. It's held in by a couple of panel clips along the long edge. Pop them out with your hand, a flathead screwdriver, or a trim panel tool.
IMG_5585.JPG

Behind this grill you will see the connection between your third brake light and the vehicle. Squeeze the tab and disconnect it.
IMG_5586.JPG

Use your 10mm wrench and socket (you will probably need to run to the store and buy another) to remove the third brake light from the top of the Smittybilt carrier. Throw it in the trash and be thankful that you won't have to listen to it vibrate any more. Place the brake light disk on the wheel studs. You will notice at this point that the manufacturer didn't include anything to hold the disk in place when the spare tire has been removed. I'm sure that saved them a penny or two. If you have some brake rotor or exhaust hanger clips, they will work perfectly. I just put one on the bottom stud and all is good.
IMG_5587.JPG

Now clip the wire before it splits into two plugs. Toss that junk. Dig the OEM third brake light back out of the trash, because you just remembered you need that OEM connector. Clip it off. Use your self-solder butt splice connectors (these are the neatest thing since sliced bread) to put the OEM plug on the aftermarket wires. Pass the plug back into the inside of the tailgate and make the connection. Test the light, before the wheel goes back on. As always with an LED wiring project, remember that although regular lights don't give two hoots about polarity, LEDs do. If it doesn't work, you probably spliced the wires backwards. Go fix it. Test it again. Put the grill back, put your tire back in place, and clean up your mess.
IMG_5588.JPG
 

TROY66/68

2023
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Muskoka Canada
On todays episode of Getting Dirty with the Dog, we're going to install a spare tire carrier brake light.

I'm your host, Rowdy, and it makes me sad when the Broncos do poorly.
View attachment 122658

Both our Jeeps have Smittybilt spare tire carriers on them. But the third brake light vibrates annoyingly. Doesn't bother her at all, but it irritates the crap out of me. So today, we're going to remove that light and replace it with THIS, mounted behind the spare tire.

This product is designed more to supplement your existing light than to replace it. So installation was slightly different. Tools needed for the normal install are a lug wrench (or impact gun) to remove your spare tire and some electrical tape. Added tools for this install are wire cutters, wire strippers a couple self-solder butt splice connectors, a heat gun, a 6mm hex key, a 10mm wrench and socket and a ratchet.

Start by removing your spare tire from the carrier. I have Rockstar II wheels, so that means using a 6mm hex key to remove the center cap, then use the keyway socket supplied with the wheels to unbolt the spare. Here is where we deviate.

For the standard install, you will now put the brake light disk on your wheel studs, remove the back cover of your OEM brake light, and disconnect the wiring. You will then use the two connectors on the new brake to connect the light in series with the OEM light. Then put the cover back on the OEM light. But for us...

Now open the tailgate. Remove the plastic grill. It's held in by a couple of panel clips along the long edge. Pop them out with your hand, a flathead screwdriver, or a trim panel tool.
View attachment 122660

Behind this grill you will see the connection between your third brake light and the vehicle. Squeeze the tab and disconnect it.
View attachment 122661

Use your 10mm wrench and socket (you will probably need to run to the store and buy another) to remove the third brake light from the top of the Smittybilt carrier. Throw it in the trash and be thankful that you won't have to listen to it vibrate any more. Place the brake light disk on the wheel studs. You will notice at this point that the manufacturer didn't include anything to hold the disk in place when the spare tire has been removed. I'm sure that saved them a penny or two. If you have some brake rotor or exhaust hanger clips, they will work perfectly. I just put one on the bottom stud and all is good.
View attachment 122662

Now clip the wire before it splits into two plugs. Toss that junk. Dig the OEM third brake light back out of the trash, because you just remembered you need that OEM connector. Clip it off. Use your self-solder butt splice connectors (these are the neatest thing since sliced bread) to put the OEM plug on the aftermarket wires. Pass the plug back into the inside of the tailgate and make the connection. Test the light, before the wheel goes back on. As always with an LED wiring project, remember that although regular lights don't give two hoots about polarity, LEDs do. If it doesn't work, you probably spliced the wires backwards. Go fix it. Test it again. Put the grill back, put your tire back in place, and clean up your mess.
View attachment 122663
My third brake light just made it with the 16in rim. Have to be careful pulling the spare off asP1010041.JPG to not break it.
 
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Dirty Dog

Dirty Dog

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Maybe when somebody halls out my 5 OEM 17in ALs in my basement for the last 10yrs. After my first winter I got tired flipping them on and off with my 16in All Weathers. LOL
I hadn't considered that. I don't change tires except when they're worn out.
 
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TROY66/68

2023
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I hadn't considered that. I don't change tires except when they're worn out.
I can not even give those 17in ALs away for free, cause everybody up here wants those big honkers like yours. Mosty city folk moved to the country now, Piloting in Gladiators. That is all the dealership brings in. 2 door sport? Naaa. All Good.
 
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Dlcain

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Location
Florida
You mentioned using this in conjunction with the oem light. Think it would hurt to remove the oem light all togeather?
 
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Dirty Dog

Dirty Dog

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You mentioned using this in conjunction with the oem light. Think it would hurt to remove the oem light all togeather?
Nope. Not at all. The wiring harness is designed to piggy back the new light and retain the OEM light, but that's not mandatory. I removed the OEM light all together.