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 Post subject: vehicle light bars for road hunting
PostPosted: April 26th, 2017, 3:03 pm 

Joined: January 11th, 2011, 2:43 pm
Posts: 218
I recently got a toyota fj cruiser. i road hunt a dozen times or so a year at night. Are light bars useful? Better than fog lights? If i add a light bar, what works best for spotting herps--bumper level? top of hood? on roof? thanks. any recommendations on light output recommendations, lightbar width, or whatever I've not thought of, would be appreciated.


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 Post subject: Re: vehicle light bars for road hunting
PostPosted: April 27th, 2017, 12:20 am 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 1:15 am
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Location: Austin, TX
This is one I'd love to hear input on, as well. I noticed a construction vehicle at our office complex last year with a full width LED light bar mounted on the front of the cab. Never did get a chance to find the owner to ask him about it. But my friend in west Texas got one and mounted it on his brush guard and he says it's great. Seems to me like the cab-mounted one would work better but I would want to hear more reviews before making the choice. After replacing my old rock cut lights with LED flashlights, the idea of having a bunch of LEDs in a row seems pretty appealing.


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 Post subject: Re: vehicle light bars for road hunting
PostPosted: April 30th, 2017, 11:53 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:56 pm
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Location: SW USA
I have a light bar from vision x and it beats traditional lights hands down. Plus the older lights require covers when driving on road vs the newer tech. The lighting available today is phenomenal.


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 Post subject: Re: vehicle light bars for road hunting
PostPosted: May 1st, 2017, 10:19 am 

Joined: December 3rd, 2010, 12:06 pm
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I've been sort of absentmindedly thinking about this too. Have done zero research - too busy for another project at the moment. But I will get around to it. What sorts of considerations went into what you would up getting? Same stuff as the OP laid out - dimensions, configuration (how many diodes, what colors & overall wattage & lumens, etc), position on vehicle (windshield, bumper, skid plate, "wing window"...), targeting distance ahead and - maybe - to the side of vehicle, etc etc...

I just imagine there's a lot one could consider. Our needs are vastly more modest - and a bit different - than those of night-time off-roading. What would you recommend to seek and/or avoid?

thanks -


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 Post subject: Re: vehicle light bars for road hunting
PostPosted: May 1st, 2017, 10:46 am 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 1:15 am
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Location: Austin, TX
I think I would still want to cover it unless I did like the construction vehicle I saw, which had the light bar mounted with removable brackets on each side of the truck cab. If it was mounted on a grille guard it would be very susceptible to rocks on the highway, and even a roof-mounted one would be vulnerable. I took a stone at the very top of my windshield a couple years ago - so high up I couldn't even see the chip but it spiderwebbed in short order.

The one I saw was mounted with clamps at the tops of the doors and the wiring went in through the driver side window and probably plugged into the lighter receptacle. It must have been fairly heavy because he had put a chunk of wood or something between the middle of the bar and the roof of the truck, apparently to correct sagging.

It just seems to me that a roof-mounted bar would give you that much more effective distance but I'd still like to hear input from those who've tried it.

The one I saw looked a lot like this setup.

Image


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 Post subject: Re: vehicle light bars for road hunting
PostPosted: May 2nd, 2017, 9:15 am 

Joined: December 3rd, 2010, 12:06 pm
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I have a couple of herper acquaintances with over-cab, on-demand light bars. But they also do a little off-roading, which may have been the original impetus. They neither cover nor remove their lights, and in both cases are outspoken fans of their lights. Sometimes people feel the need to defend expensive purchases however (and these lights are not cheap)...I'm not quite sure how much correspondence there is between stated feelings and actual performance. I have never sat in their trucks and cruised with them though - when cruising together we'll usually each take a separate stretch of road and compare notes at the end of the night, or cruise back and forth on the same stretch and report finds each time we cross up. I now see the need to jump in for a pass or two.

The issue of potential damage with lower mounts seems super legit, personally I would probably elect to cover the lights except for cruising.

I might disagree a bit on "farther is better". Some taxa react quickly and negatively to oncoming lights - I mean you can just watch them enter the road, and then flip and book it when the light gets brighter; I don't have any better explanation than "yep, they're evading me and my light". One can deal with that somewhat by driving faster, but then you rapidly lose sight of smaller animals (despite claims like "I can spot a banded gecko at 60!"). My preference would be for bright up close and downward-pointed (and also a little outward-pointed too, for lighting up road shoulders), but keeping it dark further out ahead. That would be better for oncoming drivers as well...and allow you to spot e.g. hatchling thread snakes. If you're going slow enough, ha ha.

If I get something I will report back. It'll be a while, I'm juggling a bit of time- and money-intensive stuff at the moment.

(I also have some "tactical" LED handhelds and headlamps - they just crush the older gadgets on the bases of lumens, operating life, weight, etc. No comparison whatsoever. So this whole truck-light-upgrade thing is of sincere interest to me.)

cheers


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 Post subject: Re: vehicle light bars for road hunting
PostPosted: May 3rd, 2017, 2:42 am 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 1:15 am
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Location: Austin, TX
I'm certainly with you 100% on the handheld LED flashlights. When I think back on the days of lugging around that Litebox and thinking that it actually provided enough light to make it worth the effort......I just love my Fenix.

I don't think a cover for a light bar would be an issue for me, to be honest. I only get out west a couple times a year and I would just mount it in whatever location I decide when I get out there and remove it before heading back to Austin. To leave it on the rest of the time would just be asking for damage or theft.


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 Post subject: Re: vehicle light bars for road hunting
PostPosted: May 8th, 2017, 11:40 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 9:22 am
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A week ago I installed a bumper level lightbar on my T4R. I am hoping to start cruising with it over the next couple weeks. I imagine it's going to be quite nice! I will let you know.

Image

Bart


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 Post subject: Re: vehicle light bars for road hunting
PostPosted: May 8th, 2017, 5:47 pm 
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Joined: August 24th, 2010, 8:34 pm
Posts: 425
Location: Los Angeles County
Keep the info coming. I've been thinking about this subject. A guy I met says he gets a lot of distracting light/glare on/off his hood with the roof mounted light bar. He has heard that placing a small strip of metal on the bottom to create a lip will help out. I like the idea of a grill or bumper mounted light and am going to explore those options soon.

-nightdriver


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 Post subject: Re: vehicle light bars for road hunting
PostPosted: May 9th, 2017, 1:14 pm 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 5:02 am
Posts: 510
Location: Southern Cal.
I saw these on a Toyota this morning. The owner is not a herper, but drives off road.

Image


Just another option...


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 Post subject: Re: vehicle light bars for road hunting
PostPosted: May 9th, 2017, 1:20 pm 
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Yeah, you can get those little cube LEDs for dirt cheap on eBay. Definitely an easy cheap route to go.

Bart


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 Post subject: Re: vehicle light bars for road hunting
PostPosted: May 11th, 2017, 8:46 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 9:22 am
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Hey again folks, last night I had some time to test out my new bumper on the 4Runner. Here are some crappy cell phone pics that don't really represent the ACTUAL light difference. I can say that the light bar certainly is bright, and does aid in seeing stuff on the road better than the stock high-beams. I think I want to adjust the bar and tilt it up a tad, just so I get more of a "flood" and less of a "spot".

Normal headlights (low beams)
Image

Normal brights (high beams)
Image

High beams + Lightbar on
Image

So in my case, you can see the lightbar really shines directly in front of my rig. Again, I want to tilt it up just a tad to give me wider coverage, but it worked really well for road cruising.

The results:

Baby gopher saved from certain death.
Image

NV King also saved from certain death (In a cooler in the passenger seat after I grabbed the snake off the road)
Image

A second NV king in the throws of death MOMENTS after being hit by the car in front of me. HEARTBREAKING to see them like this. :( :(
Image

Live one released way away from the road.
Image

So yeah, light bars are nice!

Bart


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 Post subject: Re: vehicle light bars for road hunting
PostPosted: May 11th, 2017, 9:19 am 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 1:15 am
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Location: Austin, TX
Wow! I'm sold! I liked the above comment about getting glare when they're roof-mounted. I hadn't thought of that and to be honest, I would much rather mount them in front anyway. It's just a lot simpler. I think I'll go ahead and get a grille guard to mount the light on and probably just bolt (or even ziptie) it to the guard when I'm using it, and leave it at home when I'm not. I'll rig up some kind of quick disconnect for the wiring so I can just plug it in and go.


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 Post subject: Re: vehicle light bars for road hunting
PostPosted: May 11th, 2017, 9:27 am 
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Mark Brown wrote:
Wow! I'm sold! I liked the above comment about getting glare when they're roof-mounted. I hadn't thought of that and to be honest, I would much rather mount them in front anyway. It's just a lot simpler. I think I'll go ahead and get a grille guard to mount the light on and probably just bolt (or even ziptie) it to the guard when I'm using it, and leave it at home when I'm not. I'll rig up some kind of quick disconnect for the wiring so I can just plug it in and go.


Mark, most lightbars come with mounting arms and the decent ones come with a wiring harness with a quick Deutsch style connector. Bumper mounting is always A LOT simpler because you don't have to find a way to pass wires through the roof/headliner/a pillars/etc. Usually you can just go through the grill or whatever direct to a relay and then to the battery. Very simple. They are inexpensive enough nowadays that I wouldn't worry too much about theft, unless you are buying a really high end one like a Rigid Industries one or something. Most of the CREE lightbars are all about the same, and IMO, unless you have a real need for something high end, just about any of the CREE bars off eBay will give you a ton of light.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/20inch-120W-LED ... rkt%3D1%26

Mine is wired up to a switch in the dash and hard wired directly to the battery so I can turn it on and off with the key out, if I want. Some folks wire them direct to their high-beam circuit, which works too.

HTH,

Bart


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 Post subject: Re: vehicle light bars for road hunting
PostPosted: May 11th, 2017, 10:03 am 

Joined: December 3rd, 2010, 12:06 pm
Posts: 1663
awesome, thanks for the lights info man; I've been doing some window-shopping, I see what you mean about "cheap enough to not sweat it" as long as you avoid the fancy stuff (like what they discuss over in tacomaworld, ha ha)

how's the cruising in NV? basically you're in early prime-time yeah? even up in Reno?

separate topic - do you salvage DORs for a museum? no pressure, just curious

cheers


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 Post subject: Re: vehicle light bars for road hunting
PostPosted: May 11th, 2017, 10:10 am 
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Jimi wrote:
awesome, thanks for the lights info man; I've been doing some window-shopping, I see what you mean about "cheap enough to not sweat it" as long as you avoid the fancy stuff (like what they discuss over in tacomaworld, ha ha)

how's the cruising in NV? basically you're in early prime-time yeah? even up in Reno?

separate topic - do you salvage DORs for a museum? no pressure, just curious

cheers


Yeah, LED lightbars are incredibly cheap. And I have used several over the years. The one I have on my T4R came with the bumper I bought, and I would say it is "middle quality". It was more than the cheap-o ones on eBay but on my previous vehicle I had a cheap one from eBay and it was super bright and I never had an issue with it. I think the main difference between the cheap ones and the ultra expensive ones like the Rigid Industries ones are the build quality of the casing. They are more durable, rock proof, water tight, etc. But like I said, since they are essentially throw away cheap nowadays, you can buy and install and use and not worry too much about damage or theft and they still produce a tone of additional light.

Nevada is prime right now as well as northern Cali. We got sooooo much rain this winter things are really moist and green and the temps have still been very mild. Yesterday we hit 81F and with the full moon I knew I had to get out. I am going to drive out again tonight I think if I have time. Tomorrow we drop back into the 60s for a week or so. I have yet to get up into the Sierras but I think there is likely enough snow up there and cooler temps so it should be good until mid June I am thinking.

I do not normally keep DORs. PM me if you have info on what I can do with DORs that would be beneficial at all. I moved that snake off the road last night, it was dying in my hands, so incredibly depressing. I didn't want to see it again on my rounds but I bet if I go back tonight it will be right where I left it, unless an owl or hawk found it since, which is possible too.

Bart


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 Post subject: Re: vehicle light bars for road hunting
PostPosted: May 11th, 2017, 11:41 am 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 1:15 am
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Location: Austin, TX
RenoBart wrote:
I didn't want to see it again on my rounds but I bet if I go back tonight it will be right where I left it, unless an owl or hawk found it since, which is possible too.

Bart


If it's anything like Texas it was probably gone by morning. In south Texas you'll see dozens of DORs some nights and then when driving home the next morning not see a single one. Between hawks, owls, coyotes, vultures and who knows what else, things tend to get recycled pretty quickly.


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 Post subject: Re: vehicle light bars for road hunting
PostPosted: May 11th, 2017, 11:52 am 
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Mark Brown wrote:
RenoBart wrote:
I didn't want to see it again on my rounds but I bet if I go back tonight it will be right where I left it, unless an owl or hawk found it since, which is possible too.

Bart


If it's anything like Texas it was probably gone by morning. In south Texas you'll see dozens of DORs some nights and then when driving home the next morning not see a single one. Between hawks, owls, coyotes, vultures and who knows what else, things tend to get recycled pretty quickly.

Yeah, I saw a barn owl last night in the same area so likely it will be gone. I hope so, nothing worse than a wasted life. At least maybe a bird will have dined well.

Bart


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 Post subject: Re: vehicle light bars for road hunting
PostPosted: May 12th, 2017, 12:55 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:56 pm
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Location: SW USA
Reno Bart I have a 5th gen trdp is that the hidden winch bump from CBI? I have my bar mounted behind my grill so rox shouldn't be an issue for me but I'm interested in getting some armor up front and that bump looks like it will fit the bill.


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 Post subject: Re: vehicle light bars for road hunting
PostPosted: May 12th, 2017, 1:51 pm 
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lateralis wrote:
Reno Bart I have a 5th gen trdp is that the hidden winch bump from CBI? I have my bar mounted behind my grill so rox shouldn't be an issue for me but I'm interested in getting some armor up front and that bump looks like it will fit the bill.


Hey there! You really want to chop up a TRD Pro? LOL. Mine is a Trail with the TRD Pro grill. Anyhow, no, my front Winch bumper is this one:

http://www.southernstyleoffroad.com/pro ... -bumper-2/

I have the CBI Rear bumper though. Here are a few more pics of my rig:

Image
Front last night after releasing this big pit:
Image

And here's one showing the CBI, although I have since changing it up a bit from this but I don't have any pics.
Image

Bart


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 Post subject: Re: vehicle light bars for road hunting
PostPosted: May 12th, 2017, 3:53 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:56 pm
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Location: SW USA
Nice rig....HAHA, yeah I know right! Chopping up the TRDP is no bueno but for the SS bumper I'd do it, that is exactly the bump I want in order to keep the weight off. Im on the fence about a rear bump still, just don't want to overload it since I also have a Tepui and Gobi rack on the roof. Love the TRDP, I dumped my built Tacoma to get one and have no regrets. Made in Japan and blew the US made Tacoma outta the water quality/comfort wise. Ive heard any Tacoma after 2014 is wrought with problems and while mine served me well for 3 years once I drove the TRDP I knew it was time to say adios to the Taco...


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 Post subject: Re: vehicle light bars for road hunting
PostPosted: May 13th, 2017, 8:54 am 
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Your reasons sound like mine. I previously had an old Isuzu Trooper. She was rock solid but just got up there in age. The headgasket went and I didn't want to deal with rebuilding the engine so I just bit the bullet on a new Trail Premium T4R. I knew I wanted a body on frame rig and when I did my research, the Trail Premiums and the TRD Pro models were the only choice. Still made in Japan, body on frame, lots of aftermarket support.

And yes, the SSO bumper I went with over the ARB due to the size and weight. You have to cut even more plastic for the ARB. And I hear ya on the CBI rear bumper. I was on the fence too. I wanted a way to carry fuel, my spare, and have a nice rear ladder for accessing my tent. The CBI bumper is nice, but it REALLY hurts your weight and you have to cut a lot of plastic. I have an Icon lift and I actually just bought HD rear springs due to the sag I get in the rear when loaded down. I hope to install them this week if I have time.

All in all, I like the 4Runner platform so far. I've never been a Jeep fan or a pickup fan so this was really the only choice!

Bart


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 Post subject: Re: vehicle light bars for road hunting
PostPosted: May 24th, 2017, 7:14 pm 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 11:13 pm
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Location: Greater Houston TX Area
RenoBart wrote:
Most of the CREE lightbars are all about the same, and IMO, unless you have a real need for something high end, just about any of the CREE bars off eBay will give you a ton of light.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/20inch-120W-LED ... rkt%3D1%26


Amazon also has a good selection at decent prices: https://smile.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_no ... t+bar+cree

In fact, some of my Experimental Aircraft Association buddies are using them as landing lights on their homebuilt aircraft...

I'm kicking around the idea of getting a set...I wonder if they'll significantly improve the quality of my dash cam video for night cruising...because that would be awesome.


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 Post subject: Re: vehicle light bars for road hunting
PostPosted: May 24th, 2017, 8:40 pm 
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chris_mcmartin wrote:
I'm kicking around the idea of getting a set...I wonder if they'll significantly improve the quality of my dash cam video for night cruising...because that would be awesome.

I'd say potentially, depending on what you get. I find that I really wish I had more of a "flood" than spot lights. I would get a few cheap ones and experiment!

Bart


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