Jeep Commander Forum banner

1 - 20 of 53 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
419 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I cover this in more detail on my personal website, but here's a quick write-up on installing Aries Tail-light Guards (which I'm very pleased with).



For all the positives of my Aries purchase, one thing that was distinctly missing from the box pictured above was instructions. Aries sent me none. I also received far fewer screws and bolts and such than an Aries guard kit that my father and I simultaneously installed on his Grand Cherokee (WK). (His kit, incidentally, did come with instructions, so clearly it was merely a packing snafu on mine.)

Turns out that Aries, though they screwed up in regards to my lack of instructions, did not screw up when it came to parts. After a long time of contemplation and experimentation (without instructions it was the only manly thing we could do), my father and I figured out that we did in fact have everything we needed for my install. It took fewer parts because it just went on easier.



Lift your tailgate and this is what you’ll see: the black plastic side of the tail-light guard. The two round heads you see are panel pushpins that are holding the light unit to the body. They will also be the locations for two of the three brackets that will mount the guard.



The pins are pulled any number of ways, a designated panel puller being perhaps the most efficient. Lacking that, you can use a regular screwdriver as I did: carefully work it around the head until you manage to pull it up a bit, releasing the tension on the spreader wings inside the body. You can then remove both pins, at which point the light should “pop” loose with a gentle but firm pull toward the rear of the vehicle. Do not lose or break the panel pins!

And don’t yank the light backward too much, either: there are quite a few wires on the back side that won’t be happy if you get too macho with this step. Remember that all you’re doing is pulling a couple of round-headed screws free from the clutches of rubber grips on the side of the vehicle. You’ll see them in the next picture …



You actually don’t have to remove the light completely to complete this step — I’ve only done so to get a good shot of what’s going on here. All you need to do is pull the light back enough to unscrew the uppermost of the round-headed screws. Once that’s done, you just place one of your two little mounting brackets over the hole and then thread the round-headed screw back in. (This is far easier than the WK set-up, by the way: they have to drill into the body to mount this little bracket.)



With that wee little bracket installed on the side, put the light back into place. It’ll take a little push to get the round-headed screws back into their rubber seats, but it’s painless. Then line the two brackets that are attached to the tail-light guard up with the holes where those panel pins go.

The WK kit we installed needed all new screws to remount in these locations, but the XK did not (a significant source of the disparity in parts between the two kits). On the XK, simply take your old panel pins and reinsert them through the guard brackets into the existing holes in the light and the body.

Before you close these pins, be sure that the side bracket is lining up all right, and make any adjustments now if it isn’t. There’s a tiny little screw included with the kit that passes through a hole in the bracket and into an existing hole in the guard. Mine lined up pretty perfectly, and I went ahead and screwed it in about halfway to hold things.

Once everything is lined up, close down the pins. This step is the only “hard” part of the whole job. Because the fit is so tight, some amount of force is needed to push them in. I found that a hard-rubber mallet did wonders for the job. One solid hit and they punched in perfectly. Just be sure to line up your strike really well, since you don’t want to mar your Jeep and you don’t want to break a pin!



Now just tighten down those side screws — don’t over-tighten and strip the little things — and then stand back and admire your simple but visually effective modification.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
192 Posts
Looks good, thanks for taking the time to do a good write up! I'm still undecided if I need to add these. It looks weird on a mostly stock looking setup, to me. If I decide to put on my Surco rack from my WK that's been collecting dust, I might do this.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
419 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
You're most welcome, down2far (in south Georgia Hell, eh?).

As for needing them ... I think it's fair to say that while these are an easy, eye-catching, and relatively inexpensive mod, most folks are not in danger of taking a boulder to a tail-light. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
195 Posts
My garage doubles as a (not too often used) shop; I usually move out one car and leave the Cmdr in place. I'm a lot more comfortable with the guards on. (And, of course, they set the car a little apart from the pack. Same with the built-up 4.7L badge.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
419 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
That's a good point, Jim. I hadn't thought about that kind of every-day positive.

Must go tell the wife about this. "You see, honey, they really are a good investment..."
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,265 Posts
I think they look great and would be very beneficial from those occasional run ins I have with "nature." No lights broke yet, but why risk it?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
419 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
I agree, PolarBZ. And I guess I haven't compared every guard possibility, but these Aries ones have always struck me as particularly well-built. As it says on 4xGuard's site (where I got mine): "Outer rim is constructed from heavy 3/4" steel tubing and inner horizontal bars are constructed from solid 5/16" steel rods." Solid stuff.

Here's hoping it's enough to take care of those "run-ins" anyway!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,789 Posts
I've seen one person on the forum get his tail lights busted. It was last year during Camp Commander VA 08. I believe that it was fishdaddy. We were turning around on a trial and bam, busted his taillight. He definitely could have use one. You don't think you need them until it's too late. I plan on getting them in future also.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
14,912 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
419 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Well, I'd highly recommend Aries to those folks who don't have guards yet: especially if you're really going to use them for protection. Comparing them to Mopar's, for instance, you'll see that the Aries guards are 22% cheaper, they have 4 "guard bars" across the light instead of Mopar's 3, and they look every bit as strong. They don't hug the body quite as tightly, but I frankly like that aspect of their design (I think the Mopar ones can "disappear" on a dark body color).
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
78 Posts
4XGUARD Taillight Guards

They look great but the bracket to hold them steady is nowhere near right. Nothing you can't fix but don't think you are going to get this done in the 10 minutes it should actually take. The straightest one in the photo is how they come and the other is where you will need to get it to.
 

Attachments

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,337 Posts

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,406 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
12,579 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
419 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Looks good, Coyote!

It's a question of aesthetics and thus not an arguable point, but I happen to think these look much better than the Mopar ones. But I've admittedly always liked stand-off guards better than flush ones. (And I think you can safely ignore Get Lost's threats about these somehow breaking the tail-light; won't happen.)

For what it's worth, 4xGuard only acts as a distributor for these. They're an Aries product.

Also, are you sure you needed to bend that bracket? I didn't do so on my installation; you can see the bracket hooked up in the 4th pic.

Can I ask if Aries sent you instructions with yours? They didn't send me any. I had to stare at the parts for a good long time to figure out how to put it together!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,789 Posts
I think they look good Coyote. Especially on your black XK...
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
12,579 Posts
Threads merged.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,629 Posts
I agree that they look really good. However, I agree they do not look like they could take a lot of abuse. I would like to hear from either of the two who have installed these as to why you feel that there is no threat of them being ripped off by a branch. I would consider getting a set of these but I am still unsure. It just seems to me that the little bracket that holds the front edge is no match for a tree branch on the trail.
 
1 - 20 of 53 Posts
Top