5×7 LED Headlight Install for 1985 Toyota 1st Gen 4Runner, 3rd Gen Pickup, XJ
One of the most important aspects of wheeling, is being able to see where you are going. Recently, during our attempted Jeep recovery on the Rubicon, we found out that our OE headlights just didn’t cut it. In this article we will go over a fantastic LED Headlight option for your 1st Gen 4Runner, 3rd Gen Toyota Pickup, and even your Jeep Cherokee XJ.
On our way out of the bowl, it was far too easy to lose the trail at night time. There are road reflectors bolted into the granite slabs that help you find your way at night, but you need to have lights to reflect off of them in the first place. We found ourselves multiple times, having to get out of the #RunnerCrawler to find the trail with flashlights. At one point, we found ourselves roughly 50 feet off of the trail, staring at a 15ft drop off.
Along with lighting up the trail while going through the Rubicon granite bowl at night, there are multitudes of other reasons to have good quality headlights. Road safety is a huge reason. If you ever do vehicle recoveries at night, then you know how valuable good lighting can be. Setting up camp at night is another great reason to have good headlights.
The big problem with doing headlight upgrades with the 1st gen 4Runners and the 3rd Gen Pickups, is that almost all aftermarket options today are setup with an H4 plug. While our 1st Gen 4Runners and 3rd Gen Pickups look like they have H4 plugs on the factory harness, they do not.
H4 headlight sockets use a system of switching loads and 1 common ground. This system runs more current through relays and wiring harnesses. The engineers at Toyota decided to make our rigs run on a common load, and a switching ground. This allows the high beams, low beams, and DRL (daytime running lights) to be controlled by direct wiring through the steering column without running large amperage through the steering column.
So, in order to even begin to check out aftermarket headlights, it is a good idea to first do an H4 conversion on your wiring harness. It is extremely simple to do and takes all of about 25 minutes with simple, every day tools. Make sure to check out our article on just the H4 conversion if you want to run some aftermarket headlights.
LED Headlight Choice For an ’85 1st Gen 4Runner, 3rd Gen Pickup, And Also XJ and YJ
We knew that we wanted to go with an LED setup for the #RunnerCrawler. We love the efficiency value of LEDs. They are extremely bright, they penetrate darkness extremely well, and they have an amazing spread.
Perhaps most importantly, they pull a fraction of the current on the power system compared to the OE headlights. This frees up a good amount of electricity from the alternator to run other accessories (like our fridge, our compressors, our ham radios, our sound system, etc).
There are 2 major issues with LED headlights in the 5×7 models:
The first is that they don’t run very hot compared to HIDs. This causes snow and ice to build up on the lenses during periods of cold. And, because the headlights don’t really get hot, the snow and ice do not melt off. Luckily, LEDs put out enough light that you should still be able to see. If you live in colder climates, and do a lot of night driving, we highly recommend going with a housing that can take some upgraded H4 bulbs other than LEDs.
The second major issue with LED headlights, is that it can be difficult to find some that are DOT (Department of Transportation) approved. A lot of Chinese imported LED headlights do not have a crisp cut off on the top edge of the light beam. This means that your headlights, which are extremely bright, end up blinding oncoming traffic and people that you are driving behind.
LED headlights that are DOT approved always seem to be extremely expensive. These DOT approved models are sometimes viewed as not worth their value when you can find the Chinese imports at ¼ of the price on Amazon.
Well guess what! We did some research for you and found an awesome LED headlight that is DOT approved. And it doesn’t break the bank!
Readers, meet the LX-Light 5×7 High Low Beam Headlights for Jeep Wrangler YJ, Cherokee XJ, 1985 4Runner, and Toyota 3rd Gen Pickup with Angel Eyes DRL! They are a 5×7 LED housing complete with low beams, high beams, and DRLs! They run a total of 55 watts per headlight. Which is nothing compared to the stock OE headlights.
At just under $100, we have found these to be one of the absolute best options on the market right now.
And the install is insanely easy: Our friend Jimmy Jet over at Snail Trail 4×4 helped us with it. The whole thing from start to finish only took about an hour to do. And the results are amazing!
– Just remove 4 screws.
– Remove the old headlights.
– Put in the new headlights.
– And replace the 4 screws.
In order to get the DRLs to work off of the DRL switch on your steering column, the headlights require a separate wire to be ran. Running the wire is easy. And since the DRL on the headlight pull such a low amperage, you can run it with a 16 or even 18 gauge wire. We used 14g for ours, because that’s what we had laying around.
The hard part is finding the OE stock DRL wire to splice into. But once you find it, just splice into it, and seal everything back up! Since we have an aftermarket bumper, our stock DRL lights have been turned into our blinkers. But the DRL wire is still there, tucked under our fender. If you are curious about turning your OE DRLs into blinkers because you are removing your bumper, check out this great video from Jimmy.
If you have already had this mod done, then look for your original DRL wiring plug (hopefully you didn’t chop it off!). We made sure it was the DRL by switching on the DRLs at the steering column, and then testing the plug with a multi meter.
Once we confirmed that this line was the DRL wire, we measured out a run of hot wire from each side’s plug, to the DRL wire on the back of the new LED headlight housing.
Since the OE DRL plug just takes blade connectors, we crimped and soldered blade connectors to each end of the hot wires. And then prettied them up with some heat shrink sleeves. Then just plug one end into your hot side of the OE DRL plug, and the other end into the DRL wire on the LED Headlight Housing.
Then we weather proofed the wire using some silicone sealing tape. This stuff is awesome by the way. If you don’t have a roll yet, and you do any kind of electrical work outdoors, GET SOME! It adheres to itself and forms to whatever shape you wrap it around. Thus weatherproofing anything you wrap in it.
The result is the outsides of the headlight can be turned on independently of the low beams… which looks freakin awesome btw.
Really, the hardest part of the whole ordeal is setting up the Toyota to H4 headlight harness.
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