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SCORE Journal - The Official Publication of SCORE Off-Road Racing

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PATTERNS OF VISION Installing BaJa Designs Lighting Systems For Increased Off-Road Visibility By Dan Sanchez Off-road capability isn’t always about traction and suspension travel. It’s also about being able to see the trail at night with proper illumination. The type of lights matter just as much as the shocks and tires you use on your vehicle, which is a reason why SCORE fans use the same products that are found on off-road race vehicles. Baja Designs has been making serious lighting solutions since 1992, and because of their success in racing, makes for reliable aftermarket lighting for any dual-purpose truck, SUV. With the exception of Jeeps, there aren’t many places to mount auxiliary lights to late-model trucks and SUVs. For this reason, the vehicle specific kits Baja Designs makes are a great way to improve off-road lighting, but without drilling or adding external brackets or braces. Since Ford Rangers have been a popular vehicle for SCORE fans over the years, it made for a perfect platform for Baja Designs to showcase some lighting upgrades that will prove essential for anyone building a similar truck that will have greater off-road capabilities, and need high-performance lighting to match. THE BIG MAIN LIGHT Every off-road vehicle needs one main light to illuminate the trail far ahead. On SCORE race vehicles, those are often a series of lights with a focused spot in the center, combined with some wide beam lights to illuminate clearly at higher speeds. For the average off-road enthusiast, a good compromise is a light bar that has both built-in. For the Ford Ranger, Baja Designs came up with their 20” OnX6+ light bar that fits on the vehicle’s lower grille opening in the bumper, (PN 447612) . Models equipped with “Active Cruise Control” have a sensor in the way, but can use Baja Design’s Squadron Grille Kit (PN 447609). The kit requires removing the front bumper grille/cover and installing two brackets that fit on the top frame studs for the bumper. The installation of the light bar is easy, but it took some thought to install the wiring harness. We cut a small opening on the factory firewall grommet for the main vehicle harness and routed the Baja Designs harness through it and up under the dash. We mounted the LED switch onto the large fuse panel on the Ranger and it presented a very clean installation. Watch the video on how the 20” OnX6+ light bar was installed. CUTTING THROUGH THE DUST Factory fog lights are for highway driving, but when it comes to off-road illumination, nothing beats a higher-powered LED with amber lenses. The amber lenses reduce reflections bouncing back to the driver, making it easier to see. It also helps in hard rain and snow. To upgrade the Ford Ranger’s fog lights, Baja Designs has another vehicle specific kit that is available in two ways. The first is the SAE Fog Pocket Kit (PN 44716) which provides a street-legal amount of light (2,480 Lumens) with an amber lens. If you want improved distance illumination, the Baja Designs Fog Pocket kit is available with the Squadron Pro light pods that deliver (4,900 Lumens each). To make them amber, you’ll need to purchase the XL Series Amber Wide Cornering lenses separately, (PN 660107). These come with a new O-ring and replace the white lenses on the Squadron Pro lights with four screws. The Fog Pocket Light kit allows the Squadron Pro light pods to fit into the factory fog light bumper pockets. The kit comes with a harness splitter that makes it easy to install and retain the use of the factory fog light button on the dash. No extra wiring or drilling necessary. Watch the video on installing the Baja Designs Squadron Pro Fog Pocket Kit. BACKUP LIGHTING While the Ford Ranger also has some great towing capabilities, it can be hard to back up to a trailer, or even up your driveway with only the two small tail light bulbs. Baja Designs’ S2 Reverse Kit (PN 447624) adds two small S2 LED lights that produce 1,130 Lumens. They are more than enough extra light to see better while backing up at night. The lights use lower bumper bolts that situate the lights just under the bumper. They connect to the factory reverse bulb wire in the taillight harness with a provided splice connector that makes it easy. It’s important to note that year model changes use different colored wires for the reverse light so to ensure you connect it properly, look at the reverse light bulb and note the color of the wires going to it. The dark brown or black wire is ground, while the other color is the correct wire to splice into. Watch the video on installing the Baja Designs Ford Ranger Backup Light kit. These light upgrades provide the type of lighting for some serious trail use and everyday functionality. The best part is they didn’t require any drilling, cutting or adding light bar mounts across the roof of this late-model vehicle. Baja Designs has vehicle specific kits for a variety of vehicle makes and models, as well as UTVs and race only applications that are easier to install and offer the correct lights and a variety of patterns to focus the light where you need it most. SJ Source: Baja Designs

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