A few months ago we had Forge Specialties install a set of 9.5″ ARB Intensity LED Driving lights on our 2014 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon to supplement the horrendous headlights that come equipped from the factory. All I can say about Jeep headlights is that they’re terrible, and anyone that tries to tell you anything different is either lying to you, or is a candidate for President.
My reasons for selecting the Intensity lights were due to the their reputation for being extremely reliable, and
they’re not a bro truck lightbar they can be mounted below the hood-line on the bumper. Plus we’ve had nothing but great experiences with ARB products such as their fridges, so I’ve got no reason to doubt anything else they sell.
For this install, the goal was to mount the lights on the bumper without compromising winch access since the winch is essentially shoe horned in the bumper. We also wanted to make sure the entire setup was as secure as possible to deter potential thieves from walking away with my fancy new lights.
After trying to utilize the factory mounting holes with the ARB supplied brackets, it was determined by the guys at Forge that we would need to create our own mount for the bumper. The reason for the custom mount is that while you can mount the lights to the bumper with the factory holes, you are only able to utilize one hole per mount. After test fitting to see if they would hold, there was more flex in the setup than we were comfortable with and they also would have been exceptionally easy to steal.
The mount is made of a flat piece of steel and connects to the bumper using two holes that already exist. The mount is secured by two bolts that mount inside the bumper and there are another two bolt holes for each one of the individual light mounts. In order to prevent any corrosion, the mount was sprayed with black paint and we also utilized security bolts made by Light Locks to add one more level of deterrence.
Next the lights were mounted with security screws, and the wiring was run into our custom fuse block. You’ll notice that both lights were aimed slightly outwards in order to maximize night time visibility. I also decided to run my lights in an “Aussie” setup which means one is a flood beam and one is a spot beam. The goal is to have the “best of both worlds”, but I’ll let you know how they do in a real world setting.
The lights are controlled by a switch inside the Jeep and I also secured a set of black covers for when I have to pass Virginia’s safety inspection. Overall, from my initial experience, I can say with 100% confidence that these lights are BRIGHT. Also if someone wants to steal them, they’re going to have a heck of a time trying to cut through the brackets or undoing the bolts, but I’m sure a determined thief with 20 blades for his sawzall will most likely prevail.
We’ll have a long term review available in the next few weeks, and I’ll be sure to include plenty of photos to show you the comparison between these units and the factory headlights. In the meantime, if you have any questions, always feel free to post them in the comments below.
Why didn’t you just replace the headlights with something brighter?
I didn’t replace the factory headlights because I wanted to install more powerful off-road lights. The factory units are good enough for traveling on regular roads, but they leave a lot to be desired in the pitch black conditions we find ourselves in on the trail.
Also I’ve seen a few issues with some of the aftermarket units, such as not being DOT approved, and I saw one unit in an FJ Cruiser actually catch on fire.
Preferences will obviously vary from individual to individual, but putting on off-road driving lights was the best solution for me.