MaxxTow Off-Road Light Bar Installation - 2018 Ford F-250 Super Duty

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How to Install the MaxxTow Off-Road Light Bar on a 2018 Ford F-250 Super Duty


Rob: Hey everybody. Rob here at etrailer.com. Today we're going to be taking a look at the MaxxTow Off-Road Light Bar on our 2018 Ford F-250. Now, having a light bar on your truck can be really useful for a lot of different things. Maybe you're one of those people that take your truck off roading and you need some extra right to see where you're going. In our case, our truck actually gets taken to the job site quite a bit.

It's a work truck. It goes down to the quarry quite a bit, so at night they definitely need that extra light to see where they're going and make sure they're not going to run over anything that may damage the tires.As far as off-road lights go, a lot of them are going to be very similar. The MaxxTow is going to have two rows of 30 LEDs. This is going to put out a really bright, clear light. It's actually going to put out 13,200 raw lumens.

And it's really nice because if you look at the center of our lights, you can kind of see a little bit of a difference between the LEDs over here and the ones in the center. Just a little reflector difference in the back and that's because the ones on the edge here are going to be a floodlight or the ones in the center are going to be a spotlight.Now the spotlight's going to transfer out very far in the middle so we can see out at a distance, but the flood lights are going to disperse that light wider so we can see what's going on off to the side and also know what's going on in front of us. That combination is just really nice, puts out a really nice light pattern.Now we are inside with the lights on, but you can see even with the lights on in here, that's a really bright light. We have it shining against the door and it's actually just drowning out all the other light in the room because it's so bright. Those center lights are really putting a nice pattern straight out and if the door wasn't there, we could see pretty far out in front of us.Now this is an off-road light, so it is going to withstand a lot of the abuse that your truck may see.

The lens itself is going to be made out of a polycarbonate glass, so it is going to be resistant to most things like rain, water and dust. In fact, the light does carry an IP68 rating for dust and water. The other nice thing about it is is the back here you can see it has these fins and that's actually the help dissipate some of the heat from the LED, but these are all aluminum fins, so it's going to really help dissipate that heat and be nice and sturdy whenever we mount it up.Now just to get a little bit of a comparison right now we have our truck with the headlights on. Now if I turn on my light bar, you can actually see that the light bar's almost drowning out all the light from the headlights, so it's extremely bright. And if I turn off the headlights, there's really not that much difference there because of the light bar's putting out so much light.Now a lot of F-250s already come from the factory with auxiliary switches in there, which is really nice because if you want to hook up any light bars or any other kind of electronic accessory, these switches are already there so we don't have to drill any holes, mount any switches or run any wires.

You can just simply reach up and turn our light bar on. Now we chose to wire ours into these switches because the switches do have a relay and is fuse protected. There was no point to use the harness that comes with the kit.But it does come with the kit so in case your F-250 doesn't have these switches, you can get it installed and it does come with everything you need. Now, the only thing that I do suggest that you may want to pick up is if you do decide to mount your light bar in the same spot that we did, we actually ended up using a flat bracket and just put a couple holes in it so that we could extend the mounting point out because the back of the light bar is nice and straight, but the grill on our truck has a curve to it along with the bumper, so if we we're to move it in any farther and have the mounting legs on the bumper itself, it'd be making contact with the grill. A few brackets or flat pieces of metal, extremely easy to make or you can pick up a no drill bracket and use a band clamp to go around the bumper.Either way, picking up a bracket will make it a little bit easier to find a spot to mount it because we don't have a whole lot of room to mount this bar on the front of our truck. Now that is one question we do get a lot here at etrailer.com, especially about the Ford super duties is how to hook up those factory switches. Now we did hook up our light bar using the factory switches for convenience and the fact that everything's already there. We'll make sure that you know how to test the wires to figure out which switch is which and where they're located. In fact, let's go and do that together now.To begin our installation, we want to get our light bar set up so that we can mount it on our truck. We want to grab the legs, the short Allen bolts, as well as the lock washers that go with them. We'll slide the lock washer over the bolt, slide it through the opening. You want to make sure that the bolt's coming through the opening that has those little teeth on there. And if we look on the side of our light bar, you'll find that those teeth are going to match up with the other teeth and that bolt will thread right into that hole.We'll take the included Allen key and I like to get them just started enough to where they're not going to fall off, but we can still make any kind of adjustments and move the leg. And the other one's going to go on exactly the same. We'll just take the other bolt washer, install it the same way. Now we want to mount our light bar on the front of our F-250 but if you look in the license plate area it's a real popular area to put a light bar. The light bar we have is entirely too big to fit in this opening and we want as much light as possible.We really didn't want to put it behind the grill to be blocking some of that light. Our customer requested that we it right here on top of the bumper. However, there's not that much of a noticeable curve, but the grill does have a curve to it. The center of the light was hitting the back of the grill before we could actually get the feet mounted up. Our fix for that is we actually just took a scrap bracket that we had, drilled a hole through it, mounted it directly to the bumper and now that's going to bring that mounting point straight out.Now I just used the light bar itself to mock up where I wanted everything to go and then marked and drill these holes. Now a lot of people don't really want to drill a hole in their bumper if they don't have to. And another action you can to mount your light bar in the same spot is using a long no-drill bracket. It should give you enough extension outward that you can drill a hole through the bracket itself and then use the band clamp that comes with it to clamp it to the bumper. We have these little rubber feet. We're going to make sure you put those in the bottom of the legs. And I'm just going to loosely put my light bar right over the mounting hole.I'm going to take one of the bolts from our kit. I'm going to go from the top going down that way in case anything happens, the gravity will hold the bolt in place. And you're also going to notice that the bolt's going to get trapped inside there so it's not going to turn. It just makes it a lot easier to tighten the nut up on the bottom. But before we put the nut on, we want to make sure we put a lock washer in place, slide it over the bolt. Then we're going to thread on a hex nut.Now for now we just want to get this loosely in place. We'll make any kind of adjustments and make sure that we don't want to have the light bar off center so the brackets are still a little bit loose as well. That way we can tighten everything up all at once, get everything nice and centered. But now that this one's in, we're going to repeat that same process with the same combination of hardware on the other side. And once you have your light bar adjusted side to side, we can go ahead and tighten up the mounting bolts where the legs meet the brackets.I'm going to use it 9/16th socket. I'm just going to snug them up to where they're not going to move anymore. I'm going to do that for both sides. And with those tight I'm going to come back and tighten down my bracket bolts that are holding it to the bumper. Now for those it's really going to depend on what kind of hardware you use. I used quarter edge hardware, so I'm going to use a 7/16th wrench and socket to tighten it up.There is a spot that you can get access to the nut from underneath the bumper right here over the tow hook, but it's a little bit of a tight fit. Now that we have our light bar mounted, we need to get everything wired in. Now there's a few different ways you can do this. Your kit is going to come with a wiring harness that already has a relay, the fuse and a switch in place. However, our F-250 already has the up fitter switches on there, which has a relay and fuse protected. It'd be kind of redundant to use all of this and wire each one of the switches.And if our truck already has it in there, we might as well utilize the switches that are there, especially since again they are fuse and relay protected. We're going to get the benefit of having an already on the truck and the benefit of the switch already being there from the factory. We're not going to be using our harness. If you we're going to use your harness, you would take the ends that have the spade connectors on them. Now there's no spade connectors on the lights, so you can either get male spade connectors that'll fit these or you can cut the ends off and use some butt connectors to connect the black wire from the light to here and the red wire from the white to the red wire on the harness.From there you would route the harness and you would take the fuse holder. The red would go to the positive post of the battery. The black would go to the negative post of the battery, and if you follow the harness along you're going to notice that the fuse holder is going to straight into a relay. And that's because our relay is going to be hooked to our switch. Then after you have your battery connections made, you would route this switch wire inside to wherever you wanted to mount the switch.Now the relay's there just so that the switch isn't having all the power running through it and we won't have to worry about burning it up. It's just using a small amount of power from the switch to power the relay to turn the light on and off. But again, our truck's already equipped with all of that from the factory and a lot of people don't know where to find those wires for their switches that are already there. Well, we'll go under the hood and we'll show you exactly where they are and how to test each one of them so you know which switch you're hooking into.Now we moved to the firewall on the driver's side. Right by your brake reservoir you're going to find a bundle of wires. Now these may or may not be zip tied up, but you should have a bundle of wires that all have blunt cut ends on them and then have caps on them. These are going to be for your switches. Now they are labeled as well. We'll be able to look and see how much the output is and be able to determine which switch it goes to.We want to go through and you want to figure out which switch you want to use inside and then we can go through and test each one of these wires to see which one's getting power. I'm going to go ahead and turn the key on the inside, turn the one switch on that I want to use and then I'll test each one of these wires for power. I grabbed them brown wire with the green stripe on it because if you look at the legend on here and we find the brown and green stripe, that's relay number one. That should be switch number one, but again, I'm going to take my tester and verify that that's the right circuit. We can see that I'm getting power.I'm going to go ahead and run into the cab, turn the switch off and then retest this wire to make sure I'm not getting power. Now with the switch off, I'm not getting any power to this circuit at all. Between the sticker telling me that this is going to switch number one and me verifying it this is going to be the wire that we're going to use to hook up our light. Now whenever you are testing these, keep in mind the key to your truck needs to be on so that all the switches receive power. If the keys not on, none of the switches are going to get power and none of them are going to activate while you're testing them.Now since we're not going to be using our wiring harness, I'm not going to cut it up because I'm actually going to hold onto it for something else later on down the road. However, I have a lot of loose wire available to me, so I'm going to be using just two wires to make our connections here. You're more than welcome to cut the harness up if you're not going to be using it, but this should be a little bit easier for you to see and decipher what wires which. I'm going to be using a black and white wire so we can keep track of everything. It's a little bit easier to see.I'm going to strip back both ends. I'm going to take a butt connector and we'll crimp it onto the end of each wire. Now again, these aren't going to come to kit, but again, it's because we're not using our harness because our truck already has the equipment available in it. Just crimp on both of the connectors. Then we can take our wires coming off of the light bar itself. Now one thing to pay attention to, most likely you're going to realize that the red wire is the hot, but you just want to pay attention. There is a sticker on there. The red wire is the positive. The black is the negative.To keep things easy for myself, I'm going to attach the black wire to my red power wire. I'm going to trim a little bit of that off. And then we'll crimp that butt connector in place. And if you're extending your wires, it really doesn't matter which color you're using, you just want to keep track that the whatever color wire's hooked to the positive or negative. And then on my light bar for the other wire, the black wire, it's going to be our ground. I'll hook my white wire to it and we can shrink down these connectors.Now I'm going to use a heat gun to shrink down the connectors, but if you are using an open flame like a torch or a lighter, you should be extra careful not to burn, char or damage the wires or the connectors. NOw these next few steps are not necessary, but I like to do it just because it gives it a cleaner install and it protects everything a little bit better. But for one, I'm going to wrap up the connections with some electrical tape, just hold them together and again, help protect them for any kind of damage from the environment, whether it's just moisture getting inside, UV rays, whatever it is.And it's going to hide that bright white color of wire on the front of our truck. Another thing that I like to do, there's only going to be a little bit of exposed wire right here because it is going to have to go from the light to the engine bay where the battery is and where those wires are. There's only going to be a little bit, but at the same time this area can get really hot. There's a lot of wires and other things back there. I'm going to put some wire loom around the wire as far up as I can go and hopefully it'll keep it protected again, right in this little area where we have to pass through.And then again, it doesn't necessarily go the entire length of the wire because we're probably not going to need that much. We only need to make it from here to the front corner of the driver's side, 10 feet should be more than enough wire. Just keep in mind if you are picking up an extra wire, you will need 10 feet of each kind of wire so you can get the positive and the negative. We'll just work this wire in and then we'll route it up into the engine bay.Now in order to make our connections, we need to get our wiring into the engine bay. Now that can be a little tricky just because of how tall our truck is. We could just push our wire right here at the corner where the headlight meets the grill. There is an opening right here and they can actually go up and around into the engine bay. It's a little bit hard to reach, especially again since of how tall the grill and the truck is and trying to reach back there. I'm going to use an air line tube to help me out. You can use a coat hanger, just about whatever you have available, but I'm just going to put it in and then I can start routing it into the engine bay.And as soon as I can see that air line tube, I can grab the end of it, pull it up top and then still leave the tail out. And now I can attach my wiring to the end of the air line tube with some electrical tape and start pulling everything through. And when you do that, you want to double check whether it's from the inside or out here. We want to make sure there's no heat sources, the wire's not getting wrapped around anything and nothing's going to cause any damage to that wire. Because we do have the radiator up here as well as our coolant tank and there's a lot of moving and hot things up here.We want to stay as far away as possible. Once you do route it, want to go back, zip tie everything up, make sure it's nice and secure. Now that the wires are in the engine bay and over towards where we need to make our connections, I'm going to start with our white wire first. I'm going to strip back the end of it. I'm going to attach a ring terminal. Again, these don't come in your kit, but you can find them here at etrailer.com.I'm going to crimp it in place. And if you look right against the extender here, we're actually going to have a factory ground. It'd be a really good spot to make that connection because it's going to be really close to all of our other connections and easy to access. We'll grab a 8mm socket and we can loosen up the bolt. I'm going to take our ring terminal, slide it over the bolt, then we can reinstall it. We want to make sure that if any grounds came off you make sure you put them back and that all of them are in place.Then for our power wire, just like before, I'm going to strip back the end of it. I'm going to take another butt connector and crimp it onto the end. I stripped back a little bit too much. Just trim that off. We'll crimp our ring terminal in place. We'll find the wire where we we're using earlier, and in our case it was the brown wire with the green stripe. See this one right here, I'm going to cut the end of that cap off and then strip back the end of the wire.And then we'll just connect the two together using that butt connector. Now that we've got everything at least hooked up, I'm going to go ahead and turn the truck on, verify that the light is turning on and it's getting power. Then we can take some time and make the adjustment to our light and clean up any wires underneath the hood or anywhere else to clean up the install.To adjust the angle of the light after it's on, typically what you can do is as you can back up a little bit, find a nice wall that you want to point it at so you have an idea of how far it's going to spread out and then you're going to want to tilt the light bar to get the angle you want and then use the included Allen key just to tighten up those two bolts in the side. There's nothing special, nothing complicated about it. Just want to make sure you tighten them up and that the light bar's not going to move once you have that adjustment made.Now you do want to tighten up both sides, but again, nothing special. Just going to loosen those up or leave them loose from the beginning. Tilt it to the angle we want, and then tighten them down. And again, now would be a great time to clean up the end of the install. Use some zip ties to clean any wires up and make a nice, clean appearance to it. But that'll finish up your look at the MaxxTow Light Bar on our 2018 Ford F-250.


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Info for this part was:

Employee Jacob T
Video Edited:
Jacob T
Employee Dustin K
Video Edited:
Dustin K
Employee Chris R
Video Edited:
Chris R
Employee Cole B
Installed by:
Cole B
Employee Zach D
Video by:
Zach D
Employee Michael B
Video by:
Michael B
Employee Aidan B
Video by:
Aidan B
Employee Shane H
Test Fit:
Shane H
Employee Robert C
Test Fit:
Robert C
Employee David F
Test Fit:
David F

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