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Registered: 09-2017
Location: Vero Beach, FL
Posts: 36
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50 inch Oslamp (now AUXBEAM) Curved LED Light Bar install.


I ordered a longer, curved 50" LED Light Bar so I could mount it to the end-caps on the factory roof-rails - and not have to drill into the roof.

Even so, it was not without it's challenges.

Here is a list of issues I encountered and what I had to do to overcome them.

The supplied mounting hardware and brackets are inadequate for a 50" curved LED light bar that weighs 16 lbs. Because of the parabolic (curved) shape of the light bar, the majority of the weight of the light is towards the highest, most forward point of the curve - or, the very middle of the light - this is a problem you don't encounter with a straight light bar, where the weight is evenly distributed across the length of the light and sits primarily on the brackets themselves, as it should.

The result is in my case was that the light bar always has a natural tendency to want to slip downward when you drive at highway speeds. The splines machined into the brackets and the splines on the outer housing of the light bar where the brackets mate to, in order to lock it in place are not well machined and not very defined. As a result, they struggle mightily to lock and hold the light bar in a fixed position at highway speeds. When the light bar slips downward & out of position, the natural tendency (in my case) was to crank down tighter on the bolts that go through the mounting brackets and into the light bar housing, and for me, this is where a problem occurred. The female end of the light bar that the mounting bolts screw into is aluminum, the bolts themselves are steel.

Anybody who knows anything about metal knows that aluminum is a much softer metal than steel. If you crank down to much on the steel mounting bolts, you will strip out the aluminum female threads in the light bar.

After trying to crank those bolts down a couple of times because the light bar kept slipping/vibrating out of position, that's exactly what happened, I stripped out one of the female aluminum threads in the light bar housing.

To make a much longer story a little shorter, I wound up doing several things. First off, I had to re-tap both ends of the light bar to a larger size and I also drilled about a 1/2 inch further into the light bar (without going all the way through) to create an extra half-inch of female thread. I wound up settling on 3/8 16 as the thread size.

Next, I went to a specialty hardware store and bought 3/8 16 aluminum bolts so I have aluminum on aluminum, instead of steel on aluminum. An aluminum bolt going into an aluminum female thread is much less likely to strip out.

Next, I bought 4 stainless steel star lock washers to replace the cheaper spring lock washers that came with the light. I also increased the size of the mounting bolts at the base of the mounting brackets to 1/4 20 stainless steel bolts with vibration proof nuts.

Lastly, (and probably the most important step) I mounted a piece of pressure treated 2x4 (which I painted black) about 4 inches long underneath the light bar, directly in the center and permanently mounted it to the light bar using GOOP permanent contact adhesive and sealant, which creates a permanent but flexible bond between a variety of different surfaces (including metal & wood) and it also paintable. Underneath the piece of 2x4, using the same GOOP contact adhesive, I attached two strips of black rubber that I cut to size, from a black rubber bungie cord, so that the 2x4 does not scratch or damage the paint / clear-coat on the roof. I have attached some pictures of the finished/improved mounting job.

It was a fair amount of work but it was absolutely necessary in my case. The light bar itself is pretty high quality but it seems that Oslamp cut some corners with the supplied mounting brackets (which should have been better machined & had more well-defined splines) and the mounting hardware - which as I said earlier, was inadequate for a 16 lb curved LED light bar. Another cost-cutting move by Oslamp, for one of the higher-quality & more expensive LED light-bars on the market, was making the female mounting threads in the light bar housing out of aluminum, instead of making them out of machined stainless steel, which would have been the proper material for the supplied steel mounting bolts to bolt into.

I will confess, some of my issues were probably self-inflicted, because this style of light-bar is actually designed to mount across the top of the front windshield - but I didn't want it there, I wanted it up high & out of my field of vision. Even if I tried to mount it across the top of the windshield, I'm fairly sure I would have encountered some of the same issues, just because of the shear weight & previously mentioned design flaws of the light.

In any event, I managed to overcome all these issues, while mounting the light bar nice & high on the vehicle, for maximum light beam distance & coverage. I also like that if I am driving extremely long distances, I can take the light bar down by just unplugging the power cord & removing 2 bolts which would take about 5 minutes time and I don't have to be concerned about the water-tight integrity of the roof.
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10/3/2017, 8:21 pm Link to this post Email Big Blue XK   PM Big Blue XK Blog
 


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