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  • 3rd Brake Light - Modify?

    I have a 2000 TJ sport and just threw on some 33s. Now I'm wanting to replace my spare with the same, but I would need to lengthen my 3rd brake light.

    What are the mods people do and where can I find them?

    Thanks guys and girls.

  • #2
    You may want to consider an aftermarket tire carrier. I think 33's may be pushing the stock carrier.


    • #3
      i have a bunch of nuts raising it up and i have a bungee cord holding it on. little electrical tape too.

      but a new tire carrier could work too lol


      • #4
        I drove a long, long while without the spare. Got a few flats now and then but nothing tremendous, plugged it with the sticky strip, inflated with my compressor and took it to my local tire shop to have it "officially" repaired. Then a 1" slash happened. Took two strips to seal it, the local tire shop said straight punctures were repairable, slashes were not and the strips I've been using (available at any car shop) are listed as temporary repairs - although I know a ton of people who use them and never go the next step to have it "officially" repaired. I've been riding on my "slashed" tire for the last four months. At any rate, I've pretty much stayed on the road since then, so the extra bouncing around off-roading wasn't an issue. I'm not worried about the tire blowing up/out, just an unstoppable fast leak.

        So, I had the same issue, a 2000TJ with 33" spare tire. I also looked at the options (oversized tire carrier, putting the spare in the back, removing the third brake light, lifting the third brake light, etc.) I called my State Police here in Massachusetts. They said the third brake light became a requirement for vehicle manufacturers after a certain year, however, it is not a legal requirement on the part of the vehicle owner. If it burns out and you do not replace the bulb, then... nothing, you won't even fail the inspection. I asked them if that was the case, do I need it at all, they said, the requirement was for the manufacturers not for the consumers, and that it was safety/courtesy issue - if I took it off, it was up to me. I called my insurance company and asked the same thing, they gave the same response.

        I ended up taking mine off. That's your choice, just check your State laws before acting.

        My next choice was to elevate the light itself. At 33" tires, I'm assuming you've lifted you body up at least an inch. That means your spare will fit and should actually be almost touching your rear bumper for extra support. I know some think that configuration would damage the spare tire carrier and I looked into that as well. I have asked the local Jeep clubs around here, and although they have heard the same thing, they have never (in the hundreds of Jeeps that have come and gone) actually seen this damage themselves. Old wives tale or not? You decide.

        Good luck.


        • #5
          When I got the tire swing, I discarded my 3rd brake light. As far as I know, the only ruling on this is if there is a 3rd brake light present, it has to work.

          Besides, a non-Jeeper would not know the difference between a TJ and a CJ at first glance.

          I don't miss the 3rd brake light.


          • #6
            When I went with the 3" lift (susp) and 33's, I bought a bolt on spare tire carrier that bolts to the factory carrier, and it came with the spacers and longer bolts to lift the 3rd eye. my .02


            • #7
              Just go to the hardware store and buy 2 pieces of pvc plumbing about 2 inches long each. You might need to purchase longer bolts too, but I was able to re-use mine.
              Take the bolts holding the light off, put the pvc spacers between the bracket and light and tighten it up. If the spacers are too long, you can cut them down easily with a hack saw.

              Here's a great write up from the people at 4x4explor:

              Last edited by Jeepkreep; 10-17-2005, 04:14 PM.


              • #8
                Similar to Jeepkreep's idea I used some spare bushing sleeves I had laying around from some shocks and picked up some longer bolts. It's been on there for a year and half with no problems.




                • #9

                  I will try the spacer configuration on my stock setup and see if that works out alright. If not, off it goes and I'll see if Canadian police hassle me or not.


                  • #10

                    Teraflex makes kits for both the spare tire and the brake light extention kit.


                    • #11
                      Are the TJ tailgates that much stronger than YJ gates?

                      My 95 had a 33" spare on what I assume was the stock carrier w/3rd light intact. The carrier itself was cracked in a couple spots, a bolt was stripped in the gate latch, and the spot welds in the tailgate sheetmetal were starting to pull apart. When I put the lift and 36s on, I removed the carrier and 3rd light. Now I've built a swingaway and need to fab some frame supports for it, but the 3rd light is staying in the scrap pile.


                      • #12
                        i don't think there is any significant difference between a yj and tj tailgate... at least as far as strength goes.
                        and bouncing around a heavy load seems to have a history of ripping the tailgate apart.
                        some of the guys in iraq have had similar issues with hmmwv's sporting things welded or bolted onto the tailgate. the scrapheap is fully loaded with improvisations that went awry.
                        personally i couldn't wait to get my spare onto a tire swing. at some point plan to add a 3rd brake light onto the trail rack.


                        • #13
                          Since i am a person who has to be different from everybody else, i am finally replacing my spare tire with a correct size one. But for the brake light, i ordered some red led's and will mount them behind the wheel on the carrier, so when i hit the brakes the whole rim will light up red. Ill show some pictures when i get it done.