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WxNerd2015's Hot Pepper Red FX4

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WxNerd2015

WxNerd2015

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So last Wednesday (April 17th), the bed cover finally came! And just in time for leaving for a trip to head Up North (in Michigan) on Thursday! My wife and I were able to get it installed in just a few hours and everything fits very well! Thanks @PandaMotorworks for the great suggestion and great deal on the cover!

And since it was a few posts ago, the cover that I got is the RetraxOne XR which is the Polycarbonite Retractable Cover with the T-Slots!

It came in two packages, with the main contents being the side rails and front rail in one package and the canister, hardware and filler plate in the other! The directions were a bit confusing as to where to start, as the extra Ranger specific directions said they were in place of steps 1 and 2, when in reality, they were in place of step 3 of placing the header channel on before lifting the canister and bed rails in the bed. Also, a couple of the diagrams were not the most clear and with words at a minimum on the directions, their was a bit of interpretation needed! But overall, the cover went on well and fits and looks great! I am very happy with it!

The canister definitely takes up less space than I thought it would in the bed and shouldn't be an issue for most of what we do! It does sit a little high (Maybe a 1/4"? Nothing is open. All weather striping is sealed to truck) at the back of the rails, but I believe this is mostly due to everything being very tight initially, and I expect it to settle just right as time goes on.

And a couple of installation tips as well.
  1. When installing rails to canister, feed the rollers into the side channels, then lift the front of the rail up a little to get it to go all the way to the back of the canister to line the holes up for the screws. We struggled for a while trying to slide them until we finally lifted them up and the rails slide right where they needed to then.
  2. When installing the clamps to the bed, make sure to not over tighten them. the 6.7 ft/lbs of torque is very little, and it is very easy to over tighten them and bend your bed rail, so pay attention!
  3. Remove the film on the top of the bed cover before putting in the channels. Once in the channels, the film does not come off as nicely.
  4. Watch the position of the well nuts for the header channel carefully to make sure that they are compressing evenly around the holes in the bed to properly secure the header channel.
  5. When attempting to slide the bed cover into the side channels, make sure to unlock and release the handle to allow the bed cover to slide in freely to the channels. It comes locked and will not allow you to slide it in past the first couple of rollers.
  6. Pay attention to some of the steps with differences between the MX and XR models. (Such as step 5 with alternate steps)
I believe that should be all the tips and some mistakes we made, that would have made it go smoother, but easy mistakes to make! Anyways, I am happy with the cover and can't wait to use it more! Here's some pics of it installed:

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For more information on the Retrax and Embark cover installation and other tips and tricks, see the below links:

https://www.ranger5g.com/forum/threads/embark-ls-retrax-pro-xr-read-this-before-installation.1811/
https://www.ranger5g.com/forum/threads/aftermarket-bed-roof-rack-system.1542/
https://www.ranger5g.com/forum/threads/its-time-for-a-road-trip.2348/



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Since installing now, I have put almost 700 miles on the bed cover! And it is working very well! Up in Ludington the cover was used in multiple positions, locked and unlocked, different speeds, and just all around had some very good testing from me and all seems to be working as it should! We did, on the drive up, get a little bit of water seeping in at the back corners, but was mostly just dripped down the tailgate, and was not bad! Just wanted to note that, and all else worked well! And once again, thanks to @PandaMotorworks for a great deal on this cover! exactly what I wanted!

Anyways here's some more pics of the cover from this weekend in and around the Ludington area and Ludington State Park!

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Also here's a few shots of the cover functioning and locked in a few different positions

Cover locked in Place:
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Cover unlocked (free to slide):
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Cover locked in place with Tailgate Open and Closed:
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And just some more shots of the Ranger over our whole Easter weekend! It was great to put a bunch of miles on it and get to drive it more than just to work and around town! Really liked it! On the way up, we finally passed that 1000 mile mark! This was just after that (1074 Miles) whe we stopped in Lansing!

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And from there, I was definitely hoping to see the fuel mileage start climbing a bit more with being out of the break in period! No real change was seen until about the 1300 mile mark, but I guess there must be a learning period or something for the new calibration to take over, but I had been averaging about 17.3 MPG to this point with most of my normal driving (actual miles per tank divided by gallons filled ,not trip computer). Anyways, here's some more pics throughout the weekend of the Ranger which were around the 1200 to 1300 mile mark on the Ranger!

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These were taken at Ludington State Park and Stearns Park Beach in Ludington right on Lake Michigan! Some beautiful views for sure! Was an awesome weekend with not a cloud in the sky!
 
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And a few more shots with both my cell phone and my DJI Spark! The light from the sunsets was just perfect for this Hot Pepper Red color! Couldn't help but take some pics! The truck just looks so good! And the shots were more along the Lake Michigan shoreline and in Ludington State Park!

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This was parked over by the "Badger" and the "Spartan". The Spartan is now just a parts ship, but the Badger still does run, and is a ferry that runs across Lake Michigan all the way over to Wisconsin! And they even ferry your car back and forth as well across Lake Michigan! It is quite the distance! But much shorter than having to go all the way around the lake! And on the Michigan side, Ludington is the docking point!

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Also made sure i got my state park pass while up there as well for the 2019 season!

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And a few shots back home in the driveway! Passed the 1500 mile mark by the time I got home (1565 miles) and man did I notice a fuel economy change! I used a quarter thank less gas than on the way up and was definitely averaging over the 20 MPG mark! So i think the new programming kicked in!

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Also picked up a flashlight for the truck this past weekend from Harbor Freight! The Quantum Tactical Flashlight was on sale and definitely a perfect one to through in the truck! Has 588 Lumens and great adjust-ability in the beam pattern! And a lot of feature for under $15! Anyways, here's the flashlight!

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Yesterday my Bed Extender from ford parts arrived as well! So super excited to get that assembled and put on the truck as well! Will post up about the install and final product once I get a chance to get started on it!

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Also, was taking some preliminary shots of fog lights last night and grabbed a couple of shots of how the LED reverse lights look and how they illuminate! I think it's pretty dang good!

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Yesterday my Bed Extender from ford parts arrived as well! So super excited to get that assembled and put on the truck as well! Will post up about the install and final product once I get a chance to get started on it!

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Also, was taking some preliminary shots of fog lights last night and grabbed a couple of shots of how the LED reverse lights look and how they illuminate! I think it's pretty dang good!

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Oh goodie! Maybe my bed extended will come in soon - been waiting for a few weeks now.
 
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Oh goodie! Maybe my bed extended will come in soon - been waiting for a few weeks now.
Yeah, so ours from Ford Parts said it would take up to 15 days to fulfill, and it took exact 15 days before shipping out! We also got a call from the dealer who we ordered through, Fairlane Ford, as they had a better initial price, plus my wife's 15% off for working at Ford (so yes, dealer price online and then that discount worked together!) and the dealer said they had no timeline from Amp Research but they might have had one still in one of their warehouse if we just cancelled the existing order and went through them directly. We then called Amp to see if their was any timeline, as the extender was being drop shipping straight from them to us, and they said they also had no timeline on producing more and they were completely out, and this was on Wednesday (one week ago). We decided to wait a little longer, and sure enough, it shipped directly from Amp 2 days later and then arrived yesterday! So seems to be a bit on confusion on supply going around! So hopefully that works out!
 
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Put together a video of some of the pics and drone shots of the Ranger when I was up in Ludington! Had some great chances for some glamour shots of the Ranger that I just could not pass up on! Check it out!

 
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The Ranger also has gotten lucky the last few nights as our Escape is at the dealer for the last 5 days, so the Ranger has gotten the garage! It just fits, but fits nonetheless! Unfortunately for me, the wife has gotten to drive the truck a bit more over the last few days than I have, but I have gotten some good time driving my Jeep again! So not too bad at all! Haha! Though I do hope we get her Escape back soon so I can get the truck back!

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I also have had a chance to get the Diode Dynamics HP3 LED license plate lights from @PandaMotorworks installed, and that installation was very simple! As simple as reach under the bumper, twist the bulb counter clockwise to release it, pull the bulb out, put the LED bulb in a test it, then twist it back into the socket! Check out the final result!

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I decided on the HP3 lights, which were the middle option because I did not want the license plate lights to be too bright, especially since they are visible in the backup camera! And the HP3s are just slightly lighter to my eye than the stock bulbs were, but the cool white looks much better! Just the look I wanted! Anyways, here's some before shots of the truck:

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To start the installation, look under the bumper and locate the socket on either license plate light! They are the white sockets.

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Once you have removed the socket, you will see the light bulb. Be careful when go to remove the bulb as if it was on, it will be hot, and they get hot fast! So make sure you do not burn your fingers! This is how the LED bulb looks compared to the socket bulb:

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Go ahead and insert the new LED bulb into the socket, and go ahead and test the light to make sure that it completely lights. LEDs are direction specific, so if it does not light, remove it and rotate it 180 degrees and reinsert it into the socket.

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Here are a few comparison shots of one LED bulb and one halogen bulb on each side of the license plate:

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As you can see, the brightness is very similar, but the cool white does match more of the LEDs on the back of the truck! It also does not interfere much in the rear view camera either! Lastly, repeat the same steps on the other bulb, and you are then done! Without all the pictures, process should take 5 minutes or less!

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Diode Dynamics has also put together their own installation video for the lights! Check it out if you are interested in this!

 
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So as promised, I want to do a full write-up on the installation of the Diode Dynamics SLF LED Fog Lights in Yellow. Thanks to @PandaMotorworks for the great deal on the lights!

First off, the installation itself is the same regardless of if the output light is yellow or white, the bulbs are no different. The installation itself took me around an hour to an hour and a half. I was slowed down a bit by taking pictures in between, but the biggest struggle/slow down was trying to get the LED bulb back into the fog light housing socket, as there was no way to visually see the location of the housing from behind. I did manage to do the installation without removing any component besides the light bulbs themselves.

For quick reference, Diode Dynamics has posted a quick installation video of the bulbs here:


The final product for quick reference can be seen in the above post, but i will walk through the installation and some further comparisons in more detail here. i will also be adding some overhead drone comparisons of light through and spread, but since the SLFs were installed, it has been rainy/windy were in Michigan, and my wife has been driving the truck, so I haven't had the chance to get those shots yet! I will also say that I was actually pretty happy with the stock halogen fog light throw and spread! It was definitely better than I thought it was!

Here are a couple of the before pics of the factory halogen fog lights:

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So with the before shots out of the way, let's dive into the installation! First off, start by turning your wheels so that the front tire is turned all the out from the side you want to work on. For example, I started on the drivers side, so I turned my front tires all the way to the left (driver) side of the truck. This then gave me enough space to move my body around and get the best angle for my arm to reach up in between the splash shield and the crash bar. There really was only about 1 angle I could make the reach work, and on the driver's side, I could only reach the bulb with my right arm.

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Now, using this method, at no time was I ever able to see the back of the fog light housing, so basically everything was done by touch. Once I got my arm and hand in behind the bumper, I felt around until I found the fog light, and was able to push it loose with a couple of fingers, and then pull it the rest of the way out. The harness then swung down to just inline to slightly below the crash bar, and I could then see what I was doing.

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From, as the video above describe, grab the bulb with the palm of your hand and push the clip with your fingers, and the bulb came out very easily! I did not need to apply much pressure!

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As you can see the sockets of the bulb seem to match well, so filament and diode sit nicely at about the same point! The LED bulb also has the extra driver to go with it! Once the stock bulb was removed, you can go ahead and plug in the harness for the new LED bulb.

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With LEDs being direction specific, it is a good decision to go ahead and test the light while out of the socket to make sure all is functioning properly, and it was, as seen below. But if the LED did not light properly, go ahead and release the connector and rotate it 180 degree and try again.

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Now comes the hardest part of the install, getting the bulb positioned and tightened into the housing. When properly done, the bulb slide in and you twist to lock, just as you did with the stock bulb, and Diode Dynamics also made sure that the collar on these bulbs is properly adjusted for the Ranger housing, so no adjustment is needed on the part of the end user. I was able to get the tip of the driver side bulb into the housing relatively quickly, again, with no sight lines, but the hardest part was finding the proper alignment to get all the tabs around the collar to line up to the housing to twist the light in. It took about 20-25 minutes on the driver's side, but it is a very tight fit and a very good seal, which is what made it a bit more difficult to get lined up. Once lined up, it was a good amount of pressure to twist the bulb in, but the seal feels very solid, and I am happy with the connection. And the bulb is lined up perfectly vertical so the diodes are in the correct place for the beam pattern.

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Another point to note when trying to insert the bulb in as well, from the angle I was taking, the edge of the driver on the harness kept catching on the crash bar and holding me up when trying to pull the back of the bulb all the way up. So make sure to watch you do not damage the driver and give it a good glide path for installation. Next, the extra harness and driver was a bit too much free hanging wiring left for my liking, especially down that low, so I went ahead and zip-tied the wiring up a bit to the rest of the harness near the fog light. See the Orange Zip tie.

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With one light inserted and working, I took a few minutes to take a few pictures. i will show more in the comparison, but happy with how it looks compared to the stock halogen!

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With the driver's side done, I went ahead and rotated the front wheels to the other side to give me access on the Passenger side of the truck. Repeat the same steps as the drivers side, and the bulb should go right in. Again, on the passenger side, the space for access is limited and their are no sight lines to the back of the housing. It was really only possible to use your left hand/arm on the Passenger side, but for me, I was born with my fingers smaller and webbed on my left hand. They were separated when I was a baby, but my left hand fingers are significantly shorter. I gave it a very good run, with what I could reach with my right hand, as well as what I could do with my left hand (because I have never let it stop me in anything I have done before) to try and find a way, but sometimes you just need to throw in the towel and ask for some help! So my wife came out and helped get the passenger side bulb in the same way!
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As i said, all in all, the install was about an hour to and hour and a half, but that was with making notes and taking pictures as well. With a bit more narrow and longer arms, the installation might be a bit easier, but with all the work involved in removing the bumper, crash bars, etc., this was definitely still the easiest and quickly way I believe! Look for further follow up posts with some light comparisons and just some more finalized pics!
 

coblueberryranger

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Nice! The diode dynamic LEDs are definitely a tough fit in all applications I agree. Installing the SL1 Low beam headlights was just as difficult getting the LEDs to be tight as well as not bumping against the housing in my case for the low beams. Eventually had to adjust the collar a bunch to get the right beam pattern. But those yellow fogs look awesome!
 
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For the Diode Dynamics SLF Yellow LED Fog Lights, here's some more pics of the final product, as well as some comparisons between stock and SLF! Also, I think most images will be pretty obvious which is before and after, so I will not label most pictures, but If there are questions, let me know!

RearRear-Compare.jpg

On garage.jpg

No Headlight Head On.jpg

From Driver.jpg

And then some some final product shots in different scenarios!

From Driver Seat on Garage with Headlights and Fogs on:
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Headlights and Fogs on from Outside on Garage Door:
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Headlights and Fogs from Front:
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Headlights and Fogs from Driver Seat on seat:
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Headlights and Fogs from Outside on street:
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Fogs only outside on street:
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Fogs only Outside:
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Just some other random shots that I took:
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There are also some drone comparison shots and videos coming soon, but as said earlier, I need some time with no rain and a bit less windy as night shots are hard with the drone to keep them clear! So those will be in soon! But I am very happy with my purchase and I love the end result! I think it is very cool! And the yellow fogs seem to through a bit more light, but not enough nighttime driving experience with them yet! Will continue to update!
 
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Ranger got to have some more fun this weekend! And the maiden voyage for the VersaBoard and the Jaylow mounts on the truck! The wife and I went out to a few local lakes in SE Michigan for some sunny fun on Sunday! The water was still a bit cold, but it was a beautiful spring Michigan day overall! Here's a few shots from the day and my wife enjoying the water a bit!

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Anyways, here's the full setup on the Ranger now as well! We used the Overhaul HD and HD Bars, as well as the Short Bed SideBars attached to the RetraxOne XR Bed Cover. From there, we mounted the Yakima JayLow Kayak mount to hold my wife's VersaBoard (A hybrid SUP/Kayak ~56lbs). We also used the Yakima TopGrip on the SideBars to hold the paddle on the side of the rack! Here's the setup without the VersaBoard on it!

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And here's the setup with the VersaBoard mounted!

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The setup worked very well and was completely secured with no issues! Even with a little bit of a cross wind on the expressway at 75 MPH, truck tracked very straight and smooth, and MPG was still great! Didn't lose a bit! Only thing I really noticed was that the strap that I ran from the front of the VersaBoard to front tow hook, I ran diagnoal to the passenger side hook with the board mounted on teh driver's side, and the lane keep assist was struggling a little with finding the right side of the lanes, as I realized the strap was crossing right in front of the camera, but no big deal! And it still worked most of the time, but definietly had to make sure not to rely on that for this drive with the strap mounted the way I had it! Other than that, I highly recommend this setup!
 

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