Ford Ranger Wildtrak Sailplane Work Light Mod

Ford Ranger Wildtrak Sailplane Work Light Mod

For a while now I have been trying to find a way to mount lights onto the Wildtrak Sailplane, however, I have not yet found anything that allows me to do this in the aftermarket world. This got me wondering, I wonder if I could mount the light directly to the Wildtrak Sailplane?

I decided to investigate the possibility and started to pull apart the Sailplane. Turns out it is possible and you can do it in a way that the lights a very rigid and strong.

Disassembly of the Sailplane

The Sailplane when disassembled has 5 major pieces. There are 3 inner panels, a middle and the outer. The outside panel and a hard rigid ABS internal frame which is the main structure of the sailplane.

It's important that you use plastic tools here where possible, as there are a few panels that are very malleable and can easily dint. I found that just these two tools were all I needed.

Removal of roller shutter

  1. Remove the two bolts and nuts from the three positions circled. Repeat this for the other side.

2. Remove the torx bolt at the sailplane side. Repeat for the other sides.

3. Remove the water pipes from the front and back. This should now allow you to fully move the roller shutter.

4. Either fully remove or angle the roller shutter like in the below picture. This is so that we can get the left and right side panels off and lifted out. The red line indicates the edge that we will need to lift out.

5. Starting from the tailgate side and working up, use plastic tools to slowly wedge and unclip the perimeter clips. Go slow and keep moving, so do not try to unclip the bottom as there are locating clips that slot into two locating slots. The panels will unclip from the top and angle down and out.

I did find the side closet to the cab was a bit hard to pop out due to the push-in clips, but once one goes they all go. Again take your time, go slow, and keep moving up and down.

Repeat step 5 for the other side.

6. Once the two inner sides are off, you will now be able to access the 3 screws on both sides of the middle inner piece. Unscrew all 3 and repeat for the other sides.

7. Next we need to remove the middle brake light to get access to 4 more screws. I used a sim removal tool to unclip the little red cover from the brake light.

Once you remove the red cover you should then expose the torx screw. Undo this screw and repeat for the other side.

7. Once the middle brake light is released, you now have access to 2 more screws. Again remove both.

8. Now the inner middle plastic piece is ready to be unclipped. Again slowly make your way from the rub side first working your way left and right. Eventually, you will have the side closest to the tray release. Once this has occurred, you can then start on the cab side. Again, go slow, and keep moving to prevent breaking any clips or the plastic.

This piece also has push-down clips, which was a little tricky to get off, but eventually one will pop allowing you to get them all. Make sure you keep moving and don't spend your time in one spot.

9. Once you release the inner middle piece, carefully bring it down. Pay attention to the harness that connects the brake light and the courtesy lights. You will see that if you follow the harness you can actually unclip the harness a bit allowing you to site the inner middle plastic in the tray to work on.

Drilling into the Sailplane and adding support material

So this next part will vary depending on the lights you have, but you can either do lights that are roughly 20cm wide, allowing for roughly 5-10cm wings or I can image being able to potentially mount a LED bar over the back depending on if you can get one that fits between the two pillars.

I chose to do the 20cm Stedi work lights.

  1. From Bunnings, I was able to pick up some aluminum flat bar 3mm thick and 40mm wide and cut two lengths of 22cm long. You can use anything, but ideally, something that can spread out the load of the light.

2. Once you cut your lengths, you will then need to drill the hole. This will vary from light to light. Once you have the holes in the flat bar, you can move on to transferring those holes onto the sailplane.

3. This part will be up to the person installing it, but I found it best to line up the edge of the flat bar with the curve line on the outside of the inner middle piece. What I found by following this was that it specifically misses a couple of internal structural pieces that could prevent you from using a bolt and also having the inner middle plastic clip back together properly. If I were you - I would follow that line as well.

4. Once you have transferred those holes, drill into the sailplane. This will allow you to have then put a nut, bolt, and washer through. I used two washers on either side and some Locktite on the bolt as well to ensure it would not come off very easily. Use some silicon as well between the flat bar and the ally so that there is no water ingress into the Sailplane itself.

5. Drill your cable entry. I found it best to drill the hole on the outside so that it was not directly in my vision.

You can then use more silicon or if you have a cable grommet or conduit handy use that.

6. Run your harness ensuring that it follows the original harness and make sure there is not too much excess cable left inside either as there is not a lot of room to just wrap up the length of cable. Use cable ties to keep it tidy.

7. Where possible use split sleeve conduit, I primarily started the conduit once the cable exited the inner middle piece, I found that there was just enough room to run it with the existing loom.

8. Run the rest of your loom back to a switch and battery. Before putting anything back together test everything functions. It sucks to have to pull it apart again.

9. So with everything tested, put everything back together. Basically, reverse the steps above.

Eventually, you should get it all put back together and have an end result of this.

It provides an awesome finish - nearly with a cabless appearance.

Some notes

So I did have some concerns when I started this project, the main ones were;

  • Will my lights actually stay on and not fall off?
  • Will this crack the plastics?
  • Are my lights too heavy potentially?

I can now say that even though adding the flat bar is still a really good idea, it actually may be slightly overkill. I think it's still best to add the flat bar as that helps spread the weight a bit more evenly and provides a larger contact point to the plastic itself.

The inner middle piece has 10 screws, with 8 going into the main ABS internal structure which is quite rigid. With different vibrations and shocks from 4wd tracks etc, I don't believe these lights are going to fall off anytime soon.

Anyway, hopefully that has helped you to install your lights on your Wildtrak Sailplane.