Review & Install Video
Hey, guys, Adam here with americanmuscle.com. And today we're taking a closer look at, installing, and light testing the Raxiom LED tail lights, available for the '08 to '14 Challengers. On our 2013 RT right next to me here is the Raxiom LEDs, and you should be checking these out if you're looking to upgrade the rear end, not straying too far from the OEM look, but really just upgrading the lighting technology. From here, you're getting rid of those factory incandescent bulbs and replacing them with super bright, way more attractive, modern LEDs. Now, the big highlight with these tail lights is the LED running light, right? As you can see here, we've just got our tail lights on, no brake lights, and we're showing off the really thick surrounding LED running light design. Now, that running light on each side is surrounding what is a light bar of LEDs that will operate as your brake light, turn signals, and your hazards. Of course, in the center there, just like your factory OEM ones, those are gonna be your reverse lights. You actually are going to be reusing the factory reverse light bulbs, they'll twist right into your new housing.Now, these aren't stick-on LEDs, they aren't replaced LEDs, as far as actually putting them into the factory housing, you are completely replacing the entire factory tail light, this entire bar going across the rear end is coming out, and you're putting your new Raxioms in place. Now, the Raxiom housing is extremely similar to the OEM styling, it's got the red interior, lots of reflectivity. It's also got a clear lens at the back end that is extremely similar to OEM. So, when the lights are off, you might not recognize that it's an aftermarket tail light. When the lights go on, that's when you see the super bright red LEDs flashing right in your face. So, if you're looking for a rear end replacement that can look OEM, or pass as OEM, but really light up and be a lot brighter and more attractive, this is a great way to go. It doesn't stick out like a sore thumb, it really just enhances that technology and modernizes it.Now, this kit comes in right around 500 bucks. Now, the install gets one out of three wrenches on our difficult to meter. There's no cutting, it's a direct plug and play, which is a huge bonus with this tail light kit, it's gonna take you about an hour, maybe two, from start to finish. I love when Raxiom comes out with these lights that you don't have to cut, and splice, and wiring together, and solder, and test, and make sure it still works. I love when it's a direct plug and play, you're reusing your factory harness. The LED connectors will plug right into the factory bulb socket where the incandescent bulb was originally located, so it makes it really simple. The only thing you'll have to cut, and it's not even for every model, is their trunk latch button. If your Challenger is equipped from the factory with the trunk button, the release button here, you will have to cut out that oval. Now, the oval already has that template pre-molded into the plastic, so you're really just following the lines with the utility knife or something similar to get that to cut out. Now, it doesn't have to be the most beautiful cut in the world. I used the utility knife, and it wasn't completely perfect, but once you pop this guy in, it overlaps and doesn't show any rough edges. So, it looks absolutely flawless when it is all said and done even if the cut isn't perfect. Now, for guys who do not have that factory trunk button at the back end above your tail lights, you don't have to worry about that, you can skip right on over it. I'm gonna walk you through every step of this process including that cutting, because we obviously do have that button, really not that hard, we'll tackle it in three pieces, let's get to it.Tools used in this install include a ratchet, extension, panel removal tool, flat-head screwdriver, T20 Torx bit, and a utility knife or cutting tool of choice.First up, of course, is to pop open your trunk. Now, as you know, in the Challenger they are in three sections, the one main section here is on the trunk lid and the other two actually stay down when you pop your trunk. So, first up here, let's pop this guy open, we're gonna focus on this one up here, uninstalling that first. Once that's out and disconnected, we'll come back down and do the passenger and driver sides connected to the rest of our bumper. So, step one, we have a couple of twist offs we have to take care of, there are four of them, then we're gonna pop off the bumpstops.All right. So, as far as those twist offs go, there are one here, one on the other side, and then in the middle as well on both sides of the trunk latch. So, really, it's just by hand, it's a little wing nut. We're just gonna on thread it, and I'm actually gonna set them inside the trunk. Now, these bumpstops are more like two step clips. What you're gonna do is take a panel removal tool, a flat-head screwdriver works just as well, this is just a little easier. Go to that top section, and you're gonna pry that upward toward you, and then go underneath of that and pull it out in one piece, it's a big plastic clip, do the same thing for the other one.All right. Now, on the side of your middle section here there's a plastic panel, what we're gonna do is pull this guy off. Now, ours has seen better days, so it's pretty easy to pull off. If you need a panel removal tool, it's a good time to use that too, but this guy just unsnaps. Do the same thing on the other side. All right, guys. Now, underneath of where that plastic panel was, if you go in this indent, there's a T20 Torx screw that we have to get out. So, grab your T20 socket, I'm gonna use an extension and a ratchet to get this guy off. All right. Now, once it's out, you just wanna be a little careful, try not to drop it in there, and then repeat for the other side.All right. So, at this point, we have the two screws out, we can lift up, we can pry the light off, and then we'll unplug the harness and set it aside. You wanna put firm but somewhat gentle pressure on it, you don't wanna break any clips. All right. Once it's up, you can see a lot of wiring harnesses, right here you have a little light clip, gonna unplug that harness, just like that. All right, guys. Now, what we're gonna do is follow this harness down, and you can see there's a rubber grommet that goes underneath. What we can do is pretty easily go right here to our trunk latch, we're gonna pry this carpet liner down and around it, that way we can get underneath. Now, underneath, you'll find this little harness clip here, which is the other end of that one up top, we're gonna disconnect this guy. From this, we're gonna use a flat-head screwdriver to lift up on the locking tab, and disconnect it. Now, what we can do is head back up top, and we're gonna pull this rubber grommet out, and disconnect, now we can set our tail light aside.All right. Now, what we can do is focus on our other sections here inside the bumper, we're gonna go inside the trunk and remove another one of these twist off clips with our hands, we can just twist it all off and set it aside. What this is gonna do is allow us to peel back this liner to expose the back of that tail light. All right. We have another one of those twist offs underneath of that liner we just pulled back, so let's get that out of the way.All right. Now, from the outside, we have this little plastic panel we have to pop off. I'm gonna use a panel removal tool, I'm gonna try to slide this in here, just pry back, and it releases some of those clips, there's two of them. Can see those little guys, pull straight back with a little pressure, it'll pop off. From there, let's pull our tail light.So, as you can see, we have a connector here, and another one peeking through that hole there. So, let's pinch and disconnect this, and then let's grab that flat-head to remove this guy. Just got my flat-head here, I'm just gonna lift up on that locking tab, and pull back. Now, we can repeat this for the other side.Well, we got a factory tail lights off of our '13 RT behind me, it's on the table next to our Raxiom LEDs, I wanna take it through some of the similarities and differences between the two kits, and there are quite a few. Now, as far as the look, off at first glance, they might look very similar, but if you look closer at the designs, you can see they are very very different. The factory light I have in front of me, we have, of course, the middle section factory ones and aftermarket. As far as the bumper lights go, you can see the factory one has that Dodge logo in the middle there where the reverse light would be, it's also using factory incandescent bulbs, very outdated at this point, right? We wanna see LEDs, we want the brighter, more attractive technology, and that's what you're getting here in your Raxiom. This also has that built-in running light bar, which is super unique to the Challenger, right? We don't see this on a lot of these factory Challengers, building that into your tail light here does really stand out. Now, one thing I really do like about this is not only the fact that it has the updated modern LED technology, but it's using all factory quality materials. As far as the mounting process, and the trim, and all of the weatherstripping, and all that stuff, it's all the same as the factory, it's really really no different. Your new one here has that extra lip here, and that somewhat textured matte black finish, same as your factory one here, so it looks very very OEM. But then when the lights go on, your reverse lights, your parking lights, your tail lights, your hazard lights, whatever, you can clearly see it's brighter, more attractive, and it really just modernizes this generation Challenger. So, that's what I like to really see from lights like this, I like when it adds that modernization. We are still maintaining that clear red look, this isn't smoked, it's not dark black housing, it still has that red housing and the clear lens. So, like I said, at first glance it might look OEM, you look closer at it, or when the lights come on, you can clearly tell it's a lot more modern.So, what I like to do at this point is transfer over the harnesses, you do have to do that. And then if you do have a rear trunk release button, which you see up here, we have to transfer that over. But in order to do that, we do have to cut out that circular hole where it's gonna go on your new tail light bracket, we're gonna use the utility knife for that. It already has the template on the backside, you can't see it from the front, but the backside, you can see where the lines are. So, we're gonna cut right along the lines, and then pop this guy over, but first, I'd like to transfer over that harness.All right. So, we've got our factory light face down here, what we do have to remove is our trunk latch button first. As you can see, it's wired into everything, so if I just take off the harness, this is still gonna be attached, no good. I'm gonna grab a Phillips-head screwdriver, I'm gonna take these two screws off, one on each side, this is the bracket right behind that button. All right. Now, in order to get this button out, what I'm gonna do is pick this up a little bit, and what we're gonna need to do is push down on the two tabs on the top, and two tabs on the bottom, while also pushing out from the inside. All right. So, I'm pushing down on these tabs, and pushing from the back, top, and bottom. Perfect. All right. Now, we can feed it through the back, and the harness is free.Now, one more thing I'm gonna do before I take out the sockets is just disconnect this little harness here, that's our clip, that will connect our tail light, I'm gonna grab a panel removal tool and just pry up on the Christmas tree clips. All right. There we go. Now, for the sockets, twist and remove all of them, there are two on each side, and then two of the reverse lights in the middle. Twist and disconnect, two in the middle. Perfect. All right. The wire is fed into little plastic retainer clip pins, you can just pop those off, but what I'm gonna try to do is keep them in their same position so we know exactly where they're going. From here, take that factory socket, we're gonna pull the bulb out and connect it to the new LED connector, that goes right inside. What you wanna do though is take note of the colored wires on the factory socket. So, we have the black one here all the way on the left, make sure the black one on our LED connector is matching that up all the way on the left, we want them on the exact same side. All right. So, they are, connect that, and the same thing for the others. All right. So, this one's also on the left, just wanna make sure they line up, it's really a ground-to-ground, power-to-power type of deal. All right. So, this side's done, let's tuck her in, twist, and lock in, same thing here. Now, your reverse light bulbs are gonna stay, we're reusing those factory reverse lights. So, I'm just gonna slide those guys in, twist, and lock. Perfect. Now, if you remember that clip we removed earlier, we're just gonna pop that into the new drilled holes already on our Raxiom lights. Perfect. We're gonna go throughout and just make sure that we're snapping those into the new retainer pins, really just holds the wiring harness neatly in place, and go all along it and just pop our wires through. All right. Now, we can make that modification here for our trunk button. All right. So, how you make this cut is completely personal preference, if you have tools that you prefer to use, you can use them. It's recommended in the instructions to just use a simple utility knife, slowly follow the guidelines on the back here, you can go straight around that circle and cut it right out. I'm gonna hold this upward a little bit, I'm gonna work my way through slowly, and we'll come back when it's all cut out. All right. Once you have that cut out, you can go back and clean up the edges, maybe some sandpaper, light sandpaper, let's smooth things out, then we'll snap in our trunk release. Once you have that guy cut out, you're really just gonna feed it through and snap it in, just like that, and it's back to being functional.All right. Next up, we're gonna install our tail light sections in the bumper. Now, as you can see, there are two giant resistors that are really big, so what we have to do is make sure we're tucking them away properly. You wanna peel off the 3M backing on these guys, you can stick them anywhere in here, you just wanna make sure you're not just leaving them to dangle, they will make noise when you're driving, you've got to stick them somewhere. You can stick them on the inside of the bumper, down low, or I'm gonna choose to go just on the underside of this gray-black plastic thing, this little trim panel here. So, what I'm gonna do is peel off these backings, I'm gonna go underneath, and I'm gonna stick them right underneath of the black trim. All right. Just give them a nice stick, make sure they get a good bond. Now, what you wanna do is once you have them stuck in their spots, you wanna put, like, some pretty decent, even pressure to make sure the 3M gets a good holding, can hold it there for about a minute to make sure they get a good bond, then we can move on.From here, what we can do is, you can see our new connector on the tail light, we're gonna bring these up close, and we're just gonna plug it in. With that plugged in, let's mount the light. Go from the inside, grab the plastic screw-on tool, and we'll get it secure. Let's peel back this trunk liner once you have it plugged in, grab one of the plastic screws, and we're just gonna thread this in for that first one here. Put the liner back in place, hook it around that stud, and replace the other one. All right. Now, you can repeat this for the other one, and then we'll do our middle section. All right. And of course, don't forget this trim panel here, this little weatherstripping, you wanna make sure you're snapping that back into place as well.All right. So, with our middle section here, we're gonna put this up into place, pull down our trunk. The first thing we wanna do is feed this wiring harness back through, and then find it right near our trunk latch. Now, I know this is gonna be difficult, you got a lot of things happening at the same time, let's try to feed this guy in first. We have another great plug right here, we wanna connect that to our new harness, and now let's mount our tail light. All right. So, now we can grab that harness we just fed through and plug her in, and then finally, pull this up into position. You wanna make sure the emergency latch is going through that little cutout there. Put your finger through this, we're gonna feed this carpeting back into place, just like that. From here, what you can do is just look down the side, line up those studs, and then pop it into place. Put your trunk all the way up, all we have left to do is put back in those twist clips and the bumpstops. All right. These, what you do, push that in, drop it down. Push in, drop down, same thing on both of those sides. Take those twist clips, just gonna twist them in by hand. And then finally, you have a couple of those screws, those Torx screws on each side. All right. So, we have this third one in place, finally that fourth one on the end. Now, we can grab those Torx screws and go to each side. All right. So, I got my T20 socket, I have an extension here, and that screw, I'm just gonna use this to thread it into place. All right. And then, of course, we have that black cap that we got to put back on here. All right. And again, like I said earlier, this one has seen better days, but we're gonna snap it back in place. All right. Repeat that on the other side.Well, guys, that's gonna wrap up my review and install for the Raxiom LED tail lights for the '08 to '14 Challenger. And again, you should be checking these out for your own Challenger. If you wanna pick up this set, you can do so right here, exclusively, at americanmuscle.com.