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Old 11-14-2022, 12:32 PM
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PJSnow PJSnow is offline
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: New York
Posts: 113
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PJSnow PJSnow is offline
PJSnow's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: New York
Posts: 113
PJSnow will become famous soon enough
Lasfit 3" LED Pod Ditch Light Kit (and Ditch Light Options Overview)

TLDR: The Lasfit 3" LED pods hit the sweet spot in regards to cost and performance. Follow along with this thread as I test the Lasfit ditch light kit.

General Ditch Light Research and Information
Upgrading the headlights and fog lights on the 4Runner are certainly the easiest and best bang for your buck but sometimes you want/need more light. I started by upgrading the fog lights to Diode Dynamics SS3 (amber), the high beams to Xenon Depot LED bulbs, and the low beams to the new Lasfit Pro Series kit (see my other thread on those here: New/Updated Lasfit Pro-T4 Headlight Bulb Kit (And Headlight Options Overview)). The combination of those upgrades definitely improved the night time driving experience but there is always room for more light!
The most common ways to add exterior forward lighting are light bars and light pods. Both can be mounted in various locations on the front of the 4Runner (including in the grille, on the roof, and on the hood) and each has a particular purpose. For the sake of this post, I will focus on ditch lights, which are most commonly pod lights mounted to the hood at the base of the windshield, but eventually I would like to have a combination of light bars and light pods in different locations to round out my lighting. My low beams and high beams provide adequate forward lighting for street use but I find they are not as wide as I'd like. The fog lights have a wider spread but they do not illuminate as far away from the 4Runner. Ditch lights were my solution to fill these dark areas.

Ditch lights can be extremely versatile, depending on which beam pattern you choose and the direction you orient them. Although they were originally intended to light up ditches on the side of the road with a flood pattern, some owners choose to aim them straight forward with a spot pattern. Others choose to aim them sideways for scene lighting at a campsite. The possibilities seem endless and you can customize them to your needs.
Mounting ditch lights has become fairly standardized for the 4Runner. There are several companies making brackets that attach to the underside of the hood using the factory mounting hardware. Choosing a bracket is a matter of preference and style. Most are low profile and can accommodate most light pods. The only word of caution with installation is to watch the hood alignment, but there are plenty of videos online to help with the install.
Choosing a pod light to use as a ditch light depends on several factors: beam pattern, color, pod size, and price.

1. Beam Pattern - Pod lights come in many different beam patterns, from flood/scene, to spot, and even fog patterns. Flood patterns typically throw light in all directions but do not illuminate objects far in the distance. Spot lights typically produce a localized beam of light to illuminate objects in the distance. Your choice will depend on your specific needs but most manufacturers provide a visual of the beam patterns (either photo or diagram) to help make the decision.
2. Color - Most pod lights can be purchased in either clear/white, yellow, or amber. Just like fog lights, the choice comes down to environment and how you will use the lights. White light (or clear lens) will be the typical choice for most. If you frequently find yourself in dusty environments or traveling through snow storms, a yellow or amber color will probably be a better choice. Some manufacturers even sell replacement lenses to change the color as your needs change.
3. Size - The most popular light pod size is a 3" round or square pod. Some manufacturers have begun to sell smaller and larger pods depending on your needs. Although the larger pods tend to produce more light, they also will block your visibility when mounted as a ditch light. This should be a major consideration when choosing a ditch light and I would not recommend anything larger than a 3" pod (unless you are willing to sacrifice visibility).
4. Price - Prices for ditch lights can vary significantly. You can choose to purchase a cheap Amazon LED light pod but you will need to source a separate ditch light bracket and wiring harness. The beam patterns from these cheap light pods is inconsistent and reviews seem to be split on quality and life span. There are also very expensive light pod options (costing over $650 for a single LED pod), which I'm sure produce a ton of light but are probably better suited for bumper mounting where they don't block windshield visibility. Several manufacturers have also begun to sell ditch light kits which include the brackets, pod lights, and wiring harness. These are probably the best bang for your buck when choosing ditch lights.

Lasfit 3" LED Pod Ditch Light Kit
I was honestly torn between adding a light bar or ditch lights but Lasfit made the decision easier because they provided me an offer to test their ditch light kit. I probably would have gone with Lasfit regardless, after seeing their performance with my low beam headlight bulbs. I have been very happy with their products so far so this was a logical choice.
Everything you need to get up and running with your new ditch lights is included if you purchase the kit (link below to the ditch light kit product page). I chose to go with the 18W driving pattern in white for my needs. Here are a few notes that helped me come to my decisions:

1. Driving Pattern - Lasfit does a great job explaining the different beam patterns on the ditch light product page. They have options for flood, fog, spot, and driving. I wanted ditch lights to compliment my high beams by increasing the width of light so the driving pattern seemed to fit the bill perfectly. As I mentioned above, you should consider your intended use when choosing a beam pattern.
2. White Color - This was a more difficult decision to make because I do find myself driving through inclement weather quite often. The yellow lens might be more suited for this purpose but I think the ditch lights will be used more with my high beams (which are white). Luckily, if I decide I want to change to yellow or amber, the lenses are interchangeable and it should be fairly easy to swap them out. I'll probably make that decision after testing in the snow.
3. 18W Series - Lasfit offers two different power levels for their ditch light kits, 18W and 36W. These seem to correlate directly with the Diode Dynamics Sport and Pro offerings (for those more familiar with those). In the ditch light location, I think the 18W version should be adequate, especially if you are aiming them facing directly forward because they will inevitably bounce light off the hood. Lasfit also uses TIR (Total Internal Reflection) optics which should efficiently focus all of the light per the beam pattern you choose. I'm hoping the TIR optics help me get the maximum light from the 18W version I got but I would probably splurge for the 36W if the $120 price difference isn't a concern. Regardless, the 18W is a great option for the budget conscious.
4. 3" Pod - I was originally planning to purchase a 2"x3" pod (similar to the Diode Dynamics SSC2 or Baja Designs S2) for the ditch light location to keep as much visibility through the windshield as possible. After researching more, it seems the 3" pod size doesn't impact visibility too much but I definitely would not go larger. I'll plan to follow up with my observations on visibility as I continue live with them.

Lasfit 3" LED Pod Ditch Light Kit for 4Runner - Driving pattern:
3" LED Pod Ditch Light Kit for 2014-2022 Toyota 4Runner | LASFIT

Initial Impressions
Lasfit seems to do a fantastic job at packaging their products. The kit came in three separate boxes; one for the pod lights, another for the harness, and a third for the brackets. It was shipped via USPS priority mail and arrived just a couple days after receiving the shipping number. Upon unboxing the kit, everything seemed to be of high quality materials. The pods themselves have some weight and everything is finished in black (including the hardware). They even provided Allen wrenches to mount the pods and swap the lenses.

Install was fairly straightforward. There are several videos on Youtube showing the step by step process, but as mentioned before, be careful with the hood alignment. The hardest part of the install was fishing the wires through the firewall. I found it easiest to de-pin the white connector and feed the wires through the grommet without the connector. One very nice feature is the hex bolt holder on the pod "U" bracket. These hold the top of the hex bolts while you tighten the nut on the bottom (see photo below for clarification).
Two notes on the wiring harness:
1. It appears to be a generic wiring harness for many different applications. The length of wire from the relay to the positive and negative terminals was not long enough to mount the relay behind the fuse box. I had to settle for putting it next to the battery (between the battery and the fender). This might bot be a concern for most but it would be nice to have just a bit more slack to locate the harness.
2. The switch provided has two LEDs (red and green) to indicate if the ditch lights are on or off. Unfortunately, the red light stays on even if the vehicle is not running. This might not be an issue if you daily drive the vehicle but I'm concerned it will drain the battery if the vehicle is not driven for a week or two. I have been removing the in line fuse for the time being but I plan to swap the switch eventually.

Onto my initial thoughts on the lights themselves. I have the 18W Sport series which is the lower output option but I find them to be super bright regardless. It is a night and day difference when turning them on. They compliment my high beams perfectly and add to the width as intended. The color/temperature is almost a perfect match to my high beams but the Lasfit pods are slightly more blue (cooler) compared to the Xenon Depot high beam LED bulbs. Not a major concern for me and it is not noticeable in photos. Comparing to my Diode Dynamics SS3 Max fog lights, I am pleasantly surprised. They are definitely not an apples to apples comparison but I am impressed with how much light the Lasfit pods put out. The SS3 Max fog lights are brighter but they are also amber/yellow and shine straight to the ground. The Lasfit pods do a fantastic job shining light into the distance where I need it. For a "budget" pod light, these can definitely keep up with the heavy hitters and I'm curious how much brighter the HP series is in comparison.

A few additional noteworthy items:
1. The pod housing has a nice "hood" that extends from the top. It might protect the lens slightly while the vehicle is stationary but I can't see it doing much while moving. Although, I do think it provides a nice visual compared to other pod light offerings.
2. The Deutsch style connectors are a very nice touch and exude quality. The kit also includes Deutsch pig tails if you prefer to wire them yourself.
3. The 3" pod is definitely the biggest pod I would put in the ditch light location. These do block some visibility through the windshield and I would probably opt for a smaller pod if I were to start over. The compromise would of course be light output and these certainly shine more light than a smaller pod! I will follow up with a post in the future noting how badly these impact visibility while driving.
4. The Lasfit hood bracket seems to have a nice powder coated finish but they are ultimately a mild steel bracket. I am concerned about rust, especially here in the northeast. The majority of alternatives are also steel but it is always a concern in the rust belt. But Lasfit does appear to do a good job powder coating them to inhibit rust.

Overall, I think this is a fantastic kit, especially for the price. The Diode Dynamics SS3 Max fog lights are definitely brighter but they also cost much much more. You can purchase the Lasfit pods (with a harness!) for less than 1/3 the cost of the SS3 Max (without a harness). This is a fantastic kit for anyone looking to add ditch lights or any other pod lighting.

I will update this thread in the future with additional thoughts as I live with the kit but feel free to post any questions in the meantime. And finally, here are some photos:

Three individual boxes:

Contents of boxes:

Hood brackets:

Pod lights and hardware (notice the additional pig tail connectors that can be used to wire the lights yourself):

Black hardware (this was a nice touch to keep the entire install stealth):

Pod "U" bracket hex bolt holder (holds the bolt while installing the nut under the hood bracket):

Harness (notice the white connector which I had to de-pin to fit through the firewall):

Harness switch (notice the two LED lights; one light is always on regardless if the vehicle is on or off):

Ditch lights installed:

Low beams and ditch lights:

Ditch lights only:

High beams and ditch lights:

All lights on (Lasfit ditch lights, Lasfit Pro low beams, Xenon Depot high beams, Diode Dynamics SS3 Max Fog):

Low beams, fogs, and ditch lights:

Last edited by PJSnow; 03-29-2023 at 09:39 AM.
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