Friday, April 29, 2011

How To Install Cab Lights

Light up your rig with some new cab lights!


Ever since owning my last truck (2003 Silverado) I have always wanted to have a set of cab lights. I always have liked the looks of other trucks out there running the lights. I  never thought that it was something I could handle doing myself.  I was recently at my local auto parts store and noticed a set of lights for twenty dollars. It didn't take much thought before I knew I would be buying them.

This was one of the mods I did before deciding to start this blog. Sorry in advance for the lack of photos, but I will do my best to get you guys through this without any confusion or problems.

Before:                                                                        






After:


















***Before doing any electrical work on your vehicle I would recommend reading through these articles (LINK COMING SOON) and using them as a reference***



 1. Drop the headliner: The cab lights can be installed fairly easily without removing the entire headliner. Loosen the side pillars that are held in by a clip in the top center. Remove the visors and visor clips that are held in with a size **** Torx Bit (looks like a star). Remove the handle from the ceiling by prying the square piece out with a small flat head screwdriver. You can then pull the handle down to release it from the ceiling. Lastly, remove the overhead console by unscrewing the phillips head screw on the side towards the windshield, unclip the rear facing side of the console (two clips), and unplugging the wire harness going to the console's lights.


2.Marking out lights:  This is the hardest and most important step in this whole installation. I will break it down into a few sections for clarity. I will do my best to create some images to help guide you through this.

     Set up your guide: The first place to start is to get a couple tape measures across the roof of the vehicle. I ran one tape measure along the very top edge of the windshield and another parallel, but up six inches on each side. A good way to go about doing this is to close your door with the tape measures at exactly ten inches, that way you have an accurate measurement (just remember to subtract ten from your widths). Once you have the rulers properly aligned...

   Determine light positions: Read the overall distance of the two rulers and find the offset (difference of the two lengths). For example (these measurements are for demonstration only)- If your lower measurement is 65" and your upper measurement is 60" there is a total difference of 5". You then divide the difference in half to obtain the proper offset for each light. In this case it would be 2 1/2". This means if we place our center light at 32 1/2" on the bottom tape we will want it to be at 30" in on the upper tape for it to be perfectly straight. So every time you mark a light position on the bottom tape the upper tape should be marked minus 2 1/2".  Using a pencil I drew an arrow at the proper measurements with the point in the exact centers. Once you have the center light marked along both tape measures we will then determine the position of the next lights. The next two lights out from either side of the center light will be measured 8 1/2" from the middle of the center light. Once you have these two light positions marked out it is time to mark the final two outer lights. These will be marked 5 1/2" in from either door along the top tape measure.  You should now have five sets of properly spaced arrows where the lights will be sitting. Using wide painters tape align a straight edge of the tape over the centers of the arrows to connect them. Be sure the tape is perfectly straight and looks correct before moving on.


On the three pieces of tape in the center, measure up off of the weatherstripping above the windshield 4" and make a mark on the side of the tape with your arrows. On the two outer most pieces of tape measure up of the weatherstripping 6" and make a mark on the side of the tape with your arrows. These marks will be the outer most center front edge of the lights. You can now set your lights where they will be going and examine them from multiple angles to ensure they are lined up properly.

    Mark the holes:Using a light mount from the lights for a template, align the front center of the mount with the edge of the tape along the arrows and mark the mounting holes with a pencil. Repeat this for all of the lights. Congratulations, you now have all of your lights properly lined up and marked out! Now, relax and take a deep breath because it is time to drill.

2. Drill the holes:  Using an eighth in drill bit drill out the holes. Be sure to have the bit perfectly centered over your marks to ensure proper alignment. Also, use caution not to scratch or dent your roof when drilling. Once all fifteen holes are drilled you can remove the tape.

3. Mount the lights:  Attach the light one at a time to the roof. Run the short wire lead through the appropriate hole and seal with a decent amount of clear silicone. Then put a glob of silicone over the other two mounting holes and attach the screws. Repeat this for each light. Then place a small amount of silicone on the underside of the drilled holes. You can now clean up the area around the lights because we are done working on the outside.

4. Connect the wires: Attach your cab light lead wires to a main power wire running across the headliner. I used vampire clips to connect all of my leads. Once all of the wires are connected, it is time to connect the main power wire. This can be connected to either a switch or to another wire to power it on automatically. I chose to connect mine to my passenger side running light next to my blinker. Once the line is connected you can turn on your vehicle and test the lights before you reassemble.

5. Put it back together:  Put the headliner back together and enjoy your new lights.

Finished Product:





Final Thoughts: I have always wanted to put cab lights on my Silverado and now that I have them I couldn't be happier. The install wasn't too hard either. It was a little unnerving drilling the holes, but I was confident in my measurements and looked over the truck from tons of different angles before drilling. The lights have been working great and I haven't had a single drop of water leak through.

As always, thanks for checking out my project and feel free to ask any questions or just tell me what you thought about this project. 

So, what next? I think I am going to do a little something different with that leftover window tint from the earlier projects!




1 comment:

  1. I want to do this really badly on my 2001 silverado,
    What lights did you buy? what is the brand of the cab lights, I really like the 5 lights instead of the 2 smaller marker lights and the 1 large in the middle.
    Your truck looks great!

    ReplyDelete