I previously posted this in the "what did you do with your WK2 today" thread, but I figured I'd repost it here for those that might be interested in doing the same thing. I've also added a bit more information about materials and products....descriptions of photos appear above each photo...
Since my GC Limited didn't come with an under hood light, I decided to install one. However, I decided that if I was going to do it, I wanted lighting that would actually provide light.
I decided to install two LED strips - one under the hood and one lower in the engine bay to light the lower area of the engine (where things tend to go wrong on the road).
Here are the materials. I bought most of it on Amazon just because it was easier to get exactly what I wanted, but most of it's pretty much off the shelf:
- 1 Pair LED driving lights. They run around $7 and can be found here: Amazon.com: 2 pcs Set Waterproof Aluminum High Power 6W 6000K Xenon White Slim COB LED DRL Daylight Driving Daytime Running Light Lamp For Car SUV Sedan Coupe Vehicle + Free Gift: Automotive
- One hood pin switch.
- Two standard washers to add more support for the pin switch (since I was using an existing hole that was slightly too large) as well as create more surface area for the ground.
- One inline blade fuse holder.
- 5 amp fuse
- A spool of black/red two conductor automobile wire (18 gauge).
- Various wire connectors and a battery terminal.
- 1 roll of small diameter braided wire loom (just enough to fit 2-3 18 gauge wires inside).
- Roll of Heat Shrink tubing
- Rubber bumper pad to protect the hood surface where the pin switch contacts it
- Electrical tape
- Soldering gun, flux and solder
- High temperature marine silicone adheasive
The LEDs I chose are enclosed instead of the normal bare strips due to both looks and concerns over heat and weather. They're sold as driving lights and are both heat and weather resistant. When wiring them up, I added a 5 amp blade fuse in case anything shorts.
The leads are very thin, so you'll want to beef up the protection of them in the engine bay. They're only 22 gauge. In addition, I found it easier to solder the light connections to the rest of the wire runs since I wasn't satisfied with using butt connectors - they just didn't hold as tightly with two different gauges:
I started by running wiring inside the hood and around the engine bay for the LEDs. For the wires in the engine bay itself, I used a mesh wire loom, similar to what is used on much the Jeep OEM wiring. For the hidden stuff, I used heat shrink tubing to prevent wires chafing on the body and frame.
If I only did an upper light, the install would require no removing of body parts, other than popping up the plastic near the pin switch location to be able to tighten the lower nut on it (there's no way to get your hand or tools in there unless you do).
Since I did a lower light, I had to remove the lower fascia below the radiator and front of the engine. There are 3 screws and a snap tab just behind the bumper, two screws on each side securing the fascia to the inner fender covers and two larger screws at the rear.
The lower light was placed on the support beam below the radiator fan. After some testing, I found that beam never gets hot, even after long highway drives.
To start everything off, I ran my wiring, using heat shrink tubing where wires went into body parts and wire looms for the rest. Where the wire comes out near the hinge, I strapped it down to keep it from ending up pinched in the hinge:
Fishing wires in the hood....
Engine Bay wiring (The skinny wire loom in the center of the first photo is mine - second from the left):
Wire runs to the hood switch and the lower lighting (foreground horizontal loom and the background vertical one with a tape covered OEM wire between them):
The Hood Switch. I was able to use an existing hole. I used the washers mentioned above to stabilize it since the whole is slightly oversized and oval shaped. It's off center in the hole because it ensures the switch clears some plastic below when the hood presses it down.
The switch is simply a ground connection that connects or breaks when the switch is pressed or released:
Testing the upper light (with the garage lighting on):
...and the lower light before putting the lower fascia back on. I also hadn't put the wire loom on (it's split, so it can be put on after install) or strapped the wire run down yet:
...and finally, here's what they look like in the dark:
In the last photo, you can see the lights actually provide a decent amount of ambient light - plenty to work by:
So, now I have under hood lighting that actually lights up the whole under hood area, not just the top of the engine.
My goal is to find a better switch than a pin switch since those tend to break and look somewhat ugly. I'd like to see if I can come up with something that works off the hinge and provide the same result. I thought about a tilt switch, but those can result in the lights flashing on and off on bumpy roads or steep uphill grades.
If anyone knows of a better ground based switch, feel free to let me know.