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Old 04-10-2013, 11:08 AM
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LED Approach/Entry/Puddle Lighting Mod write-up!!!

So I have always wanted this feature on my vehicle. My boss has it in the Mercedes, a friend in his Infiniti and Ive seen on many other vehicles (always high end cars). Basically what it is..... Exterior hidden mounted LEDs that activate upon unlocking of the jeep, opening any door and also FADE out when the door is closed or the vehicle is locked. Basically a cool extension of you interior courtesy lighting. I would like to thank aimpulsive for starting the thread, Debauch for finding some helpful links and ants818 for correspondence. Ok so here we go....

Heres what I used and i would recommend all of these tools. Your lighting can very depending on what you want. This project cost me $100 even and im sure things can be ordered ALOT cheaper.

1. LED strip lighting. this is what I used. I would recommend SMD and 5k or 6k. The strip can be mounted anywhere using 3M tape and most are pre-wired for 12v application. Just MAKE SURE you get ALL WEATHER/WATERPROOF.

2. Get some quick splice connectors from Radio Shack. After trial and error with another set I found these were the best. Get small ones because the wiring is relatively small gauge.

3. You'll need wire strippers (leatherman works great!) and probably your BEST FRIEND in this whole thing is a coat hanger which is perfect for running the wires. This is a huge help because it limits the amount of parts you will remove. I also used various items such as a pry tool, painters tape to help me with temporary holds, electrical tape to be extra thorough, zip ties to clean up the install, alcohol prep wipes or rubbing alcohol for mounting and of course 3M tape if your lighting doesn't already have it.

Step 1.

We'll start on the driver side. Remove your mats. Get them out of the way and they also make great trays for tools and parts.

Step 2.

Remove the door sill, followed by the kick panel in the footwell. Use a pry tool for this, makes it much easier and you wont damage or break anything. Also remove the upper carpet gaurd above/behind your pedals. Next you will unbolt the footwell dome light and unclip it to make it easier to work with the wiring.

Step 3.

This is key. Here is where you will get you wiring safely out of the cabin and outside of your vehicle. Its a dead give away and you may have seen it before. A small round rubber plug.

Now that you have the opening we are going to start running some wires. Lay the lighting strip under your vehicle. This next part is pretty crucial for a clean, functional install and i overlooked it the first go around. There is a small hole in the frame piece that is in a perfect location for your wiring. Dont miss this! From the underneath run your wiring through the hole, its located almost directly under the arrow for your jack point.

Step 4.

Now that you have the wire through the hole underneath we want to get through this small gap in the runnning boards (pictured). Run your hanger downwards through the gap, tape your wiring to the hanger with painters tape (pictured) and pull it through!

Now we are going to run your wire through the hole where you removed the rubber plug. There is foam there in the body that you can punch right through with a hanger. If you look on the inside there is a small gap where you will see the same foam right next to the fastener hole where the kick panel was attached. Again with your wire taped to the hanger push it through and right into the cabin. DO NOT run it through the fastener hole or you will not be able to re-attach your kick panel.
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  #2  
Old 04-10-2013, 11:30 AM
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Re: LED Approach/Entry/Puddle Lighting Mod write-up!!!

CONT.

Step 5.

Now that you have your wires run from underneath the jeep safely into the cabin its time to get some power going. Locate the black and yellow wires above the footwell dome light you unbolted earlier. I went as high up as possible here just to keep it out of the way and hide the wiring safely. Basically you are connecting positive to positive and negative to negative here. This will allow the new lights to function with your existing courtesy lights when locking, unlocking, opening and closing doors and also provides the perfect 12v needed.

The connectors are a huge help here. You will probably need to expose a bit of the acessory lighting wire but that is all. Basically attach your clips and check to see if your new LEDs are on. After verifying power permanently connect your clips and zip tie your wires along the side of the vehicle to hide them so when you replace you kick panel and door sill they are hidden.

Step 6

You will now want to use your alcohol or prep wipes the clean the hell out of the underneath of the jeep to make sure you have a nice clean mounting location along the length of the vehicle. Where you put them is up to you. I placed mine inside of the molding and on the frame (leave enough room for a jack point). This is a good spot because there are factory locations for wiring and zips ties. It also keeps the LEDs hidden from the side and disperses light well.

Stick the strip to the vehicle and make sure you get good application of the adhesive.

Thats it! The passenger side is VERY similar with the exception of a fastener instead of a bolt for the footwell dome light, existing wiring for the trailer hitch underneath. Same steps though, the main difference for me is i mounted the strip about 1/2 inch more inside than the driver side due to the trailer wiring being in the way. (pictured)

So thats pretty much it. Zip tie locations and the way you bundle it all up is up to you. You could also soder the wires, i skipped this. JFJ's mentions this in their instructions for lighted door sills (shout out).

Reattach you kick panels and door sills and clean everything up. Your lighting should operate as previous stated off of the factory 12v switch with unlock/lock control.

Hope you all enjoy! This was a fun experience and I REALLY like the result! Just be methodical and have patience with this and it will turn out great. I may add some quick disconnects in the future or wire in a hard switch so they can be used as trail lighting as well. We will see! Let me know if you need any help, advice or have any thoughts or additions to make. Take Care!!!

Bill
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Old 04-10-2013, 11:33 AM
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Re: LED Approach/Entry/Puddle Lighting Mod write-up!!!

Here is the finished product and a video of it working with the lock/unlock. Hope you guys like it as much as i do!
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Old 04-10-2013, 11:38 AM
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Awesome! Thanks for this!!
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Old 04-10-2013, 12:55 PM
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Re: LED Approach/Entry/Puddle Lighting Mod write-up!!!

Very nice job. Looks great.
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Old 04-10-2013, 02:24 PM
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Re: LED Approach/Entry/Puddle Lighting Mod write-up!!!

That is a very nice mod.

That light is very usable versus that of those puddles lights at the bottom of the door that lets you see the puddle too late. Or the ones that are mounted at the bottom of the wing mirrors that are usually useless.
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Old 04-10-2013, 04:13 PM
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Re: LED Approach/Entry/Puddle Lighting Mod write-up!!!

Dude I thought I was the o only one to do this mod lol. I did the same thing but with puddle lamps. I installed 4 of these on each side I LOVE IT!

ALM Black Accent Light Module | LED Light Modules | Accent Lighting | Super Bright LEDs
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Old 04-10-2013, 04:19 PM
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Re: LED Approach/Entry/Puddle Lighting Mod write-up!!!

Chase,
Its a great mod! I have been researching and thinking on this for a long time. Im very surprised no one has built a real "kit" for this yet with instructions. I know i would have bought one for both my jeeps. Did you wire up the same way i did? Run the wires any differently? Also I saw on a non-jeep vehicle the guy upgraded from a 15 amp to a 20 amp fuse for the courtesy lights in the fuse box. Not sure if you did this or know anything about it. Hopefully more people catch on and start doing this!
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Old 04-10-2013, 04:29 PM
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Re: LED Approach/Entry/Puddle Lighting Mod write-up!!!

Thanks for taking the time to write it up and post. Now, how much to fly you out here to do this for me?
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Old 04-10-2013, 04:33 PM
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Re: LED Approach/Entry/Puddle Lighting Mod write-up!!!

Thanks Rusty! Where are you located? Haha I actually have already thought about doing this to my dads jeep. I might just do it for fun and not tell him. Then we he asks if my jeep has it i'll be like ya of course! You never noticed it!? haha
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Old 04-10-2013, 04:56 PM
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Re: LED Approach/Entry/Puddle Lighting Mod write-up!!!

I'm in NJ. Just booked you on a flight for tomorrow. Flight gets in at about 10am. I'll cover for lunch and dinner and any coffee breaks! I might have missed it in the write-up but how long was the project from start to finish on the first side? Second side was easier, I'm sure, since you already did one.
Again, very awesome and if I haven't said it yet... I WANT IT!!!!!!!

ummm... have a safe flight and see you tomorrow!
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Old 04-10-2013, 05:04 PM
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Re: LED Approach/Entry/Puddle Lighting Mod write-up!!!

Haha i am actually booked up through monday. If you take your time and follow the pointers it is definitely do able. I would ball park it under 3 hours total. Spend about an hour, hour 30 on the first side, then passenger and clean up and break time. I didnt really keep track and i had to run to the store twice for different clips and 3M tape because one of the strips didnt stick.
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