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Bed Lights w/pics

Discussion in '2nd Gen. Tacomas (2005-2015)' started by piercedtiger, Dec 4, 2007.

  1. Dec 4, 2007 at 12:14 PM
    #1
    piercedtiger

    piercedtiger [OP] Devout Atheist

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    Ok, so I was tired of not being able to see anything in my bed at night thanks to Toyota forgetting to put in some sort of cargo light. I thought maybe an underbody LED kit would be nice. Two tubes for the bed to spread light throughout the bed, and 2 tubes for underneath to act as courtesy lights, rock lights, whatever. I hate stepping out on a muddy trail at night without knowing what's under my step bars. Or getting out at my inlaws since they have 3 dogs. Some people on Toyotanation had taken my idea and ran with it with some LED tubes that were $30-$50 EACH so I kept looking for cheaper solutions. I had no intention of spending $100 or more picking up the ball Toyota dropped. :rolleyes: It all came together when I ran across www.vminnovations.com. They sell a 4-tube underbody kit with wiring, control box (with switch) and 2 wireless remotes for $64.95 with shipping!
    http://www.vminnovations.com/product/id/1166/Undercar_4_Piece_Car_LED_Neon_Kit_WHITE_+_REMOTE.aspx

    That's 4 tubes, and 2 remote switches for less than the cost of 2 of the other tubes people were using (which didn't include wiring, switches, etc).

    What I had to deal with before (LED's off):
    [​IMG]

    After, bed closed:
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Dec 4, 2007 at 12:14 PM
    #2
    piercedtiger

    piercedtiger [OP] Devout Atheist

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    Front. Can see more of the side/underbody lighting:
    [​IMG]

    Side close:
    [​IMG]

    Lights are screwed to the frame rail via self taping screws (not included in kit) through plastic clips (8 included. 2 for each tube, but none used for bed so I put 3 on the underbody ones).

    [​IMG]

    Bed lights:
    [​IMG]

    Tubes are held up with 2 zip ties through drain slots in the rails. Wires threaded through holes drilled through the trim of the side pockets and into the cab through a grommet behind the rear seats. Only 2 grommets on the back wall of the cab, both behind gray plastic corner trim pieces.
    [​IMG]



    Plastic cleats can still be used! They just need to be loosened more than usual to allow them to rotate over the tubes to be removed. Otherwise, they just slide back and forth like normal. The kit comes with wire/cable guides that can be screwed down to guide the wires, but I didn't use them. The screws appear to be more like wood screws so I didn't try using them, and all my wires are routed so they won't require being tied down.

    A distribution block accepts the plugs from all 4 tubes, then runs through 8ft of cable to the control box. I have all 4 wires coming through the grommets in the rear wall, and to the distribution block tucked in the gap between the two black plastic storage pieces behind the seat. (There's 3-4" of room between the two pieces when they are in place.)

    I threaded the wire from the distribution block under the carpet to the center console where I mounted the control box.

    Wish I had more pics of the actual install. Unfortunately it was 35F out that day and I had a hard enough time keeping my fingers from going numb! Some of the things I can get pictures of later like the control box, and some of the wiring.
     
    Taco<3 likes this.
  3. Dec 4, 2007 at 12:39 PM
    #3
    nd

    nd Radical Town. It's a hell of a place!

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    That looks so cool! it looks like a UFO landed in front of your truck!
     
  4. Dec 4, 2007 at 12:46 PM
    #4
    lsocoee

    lsocoee My hair is all natural Moderator

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    I like it. I want to add some like that to mine.
     
  5. Dec 4, 2007 at 12:46 PM
    #5
    piercedtiger

    piercedtiger [OP] Devout Atheist

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    lol Wait until I get another set to light under the hood! (still not sure what I'll do with the 2 extra tubes from that set when I get it) Then again, I might wire something else up for the hood. I don't need to be carrying 2 wireless remotes and a keyless entry fob with my keys. I'd like to do something off a pin switch so they just come on when I pop the hood to jump someone or use my compressor.
     
  6. Dec 4, 2007 at 1:02 PM
    #6
    2003greenbean

    2003greenbean Carolina Alliance Costal Div

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    looks great i like the hi jack mount those light would help alot off road at night
     
  7. Dec 4, 2007 at 1:09 PM
    #7
    lsocoee

    lsocoee My hair is all natural Moderator

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    You could always give them to me and I'll mail you a keychain led flashlight in exchange.
     
  8. Dec 4, 2007 at 4:08 PM
    #8
    45longcolt

    45longcolt Well-Known Member

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    Here's another thought: wire the lights to the inverter for the bed. When needed, turn on the inverter.

    Now I am no expert on Tacoma's, just had mine for almost 2 weeks now. Not sure if the inverter will even come on yet without the engine running, have not read that part of the manual yet.

    Another option: wire to the parking lamps in the bed?

    Those sure do look sharp the way you have those mounted! Thanks for sharing. :)
     
  9. Dec 4, 2007 at 4:32 PM
    #9
    piercedtiger

    piercedtiger [OP] Devout Atheist

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    Thanks! The inverter will not work without the key ON. Even ACC won't cut it. :( However, I have run a couple CF work lights off it, and it works well for that.

    Parking lights would have them on ALL the time which might be distracting depending how much light makes it into the cab. Also, what would you wire to the parking lights? You'd still need some sort of light source. I've seen other people use these, but they're $48 each plus shipping. So 2 of them are more than my setup.
    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dl...116019&ssPageName=STORE:PROMOBOX:NEWLIST#LIST

    Then there's the whole issue of if a cop would pull you over for them. Technically, being white, they would be legal, but doesn't mean they won't give you a hard time about it. Like maybe if you had the tailgate down for whatever reason on the way home.

    Not to mention, you still need to go back to the cab to turn them off when done. And since the lights turn off when you open the driver door, you'd have to twist the knob on or off then on to get them to come on if you shut the truck off.

    For me, the remote is just way too lazy, er, efficient to not use! :D
    The people on TN that I've seen wire up driving lights in the side pockets or those eBay LEDs had to run 2 switches. One for a tailgate pin, and DPDT (IIRC) switch on the ground lines that turned the lights off, on, and on with tailgate open (via pin switch closing connection).
     
  10. Dec 4, 2007 at 4:52 PM
    #10
    45longcolt

    45longcolt Well-Known Member

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    I stand corrected! Not a good idea to use the parking lamps at all unless a switch was used to turn them on and off and then you still would have to have the parking lamps on, again not desireable or convienent at times. Using the remote takes care of having to have a switch. I guess you just have to add 12 volts to the receiver and you are good to go?

    I was thinking of powering the LED's from the parking lamps when I stated use those. I was just trying to find a way to tap off of 12 volts without drilling through the bed or cab. Those LED's use very little power.

    Thanks again for the idea and sharing it!
     
  11. Dec 4, 2007 at 5:40 PM
    #11
    piercedtiger

    piercedtiger [OP] Devout Atheist

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    The control box just has a 12v and ground wire. I already had 3 12v wires from the battery through the firewall to the storage bin with the fuse panel for some roof lights I never use so I used one of those for power. Then I grounded it under a bolt for the ebrake cable bracket next to the gear shift. Both wires run under the center console and up in to the storage bin between the seats. There's several holes under the carpet piece in the bin so I just used those.

    The other thing, is the LED's I used have 4-5 wires in a plug so you'd have to figure out what's what. I didn't want to mess with that! K.I.S.S.!!! So I just used the box and threaded all the wires from the tubes in behind the rear seats.

    Normally I do lights that only come on with the key in due to draining a battery a few too many times on accident. This time though I wanted them on without the hassle, and they're low draw like you said. I did the same thing when I had neons on my car, but had to pay an extra $20 for wireless remote switch from Autozone.
     
  12. Dec 4, 2007 at 5:45 PM
    #12
    tacomaman06

    tacomaman06 Carolina Alliance: Lead, follow, or get the hell o

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    your bed lights set-up is awesome man!! im gonna do it eventually, but i'll probably use some relatively cheap lights from auto zone or pepboys!! i really like the brightness of your setup man!!
     
  13. Dec 4, 2007 at 6:37 PM
    #13
    piercedtiger

    piercedtiger [OP] Devout Atheist

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    The thing is, I could only find small 18" LED lights at Autozone (may have been smaller, I don't remember) and THOSE were $27/each! So believe me when I say this is the cheapest set of LED strips out there that's water proof. I've been waiting almost a year to do this trying to justify the cost of the $90 sets I found first, and trying to find a cheaper solution. Short of battery operated stick-on lights, this is the cheapest I've found. The small Pepboys/autozone ones may have been "interior only". I don't remember. Also, Autozone didn't have white, were thinner, and I think used smaller LEDs. So they were more expensive, were fancy colors I didn't want, and only used cigarette lighter plugs so you'd have to rewire them. Plus, the cords are usually short figuring you'll put them under the dash, seat, etc. Unless you bought an underbody kit, and those were around $100 IIRC (same as most other sets online).

    Something else you could look for are "running board lights". I saw a few that were essentially smaller LED strips to light up running boards, and one guy on TN used them. Not sure how much he paid or where he got them. He had white ones, and when I went looking I could only find amber. Amber would probably light things up ok, but I wanted white. I didn't want any other color making it look weird or playing with colors of what I was looking at. (Ever try reading a map with a red dome light? :laugh: ) The trunk light in my car died so I used a blue LED strip from Circuit City. I have a hell of a time trying to read anything with it: map, label, watch, etc.
     
  14. Dec 4, 2007 at 11:27 PM
    #14
    TuRDTACO

    TuRDTACO Carolina Alliance: Midwest Firearms Division

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    damn, the inside of your bed looks like it has it's own sun, kudos bro
     
  15. Dec 5, 2007 at 5:45 AM
    #15
    piercedtiger

    piercedtiger [OP] Devout Atheist

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    Thanks! They aren't quite that bright to the eyes. It's hard to take a picture of with my camera. Normal mode is darker than it is, night mode is brighter that it is..... Night mode (which I used for those pics) is the closest to actual brightness, but with less glare and halo affect around them. You don't get blinded using them unlike other people that put fog/driving lights in the side pockets aimed towards the tailgate.
     
  16. Dec 6, 2007 at 12:51 AM
    #16
    TuRDTACO

    TuRDTACO Carolina Alliance: Midwest Firearms Division

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    small dent on the hood, new foglight bulb, roughed up bedliner, been smoked in, suspicious stains on the passenger seat, boogers on the drivers seat, dirty floor mats, girl doodles on the dirty windows, loose wiring
    i was thinking about getting a leer bed shell next year, but that would interfere with the bed roll cage i want....:mad: damn! oh well, either way i go will lead to much more lighting lol
     
  17. Dec 30, 2007 at 3:49 PM
    #17
    piercedtiger

    piercedtiger [OP] Devout Atheist

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    Just a quick picture of where I mounted the control box.

    [​IMG]

    You can see the red wires and black one. The red (one has a black stripe) are 12v+ and ground. I grounded it to a bolt on one of the ebrake cable guides. The 12v goes behind the dash, under the steering wheel, and out to the battery through the big rubber grommet with the hood release. The black cable goes to the distribution block the kit came with. I fished the wire under the carpet to the back seat with a coat hanger and just stuffed the block below the plastic storage things behind the seats.

    The box is held on with foam tape.
     
  18. Dec 30, 2007 at 4:24 PM
    #18
    concrete jedi

    concrete jedi Well-Known Member

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    Broken and scratched tailgate, cracked rear tail light lens, coffee stain in driver seat.
    Well done Tiger, looks great and I bet works even better, lucky for me I came equipped with X-ray vision, so not only do I know all, I see all ! :eek:
     
  19. Dec 30, 2007 at 4:34 PM
    #19
    piercedtiger

    piercedtiger [OP] Devout Atheist

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    Thanks! If I had x-ray vision I wouldn't have needed them... heh.... Would had more fun in college too.... :wink:
     
  20. Dec 30, 2007 at 5:19 PM
    #20
    concrete jedi

    concrete jedi Well-Known Member

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    True that !! :D
     
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