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Installing Better Bed Lights on the 1st gen

Discussion in '1st Gen. Tacomas (1995-2004)' started by TacoStandCT, Jul 6, 2016.

  1. Jul 6, 2016 at 7:16 PM
    #1
    TacoStandCT

    TacoStandCT [OP] Well-Known Member

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    We finally finished testing the better bed light solution on the 1st Gen tacomas and it works! @thunderone was not only nice enough to be our guinea pig but he also offered to share how he installed his lights so stay tuned for more information!:popcorn:
     
    RianH15 likes this.
  2. Jul 6, 2016 at 11:00 PM
    #2
    ThunderOne

    ThunderOne Average Contributor

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    Okay guys no need for introductions, let's get right into it. This installation applies for an extended cab first gen. If you have a DC or SC, the process will be a little different.

    First things first, you're going to need at least a 3/8" socket driver and if you have a 1/4", have it handy.
    10mm, 14mm sockets
    Various 3/8" socket extensions
    Philips and flathead screwdrivers
    18-20 ga blade and ring connectors
    18 ga wire (black and red.... or pink or purple or whatever you want)
    Weatherproof inline mini fuse holder
    2.5 amp or 5 amp mini fuses
    Wire stripper/crimper/cutter (you know the one) or soldering iron
    A lot of patience. Not a difficult job, but a time consuming one!

    Before you get started, it would be easier to work in the ext. cab backseat if you remove the front seats. There are four 14mm bolts that hold the seats in place.

    Step 1: Remove the back trim. This involves popping off the top trim piece, exposing 3 10mm bolts. Remove those and slide the seat back upwards to remove.
    7E1AF170-897B-4FE3-AD4E-339A2C7F894D_zps_a4d9d5578fb753786e7b497136b1a48960b392ef.jpg

    Step 2: Remove the seat wall. Simply start at the edges, popping the respective clips off of the cab until it is fully removed.
    81D326EE-065A-4D8C-9EA1-C58236C21160_zps_e99b6d1a53e216de5a17d9e51ef655e23d8e480c.jpg

    Step 3: Remove the jumper seats. There are four 10mm bolts.
    F5E772D0-CD9D-47F9-8E7C-485762E34CEE_zps_4d5c30b092b7e3e3e91beb4d3e6688efd8499394.jpg

    Step 4: Remove the seatbelts. Use a small flathead screwdriver to pry the bolt covers from the seatbelt mechanism. They will pivot upwards.
    81BEBD1C-1750-4FB8-AADF-FF14D8364ECD_zps_af579025548989f9c17a192d1039b837a153edf1.jpg
    F7C1A851-0E1F-4F83-8589-871BA72B54AE_zps_2596441ba32516d4080e9327a20ac77addc0514b.jpg
    The 14mm bolt underneath can be removed from the body. It will stay attached to the belt.

    The seatbelt anchor points for the rear seats will be located in the tool cubby holes. Loosen the 14mm bolts for all anchor points and free them from the cab. The bolt will stay attached to the anchors.
    06F75DF9-C7A4-464E-B0F8-7130D9A31463_zps_4ae14319dedde6d4f581e85b14843df5b23eeebf.jpg
    29C1A596-28A5-4075-9A59-94952DE6AC0E_zps_153adb16ccfea1db1b2d777d004a225aec124285.jpg
    The same needs to be done for the front seatbelts.


    Step 5: Remove the kicker panels. 4 philips head screws, pop it off - starting at the edges.
    2D878F95-8EEC-4CF6-BFB6-0964C999DAE2_zps_faf41142101613717bb3e4f124834f7aa7a76885.jpg

    Step 6: Remove the rear paneling. This is one of the bigger pain in the ass parts. You WILL, I repeat, WILL break clips here. If you don't now, you will when you reinstall it. If you don't break any, at all, you're a lucky SOB.

    First remove the coat hooks with a philips head screwdriver.
    9C341BCC-2369-476F-8BA0-18F3F4FF26AE_zps_d62c1c715ca58a68910386cc16858453a15a6947.jpg

    Then start carefully pulling around the edges to pop the panel off. To free the seatbelts, push out the square trim pieces and fish the seatbelt assembly through the paneling.
    112061E3-7504-4E5F-87EA-9DD94D60927F_zps_6d7aa8d681e2d58aed2b600804f578276a7ac241.jpg
    EB89F2AB-01C4-4409-888B-15493B3FB7F8_zps_786bdc6d28d89409021064b10b916aecc806c6d9.jpg


    If you would like to take a break, now is the time to do it. :)
    2AF40563-0195-4C2E-A5D4-0EEAA81DF070_zps_5636b15dd2dc96c1e083f65fd3492883c9983f6b.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2016
    RianH15, Running Man and 99PostWalker like this.
  3. Jul 6, 2016 at 11:00 PM
    #3
    ThunderOne

    ThunderOne Average Contributor

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    The next stop involves partial removal of the headliner. During my test fitting, I opted to removed the entire thing while @TacoStandCT and I discussed product tweaks. I do not believe this is necessary.

    In order to get access to the two nuts behind the third brake light assembly, you just need to drop part of the headliner.

    Step 1: Remove the two clips at the rear of the cab, using a flathead screwdriver. If you have a "clip remover", go ahead and use that. If you've got finesse, just massage the edges around the clip with the flathead until you can remove the clip with your hands.

    5F95E1E2-19C1-4263-98A5-643EC01A3F1D_zps_85bb3a465cfda54a45177733426c9fd8834d26ec.jpg

    Step 2: Remove the dome light. Pop off the clear cover using a flathead screwdriver or appropriate pry tool, using the gap around the switch. Once removed, there are two small screws. Remove those and slide the dome light from the headliner. Remove the electrical connection.
    99B7ACDC-5DD3-4B6E-9036-6993E6A767CE_zps_d40d76245a7b5b3bd2dc788555814c4c2ee96820.jpg

    Step 3: Drop the rear portion of the headliner.
    I chose to use a CLEAN flathead screwdriver to massage the rear of the headliner from the channels. This frees the headliner enough to get access to the rear nuts that hold on the 3rd brake light.
    BC728839-FEE1-4240-9C6A-E4CC16D22B5A_zps_8705f7167d3f071e6f1923bd8aba7157752d2bce.jpg

    Step 4: Remove the third brake light (NOTE: You do NOT need to remove the red lens, I did, but I realized afterwards that it's not necessary).
    You will need a 3/8" deep socket 10mm for this. I chose to operate "by feel" here. Open up the sliding back window and put the wrench through. Doing it this way is just less awkward. Peel back the headliner enough, fish the wrench through the respective holes. The third brake light assembly will have long "rods" on it, which I believe were there to help installers guide the wrench.
    Remove the nuts, disconnect the electrical connection and clean off any gasket material from the truck body and brake light assembly.
    E75BBFD4-D080-4CA5-82A7-CFB2A40208DA_zps_8d7cac518375aa1c2023606c60a19985edb16c24.jpg
    A5D309AE-5EE5-4194-9928-373148AD379D_zps_16d3cce4ff0002bc2f8607b71c86025b14b02d4e.jpg

    Step 5: Attach the supplied gasket material to the back of the third brake light assembly and the rear of the bracket (the part that will make contact with the cab).
    0FEDA59C-3D50-40CC-9037-D3E56DD33312_zps_25115b4910e09d931bb89907c2bca0efc9f7a3bd.jpg

    You will need to remove the bulb sockets to fish the BBL bracket through the brake assembly. Simply twist the bulb sockets and pull.
    FCC9D238-EF9F-4F6F-8510-E0984105FDDF_zps_b6d0b2ba8210969ff1f8c5a27dd4bbd0616363eb.jpg
    A8E3ABF6-01AA-47C4-9CF6-5EE5D7680EEF_zps_17b306a559026b19b2a84cfc0d697c797306f3df.jpg

    Since I was using a test bracket, I had to open up the holes a little more to fit the brake light threads through, using a 7/32" drill bit.

    Step 6: Reinstall the third brake light assembly, with the BBL bracket between it and the cab. I chose to fish both sets of wires through the driver side hole as it was a little larger than the passenger side hole.
    I would recommend using a short 3/8" extension with a 10mm deep socket attached to it. Do not attach it to the wrench yet. Put the nut in the socket and fish this through the holes in the cab, hand tighten the nuts this way first. This is easier and less awkward to do, again by sitting in the bed of the truck and working through the sliding window. If you don't have a sliding window, I feel bad for you son! Check the positioning of the entire assembly and make sure it is straight, there is a little bit of movement up, down, and side to side. Once you have both nuts hand tightened, attach the wrench and tighten down the nuts.

    That's it! Now all you have to do is wire it up.

    A simple wiring diagram:
    BBL%20wiring%20diagram_zpsgbotxjjx_a5c9bfe5dd271fb9cab242b572ee5f75937b55e6.jpg

    Since these lights both pull about 10 watts, and typical rocker switch will have no issues with the load and will not require the use of a relay. I chose to use a Dremel to cut out a square in my cupholder area. Here is what I did with my front aux lights, for example (which now uses a relay, for obvious reasons shown below :rolleyes:). Where you decide to mount your switch is entirely up to you. I would recommend routing your wires to your chosen location BEFORE attaching any connectors. It's a lot easier to fish wires through your carpet this way than with a connector dragging along with it.

    3BD1396F-A8B9-4A37-9931-E1D30F4A0AC9_zps_91892015bda697d358ba4b929130c615cd2d13a1.jpg
    60189B1C-4C25-4166-8B89-333D188487E6_zps_a2e415284eca494feef818ee9e03f894d13019c8.jpg
    Supply volts goes straight to the battery, ground is for the light on the switch itself, which I grounded to a seat bolt, and on acc. is where your hot wire for the lights will go. Routing the battery wire through the large grommet underneath the driver side dash area using a coat hook with the wire taped to it (hint: attach the battery ring terminal AFTER fishing the wire through the firewall).

    Personal note: Do NOT buy the "mini rocker switch" at Autozone! They are GARBAGE. If you're going to get a rocker switch there, get the larger one like in the picture! That's what I ended up doing, even though I really wanted to use a mini rocker switch.

    As for the ground location, I went with the bolt underneath the center console, since I already had it removed to install my switch (if you want to copy this method, there are four 10mm bolts and some screws you need to remove to free the console. (ring terminal connector used here)
    3E4D8FD9-3EC6-41F1-ABC3-909A7D145AEC_zps_a055e2803d67775472b3e2cc36c7f2875f5773b2.jpg

    I use fully insulated "blade" connectors and crimped them to the wires. If you choose to solder, do it to your heart's content. (ignore the iphone charge cable there :))
    DA4DCE04-CAE3-4C74-A78F-ED82C79793CC_zps_f9439e1492c04bb40aed090eaffcf91aa450347e.jpg

    The blue switch is the one I assigned to the bed lights.
    2E0DA6B5-B376-46DF-8A6E-BA52391DB615_zps_08695452dd5095f7c47d55ad03d1b1b0777d5664.jpg


    Reinstallation will be the exact reversal of this write-up.

    Enjoy your new lights!!!

    0D5F28C9-9DB1-45E5-AF61-A89B5DFF7EAA_zps_0f30248640ccd2733f38cd2cd6cdff927c77c844.jpg

    DD6D99D5-CEB1-4C3D-BFCC-6EA0BD23A76A_zps_c8231e75de33c40de814ce75eb1d02e26e0c6241.jpg

    E7E2B16B-21EF-46AF-B058-D1192D149E02_zps_b35b0c7108254cd870a43f2cef8881a7d113a510.jpg

    F155D0D6-D638-4048-A1DB-B220CF066BC4_zps_211c47b4a506299ae1f23e5a655ab0c83fe10291.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2016
    99PostWalker likes this.
  4. Jul 7, 2016 at 5:40 AM
    #4
    Taco Addiction

    Taco Addiction We found Jimmy

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  5. Jul 12, 2016 at 6:21 PM
    #5
    codybrook

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  6. Jul 12, 2016 at 10:27 PM
    #6
    ThunderOne

    ThunderOne Average Contributor

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    Write-up posted. Please quote me on this thread if you have any questions.
     
    TacoStandCT [OP] likes this.
  7. Jul 13, 2016 at 4:30 AM
    #7
    TacoStandCT

    TacoStandCT [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Awesome writeup! Thank you very much for all of your help in getting these lights to the first gen trucks!
     
  8. Jul 14, 2016 at 4:46 AM
    #8
    vtlogger

    vtlogger Well-Known Member

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    question, i really like the BBL set up and they would work awesome for backing my boat in.. but in the winter i use a cap to keep stuff from get covered in snow/ice .. will a cap fit if install the BBL? is there a way to turn the lights so that they clear a cap?? didn't realize how much work it would be to in stall them.. For some reason i was thinking the screws in the lens held the whole shooting match in and all i had to do was remove the screws and unplug lights and take the bracket off ... guess i was wrong..
     
    TacoStandCT [OP] likes this.
  9. Jul 16, 2016 at 6:44 AM
    #9
    TacoStandCT

    TacoStandCT [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Thank you, we have had great luck using these with all sorts of trailers. Now to answer your cap question... There are a number of different caps out there and they all fit a little different. From what we have seen the BBL will likely not fit with a cap installed. The lights do rotate 90 degrees to either side but truck caps generally follow the contour of the truck too closely to fit our lights in there. We say generally because there are a few caps that are not quite as form fitting as a model specific Leer/A.R.E. cap etc. If you PM us with some information about your cap we can determine if a BBL setup would work for you. Measuring the gap between the 3rd brake light and the cap would be ideal information if possible.

    The method you describe for uninstalling works perfectly for the 2nd gen, sadly the 1st gen is more involved
     
  10. Jul 21, 2016 at 6:54 AM
    #10
    Jerry311SD

    Jerry311SD Well-Known Member

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    Sweet, That looks good!
     
  11. Dec 8, 2016 at 11:10 AM
    #11
    tahco_02

    tahco_02 Well-Known Member

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    The attached pics are missing . . .
     
  12. Dec 15, 2016 at 7:41 AM
    #12
    TacoStandCT

    TacoStandCT [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I am still seeing them:notsure:
     
  13. Dec 15, 2016 at 10:46 PM
    #13
    ThunderOne

    ThunderOne Average Contributor

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    Still working for me. Maybe blocked on your work computer?
     
  14. Dec 15, 2016 at 10:47 PM
    #14
    ThunderOne

    ThunderOne Average Contributor

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    Side note, still loving these lights! Tons of functional use!!
     
    TacoStandCT [OP] likes this.
  15. Dec 15, 2016 at 11:00 PM
    #15
    frizzman

    frizzman Well-Known Member

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    sub'd for reference
     
    TacoStandCT [OP] likes this.
  16. Dec 16, 2016 at 5:43 AM
    #16
    TacoStandCT

    TacoStandCT [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Me too, glad to hear it! I use them every day, we originally built them because we wanted something that fit our needs and they came out so good we figured others might want them as well.
     
  17. Jan 27, 2018 at 3:15 AM
    #17
    QMEDJoe

    QMEDJoe Proverbs 3:5-6

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    Sub’d for reference
     

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