Roof top light install, I'm lost

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by dylans, Feb 28, 2018.

  1. dylans

    dylans

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    Hey there. This will be a long post, so bear with me. I've come here because I was never failed by this community in my LC days (sadly gone, for now).

    I recently purchased the Rocky Road Outfitters Adventure rack for my 13 4runner trail. Some of the accessories I bought for the rack was the 3 light bar and two IPF 868cs lights. They mount like this, just behind the sunroof.
    [​IMG]

    The harness that came with the lights is way too short to use. So I've taken some measurements and I'll need to run about 9 feet of ground and power from the farthest light (passenger). The lights came with 55w and 100w bulbs so since I have to re bulid the harness I wanna build it to support the 100w bulbs efficiently and then I know I'll be good for the 55w too.

    I'm so lost in this project.

    I thought at first I'd just build new power and grounds and hook them up to the kits relay and use the rest of the existing harness (relay, battery power, fuses, switch, grounds and signal wire). I settled on 12AWG for the new wiring. I then discovered that the light housings themselves were wired in 18AWG. So I re wired the housings power and ground in 12 to match.

    18AWG
    [​IMG]

    12AWG
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    I used silicone coated fiberglass sleeve to cover the wiring. It's rated at 270F and keeps things neat too.

    I hit candlepowerforums (lighting and electricity nerds, like us Toyota nerds) to get some advice and was told across the board to trash the whole IPF harness and relay and start from scratch.
    I was also pointed to this https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0002MA2MM/ref=ox_sc_sfl_title_2?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A9C3XVKHZ6G15
    Not sure if that'd be long enough. I started to have doubts about my plan to re use most of the harness. It was also pointed out that Toyota uses a ground switch for the headlights, so it changes the way things are wired. I got so confused. I feel overwhelmed really. I know hardly anything about lights and wiring and ground switches.

    Now I'm torn between doing a complete new harness and reusing what I've got. I don't mind doing it all new because I'll learn a lot from it. But I don't fully know how to build it and wire it. I want to use the best components I can so I can have high efficiency and longevity. If I reuse what I've got, I still need to wire it. The instructions are terrible and I don't know how to accommodate for the ground switch issue.

    The IPF harness has a 14AWG power from battery with an inline 25A fuse. It's got the worst mouse style switch. It's clicks are weak and it catches sometimes. It's stick on as well. It's built for me but I could do better with the proper guidance.

    Well, If anyone has any advice, pointers or custom made wiring diagrams for my situation (haha), or if there's anyone in the Tucson, AZ area who wants to get together and help let me know! I'm really wanting to learn and get this project done!

    Thank you in advance, Dylan
     
  2. GonzoShinyPants

    GonzoShinyPants

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    Hi Dylan,

    Misery loves company so here you go. I'm about halfway through a similar project, my first automotive wiring project, and all I can say is it will probably be 2 steps forward and 1 step back for you somewhat like it has been for me. My brother has a lot of experience and I've consulted him several times on my project so I know enough to be dangerous. I'm sure some other members will have more to add and/or may correct or clarify some of what I write here.

    But let me share some info that's hopefully of help. Just a few quick observations:
    1. what did you use to connect the blue wire to the red or white wire, that little white tube? It has a zip tie on it? You should be using a crimp (you can solder, but I recommend crimps instead). Also crimping 12 gauge to 18 gauge does cause a potential issue in that the crimp is generally sized for a specific wire size (with a little wiggle room, crimps usually are rated for 2 or 3 adjacent wire sizes).
    2. You need to get some shrink tubing and shrink tube your crimps for durability and weather resistance
    3. If your wire coming off the light is 18 gauge you would be ok using one size bigger, ie 16 gauge. Really all that does is put any overload on that circuit onto the smaller wire, and thus the small length attached to your light, instead of your longer run which would be hard to track in case an overload melted the wire. But this isn't real likely especially if you wire correctly.
    4. Grounding - you need to ground (any and all I believe) electronics on the vehicle and that includes switches if they are lighted (and if they aren't? I don't know but don't think you have to ground). You can ground to any metal part of the vehicle as the vehicle is generally all connected by metal parts and so will conduct ground from any point. You may want to ground inside the vehicle or the engine bay to avoid a ground wire connected to your rack, roof or something that doesn't look good and would be subject to damage or weather. You can connect ground wires together and/or ground into one spot - remember the entire vehicle is acting as the ground. Look at your battery and you'll likely see the black terminal grounded to the side of the engine bay with a screw into the metal right next to the battery.
    5. If you haven't already it may help to just write down a diagram of the lights, the wires and where they are all going to just get a picture of the overall project. That might help prevent you doing some of your work over.
    6. Re your inline fuse and crappy switch, I would probably ditch that. There are nicer more expensive options but check out this painless aux fuse block, which is what I'm installing. 7 circuits, 3 are always on, 4 ignition (or vice versa can't recall). It comes with clear instructions. And I'm in a GX (120) so it will work find in your truck, too, despite being advertised as a Bronco product. You can buy switches here.
    NOTE that the painless fuse block is not sealed so you will mount it somewhere inside the vehicle as opposed to in the engine bay. Products like the Switch pros, etc, can be mounted in a dirtier/wetter location like the engine bay (see more notes on this below).

    My project:
    Wiring 2 rear work lights (one 1 switch) attached to my rack and front light bar (on a switch) attached to my rack. I ran wires through lengths of shrink tubing which SUCKED. I'll check out the project you mention as a sleeve for next time. I also zip tied everything nicely and then realized I ran wire along points that really should be free to use straps and bungees on without risk of pinching my wire. So I removed it all and did that over. I ran spliced the wires from the 2 rear lights together as being on the same switch you only need one ground and one hot wire leading to those. I ran those forward on the rack and then combined the front led bar wires in the same jacket as the rear wires and tucked them in the rain channel above and along the windshield. I don't know if your truck has that option.

    Once inside the engine bay I'll terminate the ground wires into the metal somewhere out of the way. I have an available opening in the firewall to get the hot wires into the cabin to connect them to the switches. I'll mount the painless fuse block up out of the way near the brake pedal and the firewall opening. 2 wires go from the painless block back through the firewall into the engine bay: the main power wire and a smaller wire you connect to an ignition hot fuse in the factory fuse block. You can buy a $5 tester at the auto parts store to look for a good circuit or maybe someone here will post a suggestion. That is so there is power to the relay in the painless block to turn on the ignition only circuits. Wire a ignition or non-ignition circuit's wire to your switch and the hot wire from your lights to that switch, ground your switch if it is lighted, and you're about done.

    Hope that helps!
     
  3. GonzoShinyPants

    GonzoShinyPants

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    One thing I forgot, products like switch pros market the benefit of not running wires through the firewall. But you have electronics both outside the vehicle (lights and possibly several sets/circuits), winch, etc and also inside like stereo gear, fridge, coms gear, USB jacks, etc. So sooner or later you are running wires through the firewall whether your fuse block is in the engine or cabin. Of course the switch pros is a cool upgrade for the physical switches and that's another benefit. But I'll probably leave the painless block in and put an updated one in the engine bay down the road.
     
  4. dylans

    dylans

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    Thanks for the reply!
    1. I crimped a terminal onto the red wire so the blue wire (bulb) connects. The white sheath just protects the connection from touching the metal light housing.
    2. I've got some marine grade shrink tubing, so I'll use that.
    3. I've already replaced all of the 18AWG wiring with 12. I purchased the Hella 87199 heavy duty harness in hopes it'll be an easy solution to my issue. Hopefully if anything I'll only have to add longer power and grounds to it for the lights.
    4. I plan on grounding the lights straight to the battery. I'm just confused on the ground switching and how to wire it so it all works in conjunction with the high beams. I've read a notation on the Hella harness I bought that says for ground switching circuits I need to take the power wire on the harness and place it at negative on the battery, fuse the harness ground wire and place it at positive on the battery. We'll see...
    5. I'd love to draw it out! Just need to know where wires go to accommodate the ground switch stuff.
    6. I'm definitely gonna ditch the switch and other stuff. If this Hella harness doesn't work out, I'll start from scratch and build my own.

    I'll check out a fuse block again too. I looked into this one https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000THQ0CQ/ref=ox_sc_sfl_title_6?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER

    What a mess haha. I thought I'd buy lights and hook them up. :rofl:
     
  5. GonzoShinyPants

    GonzoShinyPants

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    Yes wiring is not the easiest. Regarding your wiring, your red terminal at your battery is always your power supply so yes you'll have to run your power wires to that somehow, but again if you use a fuse block you're running just one power wire to the battery from the fuse block, then your power wires for your lights to your switches, switches to fuse block. I highly recommend doing that. Then you have a central connection spot for any future accessories.

    EDIT: you mentioned connection black/ground wires to the positive terminal - don't do that! Really I think the harness/instructions are causing more confusion than necessary. I would just hard wire the stuff in. I also added 2 pics from my brothers truck for reference:
    The red wires just show you both his winch wire and his aux fuse block (the smallest of the red wires) connected to his positive terminal.

    out of order, but first one is the batteries ground wire screwed into the side of the engine bay and that little square with 2 screws sticking out is part of the aux fuse block install, it's a circuit breaker/fuse between the battery supply (red wire) and fuse blockr

    Also, you really don't need the harness - my front light bar came with a harness connector and I just cut it off. There's no way I'm wiring up varying harnesses for different connections. The only reason to do that is if you thought you'd replace a light/accessory multiple times which isn't likely. By the time you finish this project, you'll be able to wire stuff quickly enough anyway! Good luck!


     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2018
  6. dylans

    dylans

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    So I got the Hella harness in. It's great! Almost long enough for the power and ground to the lights, I'll only have to add about 4 feet. The instructions say that when installing on a ground switched headlight circuit to swap the power and ground wires coming from the relay. So relay power goes to negative post and relay ground goes to positive post. Other than that everything else hooks up the same. The only thing I would prefer in the harness would be heavier gauge wire. It appears to be 16 to 14 throughout. I'd prefer 14 and 12. But It'll work.

    If I add the blue sea 6 circuit fuse box, normally I'd hook the power wires to the power terminals and the grounds to the ground terminals. Considering How it's telling me to wire by swapping would I just wire the power to the negative terminals on the fuse box and the ground to the power terminals? I'd really like to use a fuse box like you've suggested.
     
  7. GonzoShinyPants

    GonzoShinyPants

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    Hey bud, well regarding switching pos and neg I really don't know what to tell you. It does not seem to make sense to me but if the directions say to do that then it must be that way. I would maybe check with hella before you reverse wires on a fuse box. Also, before you lock everything down get your wires long enough to reach the battery where you can just tap the power wire on the pos terminal and see the lights blink on (though if you have a switch inline already it would have to be on of course). YOu'll need to be grounded from what I know for it to work at all. So to test mine I just alligator clipped the ground wire and then tapped the red to see if the lights blinked on or not (no switches in line yet). I'll ask my brother and see if he can shed any light on reversing pos/neg for the wires.
     
  8. dylans

    dylans

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    I agree, it seemed weird to me. But I guess it's just changing the way the relay is working by switching which pins get power and ground. I called a company called susquehanna motorsports, they sell the same harness. Their site has a lot of info in the reference section about relays, wiring lights, wire gauges and more. Their notes for that specific harness (HL87199) also said the same thing about switching wires. When I spoke with one of their guys on the phone he confirmed it. So....

    Here's a link
    Reference Center
     
  9. GonzoShinyPants

    GonzoShinyPants

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    Interesting well that must be accurate. Let us know once you’re done!
     
  10. dylans

    dylans

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    Install done. I wired the lights up how the instructions say, by swapping power and ground. The aux lights were on when the headlights were off and they off when the headlights were on! So I swapped back to normal and everything works. I sealed the housings up well with silicone only to wish I had used the 100w bulbs. Maybe I'll open them back up someday. They're bright. I just need to aim them better.

    Anyway, I guess the 5th gen 4runner headlights aren't ground switched?

    Thank you for the guidance. I'll be adding a fuse block soon too!
     
  11. GonzoShinyPants

    GonzoShinyPants

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    That’s great, so what do you mean you guess the 5th gen lights are not ground switched? My understanding is a switch only needs to be grounded if there is a light in it, so otherwise no they might not be grounded...but I have to defer to those who more knowledge on this.
     
  12. dylans

    dylans

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    It was my understanding that typically Toyota (and other Japanese manufacturers) use ground switching for the headlights. So the switch to turn them off and on is on the ground side of the circuit. The ground is broken when the switch is off so the lights go off. Switch on and the ground is completed, creating the full circuit, the lights come on. So when I checked the bulb socket for the proper wire to tap I was expecting to find 12v at one wire with the lights off (they always have power with ground switching). I got nothing, and with the lights on I got the 12v. Apparently these newer 4runners are power switched for the headlights. Wiring the relay backwards to accommodate ground switching is why they turned off and on opposite of the headlights. I swapped the relay wires to 'normal' on the battery and they work like they should now.
     
  13. GonzoShinyPants

    GonzoShinyPants

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