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Old 01-25-2009, 12:20 AM   #1
simonbsays
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Member#: 158241
Join Date: Sep 2007
Chapter/Region: NWIC
Location: Portland, OR
Vehicle:
2006 CGM WRX Wagon
XPT Stage II

Default Wagon Trunk Light Mod with LEDs.

Does anyone else think the trunk light in the wagon is way too dim? And placed in a bad spot, therefore easily blocked by bags/gear/etc? Every time I fill up the trunk with gear I get annoyed because I can’t see anything at night, so check out my solution!

Overview:
2 LEDs were added to the top panel across the edge of the headliner, and a 3rd LED on the hatch door. Together, this illuminates a very useful area of the trunk.

Parts used:
- Three 5mm Warm White LEDs from SuperbrightLEDs.com (click to see spec sheet)
- One 330 Ohm resistor
- One 220 Ohm resistor
- One pack of 5mm LED holders (Radioshack, but also available at superbrightleds.com)
- 12-14ft of 18-gauge wire, in black and red (I’d suggest something thinner, like 20 or 22)
- Heatshrink tubing
- Electrical Tape
- 4 Wiretaps
- 2 Twist wire connectors

Tools used:
- Philips screw driver
- Drill with ” bit
- 10-gauge wire (for fishing wires through hatch… hangers are too stiff)
- Soldering arms
- 14mm socket wrench
- Digital Multi-meter

Results:
BEFORE: AFTER:

Process:
  1. Remove top panel: simply use your hand to pull it straight down (it's held on by 4 clips). Be sure to mark where you want to put the LEDs for drilling later.


  2. Remove passenger-side D-pillar: 14mm socket for 1 & 2, philips for 3 & 4.


  3. Use hands to pull panel straight out (towards driver side D-pillar). Use a philips screw driver to remove the trunk light too.


  4. Tape 18-gauge wires to a short length of 10-gauge, and push it through the hose between the hatch and cabin. I popped the hose out first, pushed the wires through it, then proceeded to fish the wire down the hole into the cabin. In my case, I used these wires as the main power wires to tap the LEDs into later.


  5. Once wires are pushed through, tap them into the existing trunk light's wires. On my car, there were 3 wires:
    - Black: +12v
    - Red: Ground <--tap to black wire
    - Green: +12v switched <--tap to red wire

    Yea, wtf Subaru... totally off from standard color conventions!

    In order to have the existing trunk light switch control the new lights, I tapped my positive (red) wire to green. The blue things are the wiretaps.



  6. Main power lines are complete, so let's create the LED circuit. I'll start with the top panel LEDs. I decided to use a series circuit for this...

    +----[>led_1]----[>led_2]---/\/resistor\/\----

    This website was helpful to determine what resistor to use:
    http://led.linear1.org/led.wiz

    I soldered an inline resistor (220 Ohms) to led_2 (soldering arms ftw!).


  7. When finished with the LED circuit, drill 1/4" holes in the top panel for the LEDs. Install the LEDs into the holes along with the LED holders.



  8. Tape the LED circuit against the back of the top panel. Leave a few inches of wire coming out of the passenger side so you can tap it into the power wires later.

continues below.......
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Last edited by simonbsays; 01-26-2009 at 03:48 AM.
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Old 01-25-2009, 12:26 AM   #2
Handsdown
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that's ballistic grade boss. very cool.
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Old 01-25-2009, 12:32 AM   #3
subaru3169
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looks awesome.. good job
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Old 01-25-2009, 12:43 AM   #4
simonbsays
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Join Date: Sep 2007
Chapter/Region: NWIC
Location: Portland, OR
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2006 CGM WRX Wagon
XPT Stage II

Default

...continued from above:

The top panel's just about ready to go... Let's finish the top panel and then move on to the hatch:
  1. Test the circuit to make sure it works, then reinstall top panel and connect the circuit to the main power wires. Again, i used wire taps for this.


  2. Remove hatch panel by popping out all the rivets along the edge, then pull straight out (it's held on by 5 plastic rivets along the window, and 3-4 along the bottom edge)


  3. I tried for about 10 minutes to fish the 18-gauge wires along the side of the hatch door, but found it too hard. Alternatively, I fished the wires towards the middle, through the high-mount brake light assembly, and then stuffed the wires behind the window molding strip (pulls out). This may get a little tricky, so be patient... I found that popping out the black plastic cover (directly below brake light) helped with getting the wires out first.

    Red line indicates how i routed the wires:


  4. Create another LED circuit, this time with one LED. I also soldered an inline resistor for this one.

    +----[>led]---/\/resistor_330ohm\/\----

    My main power wires (red line) stopped a little short, so my LED circuit (blue line) extends towards it. I connected the two with twist connectors.



  5. Pop out that square plastic cover in the middle of the hatch panel, and drill a 1/4" hole through it:


  6. Once this LED is tested and working, reinstall the hatch cover and using another LED holder, snap the LED and plastic cover in place:


  7. Test to make sure new lights work, then reinstall all the remaining panels, trunk light, and seatbelts (torques to 30ft-lbs, fyi).

All done!

The warm white LEDs I used have a greenish tint to them, but in real life it's not bad at all. It's looks worse in the pictures. I still wish they were closer to the incandescent yellow though. One day, I may change all my interior lights to white LEDs and swap my LEDs for white ones.

If I were to do this again, I might use 2 more LEDs on the top panel, because the driver side rear-most corner's still not illuminated well.

I love the hatch-mounted LED because it lights up the ground/bumper area too when open (very useful!)

-Simon

Last edited by simonbsays; 01-25-2009 at 08:14 PM.
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Old 01-25-2009, 12:51 AM   #5
Bishop
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Ass, grass or cash
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nice! i need to do this!
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Old 01-25-2009, 10:29 AM   #6
DC16A2
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Hmmm... Lights from the top... I like =)
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Old 01-25-2009, 12:42 PM   #7
mikeyc
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In for the pics of where you installed these!
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Old 01-25-2009, 12:47 PM   #8
sniper1rfa
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UGM

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Yep, i did this also. I used two LED's on each D pillar, about level with the cargo cover. I'm switching to four wide angle LED's though, as i just used crappy rat-shack LED's first time around.
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Old 01-25-2009, 04:21 PM   #9
GC9
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Thumbs up

that looks fantastic~
is it hard to install?
i would like to install it on my car also =)
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Old 01-25-2009, 05:52 PM   #10
ndmx52
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what a difference! Nice job!
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Old 01-25-2009, 08:15 PM   #11
simonbsays
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XPT Stage II

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Write-up complete
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Old 01-25-2009, 08:59 PM   #12
sniper1rfa
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UGM

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Sweet - i might have to steal your idea of that hatch mounted light. Would be good for reading labels and such.

My lights in the D pillar get all the corners well - that panel is aimed a bit down and crossways, so there aren't any dark spots.
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Old 01-26-2009, 02:32 AM   #13
hella_sti
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all I did was take me two petzel headlamps that were already in my car and wrapped them around the rear headrests pointed towards the hatch. They are adjustable for the angle and put out a ton of light!
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Old 01-26-2009, 03:45 AM   #14
simonbsays
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2006 CGM WRX Wagon
XPT Stage II

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by hella_sti View Post
all I did was take me two petzel headlamps that were already in my car and wrapped them around the rear headrests pointed towards the hatch. They are adjustable for the angle and put out a ton of light!
Good for you... i think i like my way better though
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Old 01-28-2009, 05:31 PM   #15
sniper1rfa
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UGM

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some pics of the one i did when i bought the car...





Apologies for the cell-phone quality.


Both sides have identical setups. For whatever reason, one of the LED's on the left side is slightly yellow-ish. :P

Last edited by sniper1rfa; 01-28-2009 at 07:25 PM.
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Old 01-28-2009, 06:17 PM   #16
jdubya301
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03 suzuki sv650s

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yep, gonna have to do this in the spring.

i will probably do it under the hood as well.
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Old 01-28-2009, 11:44 PM   #17
simonbsays
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XPT Stage II

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nice! how about a night shot?
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Old 01-29-2009, 07:42 AM   #18
sniper1rfa
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tried, phone camera sucks and doesn't really show anything. it's plenty bright and very even.
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Old 01-29-2009, 11:07 AM   #19
jasonsp6
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Great idea with the LED hatch lights simonbsays & sniper1rfa. I plan to do something similar in the spring.
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Old 01-29-2009, 04:31 PM   #20
MethosWagon
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thats awesome... definitely have to add that to my DIY list of things to do...
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Old 01-30-2009, 02:35 AM   #21
trueno16v
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Nice, I like it.
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Old 01-31-2009, 10:39 PM   #22
subaru3169
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whoa.. that's pretty nice
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Old 02-01-2009, 12:44 PM   #23
k stang
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Looks good man, i was just going to replace the stock light in the hatch with an LED one but you sparked a new idea...
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Old 02-03-2009, 06:48 PM   #24
jace2k5
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Platinum Silver Metallic

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Quote:
Originally Posted by sniper1rfa View Post
some pics of the one i did when i bought the car...



what is that thin bar going across the lower part?
is that a light? that may be a good idea also.. a CCFL or something..


similar to this:

Rear License Plate Mod
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Old 02-03-2009, 07:13 PM   #25
sniper1rfa
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UGM

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Uhm, i dunno. A handle or something, no idea what it's for. Maybe for tying stuff down - i've never used it.

It's only screwed into the trim panel, so it's not very strong.
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