Custom Interior Lighting Question | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Custom Interior Lighting Question


Active Member
October 30, 2008
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So, I had an idea for some custom lighting in my Explorer. In the photo below there is an arrow pointing to the lower part of the center dash.


Where the arrow is pointing, there is a lip that could accomodate a few leds pointing down, illuminating that little center holder in the console near the cup holders. I always a few items there (i.e. cell phone, knife, etc..) and at night I would love to have 2 or 3 LEDS or those little lights facing down and illuminating that area.

So my question is... HOW? I would like to purchase some little lights that I could simply drill some small holes under that lip and attach them in that way, but not sure where I could purchase or even what types of lights I could purchase. You know how some of the toggle switches, you drill a hole and it tightens on the outside with a small plastic nut... I wish they had some little lights that install in that manner. Do they?

Secondly....wiring is an issue. I'm excellent with electrical work on my vehicle, but am trying to determine which would be the best way to tap these lights into a source that somes on ONLY when the headlights are on. (the same manner that the dash, instrument and gauge lights come on when your lights are turned on at night) Where that lip is, what could be my best bet in tapping these lights into an source that does this? I don't mind running wire to an easier source... I'd rather do it the easy way then have to disassemble a AC switch and sodder in a new wire.

So with all that said... what would be the options here and how to go about doing this? And what type of little lights would any of you suggest?

Oh, and by the way, I attached some new photos below of my truck. Just showing off, haha.



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that's one bad ass X

I kinda have what your talking about .. I just finished a custom swich panel that I mounted there that's made of plexiglass and illuminates blue. In effect it also lights up the spot your talking about ... I'll to take a few pics in a minute and throw em up

Yes please do, but I'm still trying to figure out the best/easiest way to wire them so that they come on with the rest of the instrument lights.

i actually tapped it off of the positive wire to my info /setup/reset buttons bc it only gets 12volts when the interior lights are on

question for you, whats the black plate w/blue line for? Nice X btw

Its called the "Thin Blue Line". If you havent seen them before on vehicles, its pretty much a "logo" for cops.


To answer the question, I picked up a set of three leds in teeny mounting cups that terminate in a 12v cigar plug on sale for a few bucks. I think if you look in the APC section of any big box parts store or walmart, you could find something similar. Use VHB tape to install, then tuck the wires, and you're finished. To get them to come on with the internal lights, you'll have to tap a wire that feeds some of the other lights. That takes a little more work, but if you search some of the stereo install threads, you can prolly find a wire that tells the radio the lights are on.


Cant I tap them into one of the AC/HEAT power wires since they come on with the headlights?

And specifically how would I have to do that?

Its called the "Thin Blue Line". If you havent seen them before on vehicles, its pretty much a "logo" for cops.


Thanks for the info. I see tons of them everyday. LOL Now I know.

Ok so I went out and bought this small neon indicator lamp; should work nicely for the small area I want to light up. Now, if I tap it into one of the AC/Heat control switches power wire, I know it will light up when the headlights are on, but wont it also turn on when I activate the heat or AC?
I'm a bit confused on the logistics of tapping into one of these power wires. What are my other options? I suppose I could take the wire right to the headlight, but that seems far stretched, and certainly there are some easier options. What other power sources can I tap into that would be easier and more convenient to get to? I want to start this mod tomorrow so any quick suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

You can disregard my last post...

Although not in use, the 4x4 and Message Ctr. harnesses are still behind the switches and once tapped into the power/ground terminals... works perfect!

These harnesses are great sources of power for anyone interested in doing some auxillary lighting around the dash, granted the Exp is 2WD and has no Msg. Ctr.

I'll post a pic later tonight.

Got your PM, What exactly do you need help with, or have you worked everything out already? Sorry it took so long to get back to you.

hey, i actually just completed something similar to this, but i ran power for the leds from my head unit, because it has a constant power but i ran them from the ignition power going into it just incase i forget to turn them off when getting out of the car. heres some pics..

before the blue center consol lights..(i have 6 red floor leds, two infront, two in back, and two in my subwoofer box. i love these things at night :p)

here it is after the blue leds. i used 6 of them, and was happy with the results.

if anyone has any questions or anything just pm me. i love messing around with interior lighting and would love to see some of other peoples ideas!