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Door Panel Lights


Elite Explorer
February 7, 2019
Reaction score
City, State
Seward, NE
Year, Model & Trim Level
2000 Explorer Sport
Just a small weekend project that I found interesting:

My '97 XLT had lights in the front door panels that I always liked. I guess the idea is that they illuminate the ground below when the door opens -- not very effective but they do look cool.

My '00 Sport, however, did not have these lights. It just had reflectors in the door panels.

When I was parting out the '97, I noticed the lights were the same shape as the reflectors, and sure enough each can snap in place interchangeably (no difference 2 vs. 4 door). I took the wiring and lenses before scrapping the '97.

To wire in, each bulb needs a "hot with door open" (blk/lt blu) and a ground. I tapped into the wire that I ran to the overhead console dome light (also taken from my '97).

Running the wire is where this install gets interesting. On the passenger side, remove the door speaker and drop the glove box door. Then you need to fish a "hot with door open" through the rubber tube running between the cab (accessible via glovebox opening) and the door (accessible via speaker hole). I accomplished this with a piece of solid 12ga wire used as a "fish stick."

The drivers side is more complicated. If you don't like automotive wiring, this probably is not for you. On this side, again remove the door speaker. Remove the footwell kick panel. You will notice this side has a plastic box attached to the door and the rubber tube. It's a bulkhead connector which you have to take apart.

Start by prying off the little black cap on top (I just used my fingernail). Begin loosening the 10mm bolt under the cap -- this will drive the connector apart. Now that the cab side is free, remove the two 7mm bolts holding the connector to the door then pull the connector back through the speaker hole.

To make the drivers door light wiring run through the bulkhead, you have to add a new pin. My connector had many open holes. You will need old pins/wires from another connector for this, I pulled mine from other old bulkhead connectors I had leftover from my overhead console temp sensor install.

To further disassemble the door side of the connector, use a pick to carefully release the three tabs and pull off the top cover. Again use the pick to release four snap features around the top "lid" of the connector then wiggle the "lid" piece up the wires an inch or so. Pick your hole and drill a 3/16 or so opening in the "lid."

To install the pins, remove the red inserts from both bulkhead connector ends. Fish wiring through the cab side connector and into the cab.

Fish wiring for the door side through the connector.

Solder the pins onto the wire apply heat shrink then pull the wires through so the pins lock into the connector. Now your "hot with door open" is in the door!

Reassembly is reverse of removal. I just ran the "hot with door open" to each bulb and spliced into the nearest ground (from door lock pigtails I think).

All in all it's a fairly straightforward if not tedious job. I'm excited to have these lights though!

I actually had the stuff and was going to do that exact thing on mine, though I was just going to tap them into the puddle lights under the mirrors, since they turn on the same way. But never got around to it, need to replace the ones on my Rado, bulbs burnt out and the lenses are busted anyway. Nice write up though!!