Rear Tailgate / Cargo LED Lamp | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Rear Tailgate / Cargo LED Lamp


Well-Known Member
May 22, 2013
Reaction score
City, State
Paris, TX
Year, Model & Trim Level
2013 Ford Explorer Sport
I decided it was a little dark when loading anything in the back at night. I decided to add a bit of lighting. Of course I wanted it to turn on and off when the tailgate is opened.

Here are my parts:
  • GE Interlogix 1076C-N (ebay)
  • Optronics BUL-78CB - 6.5" White LED Lamp
  • Normally Closed switch (optional)

1. Identify ideal lamp location, you can move it around a bit to get desired light angle.
2. Pull off trim around upper edges of tailgate.
3. Remove handle from tailgate (pop trim off then nut driver)
4. Pull main panel down, popping loose most connectors, but leave some connected so the panel kind of hangs. Makes working easier.
5. Drill small hole for lamp wiring.
6. Run wiring through hole and screw lamp into place.
7. Pop down headliner. This part is kind of crazy, it's actually held in place by magnets!

8. Run 2 wires (+12V, Common) from lamp up and around tailgate trim.
9. Run the wires through the gromet at the top of the tailgate. It's tough, but if you pop them loose first, you can get the wires in.

10. Pull trim off on back pillar
11. Pull trim loose on driver side rear panel. Don't try to take it all the way off, just loose enough to work behind it.
12. (Optional) Install Normally closed switch to turn lamp off if you want to leave gate open but turn light off.

13. Run common wire straight to aux power port.
14. Run power wire from aux power port over towards center of tailgate (run through switch if desired)
15. Run power wire from lamp down towards center of tailgate
Find good location to install reed switch and magnet. The magnet will go in the hatch, the reed switch will go in the tailgate area.

16. Drill holes and install switch and magnet (this is the scary part)
17. Connect power wire from aux port and power wire to lamp to red and white wires on the switch.

I know it's not the most detailed instructions, but I'd be glad to answer any questions.

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good job, dont think i can pull that off.

could have tapped into the factory dome lights to just trigger a relay to power this one and it would operate with the stock lights and no switch needed.

clean install though!

could have tapped into the factory dome lights to just trigger a relay to power this one and it would operate with the stock lights and no switch needed.

clean install though!

I had agreed, but I am currently doing the same project with different parts and I just tested the light and it is very bright. I test wired it to the 3rd row dome light but every time you open any door it turns it on and the back lights up so bright that the car almost glows outside. I didn't like looking like a UFO at night so I changed my plans and I'm going to do a rocker type switch as well. I don't plan on putting a contact switch for the hatch just a manual one so I can use the light when i need the extra light. I will post pictures once done.

I noticed that a picture of a 2014 there was a light mounted down near the rear seat switches. I guess Ford had gotten enough feedback that lighting was needed back there.

I took some pics of a newly released rear cargo area LED light from Whelen.

Whelen part#PELCC....comes chrome or black.

Im hearing the 16 MY will have an LED flush mounted in the same area of the tailgate.




That's a step in the right direction. Now if they would only install a 'lock out' switch for the third row activation buttons we'd really be making progress.;):thumbsup:


Yes but the only thing I noticed was that if you are standinding under the cargo hatch up against the bumper unloading or loading then your head and shoulders block most of the light into the cargo area.

You almost have to stand to one side.

Others have suggested that you install two in the rear 1/4 plastic interior trim kinda like Ford did on the 14 MY.

The Whelen LED 6" round ones

#60C0EHCR in the sides might be easier to wire as well.