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Reverse lights- Manual Override - How-To!

theluke19

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Well, I had some extra time today, and decided to go ahead and tackle this project.

What this write-up covers is how to add a switch near the driver's seat to manually activate the reverse lights. The reverse lights will continue to function as normal (illuminated while in reverse), but will also become available by switch even when the truck is off/in park/not in the driver's seat.

Let's get to work.

Parts/Tools used by me - yours may vary:

5 pin Auxilary relay ($7)
In-line blade fuse terminal and 30 A blade fuse ($4)
12v Automotive switch ($3)
~15 ft of 14 gauge 'main' wire (red pref.)
~3 ft of 14 gauge 'ground' wire (black pref.)

small Zip-ties

Ratchet/driver with 8mm (power terminal) and 10mm (ground) sockets

Wire cutters

Exacto knife

Multimeter

Electrical Tape

Wire Crimper
~8 crimp-on female spade terminals
~3 crimp-on butt connectors
~2 crimp-on ring connectors

20120325_154529.jpg


The first step was to find the reverse light wire. Problem was, I didn't know the best place to tie in.

The wire you're looking for is Black/Pink, and may be found in various areas of the truck. I found mine behind the driver's kick panel - which is also the most convenient place to hide a bulky relay.

Here's how to get to it:

First, Pull the kick panel, which I found easiest to do by starting with the rear-of-the-vehicle most part of the panel.

20120325_151731.jpg



Then, you'll need to pull back the rubber cover, as shown, to expose the hidden wires.


20120325_151751.jpg



A closer look will reveal a handy-dandy grounding point for your relay/switch:


20120325_151910.jpg




Look through the bushel o' wires, until you find the two Black/pink wires. I'm unsure if there is two because of the two lights, or not - but I tested one, and it did what I wanted to, so I used it.


20120325_151811.jpg



Make sure to test the wire with a multimeter / test light to see if it is the correct wire!

Here's what the proper one tested with a multimeter (Shave off a piece of the wire sheathing, and use that for a red (hot) test point, and connect the black test point to a grounding point on the vehicle.):

Off:

20120325_143922.jpg


Brakes:

20120325_143951.jpg


Reverse:

20120325_143958.jpg




Once you've found the proper wire, the hard part is done, and the fun part begins!

Here's what you're looking at for wiring (it looks a little confusing at first, but take a few minutes to look at it and figure it out. If you have questions, just ask):

reversemanualoverridediagram-1.jpg


I started by running my power wire. You'll want to keep the fuse as close to the battery as possible. I found this Power terminal along the fusebox, and used a ring terminal connected to my in-line fuse to tie into it. I pulled the fuse out until the project was finished.


20120325_174346.jpg



I ran this wire (ziptied to sturdy places) under the cab, and into a gromet-plugged hole which comes up under the front of the driver's seat.


20120325_160123.jpg



The black wire in that picture is for my reverse camera, but to run the wires through the gromet, I had to modify it slightly (failure to modify this gromet to ensure that the hot wire is not cut may result in your fuse blowing as the wire gets cut by the metal!):

20120325_155151.jpg




Back to the wiring


reversemanualoverridediagram-1.jpg



I hooked up as much as I could, while working on the tailgate, as possible. For instance, take time to crimp on connectors, set up the switch to the relay, cut the proper lengths of wire- prior to getting under the steering wheel in that cramped area.

Also, as you can tell by the diagram, I used the SAME ground/power for the switch and relay by using a butt connector to turn 1 wire into 2.

When I took the black/pink wire, and clipped it- I used butt connectors and a couple 4" pieces of wire to extent them to reach the relay.



Once it is all wired, plug in your fuse, and give it a shot!

20120325_163720.jpg

20120325_163733.jpg



Let there be light!


Now, for cable management. Wrap any exposed terminal with electrical tape. Then, start tucking the relay/wires into the available hole in the body.

20120325_163942.jpg


20120325_164000.jpg



Replace the rubber cover/and kick panel -

I pulled my switch up to the top of the kick panel. This is not where I plan to leave it. I have already ordered 5 new, matching switches for cheap - which have green LED's. I'll update this when I change out the switch.


20120325_164243.jpg



Have fun! (I know I did!)
 


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ChallengerDave

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Added to the to do list!
 




snoranger

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Looks like the wiring worked out for you. :thumbsup:
 




theluke19

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Looks like the wiring worked out for you. :thumbsup:

Worked out great! Hope you don't mind me use of (and my few modifications to) your drawing :D
 




ncranchero

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Nice little project! Since it has generated a good bit of interest in this and the original discussion I'll hang it in the "Sticky" section.:thumbsup:
 








LONO100

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i might sound like a dufus for asking this, but what is the benefit of activating the reverse lights with a switch?
 




theluke19

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i might sound like a dufus for asking this, but what is the benefit of activating the reverse lights with a switch?

They will work with the switch, and also activate automatically like normal when reverse is engaged.

On my previous vehicle, I wired up a single auxiliary light in the rear of my vehicle for utility purposes - seeing behind the truck while working behind it while it is dark out - This setup prevents me from having to run wire to the rear of the vehicle, as well as, prevents me from having to purchase/mount an additional light.
 




Kazer

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On my previous vehicle, I wired up a single auxiliary light in the rear of my vehicle for utility purposes - seeing behind the truck while working behind it while it is dark out - This setup prevents me from having to run wire to the rear of the vehicle, as well as, prevents me from having to purchase/mount an additional light.

thats the answer i was looking for, lol. Seems like a nifty mod :thumbsup:. Are you going to put 40 or 50 smd led bulbs in your reverse lights to light up more?
 




theluke19

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thats the answer i was looking for, lol. Seems like a nifty mod :thumbsup:. Are you going to put 40 or 50 smd led bulbs in your reverse lights to light up more?

Kazer - If I could make all of my lights look exactly like yours I would..

(and I can, so I will :D )
 




willindsay

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Worked out great! Hope you don't mind me use of (and my few modifications to) your drawing :D

I drew the diagram but Snoranger posted the instructions first. Not that it really matters though.

Your install looks great. Can't wait to see what you do with the switch.
 








ncranchero

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I can tell you if the wire is the same if you give the the model/year but can't tell "everything" it the same on.
 




theluke19

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How about if it is the same on 1/2/3/4/5 gen Explorers (/mountie/navajo where applicable, I think it'd be the same as the explorers), and gen 2 sport trac?

Also, if it works on those - should I copy this into the Performance Lighting forum (and have it stickied? :D )
 




Govna47

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Kazer - If I could make all of my lights look exactly like yours I would..

(and I can, so I will :D )

thats the spirit! and nice write up. I might have to do this
 




willindsay

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How about if it is the same on 1/2/3/4/5 gen Explorers (/mountie/navajo where applicable, I think it'd be the same as the explorers), and gen 2 sport trac?

Also, if it works on those - should I copy this into the Performance Lighting forum (and have it stickied? :D )

I can tell you that it's the same for the 1st and 2nd gens. Same color wire and the kick panel would be the best place for the relay also.

Instead of makin a new thread in the Lighting section you might just ask a mod to move it and give it a new name.
 




theluke19

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I can tell you that it's the same for the 1st and 2nd gens. Same color wire and the kick panel would be the best place for the relay also.

Instead of makin a new thread in the Lighting section you might just ask a mod to move it and give it a new name.


Done! I love how users have mod control on their own posts. Makes it nice :)
 




BigRondo

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Just saw this thread. Nicely done. :thumbsup::thumbsup:

This is now officially on the growing Wish List.

The reverse light wire for the 3rd Gen's is also Black/Pink.
 




Kjhadfield

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Really old thread but it is a sticky. I like this for hooking up a trailer but have a few questions. I can follow the directions no problem but I would like to know why. Why use a relay (I obviously don't have a clue, which is why I ask) and the diagram shows a 30a fuse. Basically the reason why the switch can't be hooked up directly to the lights because it's not like adding additional lights but switching on what's already there.

I ask because I did a mod to turn on my cargo lights whenever the dome lights turned on. Basically spliced the power for the dome and run wire to splice into power for the cargo lights. Is there a more proper way to do this mod? It doesn't seem like it's any different except for the switch.
I know I'm missing something…thanks for any help
 


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engineeering

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great mod. Never thought of this. I'm not a huge fan of big utility aftermarket lights... so this is great!

As I am planning to do a manual swap... this might come in handy to pre-wire another bypass that is engaged by the shifter or something. Time to bookmark it! :)
 




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