How to Install Dodge Clearance Lights

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Overhead clearance lights are used mainly on larger vehicles that haul trailers. Kits are now available so that you can add these to your Dodge truck. Recon and Putco are two retailers that produce kits for universal and truck-specific clearance lights for the do-it-yourselfer. These kits usually retail for about $100, shipped to your door.

Things You'll Need

  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Star-head screwdriver
  • 7/8-inch hole saw
  • Electrical tape
  • Nail punch
  • 1/4-inch drill bit
  • Flat-head screwdriver
  • Soldering gun
  • Soldering wire
  • RTV clear sealant
  • Remove everything that attaches to the ceiling of your Dodge truck so that you can pull out the headliner. Use a Phillips screwdriver to detach grab handles and clothing hooks; the handles have a screw on each end and the hooks have a screw in the base. The dome light uses two Phillips screws under the lens. Gently pry the lens off to expose the screws. Depending on the year of your truck, you remove the overhead console in different ways. There may be two tabs on the back of the console that you can compress to pull off the unit; or you'll remove two Torx-head screws, also known as "star head" screws. Carefully pull out the headliner.

  • Remove the plastic pillar pieces that cover the wiring on each of the four corners of the cab. They are held in place by Phillips screws. Slide the headliner out of the truck by opening the doors and dropping the headliner onto the seats. Rotate the headliner so that it is diagonal in the vehicle. Be sure not to crease the headliner, as you will reinstall it.

  • Drill holes in the ceiling with the hole saw where the lights will be mounted. All trucks come from the factory with pre-existing holes on the inner roof metal for clearance lights. Use these holes and drill from the inside of the cab toward the exterior. The templates provided with the kit are notorious for being inaccurate.

  • Cut out the template for the lights, and use electrical tape to secure them to the outside of the cab. Line up the template with the holes that were drilled with the hole saw. Position the paper template so that it is in place the way you would like the lights appear.

  • Tap a nail press in the position where the holes will be drilled. This will prevent the drill bit from scraping the roof. Drill the screw holes for the lights using the 1/4-inch drill bit. Drill through the template, then remove the template.

  • Pull the bulb socket up through the hole, and install the lights into the socket. Install the bulb holder into the outer lens, and place the lights into the appropriate holes in the roof. Do not tighten them down.

  • Connect the wires from the lights to a ground and a power wire. The ground can go to any metal part of the roof that is not electrical. Run the power wire with the overhead console wiring and down to the driver's side pillar wiring.

  • Remove the headlight switch panel on the left side of the steering wheel. A flat-head screwdriver will let you simply pop it forward and expose all the electrical wires. Look for the black wire with the yellow stripe. Splice in the power wire for the clearance lights by exposing the wire inside the casing and soldering the two wires together. Cover the solder and any exposed wire with electrical tape. Test the lights to ensure they work before proceeding. If you have a problem, check the ground and the soldered wire for proper connections.

  • Use RTV sealant on the gasket that goes between the lights and the roof. This will prevent leaking and keep moisture out of the truck. Press lightly on the lenses while placing them on the roof. Secure the lens screws in position.

  • Replace the headlight switch panel. Press it into place with your hands.

  • Reinstall the headliner, followed by the pillars. Tighten down the screws and reinstall the other interior pieces. The overhead console should go back into place last, with its electrical connectors attached before it's reinstalled.

Tips & Warnings

  • Have a friend help with the installation. It will make things like the headliner removal much easier--and, of course, an extra set of hands is always helpful.

References

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