Easy Trunk Light Mod by ralplpcr

By diyauto
( 1 )

Easy Trunk Light Mod

Compliments of ralplpcr @ fiat500owners.com


One of the things that annoys me about the 500 is the pathetic excuse for a light in the trunk. Granted, it's not often that I need to root around in there at midnight... but the light that is there should at least be *useful* when I do need it! So I've come up with a quick & easy way to make the lighting in the trunk more useful!

After reading bigdps' thread about installing your own ambient light system, I decided I wanted to give it a try. I purchased the lights he recommended, and plan on tackling that job next weekend. But the string of LEDs that he suggested is 5 meters long - - far longer than I need to make ambient lights! So I decided to put a few of the leftovers to good use and make my trunk light more useful!

Items you'll need:

12v LED lights 

Small Screwdriver

Cat-3/Telephone Wire/Thermostat Wire - about 3-5 feet

Electrical Tape

Soldering Iron

I started by popping out the useless light by inserting the small screwdriver in the little slot near the bottom. It comes out easily, and should have about 8-10 inches of wire to pull it out of it's mount.

There is a small white plug that clips into the light assembly. Disconnect it for now. Then check the polarity of the wires to identify which is positive, and which is negative. (You may have to close & re-open the trunk if you've left it open long enough to automatically turn off)

There is a hole in the side panel about 2 inches below the place where the light goes. Run your wire through that hole, and out the hole where the original light fixture snaps in.

You now have to cut the wires to to the original light fixture. Leave at least a few inches before the white plug that goes into the light fixture - you're going to need it!

Now you need to splice your wires back together with the new wires that you ran. Since I'm using RGB LED lights where the 12v is constant and the colors are the ground connection, I spliced the 3 color grounds together to the negative, and connected the positive by itself. You'll need to follow the instructions on whatever light you're using, of course!

Next, I soldered some short lead wires onto a small section of the LED light roll. I used 6 LEDs, which seemed to be just about right for my needs.

I then tucked the spliced wires back into the light fixture's hole, reattached the light fixture to the plug, and snapped it back into it's hole. I tucked the new wiring up under the carpeting & panels to a spot near to the opening of the trunk, and then spliced the LED light strip to this wire:

Since the light strip has 3M adhesive on the back, it easily stuck to the carpeted area above my trunk's opening. I suppose you could use some type of double-sided tape or light glue as well... but for now, it's holding quite well! If you've got a hard-top, you could just as easily attach the lights on the lip along the bottom of the trunk hatch... or wherever you like!

I closed the trunk, and then re-opened it to see my light strip shining brightly. It's hard to get a good picture in the dark with my camera, but hopefully you can see what a difference this made in the pics below. And yes, it does turn off when I close the trunk!

All in all, took about 1/2 hr worth of work, and made a huge difference.

BONUS IDEA: Since these are RGB lights, I'm toying around with the idea of disconnecting one of the color grounds to make the light colored instead of white. Red, green, or blue would be quite easy, but I suppose any color is possible by adding the right resistance to the color ground wires &/or disconnecting one?