Auxiliary Cargo Area Lamp

There has been some discussion about how to get a decent light in the rear of the Toyota 80 Series Landcruiser.

There have been several solutions to this problem, mainly run the lamp from;

Neither of these solutions offered the convenience that most of us would prefer, to have the lamp operate when one of the rear doors or tailgate is open. Based on the assumption that this option would be available in some trim level specification, I checked the cct diagrams. Nothing obvious was found (apart from some errors in the cct's).

However I did discover a satisfactory solution hidden in the lining of rear of the vehicle after some investigation. There is already a wiring loom which is activated when any of the rear doors are open. This meets the requirement exactly.

Test Vehicle

The test vehicle is an Australian spec. 1994 manual RV Getaway trim level. This is essentially the local GXL trim, less such things as CD, wheel arch flares, power antenna, and a lower grade carpet. This vehicle has the upper and lower type tailgate, not the barn doors as in the Standard or Deluxe trim levels. Vehicles with barn door type of rear doors have not been investigated, and these instructions may not apply to those models which come fitted with rear barn doors.

Tools and Parts

The following items are used in the installation process;

Installation Process

We will position the lamp at a desired location in the rear of the car, and connect it to some existing wiring. A Blue cable with yellow tracer and silver bands will provide the POSITIVE power supply, and a companion red cable with yellow tracer and silver bands will provide the NEGATIVE power supply. If your vehicle does not have the cables as identified in step
The following procedure requires some care. Damage to the headlining or/and trim will result if care is not exercised. It is suggested that you read all of these instructions before commencing the task.
  1. Open the rear doors
  2. Remove the trim from the body on the upper edge of the door opening, where it secures the headlining to the body. You may have to remove some of the interior trim along the 'D' pillars to get the end of the beading trim off.
  3. Remove the two small metal clips on the top left side of the door opening with the small flat blade screwdriver.
  4. Carefully pull the head lining from the body, commencing in the centre. Be careful not to rip the headlining.
  5. Unbundle the cabling that feeds the high level brake lamp from inside the body. In amongst those wires is a loose connector with two wires. This is the cable you need. Pull it out from the bundle, until it is just clear of the body/headlining.
  6. Ensure that the lamp you have selected to install into the rear of the car has any required switches installed, and has a lead approx. two feet long.
  7. Disassemble the lamp
  8. Position the lamp in the desired location by hand
  9. Ensure that any mounting holes will not foul existing wiring, the rear window washer hose, or will protrude thru the single thickness skin of the vehicle body.
  10. Centre punch the centre of the lamp mounting holes. Remove the lamp.
  11. Use the 1/8" drill bit in the electric drill to pre-drill the holes for the lamp. Ensure that the drill does not run, or just clears the hole being drilled (to avoid body damage).
  12. Identify a suitable point that is hidden by the lamp (when in position), and make a small hole in the headlining for the lamp power cable.
  13. Thread the lamp power cable through the small hole.
  14. Position the lamp, and secure it into the drilled holes with the self-tapping metal screws. Be careful not to crimp or pierce the lamp power cable.
  15. Follow one of the following courses of action, depending on if you are using electrical connectors (step 17), or just solder tinning the tips of the lamp leads (step 16),
  16. Soldered Lead Ends
    1. Tin the ends of both of the lamp leads for a length of 1/4"
    2. Insert the +ve lead from the lamp into connector with the blue cable with yellow tracer and silver bands
    3. Insert the -ve lead from the lamp into connector with the red cable with yellow tracer and silver bands
    4. Use electrical tape to secure the cable from the lamp into/onto the connector
  17. Using Electrical Connectors
    1. Remove the original connector from the wiring loom in the car. The
    2. Fix one female connector to the -ve lead from the lamp
    3. Fix one male connector to the +ve lead from the lamp
    4. Fix one female connector to the blue cable with yellow tracer and silver bands in the car
    5. Fix one male connector to the red cable with yellow tracer and silver bands in the car
    6. Join the lamp and vehicle cabling with the connectors
    7. Use electrical tape to secure the cable connectors from the lamp into/onto the vehicle cable connectors
  18. Test the lamp for operation (ensuring that the rear door is open). If this test fails investigate the cause and rectify the problem.
  19. Neatly reposition the cabling under the headlining so that it does not touch the headlining
  20. Reposition the headlining (the original glue should hold it in position for a short period of time)
  21. Reinstall the trim beading carefully, pushing it on by hand. Be careful not to force it, or the beading will be damaged. The outside of the top of the beading should go between the rubber weather seal and the metal of the body. There is not much room in that area, so ensure you do not snag the weather seal as the beading is re-installed.
  22. Reinstall any other trim remove
  23. Install any covers or lenses onto the lamp
  24. Restore all of the tools to their rightful places
  25. Have a couple of #6's while you admire your work.
You now have a functional rear interior lamp that will operate while any rear door is open. This will make life a little easier when setting up camp or cooking on the tailgate after dark.

I have found that the flouro type lamps produce the most and whitest light for a given power consumption. Mine draws under one amp, producing a lot more of light than the factory fitted interior lamps while using less of the aux. battery capacity.

Copyright D.J. Zilm 1998
Mail the author for more info.