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Better Boot Lighting

Better Boot Lighting

Gregory Andrachuk

Those of you who have felt that the trunk (boot) illumination on the xj is a bit dim, might be interested in this modification. My criteria for modifications to my 82 are first: that the modification be invisible or nearly so, and second: that it be easily reversible. The "Gardner" air vent modification meets these criteria perfectly, and so does the one I now suggest. Because the trunk light is mounted on the lid, the deepest part of the trunk cavity is always rather dark. Here is my solution. I went to my local generic parts store (in this case, CANADIAN TIRE) and purchased a "universal interior lamp". They had a couple of styles but I chose the smaller one which has a nicely styled chrome base and a translucent white plastic shade, the whole thing about 2 to 3 inches long. It is fitted with a 5 watt bulb (the same wattage as used in the original trunk lamp). I chose to mount it near the rear seat since that is the darkest area. The cover for the rear seat panel is in two stepped parts. I removed the larger part (two plastic turn screws). This is the cover for the service interval counter, the sunroof motor, light sensors and the ECU. The service interval cou nter in mounted on the bracket to the left, to which the cover is attached. This is where I mounted the light, facing sideways, that is to the left side of the trunk (the original lid-mounted light is on the right, so this provides a balanced illumination). Mounting was a simple matter of drilling two holes for the screws, and a large hole for the wiring to pass through. There is already a cut-out on this panel, but it did not suit the mounting for me. I wrapped the wires with electrical tape and attempted to fit a grommet to the hole to preclude chafing of the wires and a possible shorting; additional protection for this could be provided by fitting a fuse in-line. More on this in a minute.

My light had two undifferentiated wires (both black). In order to have the light illuminate when the ignition is NOT on, and shut OFF when the lid is lowered, the wiring must be tapped into the wiring for the existing trunk lid light. This is EASY. I used male and female spade connectors and two "tap" connectors (all available from Canadian Tire et al.) The wiring must reach over to the right side of the trunk near the hinge and existing switch. This switch is mere a ground (earth) interruptor, and has two black wires exiting from it. The switch is located at the top of the right hand hinge. Having connected two lengths of automotive wire to the lamp leads, I used a "tap connector" to join one of them to one of the black switch wires (it doesn't matter which). The "tap connector" for thos who have not used one, is a clean and quick method of connecting. The connector fits over the existing wire, and the new wire (in this case from the lamp) is fitted into a slot. Then using "vice grips" or ordinary pliers, the connecto r is merely clamped together. Done! The connector cuts through the wire insulat ion to make contact, but does not cut the wire, so it is removeable, and a bit of electrical tape restores the wire if you ever want to remove the connector. Now you must find the "live" wire for the trunk light. This too is easy. Remove the right hand side panel (simply slides down out of the clips). Near the hinge, and taped to the side, you will find a number of wires and connectors. One of these is PURPLE. This is the live feed, into which you simply tap the other wire from the lamp, using the same procedure as above. The wiring should be neatly routed along the seat panel BEFORE connecting. That is all there is to it. Now the lamp will illuminate and extinguish together with the original trunk lamp. Additional "shorting" protection can be obtained by fitting an "in-line" fuse in the wiring to the "live" connection. In this way, if there is a fault in the new lamp circuit, the fuse will blow, leaving the original circuit intact (electrical experts please correct me if I am wrong on this point). Once the panels are replaced, the lamp itself is not visible since the longer seat panel cover juts out beyond the mounting bracket. When the trunk is open you only have the effect of the extra lighting. Best of all, this mod can be removed at any time without detriment to the original wiring. It took longer to describe the process than to do it!

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