I just finished adding LEDs to the tail lights, and now its time to move on to the interior. For those of you who have a Juke, you can sympathize with me on this – the Juke is a great vehicle, but it is lacking in some very basic necessities (e.g. armrest, removable cup holders, and… a rear passenger light!). This has been further compounded by the fact that I have 2 children in child seats that can’t quite do up their own seat belts yet. …and the seat buckles are buried flush with the seats! (NISSAN!) …and I can’t see squat! Here is my solution to the problem:
LED Rear Passenger Light
This was a simple mod. The hardest part was taking the plunge and cutting into the roof material. Since I like the way the front map lights came on (and faded off) with the opening of the driver door, and that they also have a switch to turn them on permanently (or off), I wired the rear LED light to the center map light. In addition to this, I also linked the light to a switch (detailed below) that I can used to separately control the rear passenger LED light only (e.g. when the kids are sleeping during a late night out and I dont want the rear light to come on when the door opens).
I picked up a mini recessed LED (MRL-xW9SMD – in warm white) from SuperBrightLEDs. It was a perfect fit as it has a low profile and rubber surrounds so that it would fit without any glue.
I have the Juke SL with a sunroof and needed to first make sure that there was enough room. After pulling back the sunroof opening surround, I was able to peek back to see that, with the sunroof open, there was still about 1″ clearance. The only tweak I had to do is bend the wire coming out if the LED 90 degrees and secure it to the roof inside. The first step – measure to find center and score the cutting area with a protractor.
The hardest part was doing the cut – not because it was hard, but because it was a point of no return.
The opening. The nice thing about this LED is that you do not have to worry about a perfect cut since it has a wide trim around the outside.
The final result. To install the LED, I just had to push it up into the ceiling while putting pressure downward from the inside (you are going to want a pair of small arms for this – else a long piece of 1″x2″ wood):
Wiring the LED was pretty easy. I ran the wiring around the driver’s side and used duct tape to secure it to the top of the ceiling panel. You can route the wires in such a way that they don’t interfere with the sunroof. To handle the addition of the switch, I spliced a connection into the “+” line and took it down the front pillar and into the area of the switch plate, then ran the rest of the wire to the map light.
Removal of the map lights is easy. First remove the clear surround by pulling down with your fingers around. To remove the light, there is a pressure tab on the right side that you just pull inward (toward the light) while pulling down. The light will come out of the ceiling easily.
To wire up the rear LED, I simply soldered the two wires directly to the brass power bus bars inside. You could choose to wire it up to any one of the 3 lights. In my case, I wanted it wired to the center light and also wanted to ensure that it would follow the same ‘rules’ when you switch between the 3 power positions with the button that is available there.
As mentioned earlier, I also wanted to be able to separately turn the rear LED off when all other lights are on. The Juke comes with a blank switch plate to the lower left of the steering wheel (near the mirror controls0. I popped it out to add the switch. The switch is the black nub at the bottom. A SPST latching switch so that it can be left on ‘always on’ or ‘always off’ position. Note – the two sets of gold pins you see there are for my next LED mod. Stay tuned for more on that later. (Spoiler – they are touch capacitive switches).
Another view showing the switch depth. That black rubber pad is from an old Thinkpad UltraNav button that I had sitting around. I also spray painted the shell of the unit with PlastiDip.
This is the panel to the left of the steering wheel. To get it out, you have to pull out along the top with your fingers. It pops most of the way out, but I have not figured out how to completely pull it off (since it wraps around below the steering column). This was not a problem since I only need to get at the tab to pop out the blank plate (just to the right of my finger). BTW – if you want to remove the blank plate, use a small screwdriver to push down on the tab at the top and push the plate into the back (dont pull it out as it does not come out this way).
I am impressed with the end result. Now there is enough light to see the seats, beside the seats and even in the foot area. Not too bright either. Note – the pictures don’t do it justice. It is brighter than it appears and casts more light in areas that appear darker in the pics.