Background

As pickup truck use expanded beyond agriculture, the desire to protect cargo led to the adaptation of tonneau covers, originally a simple canvas top used in classic sports cars. Of course, if you cover the truck bed with a top, it’s too dark to see the cargo clearly which led to the development of bed cargo illumination.

Today there is a wide selection of lighting products with LEDs gaining popularity given their low power use, flexible mounting, and programmable operation.

Mounting location

The front wall with the Smyth cutout logo provides a very convenient overhang where a LED bar light could be mounted out of sight.

LED bar light can be hidden behind the Smyth logo

A 24-inch rigid LED light bar fits easily under the front wall overhang since it measures only 0.85″ wide and 0.40″ high.

Waterproof linear LED light bar WLF-NW60SMD

 

Modified wiring

Re-purposing the rear window heat (defog) switch on the center dash to operate external cargo lights is a practical solution that avoids excessive re-wiring.

The existing defog switch is simple: moving the toggle illuminates the switch face and also sends power to the rear window resistance heater. Switching LED lights for the heater element involves a minor modification of the harness.

By placing a relay on the LED light feed, a separate connection to the spoiler harness can illuminate the dash indicator (old spoiler alert) to show that the exterior cargo bed lights are on.