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Installing XT Maplights into an EA81


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#1 TheSubaruJunkie

TheSubaruJunkie

    Subaru Sober since 2010 :(

  • Members
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  • Sacramento

Posted 02 January 2006 - 11:39 PM

This particular modification was done by using the map lights from a 1987 Subaru XT and putting them in my 1983 GL Wagon. I removed the map light setup from the donor car at the junk yard and brought it home and began thinking of a way to secure it to the roof of my car. The original map lights screw into threaded inserts welded to the roof of the XT. Any Subaru that does not have map lights as an option will not have these threaded inserts. Therefore I thought of an idea, and it proved to work.

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Here we see the map lights. In the center there is a single bulb that turns on by either the door, or the switch provided. On each side of the center light are single bulbs that can be turned on by the push of a button.

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This is the location at which I removed the lights from the XT, and plan on installing them on my GL Wagon. Because there are no threads in the roof of my car, I made a plan to fabricate a metal plate that would be long enough to extend 2" or more beyond the sides of the map light itself. Then I would screw the map light setup into the plate creating a clamp that would hold the maplight in place against the lining in my roof.

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Here you see the map lights without the plastic cover, and the metal plate I created to use as my clamp.

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Before I started the project, I put the map light against the roof of the car, and used a pen and marked the sides and the front and rear of the maplight setup. Then I used a box cutter (razor blade) and made an incision that was about 1/2" smaller in width & length than the map light setup. In this photo, you can see a small mark on the right side of the hole... that is the actual width of the map lights. You want to leave enough room for the light to secure itself against the roof lining... but make a hole that is large enough so the bulbs and the bottom of the maplights can fit safely inside the roof.

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For the metal plate, I used an old hacksaw blade. It was flimsy enough to bend and sturdy enough to hold the light into place once under pressure. I used the original holes in the maplights to mark where the 2 screw's would go, then used a drill and put a couple holes in the blade as seen in Figure 1. Then, as a added precaution I bent the blade so that it would put more pressure at the ends so that it would hold the light snug against the roof lining as shown in Figure 2.
Before mounting the light, I had to run some new wires to the maplight setup. The plug that originally goes to the maplights has 2 wires, negative & positive. When I took the maplights, I also took the plug and a fair amount of wire along with to make sure I had enough to add more if needed. I used the original wires that goto the dome light, and spliced into those. Then ran new wire from the dome light to the new hole in the front of the car. In order for the map lights to work properly, you need to ground the hacksaw blade because the map lights use the mounting screw's as a ground to complete the circuit when the doors are closed.

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Here you can see the way it will be assembled. Figure 3 shows the roof lining, the map lights, and the way the hacksaw blade will be positioned. It was difficult to line up the hacksaw blade with the holes and then screw it in, but here is the easiest way I found to do it.
Screw in one end, and leave the other end unscrewed. Then slide the unscrewed end into the hole until you have enough room to slide the other end of the hacksaw blade into the hole. Attach the plug for the wiring. Center the maplights and try to squeeze your fingers into the hole and bend the hacksaw blade downward so it is against the maplights... then try to align the hacksaw blade so the hole is in the correct position and then slide the screw through the maplight hole and into the hacksaw blade. When the screw is successfully in the hacksaw, remove your fingers from the hole... make sure the lights are centered and there are no wires in the way, and tighten the screw's.

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Figure 4 shows what the completed setup should look like. Screwing the maplights to the hacksaw can be a difficult procedure, but with alot of patience it can be done. I didn't ground my hacksaw blade, so my lights only work if the door is open. I will have to remove everything and solve that problem some other time.

Here's a few shots of the finished project. Now I can finally see what that map really sais!
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-Brian




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