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For those people on here that are still looking for a simple solution to the Transit cargo area lights that stay on for an extended period when any door is open, and that have no way to turn them off like the cab dome light has…here is the solution that I came up with.
I didn’t want to have to open up the main trunk of wires going into the cargo area to try to find the cargo area light wiring to put a switch in the cargo area. I wasn’t comfortable with messing with those wires back there…too many wires to make a mistake with!


While changing out my cargo area LED’s, I accidently touched one of the light socket contacts to the van’s metal framing, and blew the cargo area light fuse. So, getting into owner’s manual, and fuse box under the dash, to the right side of the steering wheel, I discover that there is a different fuse for the cargo area lights, and the cab area dome/map lights. So, a light comes on in my head….pardon the pun!...Why not put a simple little switch right there near the fuse box for the cargo area lights? So I got the parts as shown in my pictures, with a little bit of 16g wiring and made a fusible linked switch from my fuse box to little rocker switch right there near my fuse box. I looked into putting it more up on the dash, but it looked too difficult to get it into the dash and run the wires…my big hands couldn’t reach up much higher in the dash, and I am fine with it right where it is. I hardly ever even have that switch on, because I work out of my van during the day, and don’t need those lights burning during the day when I have the doors open.


The fuse socket connector kit from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001TCXOTW/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
The mini fuse link…from Walmart…yes Walmart! The auto parts stores only carried a 12g fuse link, which was a heavier wire than needed.
The rocker switch (came in a 2 pack only) from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00E1L7P3Y/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
16 gauge wire with .25 connectors and barrel splice connector came from an electrician friend.


And BTW, the Amazon LED’s I got are the brightest, LED’s I have ever seen…they light up the cargo area like daylight at night! …LUYED 33smd error free LED’s…link below.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0177C3AZ0/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

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Nice work, nice pictures. Great idea. I've got a huge list of things to do once it warms up. Thanks!
 

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I was originally going to add a switch to the fuse, but installed a SPDT on/off/on switch by the slider entrance above the passenger seatbelt.
In the wire loom along the top driver side wall, the white/blue stripe wire is the switched ground for the cab lights; they receive a constant positive. I pulled a couple of the cab lights and they are all wired with the same markings, which split into forward and rear wires where the wires to the forward cab lights come out. I cut the WH/blu wire forward of the split, ran two wires to the switch by the slider (one SEND from cab side of wiring, the other RETURN to cargo side of wiring from center post on my switch. I added a constant ground to the other other post on my switch. I can have the cargo lights operate normally, have them off all the time, or on as needed. About 45 minutes of work; less than a beer.
 

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surlyBill... you need to drink your beer faster :D
One beer per hour is the accepted rate of consumption for undercover surveillance. I was keeping my eye on the wiring.
 
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Do the interior lights shut off automatically if you leave them on in a Transit?
GM has that on their Vans, nice protection to not run out of battery.
 

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Do the interior lights shut off automatically if you leave them on in a Transit?
GM has that on their Vans, nice protection to not run out of battery.
Yes, they shut off, but there are a couple different timers for different scenarios. The longest is 20 minutes, and that's when you open a door and leave it open. They turn off in a short amount of time if you open a door and then close it. They shut off almost immediately if you lock the doors with the remote.

A lot of people don't want their lights staying on for 20 minutes as they get stuff in or out of the van.
 
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I bought a switch from Hein at DIYvan.com that fits perfectly in the dash , then ran a couple wires down to the fuse block ( I think it's f35). Also added and inline fuse holder. Love be NV able to shut those annoying lights off when I don't need them, which is most of the time. Simple mod.


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Just added the switch inline on the blue/white wire on the loom. Drilled a hole in the plastic just behind the driver for the switch. Ill probably re-rout all the wires eventually through the panels in the van but this will work for now. First mod on the new van, the paint is on the canvas! I was even able to clip the plastic back in place so I guess I didn't break too many clips..
 

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Hi Surly Bill - can you provide any more details about this. I am adding two more rows of factory lights in two of the ceiling ribs and am debating whether or not to wire those independently with a switch and directly to the battery or do something like you did. can you show pics of where you added the SEND and RETURN. with any SPDT switch work? How did you ground it?

Appreciate your help! Love the look of your switch set up and accessibility.


I was originally going to add a switch to the fuse, but installed a SPDT on/off/on switch by the slider entrance above the passenger seatbelt.
In the wire loom along the top driver side wall, the white/blue stripe wire is the switched ground for the cab lights; they receive a constant positive. I pulled a couple of the cab lights and they are all wired with the same markings, which split into forward and rear wires where the wires to the forward cab lights come out. I cut the WH/blu wire forward of the split, ran two wires to the switch by the slider (one SEND from cab side of wiring, the other RETURN to cargo side of wiring from center post on my switch. I added a constant ground to the other other post on my switch. I can have the cargo lights operate normally, have them off all the time, or on as needed. About 45 minutes of work; less than a beer.
 

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Just added the switch inline on the blue/white wire on the loom. Drilled a hole in the plastic just behind the driver for the switch. Ill probably re-rout all the wires eventually through the panels in the van but this will work for now. First mod on the new van, the paint is on the canvas! I was even able to clip the plastic back in place so I guess I didn't break too many clips..
Is this like the surlybill set up? pics? how did you ground it?
 

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I'll butt in because I'm procrastinating rather do what I'm supposed to be doing. FWIW. Jaross' description sounds fairly close to what Surly did. Jaross doesn't mention a ground while Surly does.

The most basic circuit I'm thinking is the equivalent of cutting the blue/white wire, having one end in each hand, and then touching them together when you want lights and then pulling them away when you when them off. An SPST switch. Cut the blue/white wire. One end (doesn't matter which) connects to one terminal of the switch. The other end of the wire connects to the other terminal. That sounds like Jaross.

Surly is a bit more complicated and his switch has permanently on, permanently off, or controlled by the van's timer positions.(I need to learn a CAD program. The drawing is embarrassing - MS Paint). Let's see if this is what Surly actually did. The description was a bit confusing.
 

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Hi Surly Bill - can you provide any more details about this. I am adding two more rows of factory lights in two of the ceiling ribs and am debating whether or not to wire those independently with a switch and directly to the battery or do something like you did. can you show pics of where you added the SEND and RETURN. with any SPDT switch work? How did you ground it?

Appreciate your help! Love the look of your switch set up and accessibility.
I split the factory wiring to the overhead cargo lights at the first ceiling rib, the one above the slider. That wire is a switched ground wire, and it splits into two wires in the loom (one for forward set of lights, the other for the back). I cut it before the split, ran it over to the slider under the headliner and back. The ground for "always on" was made by adding a short wire to some bolt or screw near where I put the switch.

Be aware; the positive side of the power to the lights does shut off after half an hour, and the "always on" setting will not turn the lights on. A DPDT switch which is set to run the factory settings AND connected to the battery would take care of that (the "always on" output feeding the battery power).
 
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forgive my freehand drawing of the circuit but you get the idea
 

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I'll butt in because I'm procrastinating rather do what I'm supposed to be doing. FWIW. Jaross' description sounds fairly close to what Surly did. Jaross doesn't mention a ground while Surly does.

The most basic circuit I'm thinking is the equivalent of cutting the blue/white wire, having one end in each hand, and then touching them together when you want lights and then pulling them away when you when them off. An SPST switch. Cut the blue/white wire. One end (doesn't matter which) connects to one terminal of the switch. The other end of the wire connects to the other terminal. That sounds like Jaross.

Surly is a bit more complicated and his switch has permanently on, permanently off, or controlled by the van's timer positions.(I need to learn a CAD program. The drawing is embarrassing - MS Paint). Let's see if this is what Surly actually did. The description was a bit confusing.

I appreciate the insight. I like Surly's set up since it has the ability to default to the van's timer settings as well. But if it is more difficult or higher margin for error then Id rather default to simpler.

Here is my idea, add 4 more of the stock cargo lights in the two ceiling ribs (2 in each rib). I will put LEDs in all the cargo lights and the map lights (o/h cab light).

I am debating whether or not to wire the two added rows in with the factory harness and doing a Surly Bill style switch -- OR -- wire them separately and have them work independently using a spst switch and power directly from the battery.

If I went with the latter option, how many LEDs are ok to run in one string? The hot set up would be for me to have three rows of LEDs (a total of 6 lights) on the switch. These three rows would illuminate the van in the evenings/night when its dark outside. I don't think there is much concern about running the batteries dead by using these lights for 2-3 hours at a time but I will find out hahaha.

The rear cargo lights and map lights would provide adequate lighting when unlocking at night and if I need more light I could turn the switch to get more light.
 

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I split the factory wiring to the overhead cargo lights at the first ceiling rib, the one above the slider. That wire is a switched ground wire, and it splits into two wires in the loom (one for forward set of lights, the other for the back). I cut it before the split, ran it over to the slider under the headliner and back. The ground for "always on" was made by adding a short wire to some bolt or screw near where I put the switch.

Be aware; the positive side of the power to the lights does shut off after half an hour, and the "always on" setting will not turn the lights on. A DPDT switch which is set to run the factory settings AND connected to the battery would take care of that (the "always on" output feeding the battery power).
Thank you for the additional info sir! The drawing helped a lot!
 

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A separate, independent lighting system in addition to the factory system would be ideal, then you can have it both ways. But you'd still want to be able to switch the factory system off. I'm putting a separate system on my cabinets, the overheads aren't very pleasant for camping use.
 
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