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          Garrett included this tip in his Journal on the Hotrodders site back in Decmeber 2004. He thought it may be helpful to some of the Bolters. Garrett has a lot of good information in his Journal, and keeps adding. Be sure to check it out. ~ Editor

Adding Dome Light Door Switches
Garrett Hestla
1959 Chevy Suburban
Bolter # 4970

Need more info on this Tech Tip?

Check these Q&A's in the forum

May 2011

<< click on image for larger view >>

In the quest to civilize my 1959 Chevy Suburban, I decided to try wiring door switches for the interior dome light. After a little help from some folks on the Chevytalk forum, I bought three generic, older style door switches from the parts store.

The process was simple. The dome light gets two wires. One is constant 12 volts. The other is for the ground.

When the headlight switch is turned counter-clockwise, the ground wire is "grounded" completing the circuit and illuminating the bulb. All I had to do was find this ground wire after the headlight switch and splice into it. The wire I spliced into will then go to all three door switches (two front doors and one back).

The door switches are also simple. When the switch is open, it grounds to the body. When they are depressed, they don't.

I ran the wire from the splice to each of the front door switches. After crimping and connecting I was done with the front.

The real fun started when I tried to get another feed of the wire up through the windshield pillar. I finally borrowed a friend's fish tape. After fighting with the fish tape for 30 minutes, I managed to get the wire through. Then I had to run the wire to the rear barn doors. Once I routed it back above the rear door, I discovered the only way down inside the body was a tiny hole just big enough for the fish tape. I had to do some drilling but I finally got it through.

Once the switch was wired, I was in for another surprise. The switch was way too long. There was less clearance on the rear doors than the front doors. I needed a totally different switch.

After visiting an electronics distributor in Nashville, I tried again the next night. This time I had a short shank plastic switch. It worked great. I did have to ground one of the terminals to complete the circuit.

Except for chipping the paint excessively (what's up with that?), the process went well. The first picture shows the rear door switch and the second picture shows a front door. And here's a "shot in the dark."

I also added one more switch in the dash so I could bypass the door switches. This way, if I need to leave the doors open for a long time the lights don't burn.




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