SSR Under Hood Retractable Cord Light Installation
On most of my vehicles, I’ve made several lighting upgrades, since the manufacturers in recent years have deleted many of those that were previously installed as standard factory equipment such as footwell courtesy lights and under hood lights. I just completed an under hood lighting upgrade on my SSR for less than $10- here’s how.
Many Chevy and GM full size pickups and SUVs in the 1990s had a retractable cord reel light mounted to the passenger side inner fender in the engine compartment. These lights are still available at junkyards and I recently bought one, along with its complete wiring harness and inline fuse, for $5.00. I mounted it in the SSR engine compartment to the left side of the airbox, where it fits very well, and routed the harness around the washer fluid bottle, connecting the ground terminal to an inner fender mounting bolt, and the power lead to the leftmost positive terminal of the under hood electrical center. I used the lower one of the two existing airbox mounting screw holes for the lower mounting point of the light, and drilled one 9/32 inch diameter hole, templated from the light, through an external support of the airbox. This upper hole will be very tight to a corner of the airbox, so I opted to use a socket head capscrew (which has a smaller head than a conventional hex bolt) and self-locking nut for this fastener. You will also need to replace the Torx head screw removed from the lower airbox mount with a longer one to capture the speed fastener on the airbox. It is not necessary to use the third mounting hole on the light.
This light has a magnetic base and can be extended to reach all the way to the right rear fender of your SSR. I’ve also found it useful when I needed a quick look for items in the interior at night. One word of note: these lights are not moisture-proof and I’ve had to disassemble a couple of the used ones I’ve bought to clean or repair corroded internal terminals…an easy task but be aware that you might have some minor cleanup to do on a used light. New lights may still be available from GM but when I last checked about three years ago, I think they cost about $45 without the harness. The total cost of my modification- the light, wiring harness, a new light bulb, two capscrews and a self-locking nut- was less than $10. See the photos of the final installation.