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Rear Step Lights


SM 2003
Full Member
Aug 7, 2002
The Bug's at it again....... :0:

First picture:

Now without the flash...............

Finally, a close-up:

These came from Radio Shack. Part Number is 272-332(c). they are listed as "Red Snap-In 12VDC Lamp Assembly" Fits 1/2" hole, 10,000 hour lamp life.

Installation was a breeze. If you drill into the top surface there isn't any metal reinforcement to deal with: just make a 1/2" hole about 3" out from the junction where the rear, inside, and top surfaces meet, thread your hookup wire through, and the bulb snaps into place with 2 plastic spring-type tensioners. Tap into the trailer harness ( White=ground, Brown=taillights), Scotchlock and electrical tape it all up and whenever your parking or headlamps are on your steps will light up as well.

Modding is like Shaving......
If you don't do it every day you're a Bum!

:B: :B: :B:


(y) doh! why didnt i think of that? you could also use a LED lights for that. much brighter and diff colors to match your truck! time to charge up my drill! lets get to work! ;D
Wow - that sounds like a great idea! I wonder if my very basic knowledge of the electrical world would allow me to complete this mod? :cautious:
:B: :B:


If this took a genius, it wouldn't be on my truck........ ;)

The bulbs are 12 volts DC, which is what the truck is. In the '02 Av Owners Manual if you look up "trailering", one of the indexes is for the hitch harness - the color code is broken down for you. Under the rear bumper on the driver's side you'll see a cable sheath that terminates at the plug next to the hitch. The sheath is slotted and all the wires are inside. I used Scotchlocks so I didn't need a soldering iron. I added wire ( I used 4-lead thermostat wire and doubled up the leads - the stuff already has an outer covering on it, so it's plenty weatherproof) , joined them together, tapped the harness, and wiretied everything to be neat.......

Total time about 30 minutes - the hardest part was having the guts to drill the fascia! ;D

Hope this helps

Now that is one AWSOME, cheap, MOD-
Oh man,
I am going to radio shack. I have already printed this out and ready to mod-
too cool.....
An interesting mod. Good imagination!

rclydly said:
you could also use a LED lights for that.
Using an LED has many advantages, especially long life. However, there is also a down side in that they are very directional and the majority of the light comes out of the tip. If it were installed in the top of the step as shown, most of the light will shine down on the step tread, and not out. While this might look great with Ted's polished diamond tread step plates, it might be dissapointing otherwise.

The LED would need to be mounted so that it shines out the back, meaning it would either have to be mounted at 90 degrees, or mounted on the back wall of the step. If mounted on the back step, then drilling through metal is required. Do a search for got_change's step mounted backup lights for details on what he went though there.

Also remember that an LED needs a dropping resistor to limit the current and prevent the LED from burning up. This resistor needs to be in series with the LED, and the value will depend on the desired current, and to a lesser degree the junction voltage of the LED.

Still, with the right jumbo size high brightness LED, and an appropriate mount, an LED would be cool.

lightbg said:
I added wire ( I used 4-lead thermostat wire and doubled up the leads - the stuff already has an outer covering on it, so it's plenty weatherproof)
If others are following in your footsteps, I would recommend against the thermostat wire. It's smaller than the trailer wiring, which means that the trailer tail light fuse is too big for the thermostat wire. If there were to be a short in that wire, it could overheat and melt/catch fire without the fuse popping to protect it. That wire really should be at least the same size as the trailer harness wire that is being tapped, or there should be an additional small fuse in-line where the tap is beng made (as there is in the LOF.)

Another concern is that the thermostat wire is probably solid and not stranded. Solid wire is not as flexible, and if bent too many times will break. That can be a concern in a high vibration/shock environment like under a truck. Over time, the vibrations can stress the wire leading to breakage. When broken, the lights will either stop working, or the broken/weakened area can overheat.

It's not really a serious risk, and I wouldn't bother ripping out what you have already done. However, anyone else considering doing it, if you're going to go to all the effort, it would be better to use the right wire. Lamp cord is the appropriate size, but the insulation will get brittle over time being exposed to the elements.

After saying all of that, it sounds like I'm coming down hard on you. That's not my intention, I think you've done a great job, and I wish I thought of it. (y)

-- SS
:B: :B:


No offense taken, as none was meant. I surely can handle constructive criticism, and your dissertation on the mounting angle of the LED's and the gauge of the wire I know is on the money - I've learned a lot from your other posts. The reason I went with bulbs instead of LED's was twofold: I can't get the hang of selecting the correct dropping resistor, and this was the most compact, direct, and easiest installation I could think of. The camera doesn't show it, but this particular bulb casts a subtle flood of light on the step plate, yet protrudes enough from the top surface to light the entire well, including the two bowties I have placed there. I also chose red because I didn't want a hassle from any NJ local or state law enforcement (the DMV has rather strict views on what colors should be there) and my Av is Victory Red. ;D

I enjoy this board because of the knowledge and experience of the membership, and in this case you have improved my concept to the point where I'm sure others will have no difficulty whatsoever........ (y)

BTW - the thermostat wire is 22 ga. stranded.........

and, here is a quote from the Radio Shack specifications page on these bulbs:

Pilot Lamp Assembly (272-0332) Specifications Faxback Doc. # 14549

Current draw at 12 VDC.....................................59.1 to 63.3 mA

Specifications are typical; individual units might vary. Specifications
are subject to change without notice.


Jake :D
You modders are detrimental to my health, my life, and my marriage. How dare you come up with another totally cool add on like this?

Great, I just got back from WalMart..

Now I gotta go out again and go to Radio Shack.

I am singlehandedly stimulating the economy with my GM card purchases.

Seriously, this is why I am addicted to this forum. The ideas are virtually endless and there is always somebody brave enough (or stupid enough--or both) to try it first.

Thanks guys!

I mod, therefore i am. " Modicus, ergo, sum"
lightbg said:
The reason I went with bulbs instead of LED's was twofold: I can't get the hang of selecting the correct dropping resistor, and this was the most compact, direct, and easiest installation I could think of.
Valid reasons. I think the lamps are the way to go. LEDs would probably be more reliable in the end, but as you say, they have drawbacks.

I also chose red because I didn't want a hassle from any NJ local or state law enforcement (the DMV has rather strict views on what colors should be there) and my Av is Victory Red.
Oh yes, I think red is the way to go. (y)

BTW - the thermostat wire is 22 ga. stranded.........
I had said before don't bother ripping it out. Now I'm sure you should leave it alone. With doubled up 22 ga. you should be fine. The only time you're going to get in trouble is if you have a dead short, AND one of the two wires breaks. Then you're putting all the current in one wire, and it may overheat. But I really think you're safe here.

-- SS
ok, you av guys, and girls, here in the mod zone..lightbug, mm , ss,sands,crisis, all of ya'

you all are here, for the thrillin' of the drillin"

i have punched, a, bunch,......of holes in my cladding........and as the authorized,cafcna club member,
known, as got change, just gotta give my respect, for the vision, of a.....hole here, and there, thru the cladding which gives us, the avalanche that we all enjoy.

enjoy, to,drive, ...enjoy to MOD(and mod is a ...good word) and enjoy, to enjoy, with our av brothers and sisters modded or not, on the avalanche ,highway.

"tis the season, to be moddin" av ,ha ha ha my av ha ha ha.

got changes "punch list" holes drilled thru cladding.

in sequential order from now in reverse, for 1, year.

last week,.... 191,000 candle power , back up lights in rear bumper steps, both sides,obviously, and brightly

7, months ago, rear bumper beverage holders.... beer, ..I mean beverage can holders thru rear bumper step, cheapie, but very usefull, natural drilling, mod

oval dual exhaust, splitter pipe, thru right rear clad, inner, and outer fender hole cut, tough, but probably the only av on the road with this mod.

front fender air extractors, simple gotta cut the clad option, shared with, ahhnuld, wiki, sparky, ...murf,?planet av, and maybe a few more

Why, because we ...liketuu, set our avs off a tidbit from the bunch..

year, 2002, friends, av buddies, reason, we are all driving, and enjoying our avs, so lets do it again, one more time for 2003, .....drive on, and mod on.. av drivers! got change
A great thing I learned to use for running exterior auto lighting is a cheep outdoor extension cord. At Wally World you can get green or black 100 foot extension cord for about 8 bucks. 3 wires and 16 gage. Great for a lot of mods. Also looking for a cheap source of #2 wire for inverter or similar , look a the cheaper jumper cables. 6-7 bucks can get you 20-24 feet (y)

keep on modding
spectron said:
Great, I just got back from WalMart..

Now I gotta go out again and go to Radio Shack.

Yeah, yeah, yeah... but I'll bet your drivin' the Av'... :)What better excuse to take it for another drive today.

I find myself just aimlessly driving in mine. Those 10 minute trips to pick up something often turn in to 3 hour cruises.!! >:D

:B: :B:
Hey All,

Just in case some of you were wondering about how big these bulbs are, here's a photo:


The red housing is just over 3/4" in length, and the wire connections are sealed, so you don't have to put any silicone sealer on it (although a dab along the retaining ring might help to keep it in place - mine are in 4 days through a snowstorm and haven't moved :D )

They do add a nice touch to an otherwise empty corner of the Av.

Happy Modding!


>:DYa'll didn't think i would miss out on this one did ya...........?
Well after yaking back with the bug a few times, got every thing together and da da done it.........

Thanks for the info, LightBugggggggggg.
I'll see how the bowties hold up, My AV is black so i thought the black stripe would help. We'll see how long the keychain bowties last >:D
I did this mod today and all the same as lightbg -except I tied in at the licence plate lights,this seemed like a good place in-line of rear bumper.My 2 cents
:B: :B:


If you could describe (or better yet throw some pics together) how the tie-in to the L/P lamps worked, I think that would be a lot simpler than the way I did it. I went to the trailer harness simply because I did it with the LOF............ it didn't even occur to me to do what you did. Your way keeps the harness intact and makes the wire run shorter with the same effect.........nice touch! ;D

I love this site - a great bunch of thinkers :0:

Lightbg-One of the nice things about this site is even when you mod a mod you get thanks.I just followed the wires from the tag lights to where they T into the harness.Looks like part of the LOF at night,thanks again Lightbg.
:0:Just completed a mod with the LOF that I just have to share. Some may think it?s a bit much but it sure looks great at night and if you want to be noticed at night this is the way to go. Bought a roll of silver reflective tape (My AV is Pewter) form Gills (you can use any color), the 60 in. long size and cut ? in. X 60 in. piece which I placed on the upper flange of the LOF. This works two way?s at night, It reflects to on coming vehicles when the LOF is off and also doubles the effect of the LOF when it?s on in a real unique way :cool:. Haven?t taken any pictures yet but will post when I do.
OK - I give! Just how did you drill a half-inch hole into the top of the step recess ... remove the rear bumper cladding?