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Side Saddle Cargo Lights On Mod


Full Member
Jul 29, 2002
Baileyton, Alabama

The general had enough foresight to have the cargo light serve a dual purpose. ?One, it lets dim light in the cargo area. ?And two, when the light is on and it is dark, the light will shine in the side compartments. ?However, the key here is when the cargo light button is pushed. ?This is where the mod takes over. ?The mod will take you about an hour to complete. ?Real simple. ?If you have done the pin switch mod for the tailgate, you can piggyback a connection for this mod. ?The Cargo Lamp On message comes on if theres a problem with the pin switch or if you leave the lid open as you drive. My digital camera is limited to about 5 X 5 pix so Bruce Cronquist has the credit for some of the photos and wording since this is a lot like the Installing a Cargo Area Light Pin Switch thread. ?


- ? ? ?Pin switch. Get one with the longest throw (pin) possible. ?I used a JS43 GP Sorensen Switch from Advance Auto Parts. ?If you use this switch in the same location I picked, you will have to add a rubber bumper to meet the switch. ?I could not find a longer switch. ?Must be a two wire-connecting switch.
- ? ? ?Bell reducer that fits the Pin Switch. ?This added a little extra height and required a larger hole. ?I did this because I did not like the small hole for the switch from a holding stand point of view.
- 14 or 16 gauge Wire
- Two crimp-on connectors for the pin switch and a round hole connector.
- Crimp-on tap splice, be sure it is for the 14 or 16 gauge wire. ?(Another run to the parts place for me)
- Drill and a 31 64th or .484 bit for the bell reducer.
- Multi-meter if you like. ?Wire will show 12 volts on either one. ?Just use the blue ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? wire.


1) Open the tailgate and remove the back two hard covers (or soft cover) for access. Open and clean out the sidesaddle storage container on the side where you want to do the wiring. I used the driver side because it is the one I use most.

2) Remove the three screws holding in the cargo light. Push the light into the sidesaddle storage area and turn it around so you can see the wire plug. Twist the socket to remove the light. There is not a whole lot of slack in the wire. ?Thank to a GM cost reduction.

3) The Blue wire is the wire you will work with. Ground the wire and the light comes on.

4) Mark the wire.

5) On the same side of the truck, remove the handhold (three torx screws). ?I am still working on that stainless steel torx screw mod here.

6) Remove the screws holding the sidesaddle storage door. You dont have to remove it. You just have to be able to pry it up enough so you can get a hand inside between the sheet metal to run the wire.

7) Pull away the vertical gasket.

:cool: Lift the side compartment and notice where the lid is bolted there is a safe area to the right closest to you. ?This is where I placed my switch. ?You can see there is a lot of room below for the wire.

9) Drill the hole.

10) Coat the threads of the bell reducer (if used) with some sealant and screw it in. ?You will have a hard time getting it started. ?My reducer used a 5/8 socket. ?Place a 5/16 nut in the socket then the bell reducer to allow the thing to stick out of your socket. ?Screw it in.

11) Connect the crimp-on connector to one end of the wire.

12) Reach under the side saddle and connect the connector to the back of the pin switch.

13) Route the wire to the top, under the plastic, and in to the storage area. You can use stick-on wire clamps to hold the wire up and out of the way. ?Run another short wire to ground. ?I used a round connector and used the torx bolt holding the handhold.

14) Use a crimp-on tap splice and connect the wire to the marked wire on the light socket as pictured.

15) Test it by pushing the pin switch in. The light should go out. ?

16) Put the socket back into the lens and screw the lens back into the side of the cargo area.

17) Reverse engineer and enjoy!

1:cool:The lid works well with the mag light mod. ?More weigh means less closing effort.
19) Do the other side if you like. ?
I could not get the pictures to insert. ?Will try later. ?One is 315K so it is too big. ?I will see what I can do.