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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I recently read a thread about someone who had evidently seen a picture of my car and asked how such lights can be done (picture below). Well, here's the write up to do it! It's very involved! So buckle your seat belt.



READ THE WHOLE THING FIRST, BEFORE YOU TRY ANYTHING OUT! If anything is missing, then email me at [email protected]. That's a pretty quick way to reach me. :)

Here's my write-up on how to install under the door lights that I feel look much more professional than simply taping LEDs underneath the door frame. I know it's been a long while since I said I'd upload this. I'm sorry it's taken so long! I hope this is worth the wait. It also allows you to install any LED strip without fear that it will be too thick to fit between the door seal and the door trim on the underside of the door.
Remember, I'm assuming that you (like me) are going to want to tap the power in the passenger A-pillar wire harness. I've been told that it is possible to access the same wire harness in the glove box, so if you feel like deviating from my post, feel free!
So, without further ado, here is my writeup!!
Here are the supplies you will need:
1. Soldering gun/iron and Solder material
2. Wire, and quite a bit of it. The wire should be stranded, because stranded wire will generally be more durable, and will probably last longer than solid core wire would under the repeated stresses of opening and closing the doors. You're going to want to make sure you buy two different colors, one for "+" and one for "-". Elementary stuff, I know, but I can't help but include it just to make things easy for the beginner (a.k.a. Myself).
3. Wire stripper
4. Wire cutter
5. Electrical Tape
6. Power drill with a variety of drill bits
7. An array of screwdrivers
8. LED strips, as long as you want depending on how bright you want them to be. I personally put 9 (around 6-7 inches worth) white LED lights on the underside of each door, and in my personal opinion they provide plenty of light. If you're going to use colored lights though, such as blue or red, you may want to use more, depending on whether or not you want them simply for decoration or to actually light up the ground.
9. An array of needle nose pliers
10. Something to set your door trim on (besides the ground) to avoid getting it scratched and dirty
11. A flashlight (optional)
12. Painter's Tape (optional)
13. A voltmeter (optional, but I would recommend you use one)
14. Sometimes, you will probably even want a second person available to help you with certain aspects of trim removal and reinstallation.
15. And finally, quite a bit of time, especially if you're overcautious like I am in removing the door trim. This install took me about 6-7 hours, of course, I was figuring everything out as I went. The second door I did was much faster, nonetheless, make sure you have plenty of time.

Remember, always follow the steps beginning with #1, and read all the notes!


I. Removing the Trim to Access the Passenger A-Pillar Wire Harness
1. Refer to Figure 1 and follow the steps starting with #1 to remove the molding around the dashboard.


2. Now, remove the weather stripping from the car chassis as shown in Figure 3.

3. Once the weather stripping is removed, pull the A-pillar trim away from the car chassis. To remove my A-Pillar I referred to elcobra44's how-to in the knowledge base, so to quote him:
"Grab onto the top of a pillar cover and pull [slowly] toward you. It won't come completely off right away. There is a stud connected on the top of the pillar. Reach your fingers behind the cover and pinch in the tabs of the piece holding the stud and the pillar cover will release." Refer to figures 4 & 5 for a look at it.


4. Figure 6 shows where exactly I personally tapped for power. I soldered the wires together and then taped them with electrical tape I had lying around. There are two routes going off these wires, the white w/red stripe & one of the whites is the circuit to my lights under the dashboard and to the driver door, and the brown and other white is the circuit to the passenger door. The reason there are two is because I had done both "mods" at different times, If I had done them together there would only be one. *When soldering your wires, it is a good idea to place a thick cloth on your dashboard, so no solder drips onto it and burns/melts/uglifies it.*
But I digress.

This picture is mistaken. The positive lead is actually the yellow with white wire. My bad. :/
5. Now that you have your A-pillar trim removed, you are ready to remove your glovebox.


II. Glovebox Removal
Instead of figuring out how to remove the glovebox on my own, I referred to a guide of the other charger forum website (chargersforums Note the lack of a "Z," hahaha. I’m a heathen, I know). Rather than retype everything, I'm just going to copy and paste. Credit to CG Daytona from *************!
"1. Remove all contents of glove box
2. Remove clip on side first. This clip is on a retractable string so do not
let it snap up.
b. There are two tabs on each side of the glove box. Push both in at the
same time and lower glove box. c. The glove box will need to be manipulated somewhat to be completely
removed. " Be careful on the manipulation part. Once again, I'm sure dodge is willing to overcharge you for a new glovebox. So don't break it!

His post goes on, but you don't need to read it any more of it. He was talking about how to install a glovebox light. If you're interested, visit the other charger forum and google around for his post.

III. Removing the door trim
Remove Door Panel on 2008 300 LX

You need a phillips, flat head, and a T-15 torx head bit.

1. Roll both windows down before starting, so you don't accidentally scratch your windows, plus it makes the job easier.
2. On the lower portion of the door panel, remove the phillips screws.
3. On the lower portion of the door panel, lightly push in on the center of the plastic push pins. They will push in about an 1/8 inch, then when you pry out on the door panel, they will just pop out. (Pic #2 & 5) (You don't have to remove the upper push pins. The plastic trim that goes from the front, over the window, to the back, doesn't need to come off)


4. Using a flat head screw driver, gently pry the plastic covers (behind the door handle and behind the door grip, to reveal 2 more phillips screws. Remove the 2 phillips screws. (Pic #1)
http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa195/Alevins5/LED charger write up/1HiddenScrewCovers.jpg


5. Starting at the bottom, gently pry out on the door panel. Move all the way around to the front and rear. The plastic push pins will pop out as you go. Note that there is 3 plastic push clips located toward the top of the door panel on the inside that you can't see or get to (Pic #4). I put my hand up inside from the bottom of the door panel and pryed the door panel out. (They may not come off with the door panel. Don't worry, you can pry them out of the door with a pair of needle nose pliers. Grip the pliers in the recessed area of the clip and gently pry them out. I had 3 that didn't come out and managed to remove all of them without breaking them).

6. When the door panel is loose, gently lift upward and over the rubber lip at the top by the window.
7. When the door panel is separated from the door, look behind the door handle and turn the plastic clip holding door handle actuating rod (the thing that pulls from the handle to open the door). When you turn the clip, lift upward on the rod and it will come out. (Pic #3)

8. Then remove the power connections. I put a towel down on the floor and turned the door panel on its end and sat it down on the towel.

(Credit to LX forum for that)


IV. Drilling the hold into the bottom of the door trim
The reason you’d want to drill holes into the bottom of your trim is because then, once you put the LED on the inside of your trim, they look almost like the factory put them there because they’re flush with the door and no wires are visible. Here’s how to drill the holes. Doing so yields results like this:

1. Take your LED strips and place a piece of paper on top of them. Using a pencil or crayon, color the paper that is directly on top of the LEDs. This should leave a “copy” of what your LEDs look like on the paper, where you’ll be able to see the indentations of the lights and what not.


2. From there, you’re going to need to decide where you want your LEDs to be. I wanted mine towards the back of the trim, but not all the way back, as to illuminate as much of the ground as possible.
3. Now tape your piece of paper onto the trim, leaving your “mold” of the LEDs visible through the tape. For the sake of perfection, make sure that it’s not crooked.
4. You’re going to have to use some of your own judgment here. You want to find a drill bit that will leave a hole in the trim about the size of an LED light. Once you’ve decided what size you are going to use, then you can go ahead and begin drilling.
5. Because I’m paranoid about things like this (taking drills to my car) I started with a smaller drill bit than was necessary to leave a “guide hole” for the bigger drill bit. If you think you can handle the uncertainty of using a big drill bit, then by all means skip this step.

IV. Removing the wire boot for access to the doors
1. Removing the wire boot is extremely tedious! I wasn't exactly sure how it came on and off, so I had a lot of trouble getting my wire through it. I know the temptation is present to simply bypass the boot and tape the LEDs to the bottom of the door, because I’ve seen other people do that. Personally I don’t think it looks that good because of all the exposed wire, plus I think that leaves your LEDs exposed to the elements when they’re not on the inside of the weather stripping. But once again, I digress.
2. It’s important to note that there are indeed wires in the boot that power your windows and locks. You won’t be able to totally remove the boot, but you will be able to run wires through it once you detach it from the car and door sides. When I say “remove” I actually mean “detach.”
3. To remove the rubber boot between the door and the car, you’re going to need to do some tinkering. I can’t even remember exactly how it comes off, but if I do remember correctly, it’s a piece of rubber that comes around the front and top, and then covers a little bit of the back of it too so it doesn’t come off. Grab your small needle nose pliers and painters tape (optional) and tape off the section around the shift book so you don’t mar your paint. You don’t have to do this, but if you’re going through all this trouble to get it to look good you might as well go the whole way. You should know that the boot is covering a small "plug" like thing that doesn't come out. You'll have to run you're wires either through it (if that's possible) or around it. This is where I'm a little fuzzy as to what you have to do since I did this so long ago. Use your own intelligence here. :)
4. Once you have both of the sides of the boot off (the side connected to the car and the side connected to the door) then you need to string your wires (both positive and negative) through the shift boot. This is tedious as well, be patient. There is a foam block in the middle of the shift boot that stays there to help the boot maintain its shape. You’re going to have to get around this preferably without removing it. What I found works best is using one pair of needle nose and push the wire in far, and then use another pair to come in the other side and fish around and grab the wire. Also just a word of advice: trying to thread wire through the passenger door boot and into the car was extremely difficult for me, because you have to work around the parking brake, and other interior components. I suggest using large needle nose pliers with a bend to them, and just working with it until you manage to get the wire through.
5. If you haven’t already, the wire needs to be run through the empty glove box compartment, and up and out up by the A-pillar wires. Now is the time to splice into the correct wires. If you haven’t done so already, turn the dome lights off with the dimmer switch near the steering wheel. The positive wire is the Yellow wire with white stripe. The negative ground is the black wire. (note that I have an ’09. This may be different for you if you have a different model year). In the case that the wires are different, you are going to need a voltmeter to run a series of tests to figure out which wire is which. If this happens to you and you can’t figure it out, lemme know. I’ll help you out. It’s kind of confusing (there are three wires and two different circuits. One runs when the doors are opened, the other runs when the dome lights are flicked on).
Bypassing the Speaker in the Door
You’ll notice that the door boot convienely yields access into the interior of the door. Nifty, right? Well there’s one more hurdle before you can wire the LEDs where they need to go.
1. You’ll notice your speaker is secured to the door by some screws. Remove them.
2. Once the speaker is unfastened, notice that there is a small plastic trim/frame area around the speaker itself. It’s just wide enough to drill a hold in to allow the wires to go through.
3. Drill the hole as small as possible to fit the wires through.
4. Once you’ve done that, thread the wires through the hold, pulling the slack of the wires through it.
5. Remount your speaker, and move on to the next step!

Soldering your LEDs
Now, I’m assuming you have the dome lights turned off at the dimmer switch, and the positive and negative wires soldered to the A-Pillar.
1. Make sure you leave PLENTY of slack. Remember, this wire is going to need some extra length to move when the door opens and closes, and you don’t want to put any stress on it. So make sure there’s plenty of room.
2. Pull the slack of the wire through the door boot and onto the door’s side of the shift boot.
3. Solder the positive and negative wires to their respective places on the LED strip. (If you need help with this just let me know).
4. Test them to make sure everything is in working order by turning on and off your dome lights at the dimmer switch. If it’s not working, make sure you have the correct wires soldered to the correct wires in the A-pillar. If it’s all-good there, then make sure you have the correct wires soldered to the LED strip. If the LED still doesn’t come on, but all you’re dome lights do, then you have probably wired it to the wrong circuit. Ask for help at this point if you can’t figure it out. If I can’t answer your questions, I’m sure somebody else on here will be able to.
5. If everything is in working order, it’s time to move on to the next step.
Taping the LEDs into the interior of the door trim.
1. Don’t be afraid to use too much tape. The more tape, the better. You don’t want these lights going out of place and you to have to remove your door panel again to put them back correctly.
2. Line up the lights with the holes that you’ve made using your guide. They should fit perfectly in line with it.
3. If they don’t, take the drill and make the necessary modifications so the lights will fit. Ideally, this shouldn’t happen though.
4. Now that the lights are lined up, apply liberal amounts of tape (I used brown packing tape) over the lights, taping them to the interior of the door trim.
5. Also, Tape the nearest inch or two of the wire closest to the LED strip to the door trim as well, to take the stress off of the solder.
6. Test your LEDs again to make sure they are still in working order.
Re-Installing the Door Trim:
It’s time to put the door trim back on!
1. Put the 3 white push clips back on the inside of the door panel (that is if any didn't come off with the door panel and are still stuck in the door). (Pic #4)

2. Re-install the power connections.
3. Insert the door handle rod back in the hole and turn the plastic clip holding the rod. (Pic #3)

4. Place the door panel back on at the top, over the first rubber lip. Gently work the door panel back in, making sure the 3 white push clips on the inside are going back in their holes properly.
5. Then take the push clips and push their center pin back out, where they are sticking out about an 1/8". Install the push pins back into the door panel and gently push the center pins back in where they are flush. (Pic #5)

6. Re-install all phillips scews and the 2 small plastic covers.


Re-installing the Rubber door boot
1.This is about as tricky as taking it off. I can’t really give any instructions on this one, because for all I know there’s really no set way to get it back onto the car. I can give you some tips though. What seemed to work for me was starting at the backside on the bottom. Somehow that seemed to work better than any other method I tried. You’ll just have to work with it. =(
Further Instructions and tips
• The above write up was only for the passenger side door. However, the driver side door is identical in all respects except a few. Really the only difference is that it’s significantly more difficult to get the wire through the door boot. Luckily, I have some tips for that
o On the driver side, first remove your door trim. Then take the door boot off the door and car sides, like on the passenger side.
o Make sure you have enough wire to get from one side of the car to the other, and then some to get into the door and leave slack. You have to tap into the passenger A-pillar again for power, you you’re going to have to thread it through the dashboard, which is difficult..
o Thread the wire through the opening on the car side, and into the car. You’ll need a rather large pair of needlenose pliers, and probably a flashlight, to find it. It’s difficult because of the emergency brake assembly, but you’ll get it eventually.
o Now you need to wire the positive and negative wires through the dashboard and glovebox compartment to the passenger A-Pillar. I did it by having my dad hold a flashlight on the other side of the dashboard inside of the glovebox compartment (which is removed) and that’s how you find a path through the dashboard – just follow the light where an opening is.
o Then, splice into the wires you used to power the Passenger door LEDs.
o If you have a voltmeter, turn on the power with the dimmer switch and test the wires that you’ve put through the driver side door boot opening.
o Then follow all the steps for getting it through the boot, into the door, through the speaker frame, and into the door area and repeat the steps for drilling, soldering, and taping it into the door.
o Test the lights. If they work, reinstall the door trim, glovebox, A-pillar trim, and you’re finished!
 

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Great write up, thanks
 

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Wow....STICKY! Awesome write up! I might try this when I tear the interior down.
 

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Suscribed!! i did my own underdash/front seat lights so might add this too! great write up!
 

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Wow, that was a lot of work! Nice mod, but I don't think I'll go that route- looks too hard to do; still, this should get sticky'd, well written with pics, always a plus.
 

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Nice work!
I could see that coming in handy while trying to change tires at night at the track! Plus it looks awesome!:beerchug:
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Haha thanks for the overwhelmingly positive response! If anybody attempts this and needs some help, I'm always willing to try and answer some questions! I know this mod looks pretty intimidating for such small results (a few lights under the door) but they look amazing at night, especially when you have LED interior lights too.

Suscribed!! i did my own underdash/front seat lights so might add this too! great write up!
That's how it was with me too, I had done the under the dash lights, so I was like, what the heck. I'll put 'em under the door too. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
This is a sick mod. It now goes on my list.

Did you do the rear doors as well?
Yeah I did actually! I just recently did them over this past summer. It was somewhat harder than the front doors in my opinion for a couple reasons.I wired them from the front A-pillar lead that I had that was powering my front two doors, and then it has to go underneath the trim to the back, where they had to go up into the middle pillar, through the boot and into the door. The main reason it was difficult was that, unlike the front doors, the rear doors don't have very many holes behind the trim. In the front doors, you can unscrew the speaker and you have some nice access to the wire boot. But in the rear doors what I had to do was tape the wire to a coat hanger that I bent into a loose hook shape, and work it through the door, into the boot, and out the other side. It was painfully tedious, but in my opinion worth it! I love the way they light up at night! I definitely wouldn't have installed these under the door in any other way.
 

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Awesome. Now if only it wasn't getting cold. This is going to have to wait untill next spring but it will be done!
 

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Thats awesome. Great job!
 

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Just did this to my '06 charger but used blue LED's instead. Thanks for the write up and pics. It was pretty easy to do. The hardest part was fishing the wire into the car. To get the wire from the drivers side to the passenger side I took off the bezel around the radio and also took out the ashtray. So much easier to get the wire through. It looks pretty cool at night and even the blue lights light up the ground alot.
 
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