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How to: 88-98 OBS Cab Clearance Lights Install w/ Pics

Discussion in 'Do It Yourself Articles - How To's & Product Revie' started by 88gmctruck, Jun 22, 2009.

  1. 88gmctruck

    88gmctruck 02GMCtruck

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    Auburn, Wa
    Disclaimer: This is a guide, and I am NOT responsible for any holes you drill in your roof. Measure twice!

    Here is the procedure I used to install OEM cab clearance lights on my truck. It took me about 3 months to finally bust out the drill and go to town. I got my cab lights from a seller on ebay for a total of $45 shipped. This included gaskets, new lenses, screws and the wiring harness (all of which are WAY more at the dealer, the harness is like $60 alone). I ended up ordering the factory nut insert, which ran about $7. Below is a list of parts needed to install these lights.

    Lens ------------------ 15951646
    Base ------------------- 15691885
    Harness ---------------- 15302097
    Bulbs ------------------ Style 194
    Nut -------------------- 11609841 - Requires special tool to install
    Screw ------------------ ? - They are metric M8x.5x30 I believe

    There is an option to use a different nut/screw setup. I went to the local Ace hardware store and got the same style nut insert in rubber with matching stainless screws. I feel these work just as well as the factory nuts, and since they are rubber help seal the screws better. They also don't require a special tool to install. Below is the factory crimp nut and screw. :D

    [​IMG]

    To start off you will need to determine where you want the cablights. I chose to install them in the factory locations. I measured one of the 3500HD trucks at work and drew this little diagram up. I then layed down masking take (to mark on) and set the lights up in their positions to check everything out.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Once you are satisfied with the position, check and re-check your measurements and centerpunch the locations for the nut inserts. The factory inserts use a 5/16” hole, while the rubber inserts I used have a 3/8” hole. Start out with a small bit and work your way up.

    [​IMG]
    Now you can test fit the nut inserts. Once they are in, mark measure the distance from the large light socket hole to one of the nut holes, and mark and punch it. Now, for the fun part. You have to drill a 1 3/16” hole for the light socket and gasket to fit through.

    [​IMG]

    Finish up your holes, and you should have something like this.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Clean out the metal shavings and put a little bit of paint on the exposed edges to prevent rust. Now run your wiring harness. It runs across the roof, down the driver’s pillar to the underdash distribution block where it plugs in.

    [​IMG]

    Once the harness is in, install the nuts, gaskets, lights and lenses. If you have Sirius or XM, you have the option to conceal your satellite antenna in a cablight. I took my Sirius antenna apart and fed the wire down through the roof, and put the antenna itself in a light. It’s extremely discrete way of having satellite radio and now the stupid magnet antenna isn’t scratching your roof (not like I cared about that anymore :lol:).

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  2. 88gmctruck

    88gmctruck 02GMCtruck

    1,973
    170
    Mar 16, 2009
    Auburn, Wa
  3. merlin5577

    merlin5577 Diesel > Gasoline

    322
    1
    Feb 23, 2009
    Taunton, MA
    Awesome! Great write up and pictures, thanks!
     
  4. 88gmctruck

    88gmctruck 02GMCtruck

    1,973
    170
    Mar 16, 2009
    Auburn, Wa
    I'll be doing another writeup for 99-07c cablights as well in the next few days.
     
  5. merlin5577

    merlin5577 Diesel > Gasoline

    322
    1
    Feb 23, 2009
    Taunton, MA
    Any chance you could do 1978-1987 too?
     
  6. 88gmctruck

    88gmctruck 02GMCtruck

    1,973
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    Mar 16, 2009
    Auburn, Wa
    73-87 use the same gasket/nut setup as 88-98 trucks, IIRC. I don't have access to a truck with the lights unfortunatly.
     
  7. merlin5577

    merlin5577 Diesel > Gasoline

    322
    1
    Feb 23, 2009
    Taunton, MA
    Hmmmm.... So I could adapt that to my 1985 pretty easily?
     
  8. 88gmctruck

    88gmctruck 02GMCtruck

    1,973
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    Mar 16, 2009
    Auburn, Wa
    Basic install should be the same, they use a similar rubber gasket. The hole sizes and locations will be different, I'd measure a truck with them first if you wanted them in OEM locations.
     
  9. merlin5577

    merlin5577 Diesel > Gasoline

    322
    1
    Feb 23, 2009
    Taunton, MA
    Thanks man! Much appreciated.
     
  10. Are you stoned? They're entirely different. :p
     
  11. I will be doing them on my 83 and when I do I will most definitely do a write up.
     
  12. 88gmctruck

    88gmctruck 02GMCtruck

    1,973
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    Mar 16, 2009
    Auburn, Wa
    I know they are different lights :mad2: i meant the gasket style with the large center hole and gasket that holds the light socket and IIRC the nut insert.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2009
  13. There are two styles that I've seen.
    1. The little spring steel clippy things that clip over the hole and hold a nut for a machine screw.
    2. A nut spot welded onto the body, for the machine screw.

    I think the difference stems from whether or not they are factory lights or additions. IIRC one of the recalls for that style of truck (in addition to the saddle tanks) are cab lights. Back in the day cab lights were not required, but when the DOT required vehicles over 80" wide to have cab lights GM had to recall those trucks to add cab lights.
     
  14. 88gmctruck

    88gmctruck 02GMCtruck

    1,973
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    Mar 16, 2009
    Auburn, Wa
    Ah, I must have seen the welded nut insert, which is similar to the nut insert the 88-98s use, infact I bet the nut insert or the rubber inserts that I used could be substituted in that case.

    Don't they use the same gasket style that seals down in the large center hole too? I haven't seen a 73-87 cablight in many years, aside from those bases you had at the house.
     
  15. merlin5577

    merlin5577 Diesel > Gasoline

    322
    1
    Feb 23, 2009
    Taunton, MA
    Maybe a dumb question, but there isnt any difference in the roofs between the SUVs and the pickups correct? So if I wanted to do this on my 97' your directions should work? Also, where did you get your wiring harness? Thanks!

    Awesome, thank you very much. I look forward to it.
     
  16. 88gmctruck

    88gmctruck 02GMCtruck

    1,973
    170
    Mar 16, 2009
    Auburn, Wa
    They are the same.
     
  17. chevyinlinesix

    chevyinlinesix Eyre Flow Headers

    Thank you so much for this write-up :) I am going to install clearance lights on my '96 Chevy this week, and was about to post, asking for the stock locations.

    I have a couple questions... Can I get those rubber inserts (for the screws) at most parts stores? And where do the factory clearance lights hook up to for power, as in which wire under the dash?
     
  18. 88gmctruck

    88gmctruck 02GMCtruck

    1,973
    170
    Mar 16, 2009
    Auburn, Wa
    I bought the rubber inserts at Ace hardware. I'm sure most hardware stores with a good assortment of nuts and bolts would have them.

    Since I had the factory harness, it has a plug that goes right into the factory distribution block under the dash.
     
  19. Mad Maxx

    Mad Maxx See, what had happened was... Staff Member Moderator

    5,995
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    May 3, 2008
    Long Island, NY
    Moved to DIY Section.

    Thanks for the Writeup! :)
     
  20. Brooklyn Tow

    Brooklyn Tow 9 11 Never Forget

    3,212
    5
    May 6, 2008
    Brooklyn, NY USA
    What's the deal with the tow shackels/D rings.....where did you get them....what are they anchored to?

    Truck looks awsome, Great job with everything.
     

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