Having daytime running lights (DRLs) on is intended to increase your vehicle’s visibility on the road during the daytime (although some SoCal drivers are just poor drivers…). I was very used to having DRLs on while driving my old Honda Accord, which turned on automatically whenever the vehicle ran.. However, the 4Runner DRLs need to be turned on manually - which I often forget to do. I’m one of those weird guys that likes to be seen on the road…
The 4Runner DRL is the same lamp as the high-beam lamp, which uses a modified input power signal to reduce light output. Rather than burn out the DRL/high-beam lamp faster than necessary, I decided to add-on some marker lights to the front grill. This is a very popular mod as it mimics the aesthetic marker lights used on Ford’s F150 Raptor.
There were a few options available to implement grill marker lights. One option would have been to buy LEDs and wiring separately, and then solder/fabricate my own setup. However, this route usually requires zip-tying the LEDs to the front grill, which I determined to be visually unappealing. There are a few manufacturers that sell ready-made marker light kits. Some use the zip-tie method while others have LEDs that clip into place in the grill. I knew that this type of lighting should be very cheap and I was not willing to spend over $100 for this simple mod. After some research, I stumbled across a set sold by Car Trim Home for just $25 (and free shipping!), which included four snap-in LEDs and wiring harness. That was a deal I could not pass up! Keep in mind that this product is Made in China - though it is of decent quality… I would not say it is the best manufactured marker lights out there.
The product came a little less than 3 or 4 business days after ordering from Car Trim Home (fulfilled by Amazon out of Florida) just as pictured below..
Installation was very easy. Items necessary for installation include:
One ATM Add-a-Fuse
Two 5A ATM fuses
Fishing wire to pull wires through firewall grommet (I used a modified metal clothes hanger)
Crimper or long-nose plier
Crimp-on 5/16” ring connector
Optional items include:
~2.5 ft of 1/2” plastic wire loom
Steps to install:
1. Open hood and remove front trim piece above grill/radiator by depressing plastic buttons on each plastic trim tab. Then, use a screwdriver to pry up each trim tab.
2. Insert LED marker lights into grill. They only go in one way and only on certain parts of the grill (especially SR5 grills). Cheater tip: red wire faces down, black wire faces up.
3. Clip each LED connector into the wiring harness.
4. Pull away fender edge plastic trim piece and run wiring through. Secure with zip ties. After installation I added a plastic wiring loom to protect the wire from abrasion. Pull most of the wire slack towards the firewall.
5. Push fishing wire through firewall grommet from vehicle interior. The grommet is located about the level of your left knee while sitting down. It took little force to puncture the grommet with the wire hanger (sharpened end to a point).
6. Use electrical tape to secure wires to the fishing wire. Pull-through firewall into the vehicle interior.
7. Locate blank fuse location that is energized when when the ignition is turned On, but not turned to Acc.
8. Crimp ring connector to black wire. Secure to grounding point below the driver’s side fuse box.
9. Crimp add-a-fuse to red wire and add two fuses. Note, photo shows 15A fuses, but I later switched to 5A fuses. Install at selected blank fuse location.
10. Wrap connection points with electrical tape. Tidy up wires with additional zip-ties as necessary.
After installation, I noticed that two of the four LED marker lights had half their LEDs burned out (each marker light has six LEDs). So I contacted the seller and they promptly shipped another set out.
These LEDs are bright. Hoping to have some night-time shots soon :).
Two vs. four lights below.
Conclusions and Recommendations:
Good for when you don’t want to blind people at camp. Just use these and DRL for adequate lighting.
Running wires through the engine firewall is not hard. Just make sure you have a sharp end.