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85 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a new owner of a 2017 EX which we got after our '12 Subaru Outback was totalled by a distracted idiot who rear ended us (no more than a week after I replaced all the shocks with Bilsteins too, sob :( ). Wife wanted 3 rows for kids friends and family and the Pilot best fit the bill at a price we could more or less afford.

Anyway, over the years we'd owned the Outback I had converted all the interior lights to LED - more light and fewer worries about a flat battery if one of the kids left the door open. So when we got the Pilot we were cast back into the Dark ages.

Started with the trunk and hatch, as that was the most bang for the buck. These were modifications of parts I made for the Outback. They're all designed to be removable and the original reflectors and bulbs put back in if needed. All LEDs are Nichia 219Bs, around 3700-4000K, driven by cheap and cheerful 12VDC 350mA LED drivers (for MR11 bulbs).



in place

hatch light wire being threaded through the conduit thing

LED heatsink fitted to the hatch release trim piece


and installed

that one light alone is priceless - it really lights up the ground behind the car. I don't go night mountainbiking here in Texas, but when we were in WA and PA having a hatch mounted light was awesome for loading up after a ride.

Obviously, once that one was done, all the others looked even dimmer. The rest of the interior lights were done with a mix of previously made parts, spare heatsinks (like the gigabyte one from a dead motherboard above!) and newly made parts.

3rd row lights

2nd row lights


85 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
2nd row LED vs 3rd row incan

quite a difference!

while I was farting around in there I also installed 2nd row USB ports to stop the kids complaining about their phone's charge status every 5 minutes and a little puddle light so they so root around in thei bags at night without putting the main lights on.

insert with 12V COB LED light (3000K?) and USB port thing added. Drilled/ cut a little window in the trim insert, then cut and glued a piece of lexan into the hole.

from the back. Heatsink is spaced off the trim insert by some standoffs.

all powered off the 12V socket in the center cubby

and wired like so

and ta da!

I was pretty pleased with that, as were the girls. Nag factor went down considerably too!

85 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Finally, the front map lights and one (currently) puddle light.

The heatsinks for the front map lights were milled from solid as the inside shape of the light was kinda awkward. Started with a piece of 3/4" thick alu and started cutting it to shape.

then milled the crap out of it to get:


As much surface area as possible for cooling (those two holes link up with holes in the light housing) and the LED mounting surface is angled 5deg towards each front seat occupant.

Installed. The left LED heatsink is held in place by one of the console mounting screws. Didn't realise that was there until I finished the first one and went, oh crap. Seems to have come out ok though.

At the same time, I wanted to install puddle lights as I really liked them on the Outback. Had a good rooting around while I was installing a bunch of sound deadening (I'll save that for another post) and couldn't find a straight forward way to use the existing wiring. The plug that's there had 7 and 6V to different pins and there was an empty relay spot under the dash that had 12V with the door shut and 0V with it open, so I'm guessing the upper trim levels have some extra bits'n'pieces installed to make the puddle light work.

Crap says I. Plan B - route a wire from the door, up the A column, across the roof to the upper console. Then make a T (forgot about the passenger door for a bit) in the foot well and run another wire across the inside of the firewall to the passenger door.

Extra plug installed in drivers side door (getting that wire through the door conduit was not fun)

12V COB LED light on slightly janky heatsink (works fine though) attached to door trim with slot cut into it and filled with lexan

and thankfully it works! Drilled some holes in the bottom of the stock reflector/ light housing, so some of the stray light comes out of that too.

Passenger door is waiting on another shipment of LED drivers, then that will get done too. Wire is there and waiting, just have to route it through the door.

85 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
finished the passenger side puddle light yesterday:


and in the process of threading the wire through the door cable boot (not a pleasant experience) I discovered that higher trims must have a passenger footwell light as there's a spot for a light fixture. So I made an LED light for that too :)




light colour is a bit on the cool side as I only had a 4000K LED spare, so I'll replace it with a 2700K LED when I next place an order with Digikey. It's a pretty useful light - no more rooting around in a dark footwell for stuff.

Next up will be a set of high powered LED fog lights, but that's a considerably more involved project!
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