If you don't have this link already, it might help.
If all goes as planned, I will be driving my new truck for the first time tomorrow night. The place that is putting the stake bed body on tells me they should finish it up tomorrow.
For the first week or two my focus will be more along the lines of making some mods to the signal/directional/warning lighting, as well as installing an auxiliary battery as part of that project. The auxiliary battery control box will have provisions for powering the electronics built into it, hopefully making the powering of anything I add an easier job.
I found out that FORD, and apparently most other auto manufacturers as well, completely farm out the publication of shop manuals to http://http://www.helminc.com . They haven't released the manuals for the 2014 F350 yet. They tell me they will come out in a month or so. The service manual comes on a CD ($170), and I will wait for the CD to be available. However, I figure I will need the wiring manual (printed only) asap. I don't believe there is any significant difference between the 2013 and the 2014 so I ordered and received yesterday a 2013 wiring manual ($79).
Since this isn't my first dually flatbed, I already know some of the issues as far as external lighting/signalling go. To start with, the federal requirements for trucks that are this wide mean quite a few more lights are required by law, and they all have to work all the time. Loose/corroded connections and burned out bulbs are a nightmare to keep under control, especially as a vehicle ages. I am going to try to do a bit better job this time around.
The truck as I receive it will have on the back of the bed on each side a white oval backup light and a red oval combo stop/turn/marker/hazard light. There is also a third brake light mounted on the top of the headache rack on the body. I believe they are incandescent, not LED lamps. there area also 5 smaller red lamps on the back of the body ("ID LAMPS") as required by law to make it obvious that this in not a skinny car going down the road.
In my opinion, incandescent lamps are not reliable enough at all, so they mostly all will be converted over the LED versions. In addition, the White oval backup lamps will be replaced by a couple of Hella 100 Marine deck lamps that will be relocate and mounted to the sides of the frame. The Hella 100's will be the only incandescent lamps I will be installing. Hella makes some LED flood lamps as well, but at about $200 apiece, I am going with the cheaper ($65 each) halogen versions for backup lights. It is pretty rare that a backup light burns out in my experience... they usually die from corroded connections before the bulb goes, so from a cost perspective I think the Halogen version is an OK choice. The marine "100" lamps are similar to the standard automotive version, but on the marine grade verison there is a wire gland where the wire comes out, the wire pigtail is marine grade wire, and there is an O-Ring to seal the lens housing together.
Once the white oval backup lights are relocated from the truck body, the holes where they used to reside will be replaced with amber oval LED directional lights. I will rewired things so that the brake/turn lights are brake only, and the amber lights are turn only. From a safety perspective, such an arrangement is better as it makes ones intentions more quickly understood. I also plan to put two additional amber directional lights in either side of the headache rack, way up high for better visibility. I also think I can squeeze in a couple of additional brake only lights in the center under the bed as well, but I haven't seen the truck yet with the bed on it so I don't quite know what I have to work with yet.
In the process of rewiring the backup lights I am going to install a relay and power the backup circuit off the relay instead of stealing all the power from the factory backup wire. The original wire will simply power the relay coil. A big wire will be run from the axillary battery the the relay contact, allowing for a substantial increase in reverse current capability without any significant voltage sag. This will make for brighter backup lights I believe.
Also powered by this circuit will be the backup camera and backup beeper. In by old truck, the backup beeper is rated for 97 dBA. That is pretty loud... loud enough to probably wake everyone in the neighborhood up on a quiet morning. Yet, at times, in a noisy environment it just didn't seem to quite cut it. The one going on the new truck is a "Smart Alarm", which automatically adjusts for 87 to 112 dBA, depending on how loud the environment is. This should annoy the neighbors less, but make it obvious that I am backing up in a noisy environment.
One thing that always annoyed be is that when I back out of a parking spot (not a trivial task in a truck this size), you always get a jerk or two that shoot out from nowhere and shoot past me rear end as I am backing up. Sometimes it is hard to see these "A's", and it really gets annoying playing parking lot chicken with them. So, I am also adding to the backup circuit a couple of amber oval LED strobes. One will be placed on either side near the back, so when I start to back up anyone coming at me tangentially will be looking at a strobe light flashing in their face. Time will tell, but I think it might help reduce the number of people that try zipping by me while I am trying to back out of a parking spot.
The amber directionals, both the ones on the back and also the ones on the headache rack, have a strobe feature as well. I am going to wire things to a switch so that if I flip it, the directionals, plus the amber backup strobes, will all go on in a strobe pattern. The odds of someone saying "I didn't see you parked there" should be pretty small. My last truck was rear ended a total of 3 times while I was parked with E-flashers on. Each time, they told the cop, "I didn't see him" (like the cop believed that). Fortunately for me, when you rear and an 8000# truck with a 12 inch by 1/2" steel plate for a rear bumper, the damage to the truck can often be fixed with a $5 can of black spray-paint. This was not true of any of the cars that hit me btw.
On previous truck I have battled with intermittent ground connections off and on. Connecting wire to the frame is always a long term crap shoot in my opinion. I'm sure that many other people feel the same way, especially on newer vehicles that seem to have so much plastic and so little metal to ground anything to. This time I am going to try something a bit different. I am going to install a ground "ring" up one side of the truck and down the other. The ring is going to be made of #6 marine grade wire. It will have breakout points at strategic locations. Each breakout point will have a number of 12 G marine grade wire pigtails coming out of it for easy access to a good ground anywhere I might want it. Each breakout point will also have a connection to the frame. The two ends of this ground ring are going to have lugs installed that will be bolted to stainless steel 5/16" studs that will be welded to stainless steel plates that are going to be welded to either side of the frame back in the rear. I figure with multiple connections all over the place to the frame and dedicated stainless studs on the ends. there won't be an issue with intermittent grounds any more.
O ya, and then there will be the air horns. My old truck had a compressor/tank powered air horn. It was really loud, but it didn't like cold weather. The air control valve would freeze up in the winter, and either not work at all, or not stop blowing after I stopped pressing the horn button. THis time I am going with a WOLO two horn compressor-less system, but I am not quite using the kit as it comes out of the box. IN fact, the only thing I will be using out of the box will be the two trumpets. The single compressor that comes with the kit will be replaced with a pair of WOLO high output compressors - one powering each trumpet. It should be pretty damn loud still, but hopefully more hassle free. Also, each of the two horn notes will be in essence "independent" with separate compressors (and separate horn relays" powering each, providing a bit of redundancy.
I am figuring all this will take two or three weeks, and then I can focus my attentions more to the inside of the truck come the beginning of next month.
If you don't have this link already, it might help.
I already looked briefly through it... likes of cool things. I already saw that they run four wires that dead end on both ends from under the dash to into the engine compartment... That beast what I had to do with the old truck when I installed fog lights.. the firewall is a busy place, and drilling hols for wires really sucked.
I will look through the rest of it tonight and see what else it saves me for grief.
Last edited by Rickk; 09-08-2013 at 12:26 PM.
If they haven't moved them from 99-07, the blunt ends are taped up near the brake booster on the outside and behind the fuse panel on the inside.
If you truck is an AT, (again, if it hasn't changed) there is a large access patch below the brake booster that is meant for the clutch on MT's, that's a great place to pass wires through if the gauges on the factory wires don't work. It's also good for wires that can't be cut and spliced easily (like my pyrometer wire).
At the back of the cab, there should be a small oval plug in each bottom corner, perfect for SAT radio Ant, CB antenna etc.
Good info Phil... My old one is a 5 speed manual, so there is a clutch pedal in the way.
The new one is an auto (no choice, that's all thy make now), I will look for an access patch panel. I think I already new about the plugs in the rear, but a reminder is always welcome.
Hey Rickk, I just wanted to say I like your wiring etc ideas - eg, a relay to run reverse lights. (Good LED floods are available for ~$100 or maybe less if that is of interest.)
And down here, reverse buzzers/annunciators are a legal requirement for trucks, forklifts, etc. Reversing cameras are also becoming very common.
Also the non-reliance on chassis/body GNDs. Like the Japs, I'll run ground wires tho I may also have local body terminations (ie, a lamp may have a local GND screw, bit will also have a GND wire to a "proper" ground).
The great thing about substituting LEDs is that if the circuit handles incandescents, it is (almost) certain to handle LEDs, and more of them.
Of course flasher cans may have a problem, but a "load independent" electronic flasher will fix that. (IMO that is far superior to fitting ballast resistors.)
Reversing warning beepers are a requirement in the USA for all trucks with a GVWR of over 10,001 pounds or all trucks with restricted rear view mirror vision.
Fortunately, I don't have to worry about the flasher not working with anything I put in it for lighting. The manufacturer (Ford) recognizes that when a truck is sold as an incomplete chassis, there will be no two configurations that will be the same so they put load independent flasher circuits in there. In fact, there are actually not one, but two entire, separate rear lighting circuits. One is the "regular circuit" and the other is the "trailer hitch circuit". The technical bulletin that Phil sent me a link to comes right out and recommends that if one wants to do anything unusual to use the "trailer hitch circuit" as it will tolerate unusual wiring without messing up anything. As you point out, with LED lighting one can put quite a few lights on a circuit without fear of an overload because the power requirements are so low.
I haven't found any $100 LED back up lights yet that will put out the same amount of light and are of the same quality as the Hella 100 Marine lights, but if you know of a source I would sure like to check them out. The way I am thinking right now though, by the time these lights rot out (10 years maybe?) the LED lighting market will have advanced considerably and my choices will be greater.
Is it too late to add that I also like your wisdom AND thoroughness?
After my reply I too looked at PhilG's link and downloaded 2 pdfs (wiring & ??) and then saw the Ford "allowances". Good stuff - both PhilG's link and Ford's design.
If the Hella 100 Marine lights are as good as you say - ie, probably better than "typical good" lights - then that is probably the go. LEDs are still more expensive the halogen counterparts and though some LEDs may be competitive with "common" halogens price-wise, I reckon I'd totally agree with your current stance. (Oooh - bad, or maybe good pun?) Only if current draw (or the intelligence else wealth of the buyer) were an issue would I expend on LEDs.
[I am looking for LED reversing lights, but only to improve in my current - I mean - present no reversing light (since it's a single under-body lensed 21W that keeps getting wiped out - ie, bent up because of over-enthusiastic off-road activity); but they'll be 2 LEDs hidden in OEM rear rubber "stoppers" so I don't change the look of my modern 1965 ute. However I recently saw some seemingly "reasonably priced" 12V-24V LED floods that looked okay based on their paper specs - or should I say - their cardboard packaging info... but yes, I know how often that info is crap, else perhaps VERY subjective!]
Anyhow, I'll abandon my hijack. It really was primarily one of admiration with an FYI/just-in-case comment about possible LEDs. But I think you think like me - LEDs will be the ultimate lighting, but not just yet - economically speaking.
I suspect however that we may well be using LEDs before our halogens have rotted...
Like I said - NICE STUFF & build etc. My congrats! (& envy!)
I could only value add if advice were needed re capacitors (or parallel batteries) LOL! Or maybe how to "simply" add relays to OEM wiring to extend for additional lighting - whether flashers, tail. clearance. stop, reverse, etc.
Last edited by OldSpark; 09-09-2013 at 07:49 AM.
Just gotta get a DOT inspection sticker (hopefully tomorrow after work) and then I can get started with the fun stuff.
Looks great, will you require rear mudflaps for inspection or do the fenders come down low enough? I don't know how much salt/sand you run through in the winter in Mass but you probably should add some decent front mudflaps to save your rocker panels & door bottoms.