Installing A Cali Raised LED OEM Switch Panel On The 3rd Gen Tacoma
With the addition of external lights and accessories comes the need to power them efficiently and wire them into your vehicle.
It’s hard to justify buying an expensive 8 switch interface like the Switch Pros or SPOD when you are only looking to power a few accessories. This is where the Cali Raised LED OEM switch panel shines. This switch panel offers one, two, or three slots that fit a variety of OEM style switches from Cali Raised LED, to keep the interior of your Tacoma looking clean. This is one of the cleanest and most simple alternatives when it comes to Switch Pros or SPOD units.
The panel mounts into the small storage compartment above the switches, and to the left of your steering wheel.
Find It Online:
- Cali Raised LED OEM Switch Panel: Check Price
Tools and Materials:
- Baja Squadron Ditch Lights
- Optional CH4X4 Push Switch
- Optional Mictuning Switch
- Optional AOB Switches
- Plastic Trim Tools
- Butt splice & ring connectors
- 18-20 AWG wire
- Universal heat shrink
- Electrical Pliers
- Wire Crimping Tool
- Heat gun
- Electrical Tape or Tesa Tape (preferred)
- Wiring Loom
This switch panel mounts directly into your coin slot on the left side of your steering wheel. It allows you to mount up to three OEM style switches from Cali Raised LED and even fits blanks for unused spaces.
The switches themselves have an OEM look and feel, can be backlit blue or amber, and work just like the switches already in your cab. This switch solution costs significantly less than an sPOD system or a SwitchPro system and allows you to keep the inside of your Tacoma looking stock.
For example, in this article, I will be installing a ditch light switch into the panel and wiring my Baja Designs Squadron Pros to the switch inside the vehicle. Most aftermarket wiring harnesses are different than the Baja’s, but the installation is relatively the same. Care will be taken in explaining the wiring, so you will know how to wire any aftermarket light into the switches.
Let’s get started!
Step 1. Remove Stock Compartment/Console & Install New Panel
The first step to install the OEM switch panel is to remove the change compartment and console.
This console is held in place by familiar plastic tabs and can be removed by simply pulling it out. If you are having difficulty, a plastic pry tool may be used to pry the console out one side at a time. Be careful to do this part slowly, and when the temperature is above 50 degrees, to avoid breaking the plastic.
Once pulled out, the console can hang by the electrical cords connected to the switches, but take care not to put any excess tension on these connections. If it’s easier for you to work with, unplug the switches by depressing the locking tabs on the connector and firmly pulling them out. This might require a bit of force, these are often seated very securely.
The change compartment is held in by 4 small screws, which will be removed. These are easily visible in the image above to the left and right of the back of the small storage space.
Once the compartment is removed, the OEM switch panel is then screwed into the existing 4 holes using the factory screws. The switch panel has no specific orientation, so either side can face outwards. Now you’re ready to move on to installing your new switches.
Step 2. Mount Switches
Now that the panel is secured, you may mount the switches into the slots in the panel. This is done by pushing the wires through the slot and snapping the buttons into place. They are held in place by two plastic clips on the top and bottom of the switch, and can easily be removed. Be sure to orient your switch upwards or else your logos will be upside down.
Step 3. Route Wiring From Engine Bay Into Cab
Before we can wire the switch, we must first get the wiring harness that is attached to the accessory you are wiring and run the harness into the vehicle.
Connect the provided wiring harness to your accessory, and run the wires towards the driver’s side in the engine compartment towards the firewall. If your lights or accessories come with a harness, which is usually cheap, you can cut/remove it so you can rewire it to the better quality Cali Raised switch. This will also make it easier to push the wires through the rubber grommet.
Running wires through the firewall
As seen above, I pushed the wires from the engine bay into the cab. Using a semi-sharp tool, like a flat head screwdriver, make a hole in the left side of the rubber grommet from the engine compartment into the cab. There are wires running inside the cab, but they are well out of the way and will not be damaged by doing this. Once the hole is made, make it progressively larger with a larger diameter object to make running the wires inside the cab easier.
Once the hole is sufficiently big, use electrical tape to tape the cut end of the wiring harness onto a long object, such as a metal rod or wire coat hanger.
Push the wires through the rubber grommet into the cab, where you can then remove the tape on the wires and run them up towards the switch panel. Make sure you do not catch the wires on anything in the engine compartment while pulling them through and into the cab.
Once you have properly run the wires into the cab, you’re now ready to create the new connections to wire up your new switches
Step 4. Create New Connections
Now that you have access to the wires inside your cab, you should pull the wiring harness carefully into the cab and trim the wires to the length you need. This will help you with wire management, just take care not to trim them too short or too long.
The Baja wiring harness includes four wires in two bundles of two – one of these bundles is a red wire to power the lights and a black wire to ground the lights. The other bundle is a red wire running to the battery and a black wire that is grounded on a bolt in the engine compartment. You can see these four wires in the image above.
It is especially important to know which wires run where, so it is recommended to mark one of the wiring harnesses with a silver marker or paint.
Once the wires are trimmed to length, strip all the wires from the wiring harness and all four wires from the switch you are using. To connect these wires, I will be using quick connects and crimping the wires together. They can also be soldered together for a more reliable connection.
The OEM style switch has four wires;
- Black wire: used as a ground
- Green wire: used as the hot wire
- Two Red wires:
- One is used to power your accessory
- One is used to provide power to the backlight of your switch.
- The red wire closest to the green wire is the wire that powers the backlight of your switch.
For reference, you can watch this Cali Raised LED video on wiring the Toyota OEM style switches.
How to connect the wires:
To connect this wiring harness correctly, the black wire on the switch should be connected to both black wires on the wiring harness. Both red wires from the switch should be connected to the red wire that runs to the accessory. The green wire should be connected to the red wire that runs to the battery.
This configuration will ensure your backlight only turns on when the switch is pressed, and that your lights are powered correctly.
If you have another wiring harness with only three wires, the wiring is similar.
The black wire on the switch should be connected to the black wire on the wiring harness. Both red wires on the switch should be wired to the colored wire on the wiring harness that runs to the accessories. The green wire on the switch should be wired to the hot wire (usually white) that runs to your battery. This follows the same logic as above.
Step 5. Connect & Test
Once the wiring is complete and no exposed wires remain, you can connect the wiring harness to the ground bolt and to the positive terminal on the battery and test the connections. Ensure your lights turn on when the switch is pressed, and the backlight on your switch turns on and off with the button presses. You can now tape up all your wires with electrical tape and do wire management as you see fit.
Step 6. Replace Components
To re-install your switch console, simply line up the console with the dash and push it into place, making sure each clip snaps and is secure.
Step 7. Organize Your Wires
Once the wiring is complete, manage the wires in your cab and engine compartments as you see fit.
I drilled 4 small holes in the rubber air dam to secure my ditch light wires to using zip ties.
I then ran the positive and negative wires down under my fuse box and secured them to an existing wire bundle with a zip tie, and secured the excess wiring near the firewall using two more zip ties.
This will keep your engine compartment clean, keep your wires out of dangerous areas, and prevent any damage.
Now you have your accessory wired to your new switch in your OEM panel!
This process can be completed a number of times to wire any accessory you need to this panel. Use all instructions that come with your new accessory for installation and wiring, as this guide is only from my personal experience with one type of wiring harness.
If you’d like to see more, check out this seriously detailed overview on YouTube below.
Does anyone make a 4 switch cover plate for this location?
There are no panels made to fit four switches in this location, but there are a few places you can get a 3D printed piece that replaces the entire switch section. MesoCustoms can make a custom piece that fits a variety of switches, it can be found on his site here!
I have the same set up with three lights. I need to clean mine up quite alot under the hood though.
Is it necessary to use a relay?
Because these lights draw around 3 amps through the switch, it is recommended to use a relay. The harness I used at the time did not include one, so I’ve since added one to this circuit.