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Old 07-11-2012, 09:19 PM   #1
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2008 E350 dome light

The dome light in my van always turns on when a door is opened. And then it stays on for some amount of time or until some condition (like locking the doors or starting the engine, I forget) is met. There are oh-so-many-reasons why I dislike this behavior, but we can start with "privacy".

Looking for solutions, I ran across some post on the interwebs that made me think that there was an upgraded dome light with the coveted 3-position switch (always off - comes on when the door opens - always on). (Apparently this switching issue doesn't bother anybody else on the internet but me -- the post about this particular dome light was about a different issue and I came up empty-handed for other relevant stuff.)

I called the local Ford parts guy (at Galpin Ford in Las Vegas, NV). He was very helpful and patient about looking for an alternate part.

As it turns out, from 2004-2007 there was a part for the E-series dome light
orig pn YF1Z13776DA
pn update to BL3Z13776A
that had the 3-position switch.

But he doesn't have one in stock and I can't match it to my existing one to know if it's a direct replacement.

FWIW, I'm going to guess that it's not a direct replacement because it is a bit different functionally:

The 2004-2007 model has one bulb and the 3-position switch.

The 2008 model has 3 bulbs, positioned left, middle and right. The left and right bulbs have a rocker switch for each so that driver and front passenger can turn them on and off. The middle bulb is the one that has no switch other than auto-on with the doors.

One potential solution is to install a switch in the wiring to the middle bulb, but I'm having a hard time finding something small and unintrusive. I'm thinking it would have to be mounted in a hole drilled into the lens cover. But all the switches I've found seem to be bulky. Even micro toggle switches seem to only be micro with regard to the toggle handle, but they have a bulky "behind the scenes" portion that makes it seem like it won't fit.

Is anybody aware of:
a) a direct replacement with the right switching (or if the 2004-2007 part is a direct replacement)
b) an aftermarket replacement that will achieve the desired result
c) a switch that might be mounted and wired into the existing unit
d) a better idea?
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Old 07-11-2012, 10:21 PM   #2
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2008 E350 dome light

You could take out the center bulb and just use the two on he sides that are controllable. This is the KISS way.


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Old 07-11-2012, 11:08 PM   #3
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Re: 2008 E350 dome light

A while back I ran across a TSB from Ford which said a dome-light override switch can be added to the B-pillar, by simply splicing a switch into one of the wires. However, I can't remember which color wire it is. I think the dome light harness is the only 3-wire harness in the B-pillar.
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Old 07-11-2012, 11:11 PM   #4
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Re: 2008 E350 dome light

Quote:
Originally Posted by larrie
You could take out the center bulb and just use the two on he sides that are controllable. This is the KISS way.


Larrie
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The side ones shut off too after that circuit times out . The single unit from an older van will fit in it. I am pretty sure that's the one I took out of my 2008 to install the one like you have. The one with three lights is called map light and the other one is dome light. The map light was optional and they are direct replacements for one and other. Tomorrow I can look to see what it was/is. I save everything I take out of the van so I still have it along with the part number I installed.

You could always put a switch in (I did that in the rear of my van) the black with light blue stripe wire going to the light to shut it off, but if you want it to stay on you have to use a three way switch rewire it. That BK-LB wire that powers it has a time controlled relay in it so you can never leave the lights on and kill the battery. Even with the headlight switch turned to on for the dome light it will shut off in time. The amount of time is adjustable, see your owners manual under battery saver.
Here is a copy of my 2008 owners manual info.

Battery saver
The battery saver can be set to turn off the courtesy lamps within 2 or
10 minutes if a door is left open and the key is not in the ignition.
Demand (manually switched on) interior lamps can be set to turn off
within 2 or 30 minutes after the key has been removed from the ignition.
Note: The vehicle is factory set at 2 minutes to turn off demand and
courtesy lamps. The vehicle will change to 10 minutes for courtesy lamps
and 30 minutes for demand interior lamps once the odometer reads over
50 miles.
To change the battery saver duration time, do the following:
1. Turn the key to the RUN position. Do not start the vehicle.
2. After the odometer is displayed, press and release the reset button 10
times within 60 seconds.
3. The words ’Battery Saver’ will be displayed.
4. Press the reset button to select/toggle between ’2 minutes’ or
’30 minutes’ duration.
5. Once your time choice is displayed, wait until the odometer is
displayed (approximately 30 seconds).
The battery saver feature will now work with the new time duration.
Note: Even when choosing the 30 minute time duration, the courtesy
lamps can only have a maximum on time of 10 minutes. Only demand
interior lamps will stay on for the entire 30 minute period.
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Old 07-11-2012, 11:20 PM   #5
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Re: 2008 E350 dome light

Quote:
Originally Posted by carringb
A while back I ran across a TSB from Ford which said a dome-light override switch can be added to the B-pillar, by simply splicing a switch into one of the wires. However, I can't remember which color wire it is. I think the dome light harness is the only 3-wire harness in the B-pillar.
If I remember correct you might be able to switch the Black and Light Blue wire to the Light Green and Yellow wire in the connector you are talking about. There is definitively a connector just for the dome light that has three wires. Black for ground, Black with Light Blue for the dome light and Light Green with Yellow that does the manual on part of the lights I think. It still might time out though just maybe longer.
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Old 07-11-2012, 11:39 PM   #6
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Re: 2008 E350 dome light

If your headliner is like the factory one in my 2009, there is quite a bit of room above it. A switch may be able to be installed in the headliner. The wire from the pillar to the dome light is just sort of laying on top of the headliner and it would be easy to splice in a switch.
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Old 07-11-2012, 11:41 PM   #7
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Re: 2008 E350 dome light

You might as well have no light if you switch to the 2006 style. The map lights are worthless IMO
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Old 07-12-2012, 12:52 AM   #8
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Re: 2008 E350 dome light

Thanks for replies thus far.

I always search the sportsmobileforum.com site before asking anything, but often don't find what I'm looking for even when it's there.

With that in mind, when I read carringb's post above re a TSB: "A while back I ran across a TSB from Ford which said a dome-light override switch can be added to the B-pillar, by simply splicing a switch into one of the wires." I did a web search for "Ford dome-light override switch B-pillar" (without the quotes) and came up with a thread here:
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=5183
in which carringb provides a link to the TSB:
Quote:
Here is the procedure for adding a dome light override:
https://www.fleet.ford.com/truckbbas/non-html/Q92.pdf
(it's towards the bottom of page 2)
I will check this out further when it's light out. Or maybe I will wait until the heat wave here in Las Vegas is over. (Some here refer to the heat wave as "summer".) As it is, I can hardly stand to go outside even now at at 11pm.




Ultrasport12: let me know what you find when you have a chance to check your parts out. But when you said "The side ones shut off too after that circuit times out." I'm wondering if I'm understanding correctly. The switched lights on the sides of the one I have can be turned on and off at will without any timer involved. Also, carringb's link to the TSB confirms your memory about the wires and their colors, etc. If anybody needs the details, see pages 2 and 3 of the TSB.



larrie: removing the center bulb = excellent idea. I'm trying to think whether I _ever_ want the
courtesy light. If not, that will be perfect. And so obvious in hindsight... ":^)



daveb: you're saying the older style overhead light is worthless as a map light?




Okay, I just braved the out-of-doors. It wasn't really that bad. Currently about 89 degrees. The timer on the dome light keeps it on for about 20 seconds after a door is opened then closed, FWIW. The Battery Saver option is apparently about how long the light stays on if a door is left open.

I spent a few minutes checking out how bright the overhead courtesy light is vs the overhead map lights. The courtesy bulb is relatively dim compared to the map light bulbs, so it doesn't really contribute much if you want it to be extra-bright in the cockpit. So the always-on option is mostly irrelevant.

I'm pretty sure that larrie's idea about removing the bulb will be the ticket for my particular situation. The bulb gets yanked and stored in a labelled envelope tomorrow morning. I'll worry about wiring a switch if I find I sometimes wish the courtesy light was automatically available. For the last few nights I was in some mountainous jungle in the middle of western Montana and it was a royal hassle to deal with the loss of night vision every time that courtesy light went on. It seems very bright when you're dark-adapted. One night, earlier, I stayed in a campground and the loss of privacy when the light went on was disturbing. (Of course the campground bit was pretty disturbing in itself. Too crowded for me, even if it was a very nice facility as such places go.)


Speaking of Montana and the Las Vegas heat: As great as it was being up in Montana, being back in Las Vegas -- hot though it may be -- has the unbeatable advantage that there are no mosquitoes. It had been so long since experiencing mosquitoes that I had almost forgotten how horrible they are.




Next up: pulling the fuse for the daytime running lights.




.
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Old 07-12-2012, 08:38 AM   #9
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Re: 2008 E350 dome light

yes...the little round directional lights are dim. I don't know if they can be heavied up though.
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Old 07-12-2012, 06:48 PM   #10
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2008 E350 dome light

I had one other thought. Some vehicles allow the dashboard dimmer to turn on the dome light on or off with the door closed. You may want to check that as well.
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