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Old 12-07-2023, 08:44 PM   #1
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Cutting into Barn door pillar?

Hey Folks, Im to the point of my build where I'm ready to install a light switch. I'm keeping my factory headliner and the interior plastic pieces that cover the pillars and I would like to mount my overhead light switch on the rear pillar of the barn doors. I have a 12v dimmer switch that is similar to a 1 gang single light switch box that basically needs to be installed in a square cutout like a house light switch. My question is has anyone cut and drilled into the pillar? ...and if so what tool would be best for cutting a 2"x3" square hole for the gang box?
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Old 12-07-2023, 09:42 PM   #2
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FYI - that pillar is structural and designated as a no-cut zone, as far as the BEMM specifies in order to maintain roof crush strength for rollovers.

That said… if that’s not a concern for you, and it being a body-on-frame vehicle… the van won’t far apart. If I wanted to cut a holt like that, I would drill out the corners with a regular drill bit, then cut in between with a cutoff wheel. This will avoid any sharp notches that could cause later cracking.
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Old 12-07-2023, 10:55 PM   #3
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A jigsaw with metal blade would probably work too. Grinder is easier, you need one!!
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Old 12-08-2023, 09:43 AM   #4
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I cut a similar hole in my 2011 at that spot to make an access hole to install hardware for a third-seat seatbelt. I drilled corner holes and then used a multi-tool (VERY carefully). Don't know why I didn't think of using my grinder :-(
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Old 12-08-2023, 10:01 AM   #5
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If you’re gonna use a grinder and cut off wheel, cover the glass the something. Hot metal sparks will ruin the windows.
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Old 12-08-2023, 10:21 AM   #6
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Can you post a pic of the device you want to install?
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Old 12-08-2023, 05:24 PM   #7
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This is the switch and lights. I have 8 lights and was thinking 2 zones, front 1/2 and back 1/2. But after looking at the pillar I dont think it will work I think the pillar is not deep enough and maybe risky cutting into. Im now thinking a surface mount box may be the way to go but its not as clean. There is another 12v -round switch on Amazon but not sure.
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Old 12-08-2023, 06:58 PM   #8
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Will this type of 12v dimmer from Amazon work? will it work as a all in one on/off switch plus dimmer or will I need to connect a separate on/off switch plus this dimmer? Can I install 1 for front 4 lights and 1 for for rear 4 lights? Its small enough where I might be able to get away with just drilling a hole or two.
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Old 12-08-2023, 07:50 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevigee View Post
Will this type of 12v dimmer from Amazon work? will it work as a all in one on/off switch plus dimmer or will I need to connect a separate on/off switch plus this dimmer? Can I install 1 for front 4 lights and 1 for for rear 4 lights? Its small enough where I might be able to get away with just drilling a hole or two.
I agree. There are better options than using a residential style box/switch setup. I use them sometimes but in wooden cabinetry. For your plan I'd go with Stevigee's advice, or betteryet get the inline remote style and use an app from your phone. I actually prefer both.
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Old 12-08-2023, 07:58 PM   #10
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The Amazon dimmer looks like a simple potentiometer.....need more info on the original one.

Assuming the lights are LEDs yes the pot should work.....you could install two pots, one for each zone. I would buy the Amazon pot and try it with the lamps before cutting anything. It may behave strange...or not.....

If you want on/off functionality and dimmer control you can find pots that have on/off capability as well. Ebay, Digi-Key or Mouser easy enough.

Can you provide a link to the Amazon potentiometer?

The on/off potentiometers have the on/off "click" at the beginning of the rotation...or you could wire in a separate on/off switch. That's how my ceiling lights work.
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