Putting a roof rack up top doesn't always leave a lot of options
for running wiring for any lighting you may want to put up there on the rack.
Some people run the wiring thru the hatch door and up to the rack while others
will run it out a door. Personally, I don't like leaving the wiring hanging
where it could get frayed from contact with a door or snagged while loading or
unloading something from my rig so I chose to drill a small hole and run the
wiring up through the factory roof rack rails. If this is done right there are
NO leaks, it's a clean installation, very easy to do, out of sight and I don't
have to worry about it any more.
I used a flat four trailer plug wiring kit to hook up my rack lights. This way, I can just unplug the lights and remove my rack. A little flex-loom wire wrap helps protect things and makes the multicolor wiring 'disappear'.
Although ya can't see it, there is a rubber grommet lining the hole thru the roof that protects the wiring from chafing against the metal. I also used PLENTY of RTV silicone sealer in the hole and inside the grommet too. You can't see this from the ground so a little bit showing won't hurt anything. Don't be afraid to glob it inside the hole!... a little effort now means a dry headliner. The headliner itself will conceal everything from inside.
By using the "flat-four" trailer light set I was able to run three seperate circuits to the rack and a return ground wire back to the vehicle chassis.
It is VERY important that you run a return ground wire back to the vehicle since you can't count on the rack legs to provide a good ground!.
I control the rack lights with my switch panel beside the shifter so I can cut on the front spots or the side 'alley lights' independently.
If you have pics of your own repairs or can suggest other methods - please contribute your ideas (and pictures) to this article!
October 11, 2006