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Light bars are for additional lighting and intended for off road use. In many states they are not legal for use on public roads. I live in Alaska and they are wildly popular with truckers up here due to the moose, caribou and long winter nights. In fact, they only name I've ever heard for them up here is "moose lights." Its not unusual up here for a car or pickup truck to hit a moose doing 55 or 65 mph and have one or more people in the vehicle die. So they can be a big safety aid during our long, dark winters in rural areas. Alaska does not have laws regarding their use or install (yet) other than you need to turn them off when you meet or follow other vehicles- just as you need to dim your high beams.

Here is the light that I installed. Rigid Industries makes very good LEDs for this purpose. There are certainly cheaper versions, but I wanted something that's going to last as well as something that lights farther down the road and into the ditches on the side of the road. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GY6LWVA/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Once I had the light, I tested it before I started the install just to make sure it worked.

Another thing I wanted to do once the headliner was out was to add an inch of rigid foam to the roof for additional insulation. I'm converting my cargo van into a camper so insulation is being added throughout the van.

The first step was removing the head liner, which was surprising easy. I had not intended to post this as a step by step tutorial so I didn't take many pictures during the process.

1. Snap off the upper plastic cover on the B column, which also has the shoulder belt height adjustment mechanism. Start by separating the plastic portion from the door gasket, then pry off the plastic trim piece. It has metal clips so there is a lower danger of breaking any plastic items.

2. Remove the handles above each door. Rotate the handle down and you'll see plastic inserts at the base of the handle. Use a sharp object to pry those loose. The entire insert comes out so it does not matter if you loosen it on the upper edge or the lower edge. Once the plastic inset is out, the handle pulls off. There is a metal clip that slides into the door frame. The plastic insert slides into that metal clip and keeps the metal clip and the handle in place. If you can remove the metal clip, take it out. If not, you'll need to pull it out once the headliner is out of the way and before you re-install the handles. When you re install the handles, slide the metal clip into the handle, then slide the handle into place, making sure that the metal clip is fully inserted and locked into the door frame. Then slide in the plastic insert. Its sounds more complicated than what it is- its a simple and elegant setup.

3. On the A column, pull the trim piece from under the door gasket. About 2/3's of the way up the trim piece there is a small plastic cover the has "Air Bag" on it. Pry that off and remove the large machine screw. You'll need a set of Tork screw heads since there are 2, maybe 3, different size Torks screws to remove. Then pull the trim piece up and to the rear. That trim piece comes off easily since if the side air bag deploys it would blow out from behind that piece and the top edge of the head liner.

4. Remove the 2 Torks screws holding each sun visor in place.

5. Toward the center of the windshield there is a piece that secures the edge of the sun visor. Pry the upper edge of a small cover in the center to reveal a single screw. Remove that screw and the piece comes loose.

6. Loosen the headliner from the gaskets on the door frames. Go to the back of the head liner and simply pull down on it. There are 3 magnets that hold it to the roof support beam that goes between the B columns. It should be supported by the seat head rests and 2 more screws up front.

7. In the center of the wind shield, by the rear view mirror (if you have one), pry off the plastic trim piece that surrounds the light switches. Beneath that there are 2 short Torks screws to remove. Those 2 screws are short and fat compared to the 6 screws that held the sun visor and its support in place so when you re assemble everything you'll want those first.

7. After those 2 screws up front are loose, the headliner should fall downward. There are two wire leads for the overhead lights by the rear view mirror that are easily disconnected. Once they are loose, the head liner slides out to the rear.


Light bar install:

1. To install the light bar in the center of the van on the roof, I put some blue painter tape on the roof, made the appropriate measurements and marked the locations for the holes. I bought 2 stainless steel carriage bolts, 1/4" diameter by 1 inch long to mount the light to the roof. I mounted the light bar behind the indentation in the roof, which appears to be made for a sun roof cutout.

2. Triple check all of the measurements.

3. Drill the 1/4" holes for the mounting bolts.

3. Check to ensure the light fits good by loosely installing it.

4. Mark a place slightly behind the light bar for putting the wiring harness through the roof.

5. I used a water tight fitting left over from a solar install. I'm not sure what it is called, but you can see it in the picture. It tightens around the wires and is secured to the roof with a plastic nut. Drill the hole for that and leave it loosely in place.

6. Figuring out how to install the wiring harness was the biggest challenge. There are 3 leads- one to the lights, one to the on/off switch and one to the power source. The 3 parts are linked at what I assume to be a voltage regulator or voltage step down device. The instructions call for the harness to be hooked directly to the battery. The harness is apparently designed for the light to be on the front of the vehicle, like on a brush guard, and for a battery behind one of the head lights. I knew I would need to modify the harness for the way I was doing the install.

7. I clipped the two wires for the light bar about 6 inches from the fitting that plugs into the back of the light bar. 6 inches of wire put my butt connectors inside the van- far less chance of a shorted wire. I held those wires loosely in place with a clamp and loosely installed the wiring harness across the top of the windshield to the passenger side A column. There is plenty of space to fit the harness through the dash board and down to the panel to the right of the passenger's feet. That panel is easily pried off- there are 3 plastic connectors holding it in place.

8. I had used my volt meter prior to this to determine that here was a Positive connector in the fuse panel in front of the passengers feet and a ground near by for the negative wire. Both had 5/16" bolts (or the metric equivalent). I had to remove the ring terminals on the wiring harness, which were sized for battery posts, and then replace them with 5/16" ring terminals. I removed the fuse 15 amp in line fuse on the positive lead, then connected both the negative and positive wires. I fastened the voltage regulator for the harness to an appropriate place to ensure it remained in place.

9. To install the on off switch I had to lengthen the 3 wires. The wires are probably 18 gauge wire, fairly light. Since I had to add about 12 feet, I used 14 gauge wire to reduce any voltage drop in that portion of the wire. Probably not needed, but easy enough to do. I ended up getting a roll of cable that was suitable for replacing a cord on a power tool. I went that route since it had three 14 ga wires and it was very well protected so I did not have to worry about the wires chaffing and shorting out. I ran that lead back over the top of the wind shield and down the drivers side A column. It was easy to get it under the dash.

10. I pried off the module that houses the light controls. I looked long and hard at trying to add the switch to that module but decided it was a bit too big and I was nervous about damaging that module. With that module out, there is excellent access to that part of the dashboard. I installed the small switch just above the light module. The instructions call for a 3/4" hole but to took quite a bit of filing and tinkering to get the switch pushed into the hole. Its a simple friction fit type switch so nothing to secure behind it other than connecting the three wires.

11. I then fed the wires from the light bar through the waterproof fitting and spliced them. I used heat shrink butt connectors and added electrical tape for good measure.... Again, less chance for my good friend Mr Murphy to do his thing at an inopportune time.

12. I put the fuse in, did a quick check and the lights worked fine.

13. Then I secured the light bar in place. I cut a bit of rubber under each support leg as a gasket. I used 3M 5200 Marine Adhesive/Sealant to seal any possible water leaks around the base of the lights. Inside the van I used a 3" piece of angle aluminium on each bolt as additional support since the light is quite heavy.

14. I sealed the water tight fitting with 5200 also and tightened that down.

15. I let it sit over night for the 5200 to cure. I looked closely for any areas that might benefit from a bit more 5200 in the morning.

16. I used a bunch of wire ties to secure all of the new wiring to existing wires.

Before I put the head liner back in place, I added Noico 80 mil sound deadening matt to the ceiling and an inch of rigid foam for insulation. I held the rigid foam in place with Great Stuff blow foam. On the edges by the doors, I used a piece of plastic to ensure the blow foam did not get on to the airbags or the the wire bundles.

After sitting over night for the foam to cure and then trimming the excess blow foam, the head liner went back into place very easily.

Picture 1- The electrical connections by the passenger side foot panel. The light bar in line fuse is in the top center, the positive connection on the lower left and the ground is on the lug with the brown wire.

Picture 2- The light bar placement on the roof.

Picture 3- The on off switch by the light module on the left side of the steering column.

Picture 4- The waterproof fitting through the roof with white 3M 5200 marine sealant/adhesive.

Picture 5- Another on the light placement.

Picture 6- The light bar wires are just to the left of center, near the two foam braces for the head liner.

Picture 7- The 1 inch rigid foam in place with the cut up plastic bag protecting the wires and air bag from the blow foam.

Picture 8- The rigid foam in place. The orange blow foam shows the location of the light bar wiring.

All of this took two full days. Figuring out the placement of the wiring harness and the electrical connections took a couple of hours. And a parts run for the carriage bolts, wire for the light switch extension, butt connectors and ring terminals.
 

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It exciting to see people converting these rigs and making them their own. The Sprinter forum has great conversions and lots of info that crosses over to the Metris. Thanks for the photos.
 

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Thanks for the info on how to remove the headliner and add insulation - I hadn't considered doing that in my van.

I have solar on the roof, and I got the wires into the van without drilling holes by using some of the unused plugs along either side below the roof rails. It looks like there are a myriad of things that could be screwed into the roof, and as a result there are available holes that have a screwed in watertight cap on the outside, and a plastic plug on the inside.

Photos in another thread: http://www.metrisforum.com/forum/409-metris-builds-conversions/4897-fantastic-fan-install.html#post51465
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Tree95- Yes, I noticed those unused holes even with a roof rack on. I may use them for my solar panel wiring but I'm not at that stage yet- still waiting for a rigid 270 watt panel.
 

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RR, appreciate your detailed threads. Looking forward to you future projects.
 
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So did yours have any sound deadening over the drivers seats from the factory? Thanks!

Also, why did you choose noico 80 ml over other options?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
So did yours have any sound deadening over the drivers seats from the factory? Thanks!

Also, why did you choose noico 80 ml over other options?
I can't recall if there was any factory installed sound deadening material over the front seats. I have a pretty extensive photo collection of what I did for work on my van, but no "before" pictures of that area.

I did that work a couple of years ago so I'm a bit hazy on why I choice Noico 80. I researched numerous DIY van conversion website and read reviews on the various products. Plus I could get it shipped to me free through Amazon Prime. Its heavy stuff and without free shipping, it would be expensive to ship to Alaska.

Good luck with your project!
 

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I can't recall if there was any factory installed sound deadening material over the front seats. I have a pretty extensive photo collection of what I did for work on my van, but no "before" pictures of that area.

I did that work a couple of years ago so I'm a bit hazy on why I choice Noico 80. I researched numerous DIY van conversion website and read reviews on the various products. Plus I could get it shipped to me free through Amazon Prime. Its heavy stuff and without free shipping, it would be expensive to ship to Alaska.

Good luck with your project!
Thanks! I wish it was not a project, i have too many of them... But this van is loud.
 

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Looks nice, just curious why you did not use one of the four blanks for your switch on the top of the headlight controller VS drilling a whole in your dash? Those Moose should see you coming now! How about a pic with all your lights on at night? !
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Looks nice, just curious why you did not use one of the four blanks for your switch on the top of the headlight controller VS drilling a whole in your dash? Those Moose should see you coming now! How about a pic with all your lights on at night? !
I'm not quite sure where you're referring to with the 4 blanks. I did look closely at a lot of different option before drilling the hole- trust me, that was the last choice. A big part of the problem with selecting a switch location was clearance behind the instrument panel for the body of the switch.

You're going to have to wait to see a night picture with the light bar turned on- there is no longer complete darkness in Alaska this time of year. I will say the light bar makes a big difference, even with the good headlights on the Metris. The biggest change is the amount of light aimed toward the ditches, which is where critters are frequently standing. (There area bunch of different types of light bars, my 10" model is modest compared to the 60" model that some guys put on their pickups.) The side lighting is also helpful for rounding corners. Light bars are so bright that you really don't want to be using them in areas with much traffic. Some states have laws banning their use on public roads.

This is the model that I have- Rigid Industries 17831 E2-Series 10" Driving/Hyperspot Combo LED Light Bar.
 

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I have been researching, it looks like i will go with the noico 80. I have used b-quiet ultimate before... (brown bread). I wish they sold it in a larger bulk...
Believe it or not, the guy who has been fussing over vibrations in the metris also has a checker marathon with a perkins diesel in it...
 

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Light bars are for additional lighting and intended for off road use. In many states they are not legal for use on public roads. I live in Alaska and they are wildly popular with truckers up here due to the moose, caribou and long winter nights. In fact, they only name I've ever heard for them up here is "moose lights." Its not unusual up here for a car or pickup truck to hit a moose doing 55 or 65 mph and have one or more people in the vehicle die. So they can be a big safety aid during our long, dark winters in rural areas. Alaska does not have laws regarding their use or install (yet) other than you need to turn them off when you meet or follow other vehicles- just as you need to dim your high beams.

Here is the light that I installed. Rigid Industries makes very good LEDs for this purpose. There are certainly cheaper versions, but I wanted something that's going to last as well as something that lights farther down the road and into the ditches on the side of the road. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GY6LWVA/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Once I had the light, I tested it before I started the install just to make sure it worked.

Another thing I wanted to do once the headliner was out was to add an inch of rigid foam to the roof for additional insulation. I'm converting my cargo van into a camper so insulation is being added throughout the van.

The first step was removing the head liner, which was surprising easy. I had not intended to post this as a step by step tutorial so I didn't take many pictures during the process.

1. Snap off the upper plastic cover on the B column, which also has the shoulder belt height adjustment mechanism. Start by separating the plastic portion from the door gasket, then pry off the plastic trim piece. It has metal clips so there is a lower danger of breaking any plastic items.

2. Remove the handles above each door. Rotate the handle down and you'll see plastic inserts at the base of the handle. Use a sharp object to pry those loose. The entire insert comes out so it does not matter if you loosen it on the upper edge or the lower edge. Once the plastic inset is out, the handle pulls off. There is a metal clip that slides into the door frame. The plastic insert slides into that metal clip and keeps the metal clip and the handle in place. If you can remove the metal clip, take it out. If not, you'll need to pull it out once the headliner is out of the way and before you re-install the handles. When you re install the handles, slide the metal clip into the handle, then slide the handle into place, making sure that the metal clip is fully inserted and locked into the door frame. Then slide in the plastic insert. Its sounds more complicated than what it is- its a simple and elegant setup.

3. On the A column, pull the trim piece from under the door gasket. About 2/3's of the way up the trim piece there is a small plastic cover the has "Air Bag" on it. Pry that off and remove the large machine screw. You'll need a set of Tork screw heads since there are 2, maybe 3, different size Torks screws to remove. Then pull the trim piece up and to the rear. That trim piece comes off easily since if the side air bag deploys it would blow out from behind that piece and the top edge of the head liner.

4. Remove the 2 Torks screws holding each sun visor in place.

5. Toward the center of the windshield there is a piece that secures the edge of the sun visor. Pry the upper edge of a small cover in the center to reveal a single screw. Remove that screw and the piece comes loose.

6. Loosen the headliner from the gaskets on the door frames. Go to the back of the head liner and simply pull down on it. There are 3 magnets that hold it to the roof support beam that goes between the B columns. It should be supported by the seat head rests and 2 more screws up front.

7. In the center of the wind shield, by the rear view mirror (if you have one), pry off the plastic trim piece that surrounds the light switches. Beneath that there are 2 short Torks screws to remove. Those 2 screws are short and fat compared to the 6 screws that held the sun visor and its support in place so when you re assemble everything you'll want those first.

7. After those 2 screws up front are loose, the headliner should fall downward. There are two wire leads for the overhead lights by the rear view mirror that are easily disconnected. Once they are loose, the head liner slides out to the rear.


Light bar install:

1. To install the light bar in the center of the van on the roof, I put some blue painter tape on the roof, made the appropriate measurements and marked the locations for the holes. I bought 2 stainless steel carriage bolts, 1/4" diameter by 1 inch long to mount the light to the roof. I mounted the light bar behind the indentation in the roof, which appears to be made for a sun roof cutout.

2. Triple check all of the measurements.

3. Drill the 1/4" holes for the mounting bolts.

3. Check to ensure the light fits good by loosely installing it.

4. Mark a place slightly behind the light bar for putting the wiring harness through the roof.

5. I used a water tight fitting left over from a solar install. I'm not sure what it is called, but you can see it in the picture. It tightens around the wires and is secured to the roof with a plastic nut. Drill the hole for that and leave it loosely in place.

6. Figuring out how to install the wiring harness was the biggest challenge. There are 3 leads- one to the lights, one to the on/off switch and one to the power source. The 3 parts are linked at what I assume to be a voltage regulator or voltage step down device. The instructions call for the harness to be hooked directly to the battery. The harness is apparently designed for the light to be on the front of the vehicle, like on a brush guard, and for a battery behind one of the head lights. I knew I would need to modify the harness for the way I was doing the install.

7. I clipped the two wires for the light bar about 6 inches from the fitting that plugs into the back of the light bar. 6 inches of wire put my butt connectors inside the van- far less chance of a shorted wire. I held those wires loosely in place with a clamp and loosely installed the wiring harness across the top of the windshield to the passenger side A column. There is plenty of space to fit the harness through the dash board and down to the panel to the right of the passenger's feet. That panel is easily pried off- there are 3 plastic connectors holding it in place.

8. I had used my volt meter prior to this to determine that here was a Positive connector in the fuse panel in front of the passengers feet and a ground near by for the negative wire. Both had 5/16" bolts (or the metric equivalent). I had to remove the ring terminals on the wiring harness, which were sized for battery posts, and then replace them with 5/16" ring terminals. I removed the fuse 15 amp in line fuse on the positive lead, then connected both the negative and positive wires. I fastened the voltage regulator for the harness to an appropriate place to ensure it remained in place.

9. To install the on off switch I had to lengthen the 3 wires. The wires are probably 18 gauge wire, fairly light. Since I had to add about 12 feet, I used 14 gauge wire to reduce any voltage drop in that portion of the wire. Probably not needed, but easy enough to do. I ended up getting a roll of cable that was suitable for replacing a cord on a power tool. I went that route since it had three 14 ga wires and it was very well protected so I did not have to worry about the wires chaffing and shorting out. I ran that lead back over the top of the wind shield and down the drivers side A column. It was easy to get it under the dash.

10. I pried off the module that houses the light controls. I looked long and hard at trying to add the switch to that module but decided it was a bit too big and I was nervous about damaging that module. With that module out, there is excellent access to that part of the dashboard. I installed the small switch just above the light module. The instructions call for a 3/4" hole but to took quite a bit of filing and tinkering to get the switch pushed into the hole. Its a simple friction fit type switch so nothing to secure behind it other than connecting the three wires.

11. I then fed the wires from the light bar through the waterproof fitting and spliced them. I used heat shrink butt connectors and added electrical tape for good measure.... Again, less chance for my good friend Mr Murphy to do his thing at an inopportune time.

12. I put the fuse in, did a quick check and the lights worked fine.

13. Then I secured the light bar in place. I cut a bit of rubber under each support leg as a gasket. I used 3M 5200 Marine Adhesive/Sealant to seal any possible water leaks around the base of the lights. Inside the van I used a 3" piece of angle aluminium on each bolt as additional support since the light is quite heavy.

14. I sealed the water tight fitting with 5200 also and tightened that down.

15. I let it sit over night for the 5200 to cure. I looked closely for any areas that might benefit from a bit more 5200 in the morning.

16. I used a bunch of wire ties to secure all of the new wiring to existing wires.

Before I put the head liner back in place, I added Noico 80 mil sound deadening matt to the ceiling and an inch of rigid foam for insulation. I held the rigid foam in place with Great Stuff blow foam. On the edges by the doors, I used a piece of plastic to ensure the blow foam did not get on to the airbags or the the wire bundles.

After sitting over night for the foam to cure and then trimming the excess blow foam, the head liner went back into place very easily.

Picture 1- The electrical connections by the passenger side foot panel. The light bar in line fuse is in the top center, the positive connection on the lower left and the ground is on the lug with the brown wire.

Picture 2- The light bar placement on the roof.

Picture 3- The on off switch by the light module on the left side of the steering column.

Picture 4- The waterproof fitting through the roof with white 3M 5200 marine sealant/adhesive.

Picture 5- Another on the light placement.

Picture 6- The light bar wires are just to the left of center, near the two foam braces for the head liner.

Picture 7- The 1 inch rigid foam in place with the cut up plastic bag protecting the wires and air bag from the blow foam.

Picture 8- The rigid foam in place. The orange blow foam shows the location of the light bar wiring.

All of this took two full days. Figuring out the placement of the wiring harness and the electrical connections took a couple of hours. And a parts run for the carriage bolts, wire for the light switch extension, butt connectors and ring terminals.
Thanks so much for the detailed write-up! For those who just want to insulate above the headliner, I was able to pull the post trim, the grab handles, and pry the 2 rear magnets loose on the headliner and slide a 4' x 2' Thinsulate piece over the headliner and into place. There is no Noico or equiv. on my van from the factory above the cab section. I'll add that if the Thinsulate isn't enough. The visors and headliner don't need to come off if you aren't putting lights on. Just loosen the rear and sides and slide it in. You may not need to drop the grab-handles. A straight rectangular insulation piece narrower than the space between side airbags works fine. No need for any curve at the windshield.
 

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On the subject of headliners, I was worried about the look of my corrugated plastic version . . . until I saw the factory cargo area headliner in the manual. See the attached pdf -- it's very basic.

The headliner clips are P/N 000-991-39-40 (-9051 black), $1.86 online. Not sure what size they are from 3rd party vendors. I've found too many sizes of plastic push pins to guess.
 

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