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[Video] Project RAV4X4 gets a finishing touch

by Drew Johnson

A set of KC driving lights completes the look.

With the lift kit install and the Ivan "Ironman” Stewart racing livery applied, Project RAV4X4's punch list is down to just one item -- installing a set of KC driving lights.

I typically avoid electrical work like the plague, but since KC's all-inclusive lighting kit is so straightforward that even a well trained dog could figure it out, I decided to give it a go.

My first task was to find a spot for the wires to pass through the firewall. I ruled out drilling a new hole -- mainly to avoid poking a hole through some vital component -- and set about locating a pass-through provided by the factory. I discovered some kind of HVAC tube protruding into the engine bay and decided to use it to snake the wires through the firewall.

Luckily the RAV4 was a much simpler vehicle in 1997 so it didn't take much effort to route the wires through the back of the center console and under the driver's side dashboard. The RAV4 has a series of switch blanks just to the left of the steering wheel, so I mounted the light switch in one of those for a near-factory look.

Next I went back under hood to find a mounting location for the lighting kit's relay box. Again, drilling a new hole is an option, but not one I wanted to take. Instead, I used a pre-existing hole used for supporting a bracket in the engine bay. The bolt for that bracket was actually slightly larger than the mounting hole in the relay switch, so I drilled the hole to fit. It should also be noted that I sanded the area to give it the best ground possible.

I also attached the system ground to the same bolt holding the relay switch. Alternatively, I could have routed the wire to the negative terminal of the battery, but it was easier and cleaner looking just to keep it with the relay box.

Next up was delivering power to the kit, which was as simple as attaching a wire -- yellow, in this case -- to the positive battery terminal. In order to control the lights via the dash-mounted switch, I also mounted its white wire to the positive battery terminal. There's also the option to wire the driving lights directly to the vehicle so they automatically come on when the headlights or high-beams are switched on.

A solid mounting point is ideal for auxiliary lights, but I used the next best thing -- a floppy plastic bumper. Though admittedly not ideal, the bumper worked for my purposes -- it made for a simple install and I'm not going to be doing enough hardcore off-roading to shake the lights loose.

Other than it being somewhat difficult to reach the back bolts, the lights went on without much fuss. I ran the requisite wires to each light and then cleaned up the spaghetti of wires in the engine bay by tucking what I could away and zip-tying the rest.

The inside was the same story. I zip tied the wires running to the light switch to the underside of the dashboard in a few places, and then reattached all of the under dash panels. And with that, the job, and Project RAV4X4, was done.

Or was it...

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