ZL1 side rocker puddle lights

So the ZL1 side rockers came in today. +1 for RPI Designs (http://www.rpidesigns.com/shop/), they included all the various clips and the paint job looks great.

I modified the side rockers to now include four puddle lights a piece and tied them into the dome light circuit.

To create the puddle lights, I used;

Two 1$ cutting boards from WallyWorld. (http://www.walmart.com/ip/Mainstays-Paddle-Cutting-Board/17617561)
A pack of silicone RTV. (http://www.permatex.com/products/product-categories/adhesives-sealants/sealants/permatex–clear-rtv-silicone-adhesive-sealant-detail)
A tube of pure silicone from WallyWorld. (http://www.walmart.com/ip/All-Purpose-Silicone-Sealant/17163383)
Some aluminum tape. (http://www.homedepot.com/p/Nashua-Tape-322-1-57-64-in-x-50-yds-Aluminum-Foil-Tape-3220020500/100030120)
Some spare intercom wire. (http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2062655)
An old expired credit card (or gift card).
1/2″ heat shrink tube
Cut LED light strips from the interior light kit. (http://www.phastekperformance.com/2010-2011-Camaro-Footwell-Ambient-Light-LED-p/phastek-camaro-abl-ftwl-led.htm) (More on this below)


Starting from the front of the side rocker, I marked four lines on the inside of the rockers, at 16″, 32″, 48″, and 64″ with a black Sharpie. These are my center lines.

On the cutting boards, I trace the credit card to make 8 outlines with a black Sharpie.


On the credit card, I draw a 1/2″ boarder inside the charge card edges with a black Sharpie to make a smaller square. This is cut out with a dremel to make the cut template for the side rockers.


With the inside removed from the charge card, the card is centered on the previously marked center lines and the outside edge of the charge card is aligned with the curve of the side of the side rocker. The Sharpie is used to trace the square previously made inside of the charge card. Repeated for all 8 windows.


The dremel is used to cut the windows out of the cutting board and the inner windows from the side rockers.



The edges are deburred. From all parts using Sandpaper, razor blade or dremel.

I cut my interior light strips. I only used two sections (one segment on left, one on right) per seat area as they were very bright. This left 8 potential segments for something else.

There are cut marks on the LED strips from the manufacturing. Each cut line has two copper solder spots to attach wire. You just have to carefully trim the silicon top off of the contacts but not the LED area. This was done on all 8 pieces.

siderockerlights-small strips

Each of the 8 windows previously cut on the zl1 side rocker were roughed with 80 grit sand paper on the inside.

Each of the 8 windows cut from the cutting board had a bead of silicone RTV drawn around the perimeter, then attached over the window on the side rocker.


The process for the led strips is as such;

Take a length of wire (I used about 8′). Solder to one side of the first led strip. Take 1″ of heat shrink and shrink it over the wire and led strip, careful not to cover the actual LED. Now draw a big bead of silicone rtv over the LED strip and heat shrink.  Center this over the last (furthest from door hinge) window and mash it down. Now flatten the LED down to window and draw your finger around the perimeter to make sure the excess RTV forms a good air-free layer around and below the LED strip.


Now measure the length to the next LED strip, cut the wire, and solder to the led strip. Slide another 1″ piece of heat shrink over and secure.  Now solder the remaining length to the next terminals on the other side of the LED strip. Heat shrink that side. Add a big bead of RTV to LED strip and attach/run finger again. Repeat this for the final 2 LED strips on the side rocker, then repeat whole process for the other side rocker.

Let the RTV cure overnight.

Here is what it looks like, lit up.  The next step will block the light as well as reflect more of it down to the ground.


Take the tube of silicone and squirt a whole layer over the entire LED strip and window assembly, making sure to get in and around the heat shrink tube, as well as the edges of the window and covering the assembly.

Place several lengths of aluminum tape over the silicone, covering all of the LED and window assembly. This will act as a reflector as well as use the silicone for waterproofing. Do this for all windows.


Let cure at least over night.


I used the dremel to make a small notch where the rocker will meet the car, just below the front corner of the door sill protector. This allowed the power wire to route under the door sill without being pinched.

Ground went to an interior bolt and power went to the grey wire coming from the end grey connector of the BCM behind the brake pedal.

ZL1 Side Rocker Puddle Lights Video


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