DRL Install Howto: The $10/10Minute Method

Nov 26, 2005
BC, Canada
Took some pictures of my Daytime Running Light setup on my '91 Hilux Surf so thought I would share the process. Key benefits are this setup should cost you around $10 and should only take 10-30min to install yourself and it uses the otherwise relatively useless side marker/city lamps not your headlamps. Depending on your factory wiring, this may also make your dashboard lightig to be on at all times as well since dash and marker lights are often linked. (Process should be a fairly similar process on any other vehicle that has the clear side marker lights like the LJ7* but obviously not exact.) I'm not an electrician so use at your own risk. Typos may be present, and relay pole numbers are from memory so double check yourself.

1 - 30amp Relay ($5)
1 - 12gauge inline fuse holder ($4)
1 - 15amp Fuse
1 - Length of 12gauge wire
1 - Length of 14-16gauge wire
1 - Various crimp connectors (female spade, ring terminals, butt, scotch lock)
1 - Quality crimping/stripping tool ($15-20) (OK, if you didn't have already this blows the $10 budget but a quality tool is worth is weight in gold...don't cheap out here)

The things you need to determine now are 1) a 'hot-on-run' power source, 2) a ground point, 3) a mounting location for the relay, and 4) the positive (+) wire for the side marker light. 2) and 3) are a matter of personal choice, 4) is done with you trusty voltmeter with the headlights turned on (neg on a chassis ground, stick + probe tip into the side marker light connector slots one at a time [there is only 2]...the one that indicates 12V is the wire you want). The trickiest of the bunch is finding 1). On the Surf for 1) I choose to use a parasite tap on the charging fuse in the engine bay fusebox (see pic) but there are a number of hot-on-run locations to choose from with the help of your voltmeter again.

Now for the wiring.

!!Disconnect battery!!
1) Construct the main power wire using 10-14 guage wire (bigger the better). This involves a ring terminal at one end (for connecting to battery +), then your inline fuse holder as close to the battery end as possible, then run the wire to your relay mounting location and cut to length. At the relay end attach a female spade terminal and attach to power pole (usually marked 30) on the relay. Add a fuse to your inline fuse holder (I had a 15amp handy so thats what I used, make sure your fuse is rated lower than the gauge of wire you chose).
2) Constuct the ground wire. I used 14 gauge wire. Female spade terminal on relay end and attch to ground pole (usually 85). Chassis end connector depends on where/what you are attaching it to. I used an existing grounding bolt so I used a ring terminal sized to fit around the bolt.
3) Construct the trigger wire. From your 'hot-on-run' 12V power source run a wire again with a femal spade connector and attach to trigger pole on relay (usually 86). I used 16gauge wire here.
4) Construct the link wire to the marker lights. I used 16 gauge here since it looked to be what the factory wires are. Again female spade connector at one end attached to the output pole (usually 87...note: if your relay has 2 poles marked 87 just pick one, the other can be covered for protection and ignored and/or can be another power source for some other hot-on-run mod later...this is why your should make the main power wire beefier than was needed for just the DRL application). Use a scotch lock connector at the other end to attach to the wire you determined was the + wire for the side marker lights (only need to connect to one of the lights...the existing wiring will carry that power to the other).
!!Reconnect Battery!!

Fire up the vehicle, verify that headlights are turned off, walk to the front of your vehicle and marvel at your fancy DRL's shining away. If they are not lit up 1) recheck all your wiring is attached to the right places, 2) recheck that your crimp connectors were attached properly (crappy tools can make crappy connections that fail almost with the slightest tension). Finish the job with tasty beverage of choice and go book your OOP inspection!
Jun 19, 2010
Coquitlam, BC
To be honest my truck is already is insured and passed inspection with no mods so I aint gonna install DRL... no point if your already driving it.


Jan 23, 2010
Winnipeg, MB
To be honest my truck is already is insured and passed inspection with no mods so I aint gonna install DRL... no point if your already driving it.
You could still be pulled over and ticketed for no DRL's, so there is still a point IMO.;)
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