"Dodge" 2010 Ram 3500 Build


For some reason, the left headlight assembly quit working. The other day I noticed some codes for ECU low voltage so I suspected it was a CAN bus glitch and hoped I didn't screw up a transceiver module thingy (yes, a highly technical term, I know :) ) while doing electrical work. I could hook up AlfaOBD, or pull the headlight and get more familiar with the truck. Of course, I chose the second option and it gave me the opportunity to finish the lights on the cheap&cheesy grill.

A while back, I picked up this grill off Ebay for something like $150 (new). I got it installed but didn't splice into the lights.

The LEDs on the grill have a magic box (Yup, another tech term :cool: ), but where do you put it????

After thinking a while, I chose to put it behind the mount in the top left (viewed from behind the grill).

I put a good size hole on the bottom of the corner so it could breath a bit, and it cables me a place to route wires. A few smaller holes let me strap it in with zip-ties.

I shortened a set of wires and looked around the shop for some nylon clamps. A short while later, it looked like this.

I'll splice into the running lights today and get the grill put back in.


I finished up the grille.

First step was to get the wire spliced in and get a weatherproof connector put in. Thing is, there's 2 wires that are white with a green stripe. As it turns out, I cut the wrong one first and had to fix it.

I got the wires spliced, ran the loom, and crimped on the connector pieces. These are OK, but I'd redo them if I was doing it for someone else.

While I was wrapping the loom with tape, I tugged on the harness a bit too hard and pulled something that caused coolant to gush out. Not a leak. It was like I pulled the bottom radiator hose. My first thought was that it shouldn't be that easy to make coolant leave and why people aren't screaming about this problem. Without a light I managed to get the end back in the hole. With a light I could see that it's a sensor and it's fine as long as you don't pull it to the left side too hard. It was pretty exciting and noteworthy, to say the least.

After the connector was put on, I drilled a hole in the radiator mount to hold a zip-tie. I like it. It's clean.

At the grille, I spliced in the fuse thinking it's as good a place to put it as any, then more tape, loom, and the other connector.

While I was in the area, I couldn't help but notice that the front plastic can be removed from the headlight assembly by lifting tabs that go around the front. This is interesting because it means that I should be able to do custom black paint, LEDs, and all kinds of cool stuff, without buying custom headlights.

I like it, quite a bit.

On a related note... While I was working on the system, I had a thought that I could use the CAN bus in an interesting way. I have an aftermarket head unit and haven't set up the switches on the back of the steering wheel. Maybe I could use Arduino or Raspberry Pi to make a controller that would 'listen' to the bus and make things happen when I used those controls. Maybe I could make a very small touch screen that would be able to select 'pages' of configurations. Page 1 might use those controls for Aux lights. Maybe I could setup the volume +/- to run a winch. Maybe I could find an electric E-brake thing that will let me use one of the controls to lock the right or left rear wheel. Sure, I may never get to it but my head is swimming with all the possibilities.


Since I haven't done this exact kinda thing before, there's bound to be some rework. In this case, it's the rear view camera.

It's a good camera, but the field of view makes the image pinched vertically. There's just too much fish-eye going on for a proper rear view. Also, it could do better with sun light.

I picked this one up. It's got LEDs for night vision, too.

Had to do some soldering. Some will notice it's a red wire to black. The red is from the video cable and the black is from a quick disconnect that has the wrong color wires for the pin-out used in this application. With these thin wires, you've got to be careful with heat. It's easy to melt the insulation with the iron and heat gun.

Not perfect, but it'll do.

I don't normally mention brands and plug products (without sponsorship of some kind) but I'm so impressed with this little cordless iron that I've got to give it props. Since I have a bunch of the Ryobi 18v stuff, I picked this up (tool only) for something like $40 on sale. I use it everywhere and on everything, even circuit boards.

After soldering and testing, I finished up the split loom and tape, put heat shrink around the quick disconnect, and made a plug for when I'm running without the tailgate.

I had to make the hole a bit bigger and then coat it with paint for some rust protection. Side Note: I have no problem helping a brother out. I'd love too. Really, it's true. Electrical, mechanical, software things, sure, and I love the challenge. But for the love of all that's holy, do not let me do anything resembling body work. Just don't. So very, very, bad at paint and body work.

I'm going to have to get some touch up paint. I'll get an after pic of the of the rear view monitor today

I went back to the switches on the dash today. I knew there was plastic behind the dash panel so I drilled a pilot hole and pulled the panel off to finish the holes. I didn't look behind it first and drilled too far to the right. I had to cut out the hole for the mounting clip. I guess I'll use Velcro, or something, if it rattles too much but I think it will be OK.

If I have to pull the panel, I can pull the ends off the switch, but it's not very elegant. I'm thinking I might solder the wires to the switch and get some small multi-pin connectors. I'm going to need 3-4 of them.

Today, I'm going to work on the momentary switches for the monitors. It means more non-reversible drilling. Yup, I'm afraid too.

I know it's never good, but I've been thinking... Maybe I could put LED lights on the mirrors to light up the side of the truck, by the tires. I do remember a few times when I was caught on the trail at night and wished there was light around the tire sidewalls.