('14+) How To: Install Glove Box Light - DIY - Subaru Forester Owners Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-28-2013, 01:14 PM Thread Starter
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How To: Install Glove Box Light - DIY

The 2014 has a mount for a glove box light but no light and no harness connector. Winter days are short in the Northwest and any light helps. I wanted to power from the dome lights. I could have powered from the 12V outlet in the center stack, but that would make it work only when the key is on.

For 12V Power -- I checked the lights – map, dome, and cargo. They are all powered by a Blue/Red wire that’s always hot and served by fuse #15. I’ve already changed all the interior lights to LED’s, and adding a glove box LED wouldn’t draw any more load than the original incandescent bulbs. I saw the map light harness coming from the passenger side, and then found the wires coming up the A-Pillar. The Blue/Red wire was not accessible under the dash, so I decided to tap it in the pillar. I confirmed my assumption by unplugging the connector and seeing the dome lights go out. Remove the fuse (#15) and/or disconnect the battery before any tapping or soldering.

For Ground -- I didn’t use a ground from the dome light harness because I think they come from the Body Control Module (and door switches). I checked it with a multi-meter. When the lights time out from the “battery drain protection feature”, the 12V source was still hot, but the ground was gone. Without a ’14 wiring diagram, I couldn’t be sure, but that’s what the evidence showed me. I didn’t want to take a chance messing with anything related to a control module. So this is my disclaimer – double check what you are tapping into.

A-Pillar -- Pop up the tweeter cover from your side to free it up, remove it, and that will free up the base of the pillar cover. Loosen the pillar cover from the top first. At the top, there is a plastic retainer that can be unhooked and then you can remove it from the bottom. I tapped the Blue/Red lead with an 18-14 gauge quick splice.

Remove the door from the glove box. The instructions are in the owner’s manual under the cabin air filter section. I had no problem disconnecting the connecting rod and squeezing the edges of the door to drop it down. Once you drop the door down, it comes right off. Then remove the panel on the right side of the dash, where the car door is.

Remove the panel just above the glove box. Don’t pry too hard. Start from the right and just wiggle a little until it starts to come loose along the whole length. Don’t bend it. I protected from scratches by covering my putty knife with a little piece of rag.

Remove the kick panel below the glove box. It’s held on by three plastic clips. Maybe this can stay on, but I took it off so I could look around underneath. I also took off the sill panel and right side kick panel in the footwell, but put them back on when I saw nothing useful under them.

The main glove box housing is now completely removable. There are seven screws to remove and two wiring harness clips in the back to squeeze out. There is a screw on top, under the panel that isn’t visible on this picture, but circled anyway.

These parts make the circuit, just a switch and an LED fixture. I used an LED that is a 5/8” stainless steel accent light in a screw mount from Autolumination. Look under LED Light Fixtures & Strobes and just scroll down. The switch is a Duralast SW6727 from a Hyundai Tuscon. A few parts stores carry it. You could use a round switch too. Then there is the little black mount from the Forester itself that I had to ream out a little to fit the 5/8” LED.

For the switch, I picked a little spot in the lower left between some reinforcement bars on the back. Make a template to mark the location. This switch is 24mm x 10mm. Then () drill a hole. I started with a small hole and then went to 5/16” right in the center, and used a keyhole saw and Exacto knife to trim it into a nice straight rectangle. I had to trim a little bit with the Exacto knife to get just the right fit for the switch.

The wiring is mostly self-contained. The metal strip at the bottom of the housing gets grounded to the frame when it’s installed, so I ran the ground from there, through the switch, to the LED. I had already run a red wire from the tap in the A-pillar to where the LED would be. I put a a female bullet connector to mate with the male connector already on the LED. Use a female on the hot lead because you don’t ever want this lead to be able to touch anything else when it’s disconnected. It’s hot.

After installing the glove-box housing, I tested by hooking the battery back up. It works! Then I installed everything else – pillar cover, tweeter cover, panel on the right side, panel above the glove box, kick panel below the glove box, and the glove box door. It sounds a little complicated, just for a glove-box light, but I was also exploring for another thing I want to install – footwell lights -- but that's another project for another day. It’s nice that the area under the dash is so accessible once you remove a couple things. The panels came off easily without breaking any clips.

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-28-2013, 02:16 PM
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Nice write-up! Thanks!

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-29-2013, 04:07 PM
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Nice why was this not stock !
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-29-2013, 04:11 PM
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Nice job.

Subaru has always been weird about the glove compartment light. As far back as my 2003, the cutout is there for the light that's used in other models, but there's no apparent socket awaiting in the harness.

Me: 2003XS Premium MT ● She: 2016i Premium CVT ● Robin-Subaru Powered Generator
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-29-2013, 04:33 PM
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Nicely done! I've added a link to this thread in our Knowledge Base section.

~ Silke ~
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-30-2013, 06:05 AM
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I marvel at the effort than some folks make to accomplish these projects. Life is to short at my age (67) to do these things, but more power to you.

I guess I just don't need to acces my glove box that often..lol... Nice job!!!

Be careful what you wish for.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-15-2013, 02:15 PM
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Great Job, looks like a Factory Install. I was really surprised Subaru would not include a glove box light as standard equipment???
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-14-2014, 07:00 AM
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Easy Job

Did mine last night, using the same parts. It took me 2 careful, cautious hours to do everything, from setup to cleanup. Really not difficult at all.

The only difference I did was I tapped the power off the illumination for the hazard switch. It is a purple wire on the right of the harness. The glove box light will work when the lights are on - which mine are on all the time anyway.


12 Volt Stainless Steel Led Accent Lights (16mm, 5/8" hole) - 3/4 of the way down the page

Last edited by snowjoe11; 01-29-2014 at 07:12 AM.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-17-2014, 01:36 AM
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Wonderful write up, thank you!
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-10-2014, 08:55 AM
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2014 Subaru Forester glovebox light

Thanks, very informative and precise instructions. Took me about an hour.

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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-11-2014, 06:06 AM
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Subaru should give us rebates for doing their job!

Did this install this past Friday, about a 2 hour job. Tapped into positive/ extra accessory lead supplied by Subaru on the driver's side near fuse panel wrapped up in blue tape, single terminal, female for male spade wire connector to glove box light harness ($25 part). Used 18 gauge wire, the harness from Subaru is probably 22 gauge, very thin, but 1.4 W OEM incandescent goes into socket there. Bulb size is 74 so the LED equivalent is a T5, which is about .6 Watts. If the LED does not light up at first, reverse the bulb in socket, these LED's in particular are polarity sensitive.

Removed lower dash panel on driver's side for better access to positive lead which is "on" or hot only with ignition on, good feature cause I have had bad switches in glove boxes kill batteries. Panel has two Phillips screws on far left and far right bottoms, and three clips at top. Make sure no wiring hangs on change box that mounts in front of fuse panel. My Subi is a 2003 Forester XS w/ Leather but no glove box light for 12 years until Friday, go figure.

To get 18 gauge lamp cord (seems more heavy duty than most wiring) from fuse panel area at driver's side to glove box area on passenger side, taped end of wire to stiff single strand home wiring wire and used flashlight to see a path with light showing up on passenger side panel. Gingerly pull wire through dashboard maze and you are in business. If get caught on something or comes out in undesirable spot, re-do.

Could not find a good spot near fuse panel for ground, so connected open spade connector to Phillips screw that holds a small black module behind glove box. Make sure you leave enough wire so a shop mechanic doesn't rip the connectors loose when he changes the cabin air filter; leave enough so box rests easily on floor when removed with no tension on wiring.


Plenty of wire hooks/guides on back of box, used wire tie to secure end of harness past bulb socket to last wire hook. Used spade connectors from OEM wire harness to lead from fuse panel, so can disconnect glove box entirely if need be.

Am 65 myself and little stiff to be crawling under a dash, but am sick and tired of paying a fortune for shop work I often have to do final adjustments to. Americans don't have pride in their work like they used to. Old School Me.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-14-2015, 06:23 AM
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Thank you so much. I've been wanting to do this for a while now and finally did it today!
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