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Old 11-02-2005, 04:31 PM   #1
idealrides
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Default just finished LED tailight retrofit...

I've been thinking about doing this for a while but finally got around to it when I stumbled on some used stock WRX tailights on ebay for $40. After a failed first attempt to seperate the lens piece from the housing using an oven like in a headlight retrofit, I busted out the dremel and went to town, cutting a 7 inch opening along the bottom and sliding in some oval ready-to-go truck brakelights. (model#PTF-R56 from superbrightleds.com - $22 each). These lights have a more focused/precise beam pattern than the factory brake lights. If you've ever been behind a trailer truck that has them, you'll know how bright they are. They also function as taillights, at half brightness.

I also had to re-do my "stealth auxiliary reverse lights" (original post) on these new housings... this involved drilling a hole and snapping in an extra bulb socket, wired in parallel with the stock reverse bulb (in order to see better at night after installing rear window tint). This time I made a change to the setup... I used the factory direction signal socket for the "extra" reverse bulb, because it has the proper location inside the reflector housing to provide the best/greatest light output. I also used 50 watt 1157 halogen bulbs, which means I have a total of 140 watts of well-focused reverse light.

Then of course I had to move the direction signal wiring to the new socket, which is in the same reflector bay but off to the side. For these I'm using plug-and-play 1157-style LED bulbs from ledtronics. They're fairly expensive for plug-and-play bulbs - around $50 per pair - but they have integrated load equalizers to correct the bulb-out function of the signal relay, and they're very bright, especially since they have LED's mounted radially so it helps to illuminate the whole reflector housing, providing more uniform illumination.

I'll post some more pics when they're on the car....






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Old 11-02-2005, 04:35 PM   #2
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do you have any shots from farther away?
Shane
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Old 11-02-2005, 04:36 PM   #3
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nicely done
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Old 11-02-2005, 04:46 PM   #4
idealrides
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PARANOID56
do you have any shots from farther away?
Shane
I'll take some when they're on the car.

I'm just thinking about how to get a picture of the brakelights... if I ask my girlfriend to help take the picture, i'll have to explain this whole thing to her, then she'll be jealous that i spend more time working on my car than with her, blah blah blah.
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Old 11-02-2005, 06:25 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by idealrides
I'll take some when they're on the car.

I'm just thinking about how to get a picture of the brakelights... if I ask my girlfriend to help take the picture, i'll have to explain this whole thing to her, then she'll be jealous that i spend more time working on my car than with her, blah blah blah.
You mean you will actually be honest about time and cost to her??

offset
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Old 11-02-2005, 06:31 PM   #6
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nice! can't wait to see all the pictures.

RR
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Old 11-03-2005, 12:22 AM   #7
idealrides
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bad news.... i just plugged in one of them to make sure the ledtronics bulb had a built in equalizer (according to one of the sales blubs) but it was wrong, it doesn't. This means that the direction signal was blinking fast.

The good news is that everything was otherwise wired up nice and all the lights were great. I just didn't feel like bolting them in place just to have to remove them to install the load equalizers once I get them. I'll post the finished pictures once everything is installed on the car, should be in a week or two.
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Old 11-03-2005, 01:53 AM   #8
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i wouldnt get the load equalizers as all they are is large resistors. i would get a new electronic flasher. these flashers dont need to sence a load on them. so they dont hyper blink the lights.
Shane
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Old 11-03-2005, 02:34 AM   #9
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that is very sweet. if i had an extra set of tails sitting around i'd do this in a heartbeat.
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Old 11-03-2005, 11:54 AM   #10
idealrides
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PARANOID56
i wouldnt get the load equalizers as all they are is large resistors. i would get a new electronic flasher. these flashers dont need to sence a load on them. so they dont hyper blink the lights.
Shane
i was thinking about that, but i don't know what style relay is in the car, i don't even know where it is. maybe behind the glovebox? Also by using the equalizer if one of the front halogen signal bulbs blows, it will still trigger the bulb out function.
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Old 11-03-2005, 10:01 PM   #11
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A Tridon EP-37 from NAPA will work. It is two pin, and the stock is 3 pin, but this is not a problem. (The two pin is a groundless flasher).

If you lay on your back on the drivers seat, with your head facing the brake pedal, slide down until your head hits the floor. Look up. Look right to your left on the steering column, the stock flasher should be on a bracket there.

RW

PS - If you go with load equalizers, you need to match about 2 amps, so you are looking at around 25W heat dissipation.
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Old 11-05-2005, 03:39 AM   #12
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led taillights piss me off. seriously whenever i see em in the dead of night i wanna have a seisure, they are so freaking hard 2 look at.
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Old 11-05-2005, 11:08 PM   #13
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sweeet. nice job! def wanna see a pic on the car with them lit up
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Old 11-08-2005, 04:03 PM   #14
idealrides
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the load resistors should arrive tomorrow... hopefully I should have time to put them in and get it done soon.
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Old 11-10-2005, 04:54 PM   #15
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finally all finished, load resistors installed, all connections soldered and sealed.

you can see that at certain angles the DOT reflector (the three horizontal stripes in the center of each brake light section, which are part of the taillight lens itself) visually interferes with the outer half of the LED pattern. A little disappointing but not too bad, kinda gives it a robotic look.

Anyway these pics are just the taillight... the brake light is much much brighter than stock, and the reverse lights are equally improved.




comparison to stock:
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Old 11-10-2005, 04:56 PM   #16
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bravo! nicely done.
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Old 11-11-2005, 05:29 AM   #17
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Very nice ! Very Good job
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Old 11-11-2005, 05:31 PM   #18
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Very nicely done, love the origonality.
which read diffuser is that?
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Old 11-11-2005, 07:45 PM   #19
idealrides
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjd85la
Very nicely done, love the origonality.
which read diffuser is that?
thanks. it's the OEM rear underspoiler, it comes prepainted and just bolts on.
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Old 11-12-2005, 10:31 AM   #20
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i like that "Stealth reverselight"

very clever.

however the tail light doesnt seem to have the same fill anymore.

but on the other hand, i'm sure the LED's are pretty intence
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Old 11-14-2005, 05:54 PM   #21
idealrides
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psyber_0ptix
i like that "Stealth reverselight"

very clever.

however the tail light doesnt seem to have the same fill anymore.

but on the other hand, i'm sure the LED's are pretty intence
you're right, the fill is completely different and more intense. This was my intention, as I mounted the LED assembly flat against the taillight lens, which doesn't allow any light to escape and bounce against the reflector assembly. If you want to retain the "fill" of the factory light, just use a plug-and-play LED bulb!
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Old 11-14-2005, 07:26 PM   #22
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that's sweet. i would have left the outer 7443's functional as a brake light only, just for added "I'M BRAKING"-ness.


about 'plug-and-play' LED bulbs... the ones i've experienced are TERRIBLE in reflector/refractor housings. even the ones with side-facing led's don't look right. LED tails are much like HID heads... retrofit a dedicated unit in or don't do it at all.
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Old 11-15-2005, 01:12 AM   #23
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maybe if holes were cutout where the stock bulbs are mounted just barely large nough to epoxy the LED cluster into place, it will keep the LED's from the outer lens letting it fill a bit better (like wide output leds)

but thats just a thought, i'm sure clearences might be issues.

but excellent write up and very clever.
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Old 11-15-2005, 01:31 AM   #24
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not meant as a thread jack, but someone just passed this pic on to me.



make you wonder don't it
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Old 11-15-2005, 01:38 AM   #25
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RR,

I saw those at SEMA...pretty cool....but still hands down for custom job by idealrides!

John P.
Rally Innovations
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