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My LED Third Brake Light - Cheap and Easy!


gastephens
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Seriously, this is a one hour job.

I wanted a third brake light but didn't want to spend a bundle, drill holes in my parcel shelf, or have a large light mounted in my window. I was willing to trade some brightness since I have the big square taillights.

I was trolling on a vintage Mustang site (don't ask) and saw this install so I thought I would try it.

Believe it or not, $1.89 DELIVERED on eBay!

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Car-Flexible-Red-15-SMD-LED-Bulb-Light-Strip-30cm-12V-_W0QQcmdZViewItemQQhashZitem27b6126ebcQQitemZ170558385852QQptZMotorsQ5fCarQ5fTruckQ5fPartsQ5fAccessories#ht_2193wt_1165

This is a self-adhesive 12V LED strip that you can peel and stick right to the rubber seal at the top of the rear window. When it is not on, it is virtually invisible.

INSTALL INSTRUCTIONS

Solder a longer two conductor wire onto the supplied wires and tuck it inside the rear window seal. Run it down around the window, under the parcel shelf, through the gas line hole behind the seat or through the parcel shelf hole into the trunk, along the wheel well and back to the right rear taillight. I covered my wires with black heatshrink to be a bit more covert. Finding the brake and ground wires are left as an exercise to the student.

I actually soldered alligator clips onto the wires and clipped them onto the terminals inside the rear taillight housing. Obviously you could make a more robust connection but that has worked well for me.

It is visible in daylight but not really bright. It is very visible at night. A bit more safety can't hurt and I think it looks cool too.

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You can also get these from local automotive shops (AutoZone, Advance, PEP Boys, etc.). I've been working on using one at the base of the rear window stuck to the body just above the truck lid. The wiring would go directly into the trough and then into the trunk across the trunk lid gasket. Again the benefit being no drilling involved. From there work your way to the brake light circuit and a ground and you have it. I selected this location because it does not create any reflection inside the car. You can't even see the strip when it lights up while indie the car but it is great from the outside. I used the 8" version as is shown in the post above.

I'll get some pics posted up.

Great job Glenn!

Todd

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Todd, did you reverse the wiring on you tail lights like we talked about?

.. or have a large light mounted in my window...

Your call man...your car. I don't want to leave any thing to chance. Aluminum tape in the Tail light housings, and a four bulb light from a 2004 Isuzu Rodeo..oh and a bike flasher.

Interestingly though, I drove with out one until very recently, and never had an issue. LOL -its the fear factor I guess.

Slick install on that LED strip m'man. I likey.

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