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Hunt for a Low Buck High Mount Third Brake Light


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For about 10 years I have been on the hunt for a low dollar, high mount third brake light because I like inexpensive safety improvements. Extra safety parts are also cheaper than bodywork! I also wanted to find something that minimally affected the visuals in the car and did not mount low on/by the parcel shelf. I have been through a handful of lights since the beginning and now am on version 3.0 which I think is the winner! Time will tell, but initial reactions are good.

 

 

Here's a little history before I get into the good stuff, pictures at the bottom:

 

Version 1.0 and 1.1 were a self adhesive LED strip that I adhered to the window gasket. Cost was about $10 dollars at the time and were available from many sellers. This light did OK at night, but was much too dim during the day to be a good solution. I ran this for about three years and loved how hidden it was, but really wanted to find something brighter. I wanted something brighter and with a denser grouping of LED's. Version 1.1 I changed the adhesive on.

Version 2.0, 2.1, and 2.2 were a unit actually listed as a third brake light, but I quickly found its weak spots. This was an 80LED universal brake light that could be sourced off eBay for about 10 bucks shipped out of China. These units were fairly bright, very LED dense, and didn't look too bad, but they had a lot of faults. The unit had to be disassembled and reglued out of the box otherwise it twisted all over and rattled, custom mounts had to be made, and they weren't as hidden as V1. I ran a few of these over about 5 years, and the final one started to have LED's die, so it was time for a new option. Version 2.1 I reglued the unit and changed adhesive, V2.2 I changed the mounts.

Version 3.0!!!!
I started poking around again and stumbled into what looked like a low profile, inexpensive, wide, and bright option. This is a 90CM Flexible Third Brake Light that I sourced from eBay for about $15 bucks. Off the bat I did one small modification, but otherwise ready to run. The little black box in the bottom right of the photos needed to be glued shut and I applied hot glue to each end as strain relief. Note on installation this box gets to about 120F when energized, so mount away from things it could damage. It takes 12V and steps it down. I put a small shield around it where I mounted it. The unit comes with self adhesive tape mounted to it, so installation is as easy as peel and stick. The wires then run down the window gasket and into the trunk. The adhesive is just OK, so I will report back in the summer when it gets baked in the sun. I may have to peel it off and add VHB instead. Otherwise, short review says it's a winner!

 


Hopefully others can find this info useful and it saves the rear of a few '02's! Let me know if you have any questions! I will update in the future with long term test results.




Version 1.0/1.1

ACtC-3e8oe837d-SEMdlTF-2RRzs3vZRiVv2fMWYACtC-3eqo1hRFON6WaDhLtU41oBzogbo7TLwNTu9

 

Version 2.0/2.1/2.2
ACtC-3dgWCRKfZa6XRZFb1ooS_qOwagPwnHTWkXIACtC-3fdLsKNkMGFJcWuBqE8X0W-Q6BXUdVqdEJA

 

Version 3.0
JA-tchfvo0J_7XHvjPoPs0bjf_oCj9aow3jPJZ-P69eOV6pG9diac5bVkl03xVvhqO-foh2zG1G4g3Ob

ONeKoWdccImD0QH9qMHkR_UEyNoEwaz1uX1WJQjRyfben74CBdhikJB7VIgsjYbAVM_cQ6KcPrQQDtNU

_lZbpgTG4Yj8UIbQLC6T0x7Y5Qvcimfv-uU_WhxidMn4RtCcLOCqkMCxGv-joivbFgHeFV2ks_vSaFFS

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+ 1 on inability to view other than the first couple of pictures, and contact information of where to buy.  Would love to see pictures of it illuminated in daylight...that's when you really need it.

 

Also, can this unit be mounted directly to the rubber backlight gasket or in such a way as it doesn't hang down into the glass area (i.e. flush with the very top of the glass)?

 

I've been thinking of roaming a local pick 'n pull to see what I can scrounge, but this sounds a lot easier.  Does the kit come with enough lead wire to run back to a brake light terminal in the tail light assembly?

 

TIA

 

mike 

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We've had a Gen 2 Jetta 3rd light on Jenn's car since 1999.  She's never been  hit.

 

heh

 

Any more, I think your only hope is a 2 GW laser, and when they are approaching too fast,

just vaporise them.

 

I can't wait for the massive truck fad to run out of iron.

 

t

 

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My 2002 has a 3rd brake light from a chevy caprice police car that my dad got from the trash when SFPD got new cars in the 1980s lol. I've had people ask me if it was a factory option. My dad daily drove it for a decade across the Bay bridge without getting rear ended, but that was back in the 80's when traffic wasn't as bad and most of the traffic wasn't SUV's and giant pickup trucks.

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Well now I feel dumb on those photos...  Sorry about that all! I could see them because they were linked to my account. Should be fixed now! Apologies on that!

 

Didn't include links initially as they go dead on eBay pretty quick. Here is the links and the titles.

 

V3.0 (the new one)

90CM Car LED Rear 3rd Stop Brake Strip Light Signal Lamp Driving Warning Lamp X1

https://www.ebay.com/itm/313369213578


V2.0 (the old one)
Universal Car 80 LED 2W 12V Third Brake Tail Light High Mount Stop Lamp Red
https://www.ebay.com/itm/203012622615

 

On 2/12/2021 at 5:33 PM, John76 said:

Nathan,

The suspense is killing me!  Can't see your Version 3.0.

Do you also have LED brake light bulbs?  Looks good.

I have Blunt's LED retrofit kit in my taillights and it can be seen only in V3.0. The others are just good bulbs and housings.
 

 

21 hours ago, Mike Self said:

+ 1 on inability to view other than the first couple of pictures, and contact information of where to buy.  Would love to see pictures of it illuminated in daylight...that's when you really need it.

 

Also, can this unit be mounted directly to the rubber backlight gasket or in such a way as it doesn't hang down into the glass area (i.e. flush with the very top of the glass)?

 

I've been thinking of roaming a local pick 'n pull to see what I can scrounge, but this sounds a lot easier.  Does the kit come with enough lead wire to run back to a brake light terminal in the tail light assembly?

 


I need to fire it up for photos in the daylight, but I have checked in the day and they are as bright as the taillights. I'll see what I can pull off tomorrow. Snowing right now, but I can at least open the door.

I would not mount this to the window gasket due to the shape, but it fits snug up against the gasket and is almost imperceptible.

I roam the PICK-N-PULL and others and haven't come across something as sleek and simple as this yet. I have thought about Tahoe/Suburban/Astro 3rd brake light assemblies, but they are much bulkier.

The wires I believe are long enough to reach the brake light housing. I had some wiring from doing this in the past that I used, so I can't 100% confirm, but I believe so. I pulled power off a brake light socket and used bullet connectors so things could be removed if needed.

 

 

5 hours ago, 2002iii said:

My 2002 has a 3rd brake light from a chevy caprice police car that my dad got from the trash when SFPD got new cars in the 1980s lol. I've had people ask me if it was a factory option. My dad daily drove it for a decade across the Bay bridge without getting rear ended, but that was back in the 80's when traffic wasn't as bad and most of the traffic wasn't SUV's and giant pickup trucks.

Proof-ish some sort of third brake light helps! With there being more SUV's and trucks now I like the really high mount stuff. This was a test shot and some of my reasoning, this is in my pickup pulled up to the 2002. Parcel shelf light would do no good. Yes, I'm pretty close here, so it's an exaggeration, but thought is there.

 

ACtC-3fccxcBjpBG1lsRcnmtTy4yhl5nTvhtylq2

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18 hours ago, roadhog0 said:

V3.0 (the new one)

90CM Car LED Rear 3rd Stop Brake Strip Light Signal Lamp Driving Warning Lamp X1

https://www.ebay.com/itm/313369213578

 

Thank you!  Exactly what I was looking for. 

Just ordered from ebay for $14.99 + tax, free shipping.

 

18 hours ago, Bavarian Deuce said:

On a side note nice R90 😀

Yah!  R90s and 2002s go together like peanut butter and jelly.

I have a '78 R100s and '76 2002.  My 6 favorite BMW cylinders.

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22 hours ago, Bavarian Deuce said:

On a side note nice R90 😀 

Nice work on the 3rd light option!

 

Thank you! The R90S is pretty cool! It's US VIN #2, so possibly the first sold in the states, or was a press bike. I stumbled into it a few years back on craigslist in rough shape. Took a chance and found out it was special after I got it home. I need to figure out what I'm doing with it...

 

3 hours ago, John76 said:

 

Thank you!  Exactly what I was looking for. 

Just ordered from ebay for $14.99 + tax, free shipping.

 

Yah!  R90s and 2002s go together like peanut butter and jelly.

I have a '78 R100s and '76 2002.  My 6 favorite BMW cylinders.

Sweet! Good luck! You will need to run wires down the passenger side of the car down to the passenger taillight. Good luck!

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26 minutes ago, roadhog0 said:

 

Thank you! The R90S is pretty cool! It's US VIN #2, so possibly the first sold in the states, or was a press bike. I stumbled into it a few years back on craigslist in rough shape. Took a chance and found out it was special after I got it home. I need to figure out what I'm doing with it...

I was just reading about the R90s yesterday after watching a TV program about the 1975 20th Century Motors Dale car fraud that was supposed to be a 3 wheel car that got 70mpg and powered by a "revamped BMW 850cc air cooled engine" driving a single rear wheel (really interesting crazy story of a con artist praying on people scared by the oil crisis and a prototype made from fiberglass and a bunch of other manufacturers parts).

 

BMW motorcycles are beautiful pieces of engineering and led to the BMW Isseta and 700 which led to the neu klasse and 02s. I've always wondered why BMW didn't make a flat 4 version of its flat twin motorcycle engines for a bigger version of the 700 to compete with the Porsche's and VW's. Putting 2 R90S motors together would get you a 1.8l flat 4 with over 100hp.

Edited by 2002iii
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30 minutes ago, roadhog0 said:

Sweet! Good luck! You will need to run wires down the passenger side of the car down to the passenger taillight. Good luck!

Back to reality and 3rd brake lights, you don't need to run a wire all the way back to the tail light. Under the seat you can access the wiring harness and find the brake light signal wire from the brake pedal switch and tap into it for your 3rd brake light

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2 hours ago, 2002iii said:

 

Back to reality and 3rd brake lights, you don't need to run a wire all the way back to the tail light. Under the seat you can access the wiring harness and find the brake light signal wire from the brake pedal switch and tap into it for your 3rd brake light

Good point on this! I wanted to do a "no cut" option on this, but tapping into the harness would be completely viable!

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4 hours ago, 2002iii said:

Putting 2 R90S motors together would get you a 1.8l flat 4 with over 100hp.

Way more. 

A stock R90s with those 38mm Dell' Orto "pumper" carbs puts out 67bhp. 

Two would be ~134bhp out of 1800cc....not too shabby.

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