Monday, January 17, 2011

LED Taillights

General

The installation of LED taillights can greatly enhance the visibility of your Lazy Daze from the rear, which is a major safety improvement. LED's are much brighter and they respond instantaneously to current; there is no "warm-up" as with an incandescent bulb. When you hit the brake pedal, the brake lights come on instantly and brightly.

How-To

The Poor Man's method, and generally NOT very satisfactory, is to simply replace the incandescent bulbs with LED replacement bulbs. Most folks have not been happy with these; they're only marginally brighter than incandescent bulbs and they tend not to last very long.

A much better approach is to replace the OEM lights, fixtures and all, with one-piece LED taillight assemblies from Peterson or Maxxima. This involves removing the OEM fixtures, cutting the three wires, and connecting the three leads from the LED fixtures. This can be the hardest part of the replacement, for there is VERY little wire to work with. If you're lucky you may have an inch of wire to work - and you have to strip some insulation off that inch and solder the LED leads to it. It is very advisable to use some sort of clamps, such as locking forceps, to hold heach wire as you cut off the old fixture. This will prevent the wires from falling back into the dreaded "Black Hole" in the wall. Depending on your model of LD, this can be a major problem, for there may be no access from the back side of the wall to retrieve the wires from the "Black Hole" For example, on the FL, FD and RB, the shower in the rear passenger-side corner prevents access. On the driver's side, there is a removeable panel beside the toilet. Not a problem with a MB or 30' TB- you can gain access through the storage compartments.

Since the LED's use so little current, the stock flasher will cycle too rapidly; you will need to either add load resistors to the circuit or replace the flasher unit with an appropriate one.

The Go-To man for LED taillight info is Terry Tanner. On his excellent Techsnoz site, you can find both a general discussion about replacing the taillights and very complete instructions for accomplishing the replacement with either Peterson or Maxxima LEDs. You'll have to go to Techsnoz and follow his index to get to the articles.

Contributors: Terry Tanner, WxToad

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