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1986 560 SEC
67 Posts
Hi all, I wanted to know if anyone has seen or know where to get LED tail lights for a 420 SEL. That is if someone one even makes them. I think that it would be nice to have them. I have seen the LED tail lights on some of the 80's 300e and some of the 190's. I would love to have a set as long as it didn't cost me an arm and a leg like the gas prices are doing to me.
You might check into trailer lights (towing-stuff kind of trailers). They are readily available (any auto parts store, probably even Wal-Mart) and relatively cheap. My son has done that on several of his trucks. He takes apart the trailer lights, takes apart his tail light housings (in this case, the tricky part because the plastic housing and the plastic lens are fused together, not like on a W126), cuts down the board to fit his lenses (he gets a trailer light closest in size and shape to his housings), installs the board full of LEDs in his assemblies, then reassembles them. For example, on his '77 F250 (this is not your average '77 F250), the tail light is tall and thin, and the whole lens is filled with light because however big the trailer light is, it is filled with LED bulbs, so no need for reflectors. Most trailer lights have resistors built into them, so that problem is already taken care of. He's replaced the lights on our pre-LED equipment trailer several times and it's a direct plug-and-play replacement.

I don't see why you couldn't do the same thing on our cars. Just buy whatever color trailer lights you need, take them apart, and arrange them in the appropriate place in your tail light housing. His were easy because the tail lights on the truck are nice and flat, so it might take some experimenting with optimum placement in relation to the lenses on our cars, and modification of the housing. Obviously, what you want is the boards full of LEDs close to the lenses with nothing else in the way.

Just a suggestion because I haven't tried it and it just occurred to me when reading this thread. I think I'll try the third brake light first. I don't know any more details, but if anyone is interested I can ask him for more information. But it sounds easier than etching a PC board using photo resist after drawing the circuit on the computer and printing it on clear unobtainium with a laser flux capacitor. :)
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