LED-ify your Taillights and Front Turns

mcglsr2

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So I was thinking, it's 2015 and boy wouldn't it be nice if I could put some LED bulbs for my front turn signals and rear tail lights (brakes, backup and turn signals) on my 95 GT. Surely that would freshen it up a little bit. So I popped over to American Muscle, loaded up my cart with some Raxiom products and looked at the total amount...$254.97. Wait. Wut?

That seems like a lot of money to me for some stupid LED bulbs. I wondered if there was a better (read: cheaper) way. And the answer is: sort of. So I dug out my manuals, fired up the Googles, and did some research. Here are my conclusions with a MASSIVE DISCLAIMER. I hope this helps.

MASSIVE DISCLAIMER
So before I start, I need to say that I have not done this mod yet. I ordered all the stuffs. But I have not tested it. While I am quite confident it will work - I could be wrong! So either hold tight until I update this thread with my findings or if you can't wait, feel free to attempt on your own, but if it doesn't work for you don't you go get all pissed at me. Just saying. Also, all the wire tracing I did was on my 95 GT - your car may be wired differently.

UPDATE
I ended up ordering the LED Flasher, LED back up bulbs, and a single tail light LED. I am going to compare it against a stock tail light bulb to see which I like better. I'll update with pics once they arrive and I install them.

Onward:

Below is a table that shows the different options available to you, along with part numbers, prices and my notes.

A Quick Note on SMDs: these are essentially the number of LEDs on the "bulb." Typically, the more there are (higher number), the brighter the "bulb" will be.

First up, the Raxiom solution (for 96+ Only on the tails):

American MuscleAM Part #PriceNotes
Raxiom LED Turn Signal Conversion Kit - Amber (94-04 All)49217G94$94.992x Amerber LEDs w/18 SMDs; 2x Load Resistors
Raxiom Reverse LED Conversion Kit (94-04 All)49213$39.992x White LEDs w/13 SMDs
Raxiom LED Tail Light Conversion Kit (96-04 All, Excludes 99-01 Cobra)49223$119.996x Red LEDs w/18 SMDs; 2x Load Resistors
$254.97Free shipping


The Raxiom kit utilizes the stock flasher (that's meant for normal, incandescent bulbs). It uses Load Resistors to fool the stock flasher into thinking there's more load on the wires (like there would be if you were NOT using super efficient LEDs). Otherwise, the flasher goes ape$hit and flashes super fast, like if you had a bulb burned out. The downside to the Load Resistors is that they literally put pointless load on the circuit - load that your battery and alternator has to work to provide (granted, may not be a lot of work required, but still work). And they get hot in the process, since they are just big resistors.

So, wouldn't it be cool if we could replace the flasher with one that works with LEDs *and* normal bulbs? Then we wouldn't need Load Resistors, and we get to keep things a little more efficient. superbrightleds has an LED flasher that works for Ford Trucks, according to its site. After digging, I strongly believe (I think - this is the disclaimer part, I haven't tested it yet) it will work on my 95 Mustang as well (and your 94-04 too, I bet). For details on how I reached this conclusion, go to the bottom of this post.

Also, if you aren't a fan of superbrightleds, then the part numbers won't help, however the stock part # / cross reference will - you can use those part numbers to find the corresponding LED bulb at your favorite LED bulb vendor. In my case, I did the research using superbrightleds, so that's what I will show for the remainder of this post.

In the meantime, here's the rest of the info:

The superbrightleds solution that is comparable to Raxiom's (meaning, the same number of SMDs are used per "bulb", so should be same brightness):

superbrightledssbl part #QtyPriceTotalNotesStock Part # /
Cross Ref
LED Flasher RelayEP27L1$12.95$12.955L5Z-13350-AA
54ZB-13350-AB*
Amber LEDs, front turn signal3157-A18-T2$17.95$35.9018 SMDs, Dual Function4157/3157
Red LEDs, rear tail lights3157-R18-T4$17.95$71.8018 SMDs, Dual Function3157
Red LEDs, rear turn signals (96+)3157-R18-T2$17.95$35.9018 SMDs, Dual Function3057
White LEDs, backup lights3156-CW18-T2$14.95$29.9018 SMDs3156
$186.45Shipping is like $4 for USPS


This option, which is essentially equivalent to the Raxiom above, *without* having to use Load Resistors, will cost you about $65 LESS. Still almost $200 for dang LED lights. But at least not as much as the kit(s) from American Muscle.

But wait! I have a 94-95 tail lights, and they are different from the 96+'s!! Don't worry, got you covered. All you need to do is swap the rear turn signals line from above with this:

Red LEDs, rear turn signals (94-95)WLED-RHP52$5.95$11.905 SMDs; these are mini bulbs168 / 194


Last, but not least, I like my LEDs *really* bright! You can swap out the 18 SMD units from superbrightleds for 45 SMD units. They will be more expensive of course, but Moar Brightz as well. If it means anything to you, the 18 SMDs are 165 Lumen whereas the 45 SMDs are 210 Lumen.

The superbrightled solution with even brighter LEDs!

superbrightledssbl part #QtyPriceTotalNotesStock Part # /
Cross Ref
LED Flasher RelayEP27L1$12.95$12.955L5Z-13350-AA
54ZB-13350-AB*
Amber LEDs, front turn signal3157-A45-T2$22.95$45.9045 SMDs, Dual Function4157/3157
Red LEDs, rear tail lights3157-R45-T4$22.95$91.8045 SMDs, Dual Function3157
Red LEDs, rear turn signals (96+)3157-R45-T2$22.95$45.9045 SMDs, Dual Function3057
White LEDs, backup lights3156-CW45-T2$19.95$39.9045 SMDs3156
$236.45Shipping is like $4 for USPS


This kit will be a lot brighter than the Raxiom solution, and cost you $15 LESS. So, pretty close to the price of the Raxioms, but keep in mind you are getting much, much brighter LEDs here. If you are happy with the brightness of the Raxiom kit, go for the first superbrightleds option. If you want to blind the people behind you when you step on the brakes, then this option is for you, and you still get to save some money.

Have fun!


Backup Material: the Flasher
You may notice an asterisk next to one of the part numbers cross referenced for the flasher. This is the part number that is on my stock flasher, and does NOT cross reference to the LED flasher I listed. So this would seem to be a problem (and why I'm not 100% sure it will work right now). So I compared the pin-outs and wiring diagram of my stock flasher to that of the LED flasher and found that they are identical. I took some pics of my stock flasher with the wire colors:

IMG_4164.jpg


IMG_4165.jpg



The wires are:
  • Black (BK): Ground - this pin location matches the same pin location on the LED Flasher
  • Light Blue (LB): Turn Signal - this pin location matches the same pin location on the LED Flasher
  • Purple w/ Orange Stripe (P/O): Hot in Run [IGN] - this pin location matches the same pin location on the LED Flasher
  • White w/ Red Stripe (W/R): Hazards - this pin location matches the same pin location on the LED Flasher
  • Red w/ White Stripe (R/W): Battery; 12V - this pin location matches the same pin location on the LED Flasher

So, because all the pins line up on the stock flasher and the new LED Flasher, I really think it will just work. The "blades" are even in the correct orientation so the new LED Flasher will just plug right in to the harness. I will update this after the parts arrive and I test it out.
 

Michael Plummer

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Noticed this a while back with some of your informational posts but never said anything but this time I will. Great write-up. You always provide links, pictures and it's well written....thanks for providing another great post.

My experience, I highly recommend www.superbrightleds.com, I did the full LED conversion and hated it. My rear tail lights looked like crap with the LED bulbs, so I put the stock one s back in after 2 days. Hated the turn signals, so I switched back after 2 days. The bulbs are clearly visible inside the lens and they just don't look like they belong. Loved the license plate, interior, trunk and instrument cluster LEDs, so I kept those. Just sharing my experience and taste.
 

mcglsr2

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Noticed this a while back with some of your informational posts but never said anything but this time I will. Great write-up. You always provide links, pictures and it's well written....thanks for providing another great post.

My experience, I highly recommend www.superbrightleds.com, I did the full LED conversion and hated it. My rear tail lights looked like crap with the LED bulbs, so I put the stock one s back in after 2 days. Hated the turn signals, so I switched back after 2 days. The bulbs are clearly visible inside the lens and they just don't look like they belong. Loved the license plate, interior, trunk and instrument cluster LEDs, so I kept those. Just sharing my experience and taste.

I appreciate the experience! It's always sounded like something I wanted to do, and the pics always look good, but that's never the full story. I'll see if I can find some youtube vids of the LEDs in action to see what they look like.

Do you know what you didn't like about them, or was it "nah, just doesn't look right."?
 

Orange 94

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Good write up. Waiting for the finished product.

Personally I dislike superbrightled.com. don't ever use their vehicle bulb searcher. Plus they're way over priced IMO.
 

mcglsr2

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Good write up. Waiting for the finished product.

Personally I dislike superbrightled.com. don't ever use their vehicle bulb searcher. Plus they're way over priced IMO.

Duly noted! I added a tidbit in the OP saying that one doesn't have to use superbrightleds, just utilize the stock part # / cross reference to find the bulb you are looking for. Thanks!
 

jun10r

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If you are custom wiring, how "hard" would it be to add the sequential turn signal thing for the rear? Looks so dope... but another couple hundred, sigh!
 

Michael Plummer

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Personally I dislike superbrightled.com. don't ever use their vehicle bulb searcher. Plus they're way over priced IMO.
You may pay more but in general I think the quality is better and they last longer than the LEDs my friends were buying on Ebay but that's my experience.
 

Michael Plummer

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Do you know what you didn't like about them, or was it "nah, just doesn't look right."?

First night I had them, I was at Dez Racing and the guys were making fun at my futuristic looking bulbs. They're clearly visible in my lens and honestly just looked out of place, so I removed them. I was able to return them and I was very happy about that.

On the flip side, my friend Randy (96 Faleen) installed HID projector head lamps and he runs the flip/flop LEDs turn signals but his side marker lens have a slight tint to them, so they're not as noticeable.
 

ttocs

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yea I tried leds in my tails years ago and didn't like them enough to actually mount the lights. To many hot/cold spots
 

Ineedav8

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Im curious maybe I over read it but I thought from the factory our cars have dual filament bulbs for Night then when you brake ?
 

mcglsr2

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Im curious maybe I over read it but I thought from the factory our cars have dual filament bulbs for Night then when you brake ?

Yes, the brake light bulbs are dual filament - 1 filament for the driving light at night, then another filament for the brake pedal. The LEDs I mentioned for those specific areas are referred to as "Dual Function" - you can read that as "dual filament" if you would like. They have a set brightness for the driving light at night, and when pressing the brake pedal they get brighter, essentially simulating a dual-filament.
 

mcglsr2

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OnyxCobra

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I only run LED bulbs in the front signals cause i like how the halogen bulbs flow with the sequantials, but my sequential kit added enough resistance to the system that adding the front LED turn signals didn't change the flash rate.
 

1998cobrasvt

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Does anybody have pictures of the 96-98 tail-lights with LEDs? I was considering doing this but some in this post were saying it looked out of place.
 

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