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Opinions on LED taillights vs. LED bulbs in tail lights..?       #: 980
 Moderated by: NoPower, Mike69, MaDMaXX
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 Posted: Fri Jun 22nd, 2018 08:01 am
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Undrstm8ed
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I'd like to upgrade the tail lights to LED, maybe to update the trucks lighting a bit but being a "stock Nazi" of sorts with certain things I'm not sure just doing 00-06 Tails from Rock Auto with bulbs is the look or the functionality I really want. At the same time I don't want the truck to take on a cheesy or cheap look. At least stock their... STOCK! they look great or fine for the era of the truck mostly as they didn't drastically make huge improvements. Subtle yes but not anything consisting of changing bed metal  for 17 years.

Either way they will be modified to use the reverse lamp outputs as amber turn-indicators since I have reverse cubes flushed in the rear bumper I can manually or toss into normal auto mode. That circuit is complete. Just a matter of brakes, running lights, and turn signals..

Whats been your experiences with either. Pros and cons of your choice?



____________________
"Be never first, never last and never noticed." - Unknown

"The slave is held most securely when he is held by the chains of his own will and of his own fears, and when he is locked down by his own slavish desires for a comfortable life." - Michael Bunker

"Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur. Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur" - ~ attributed to Petronius (Gaius Petronius Arbiter (ca. 27–66 AD))
Roman courtier during the reign of Nero.

"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it." - Thomas Paine


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 Posted: Fri Jun 22nd, 2018 10:31 am
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I have had both. I had stock taillights with LED bulbs. Then I switched to spyder LED taillights. Which I love!!! They have the look of a stock light (a smoked version) but they change the whole look on the back of my truck. 



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2006 ranger xlt ext cab 4x4 4.0 auto
1992 ranger xlt reg cab 2wd 2.3 5 spd (SOLD)
1996 explorer Eddie Bauer 5.0 AWD sold
1995 ranger splash reg cab 2wd 2.3 5 spd
2001 Explorer Sport Trac 4.0 4x4 auto
1998 Ranger XLT ext cab 4x4 4.0 auto
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 Posted: Fri Jun 22nd, 2018 12:44 pm
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I had a set similar to THESE for a few years until a gate latch took them out... I'll have to look back at my old pictures and see if I have any with them on. I was in a similar boat as you not wanting ot look riced out and I thought they did pretty well at looking almost OEM+ if that makes sense.



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 Posted: Fri Jun 22nd, 2018 01:11 pm
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LOL@Riced out ;)



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 Posted: Fri Jun 22nd, 2018 06:09 pm
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I went through considerable experimentation with different configurations of LED's to find the one that worked best with the 06+ tail light and satisfied the lighting requirements of the applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard. Uniform lighting display, no hot spots, and light is visible at the required distances and angles...like the factory would do if they offered them OEM. This, + not spraying anything on the 06+ fixtures that make them dark, inhibit the light output and obviously up the odds of getting hit by someone because they didn't see me until it was too late. Realizing that altering the tail lights is illegal, just like the HID's and LED's that some individuals slap in their OEM headlight fixtures with pride so THEY can see but now others cannot, and they could care less about it, I'd rather a real savvy cop (key words) having a bad day popped me for bulbs rather than fixtures that cost a lot more and are easier to spot because look far from OEM.

Last edited on Fri Jun 22nd, 2018 06:14 pm by CBB9M



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 Posted: Fri Jun 22nd, 2018 08:20 pm
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I just looked through about 20 different types of alternate lenses and NOTHING got me excited.



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 Posted: Sat Jun 23rd, 2018 08:26 am
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What I don't mind too much is these, because they still look somewhat stock. Not gonna lie, if I can remove the reflectors in them easily I will. YES i know that's what makes them have to be DOT approved if they're even that to begin with. Already gone round in round with a couple manufactures and policy enforcement friends on why and what is what and for why... Trust me when i say if I roll off a cliff 200-700ft down. The LAST thing they will find me buy is a couple cheap bicycle reflectors in some damn Chinese tail lights as they will likely spit from the back end as I cart wheel down the canyon sides.. lol

Red Smoked TL 

The rest of these remind me of the Honda Altezza tail lens guys...

NO Thanks! 

Even LESS interested....



____________________
"Be never first, never last and never noticed." - Unknown

"The slave is held most securely when he is held by the chains of his own will and of his own fears, and when he is locked down by his own slavish desires for a comfortable life." - Michael Bunker

"Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur. Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur" - ~ attributed to Petronius (Gaius Petronius Arbiter (ca. 27–66 AD))
Roman courtier during the reign of Nero.

"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it." - Thomas Paine


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 Posted: Sat Jun 23rd, 2018 11:22 am
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I'v got LED on the Mustang & LED strip under tail gate on the Elky.



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 Posted: Sat Jun 23rd, 2018 01:46 pm
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NoPower wrote:
I'v got LED on the Mustang & LED strip under tail gate on the Elky.


I did this on my Ranger, plus I changed the OE bulbs to LEDs.  I like the look of the OE tail lights.  On my Honda I pulled the OE tail light fixture and went with LED passenger pegs.  On my Yamaha I made my own LED tail light.  I'd post pictures but this forum seems to have issues with outside pictures and they are not in my gallery.

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 Posted: Sat Jun 23rd, 2018 01:54 pm
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OK what am I missing. All the aftermarket tail lights divide the years as up to 2000, and 2001 and beyond.

I know for sure owning 2 X 2000's that the 2000 has one light for driving/brakes and one for reverse. The 98 and 99 in particular have a light for running, separate light for turn signal, and another for reverse. 3. I know a 2002 I recently looked at has 1 and 1 just like both the 2000's.

Does that mean that all the MFG's are wrong and I would use the 2001 style tail lights even though the reverse is on top instead of bottom?



____________________
00 XLT 2WD RCSB 5.0 swap Gherkin
00 XLT 4WD XCSB 4.0 G2
00 XLT 4WD RCSB 3.GO! Jalapeño
00 XLT 4WD RCSB Steppie 3.blown. Mistake
99 XL 4WD RCSB 3.0 PJ (Plain Jane)
00 XLT 2WD RC Steppie 2.5 Dee Dee

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 Posted: Sat Jun 23rd, 2018 09:15 pm
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JAMMAN wrote:
OK what am I missing. All the aftermarket tail lights divide the years as up to 2000, and 2001 and beyond.

I know for sure owning 2 X 2000's that the 2000 has one light for driving/brakes and one for reverse. The 98 and 99 in particular have a light for running, separate light for turn signal, and another for reverse. 3. I know a 2002 I recently looked at has 1 and 1 just like both the 2000's.

Does that mean that all the MFG's are wrong and I would use the 2001 style tail lights even though the reverse is on top instead of bottom?

I would error on the side of the aftermarket companies not having done their due diligence and assume that because everyone lumps the vehicles in the revision/generation gaps; 93-97, 98-00, 01-05, 06-12. Whether that is to blame on the data entry for information or some defaulted CVS file BS is hard to decipher directly but seems many across all sorts of industries make the same mistakes. I'll assume a lot of cut & paste is going on.

The swapped reverse light I think was a marketing thing due to copyrights maybe.. speculative at this point.



____________________
"Be never first, never last and never noticed." - Unknown

"The slave is held most securely when he is held by the chains of his own will and of his own fears, and when he is locked down by his own slavish desires for a comfortable life." - Michael Bunker

"Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur. Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur" - ~ attributed to Petronius (Gaius Petronius Arbiter (ca. 27–66 AD))
Roman courtier during the reign of Nero.

"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it." - Thomas Paine


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 Posted: Sun Jun 24th, 2018 02:47 am
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if you like the look of stock housings, check out my latest project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-YeuIa3SAQ

i've also got some really nice red 3157 plugin led's if you want to start small & see how you like the look of plugins before going full led conversion.

i've seen a few sets of "aftermarket" led tails that pale in comparison even to my plugin led's.



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 Posted: Sun Jun 24th, 2018 04:32 am
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buggman wrote:
if you like the look of stock housings, check out my latest project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-YeuIa3SAQ

i've also got some really nice red 3157 plugin led's if you want to start small & see how you like the look of plugins before going full led conversion.

i've seen a few sets of "aftermarket" led tails that pale in comparison even to my plugin led's.

Alright Buggman, I'll bite on this..

Couple questions.
  • I assume you can fully custom these to some degree?
  • Are those sealed boards & hideaway boxes, I have a tendency to find water crossings in the deserts?
  • Can you make the reverse lights amber blinkers?
  • I would want the red portions LED lights to remain running lights and brake lights?
  • 6-8" Pig tails leading out of the hideaway boxes for the reverse light feature rather than going into the OEM harness side?

BTW since I have your attention, you still modifying OEM switches? I have a rather good condition OEM fog switch I'm not going to use from my 94' donor truck, I know you could put it to good use if you are stocking them up as surplus/cores. Otherwise it'll likley be tossed into the bottom drawer of the toolbox



____________________
"Be never first, never last and never noticed." - Unknown

"The slave is held most securely when he is held by the chains of his own will and of his own fears, and when he is locked down by his own slavish desires for a comfortable life." - Michael Bunker

"Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur. Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur" - ~ attributed to Petronius (Gaius Petronius Arbiter (ca. 27–66 AD))
Roman courtier during the reign of Nero.

"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it." - Thomas Paine


~ Undrstm8ed Truckumentry Write Up Pg.

~ Undrstm8ed Trailermentry Write Up Pg.
.
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 Posted: Sun Jun 24th, 2018 06:07 am
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buggman

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Undrstm8ed wrote:
buggman wrote:

if you like the look of stock housings, check out my latest project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-YeuIa3SAQ

i've also got some really nice red 3157 plugin led's if you want to start small & see how you like the look of plugins before going full led conversion.

i've seen a few sets of "aftermarket" led tails that pale in comparison even to my plugin led's.

Alright Buggman, I'll bite on this..

Couple questions.

  • I assume you can fully custom these to some degree?
  • Are those sealed boards & hideaway boxes, I have a tendency to find water crossings in the deserts?
  • Can you make the reverse lights amber blinkers?
  • I would want the red portions LED lights to remain running lights and brake lights?
  • 6-8" Pig tails leading out of the hideaway boxes for the reverse light feature rather than going into the OEM harness side?

BTW since I have your attention, you still modifying OEM switches? I have a rather good condition OEM fog switch I'm not going to use from my 94' donor truck, I know you could put it to good use if you are stocking them up as surplus/cores. Otherwise it'll likley be tossed into the bottom drawer of the toolbox

Yup, they started out as a oem (or aftermarket) set of 01-05 tails. I cut the back side to fit my custom aluminum heat sinks & adapters that got epoxied to the housing.
I'm kinda limited on the placement of the led's due to the small space I have to work with & the material I mold to make the adapters to the housings, but I have 12pcs of 1w led's with 90* lenses in each side. For comparison my new 3rd brake light led conversions use 9pcs of the same led's & lenses. The reverse lights only have room for 6pcs of 1w led's with lenses, but the white led's tend to be even brighter than the colored led's. 

I can't guarantee 100% they won't leak, but I seal the heatsink to the adapter on the inside & then again on the outside. I may even go around the outside of the lens/housings on the next set with sealer too.
The electronic boxes are "waterproof" but I haven't put them to the test yet. I coat all the internal parts with 3-5 layers of liquid tape so if any moisture does get in there, it isn't going to do any harm. I also seal the wires coming in/out so no critters find their way in there to make a nest lol. 

If you don't want the reverse lights, I don't see any reason that location couldn't use yellow led's (I actually have the same led's in yellow). They are setup for the 2 bulb tails (brake/turn & reverse) so I'm not 100% sure if the yellow turns will do exactly what you want unless you have the 3 bulb wiring, in that case a little modding to the electronics should get that done.

The red sections do act as running lights (low setting) as well as brake/turns (high setting)

The connection to the stock wiring couldn't be simpler... I use a 3157 bulb base with my wiring going into it so all you need to do is plug it in your old brake/turn socket & fill the socket with dielectric grease to help prevent corrosion. I have mine hanging so that any moisture will run out of the sockets.
The reverse lights are the same way, a 3156 bulb base that plugs into the bulb socket. This way if you ever want to change something, there's nothing hard wired.
If you have the 3 bulb tail wiring the separate brake/turns (with yellow led's in the reverse section) should work no problem.
If you have the 2 bulb tail wiring or want to tap into the 4 pin trailer connector, you'll lose the separate brake/turn (with yellow led's in reverse) function.

On this prototype set, the base adapter wiring is around 6"-8" long from the box which was plenty for my truck, but I may add a few extra inches of wire to the next set.

I'm always on the lookout for spare parts, fog/defrost switches & pigtails, headlight & 4x4 switch bulb sockets, 3rd brake lights, you name it :-)



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 Posted: Sun Jun 24th, 2018 06:25 am
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buggman wrote:
Undrstm8ed wrote:

buggman wrote:


if you like the look of stock housings, check out my latest project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-YeuIa3SAQ

i've also got some really nice red 3157 plugin led's if you want to start small & see how you like the look of plugins before going full led conversion.

i've seen a few sets of "aftermarket" led tails that pale in comparison even to my plugin led's.

Alright Buggman, I'll bite on this..

Couple questions.


  • I assume you can fully custom these to some degree?
  • Are those sealed boards & hideaway boxes, I have a tendency to find water crossings in the deserts?
  • Can you make the reverse lights amber blinkers?
  • I would want the red portions LED lights to remain running lights and brake lights?
  • 6-8" Pig tails leading out of the hideaway boxes for the reverse light feature rather than going into the OEM harness side?

BTW since I have your attention, you still modifying OEM switches? I have a rather good condition OEM fog switch I'm not going to use from my 94' donor truck, I know you could put it to good use if you are stocking them up as surplus/cores. Otherwise it'll likley be tossed into the bottom drawer of the toolbox

Yup, they started out as a oem (or aftermarket) set of 01-05 tails. I cut the back side to fit my custom aluminum heat sinks & adapters that got epoxied to the housing.
I'm kinda limited on the placement of the led's due to the small space I have to work with & the material I mold to make the adapters to the housings, but I have 12pcs of 1w led's with 90* lenses in each side. For comparison my new 3rd brake light led conversions use 9pcs of the same led's & lenses. The reverse lights only have room for 6pcs of 1w led's with lenses, but the white led's tend to be even brighter than the colored led's. 

I can't guarantee 100% they won't leak, but I seal the heatsink to the adapter on the inside & then again on the outside. I may even go around the outside of the lens/housings on the next set with sealer too.
The electronic boxes are "waterproof" but I haven't put them to the test yet. I coat all the internal parts with 3-5 layers of liquid tape so if any moisture does get in there, it isn't going to do any harm. I also seal the wires coming in/out so no critters find their way in there to make a nest lol. 

If you don't want the reverse lights, I don't see any reason that location couldn't use yellow led's (I actually have the same led's in yellow). They are setup for the 2 bulb tails (brake/turn & reverse) so I'm not 100% sure if the yellow turns will do exactly what you want unless you have the 3 bulb wiring, in that case a little modding to the electronics should get that done.

The red sections do act as running lights (low setting) as well as brake/turns (high setting)

The connection to the stock wiring couldn't be simpler... I use a 3157 bulb base with my wiring going into it so all you need to do is plug it in your old brake/turn socket & fill the socket with dielectric grease to help prevent corrosion. I have mine hanging so that any moisture will run out of the sockets.
The reverse lights are the same way, a 3156 bulb base that plugs into the bulb socket. This way if you ever want to change something, there's nothing hard wired.
If you have the 3 bulb tail wiring the separate brake/turns (with yellow led's in the reverse section) should work no problem.
If you have the 2 bulb tail wiring or want to tap into the 4 pin trailer connector, you'll lose the separate brake/turn (with yellow led's in reverse) function.

On this prototype set, the base adapter wiring is around 6"-8" long from the box which was plenty for my truck, but I may add a few extra inches of wire to the next set.

I'm always on the lookout for spare parts, fog/defrost switches & pigtails, headlight & 4x4 switch bulb sockets, 3rd brake lights, you name it :-)

Yep, 93-97 3 wire setup..

What my original intent was since the 00-05 tails are a 2-wire feed was to take the turn signal wires using reverse light socket pigtails so that the turn signal wires used the reverse light section.

Then taking the running light/stop lamp as the proper socket to compartment for brake and running light indicators.

Since the reverse lights are cubes in the rear bumper, I am just taking the reverse wires, tapping them into those (already done, I have no reverse bulbs any longer).

I like the amber turn signals but not the amber lens if that makes sense more so than the red blinkers So if you think that can be done, PM me a quote and lets work out the details.



____________________
"Be never first, never last and never noticed." - Unknown

"The slave is held most securely when he is held by the chains of his own will and of his own fears, and when he is locked down by his own slavish desires for a comfortable life." - Michael Bunker

"Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur. Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur" - ~ attributed to Petronius (Gaius Petronius Arbiter (ca. 27–66 AD))
Roman courtier during the reign of Nero.

"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it." - Thomas Paine


~ Undrstm8ed Truckumentry Write Up Pg.

~ Undrstm8ed Trailermentry Write Up Pg.
.
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 Posted: Sun Jun 24th, 2018 03:43 pm
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FOR THE RECORD... I was in the garage, had an electric screwdriver in my hand, a 2000 ranger backed up to the garage... a 2002 sitting in front...

"Mitch"
"Yeah dad?"
"This is going to sound strange, but can I borrow one of your tail lights for a couple minutes?"
"Uhhh sure no problem"

So off I go to try something.

The 02:


Sitting beside the 2000:


OK they look similar, let's see the backs:



And the result:



So it fits but there is an issue with the plugs. The reverse light pigtail is different from both years and not interchangeable. The reverse light socket on the 00 has a straight socket, the 02 is 90 degree angled. The position that the reverse light on the 02 is at would require a 90 degree plug (the straight one hits the inside when installed) so you would need the pig tail plug from the 01 through 0 whatever ranger to be able to hook it up and use the original 90 degree light socket.

But as far as the lens physical fit it seemed to nest in the 00 even better than the 00 original tail light.

Has nothing to do with the OP's problem but wasn't a big enough deal for its own thread. It will however be included in the tech articles if I ever get a spare minute to write them.



____________________
00 XLT 2WD RCSB 5.0 swap Gherkin
00 XLT 4WD XCSB 4.0 G2
00 XLT 4WD RCSB 3.GO! Jalapeño
00 XLT 4WD RCSB Steppie 3.blown. Mistake
99 XL 4WD RCSB 3.0 PJ (Plain Jane)
00 XLT 2WD RC Steppie 2.5 Dee Dee

ALL Amazon Green Metallic
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 Posted: Mon Jun 25th, 2018 12:10 am
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Rockauto.com has the plugs & the pigtails available.
https://www.rockauto.com/en/moreinfo.php?pk=663905&cc=1438308&jsn=779
https://www.rockauto.com/en/moreinfo.php?pk=3768201&cc=1438308&jsn=743&jsn=743



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08 Escape 4x4(spare)
00 Ranger Extd Cab 4x4 4.0 OHV, Auto(My DD)
99 Explorer Sport 4x4 4.0 SOHC, Auto( Wife's DD)
69 Mustang Coupe 5.0, 5 spd(Project & my future toy)
14 Kawasaki Vulcan (Wife's Toy)
Splitting time between southern NJ & Southern Virginia.
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 Posted: Mon Jun 25th, 2018 01:16 am
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Undrstm8ed
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Good looking out Mike, would have been the first place I'd looked to..



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 Posted: Tue Jun 26th, 2018 07:55 am
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buggman

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Undrstm8ed i'll shoot you a pm when i get a chance. we should be able to make something pretty cool



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 Posted: Wed Jun 27th, 2018 01:55 am
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Sounds like a plan..



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"Be never first, never last and never noticed." - Unknown

"The slave is held most securely when he is held by the chains of his own will and of his own fears, and when he is locked down by his own slavish desires for a comfortable life." - Michael Bunker

"Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur. Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur" - ~ attributed to Petronius (Gaius Petronius Arbiter (ca. 27–66 AD))
Roman courtier during the reign of Nero.

"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it." - Thomas Paine


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~ Undrstm8ed Trailermentry Write Up Pg.
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 Posted: Wed Jul 11th, 2018 12:03 pm
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With my taillights I upgraded to the 06+ ones and then did the Osram L1224R LED retro fit. There's some how to's on forums. Pretty easy mod and requires you to cut your existing taillight connector and solder on a new one but that's super easy to do.

Gives a quick look at what is involved on another vehicle:
https://blazerforum.com/forum/lighting-electrical-52/osram-joule-led-taillight-retrofit-90983/

Never been a fan of aftermarket taillights. They all look way too riced out. The ones on the mustang above look atrocious to me (no offense). I think the 06+ tails are the cleanest look on rangers.

My reverse bulbs are led projector bulbs and are nice and bright. Had them for a couple years now.

-Nigel



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 Posted: Thu Jul 12th, 2018 05:59 am
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MaDMaXX

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Loved the upgrade to '06+ taillights on my 2002.  I plug n played LED's into them, excellent upgrade.

Bugman's upgraded older units look excellent, i wouldn't hesitate to use those either.





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