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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-26-2016, 06:05 PM Thread Starter
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Cool 86 Thunderbird Elan

Has anyone changed or made custom led tail lights for their bird? I know the rear of my car looks very dated naturally but was thinking I wonder if anyone has made themselves a custom set and if so do you have a photo and what stuff did you buy to do it.

Thanks
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-26-2016, 09:57 PM
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Has anyone changed or made custom led tail lights for their bird? I know the rear of my car looks very dated naturally but was thinking I wonder if anyone has made themselves a custom set and if so do you have a photo and what stuff did you buy to do it.

Thanks
Well I like that generation Tbird, I had two of that generation Cougar (one XR-7 5 speed) one LS (5.0) and they were great cars.

I haven't seen aftermarket LED taillights in person, but there are some aftermarket plug in LED lights that may replace the stock bulbs. Maybe a start?

Does the full width of the tail light light up in that generation? Rigging up a sequential turn signal/brake light would look pretty cool like in the 60's Tbirds and Shelby Mustangs (which just used Thunderbird taillights). I had a set in my 1999 Mustang GT that worked out pretty good. Shouldn't be too hard to convert that setup to the Thunderbird if the whole thing lights up. How many bulbs in the tail lights?
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-26-2016, 10:16 PM
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If they're anything like Cougars of that generation the red part is a translucent outer lens, and inside there's a "clear" fluted diffuser to spread the light. LEDs will have to be custom laid out regardless but projecting them out of a clear non fluted lens is key, LED bulbs don't work right in stock incandescent housings well.

Better option IMO, disassemble the housing and either paint the dull silver part white or laminate it it with chrome foil it increase and even out the light output with the existing bulbs and arrangement.

And Dated? who cares! Your car looks better than 95% of the cars available off dealer lots today.

-Matt

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-27-2016, 01:56 PM Thread Starter
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Cool

I havent seen any aftermarket parts.

I may try the chrome foil that may brighten it up.

There are 2 bulbs for the brake,parking and turn signals.

I have a sequencer that flashes one bulb at a time may hook that back up as well.

Thanks for your input.

I am going to redo the front of the car and ad a 22" light bar on the bumper and one 4" flood on each side of it.

Here is what it currently looks like. with just regular fog lights.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-27-2016, 02:04 PM
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Here's a good thread on the subject. The basic design is basically identical to your 86

70 Tail Light Brightness

Appropriately enough This pic shows LED bulbs on the left, vs reflective filmed housings and regular incandescent bulbs on the right


-Matt
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-27-2016, 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by dan1863 View Post
I havent seen any aftermarket parts.

I may try the chrome foil that may brighten it up.

There are 2 bulbs for the brake,parking and turn signals.

I have a sequencer that flashes one bulb at a time may hook that back up as well.

Thanks for your input.

I am going to redo the front of the car and ad a 22" light bar on the bumper and one 4" flood on each side of it.

Here is what it currently looks like. with just regular fog lights.

My personal opinion, having only two lights in a sequence will be confusing because it just looks like it goes back and forth, like a Cylon's "eyes" or the one on K.I.T.T. from Knight Rider except between only two lights. For a proper sequential turn signal, you need three lights to light up in series, so it shows the direction the light is turning in.

Edit---
Car looks great! What's up with the POLICE tags?
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-27-2016, 11:43 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XR7-4.6 View Post
Here's a good thread on the subject. The basic design is basically identical to your 86

70 Tail Light Brightness

Appropriately enough This pic shows LED bulbs on the left, vs reflective filmed housings and regular incandescent bulbs on the right



The one on the right looks much better than the one on the left.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-27-2016, 11:47 PM Thread Starter
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My personal opinion, having only two lights in a sequence will be confusing because it just looks like it goes back and forth, like a Cylon's "eyes" or the one on K.I.T.T. from Knight Rider except between only two lights. For a proper sequential turn signal, you need three lights to light up in series, so it shows the direction the light is turning in.

Edit---
Car looks great! What's up with the POLICE tags?


Well the sequencer lights one bulb and stays on and the other bulb comes on and then both turn off then repeat.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-28-2016, 10:13 AM
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Car looks great! What's up with the POLICE tags?
Agreed.

More importantly, what's up with all the lights on the front bumper?

Al

97 T-Bird LX 4.6 - 80k miles
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Previous Fords:
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-19-2016, 01:17 AM
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Originally Posted by XR7-4.6 View Post
Here's a good thread on the subject. The basic design is basically identical to your 86

70 Tail Light Brightness

Appropriately enough This pic shows LED bulbs on the left, vs reflective filmed housings and regular incandescent bulbs on the right

Chiming in here a bit late but I wanted to clarify that there are in fact plug and play LEDs that work properly, but they don't come cheap. This is a perfect example of not being able to cheap out on them. The main contender on the market right now are V3 Tritons from V-LEDS. These use a virtual filament optic that is adjustable to match any focal point in just about any assembly. I had a bulb from a company called Elef in my Bird for a bit. They use a single Osram Dragon chip with a reflector cap over top to direct light into the reflector. Here's some clips.



1996 Ford Thunderbird LX - 4.6L V8 - Full LED conversion almost complete - Daily Driver
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2011 Mazda 2 Sport - 1.5L I4 - LED interior and tag lights, First Retrofitted Mazda 2 in North America using Morimoto Mini D2S projectors and Osram Xenarc 4300K D2S bulbs http://www.mazdas247.com/forum/showt...it-your-Mazda2 - TOTALED
Now offering retrofitting services including projector swaps, lens swaps, painting, etc. PM for details
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-23-2016, 07:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XR7-4.6 View Post
Here's a good thread on the subject. The basic design is basically identical to your 86

70 Tail Light Brightness

Appropriately enough This pic shows LED bulbs on the left, vs reflective filmed housings and regular incandescent bulbs on the right

Thanks for posting this.

My Torino has a metal reflector plate behind the taillights that is solid rust and either painting it silver or doing what you did makes a huge difference.

I don't think the reflector plates were ever galvanized from the factory.

Use a tool, don't be one...

-Mark

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1970 Torino GT 351C 4V

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