Devils Tower

Devils Tower

Sunday, September 4, 2011

I saw the light.....Part Deux....

The next thing I am going to tackle is more of a personal pet peeve. I hate working on lights. I wouldn't even be working on them now, but they are holding up progress on the inside of the camper.

 I want bright lights that I don't have to mess with.  Nothing sours a vacation more, than a visit  from this guy. 

The other thing is I need them to look good as well as being functional.  Since the goal is to pull this with a 1957 Ford, I think it only right to use 57 Ford tail lights.

The original lights were plain and basically ugly, in my opinion.  

These stock tail lights remind me of Devo.  I always hated Devo.
Devo still sucks after 25 years.

So where is this guy going with this?  Just sit back and relax.
I'll explain.  I want to keep the vintage looks without sacrificing usability.  Plus, I can't see using the old stock tail lights, when I can make improvements in looks and function.

My goal is to do away with the old 1157 type of bulb and convert to LED lights all over.  They draw less power, have no bulbs to change, they are vibration resistant and much brighter.  Also, they are sealed and thus impervious to water.  The only drawback is that they are directional.  

I went by a trailer manufacturer/dealer and they had a pretty sweet LED setup.  I hate the looks of those tail lights that just have a series of dots inside a red lens.  To me, those are dorky.  So I sprung for the ones that have reflectors all over the inside of them.  These are still only like $18 ea.  
These mount in a rubber donut, so they will be insulated from vibration.

After removing the Devo hat, this is what I have to start with.  It is shot on with solid fasteners (Rivets), so I had to drill out the mounting rivets.  These lights were sketchy at best coming home when we first bought the trailer.

This is what I expected to see.  Corrosion never helps a ground, so this is part of the problem.  With the new setup, this all goes away. The housing is plastic and it is mounted in rubber, so it is sealed, no need for a plate to trap moisture.

The aftermath........another nicely crafted hole and stained skin.  This will require some thought.  I need to make sure the new lens is lined up and matches everything aesthetically, but I have to pick up that crazily located factory hole.

The first thing I needed was my new lens.  I wanted to see how close this new LED tail light would fit under the 57 Ford light.
I bought 7 of these for 5 bucks a piece from a guy.
Perfect fit.
It worked out well.  I just need to make sure that the light is centered inside the Ford lens to help disguise it .  I don't think the brightness should be affected by having 2 lenses to pass through.  It may even work to my advantage, by diffusing the light further.

I had to mock up the lens and mark it with a Sharpie just to verify the location.  Measure 57 times, cut once.

My redneck tools.
I bought some of those cheap protractors during "back to school sales."  Then I use my redneck attach mechanism....a tie wrap.
Then I needed to mark the center of the new 8 inch lens. and I would scribe a circle the same diameter as the rubber grommet that the light mounts in.
I have to cover the old uglies, but keep the light centered while encompassing the old hole.  The outside line is the new lens, and the inside line is the light mount hole.  The X marks the center of the outer line. 

 Tomorrow, I will mark the other side and push it outside with the lenses taped in place to verify their proper location.