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#729319 - October 26th 2017 11:56 am Converting to LED lamps  
Joined: Jul 2016
Posts: 3
workerchimp Offline
workerchimp  Offline

Joined: Jul 2016
Posts: 3
Has anyone attempted to implement the newer LED bulbs in their older model vans? I have an '82 Dodge Maxi and was able to swap out the side marker lamps and backup lamps to LED successfully. However, the tail lamps/turn signal lamps (1157 bulbs--have dual filaments and the two contacts on the bottom) will not work with the LED replacements I ordered. After poking around a bit online, there was mention that there are two issues:

1) that the relay needs a sufficient load on it in order to heat up the bendable filament inside in order to break the circuit on and off to produce the flashing. There are solid state relays out there, but they have four terminals as opposed to the two that the stock relays have. I am not sure how you would need to wire something like this up exactly.

2) when only one of the filaments in the bulb are on (running light mode) one of the contacts on the bulb has 12 volts going to it but the other switches to ground. This works for the regular incandescent bulbs, but due to the electronic nature of the LED bulbs, it does not. The outer casing of course is always ground. It was mentioned that you could solder in a diode (one of a 5 amp rating was suggested in case you go bad to incandescent bulbs--which draw more power) on each of the power leads going to the lamp (silver stripe on the diode faces in the direction of the bulb). This prevents the power from going back the other way when the other contact switches to ground.

Anyway, this annoying problem is getting pretty complicated. Probably just going to go back to regular bulbs, but I did like how much brighter the LED ones were plus they draw a whole lot less power, last practically forever and look better. Just wanted to open up this discussion to see if anyone has tried anything to get these to work. Thanks for reading!

Last edited by workerchimp; October 26th 2017 11:58 am.

Currently rebuilding an '82 Dodge Maxi...
#729320 - October 26th 2017 12:36 pm Re: Converting to LED lamps [Re: workerchimp]  
Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 2,572
wrcsixeight Offline
wrcsixeight  Offline

Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 2,572
San Diego
They sell electronic flashers:

regarding 1157 LEDs, Many will not have enough brightness difference between the low and high 'filaments'.

Many might be bright from directly behind, but nearly invisible at off angles

LEDs get dimmer as they get hotter, so an initial impression of wow that is brighter, could disappear after 30 seconds with ones foot on the brake.

In general LEDS retrofits in housings made for incandescent bulbs is a bad idea. it is likeing someone elses prescription glasses and expecting to see better. Perhaps the prescriptions are close enough that they work, perhaps all is does is make everything blurry and indistinct.

In general older housings with smooth parabolic reflectors and dimples lenses will work OK with many retrofit LEDS, it is the newer vehicles whose reflectors are dimpled, so that each dimple reflects the filament from every possible angle, in which the LEDS will work poorly.

I have some 1157 LEDS in my 89 dodge b250 taillights. They passed my visual tests for brightness differences between low and high settings, and visibility from all angles. I still added a third brake light though.

I cannot find any direct link to the LED bulbs I employed, but they appear very similar to these:

Do not put white LEDS behind red lenses the light will appear purple or pink, put Red Leds behind red lenses.

Also while NO led is actually approved for use in halogen fixtures, Phillips has some LEDs which are approved for use in Some vehicle fixtures. They are pricey, but are well designed and built.;sr=1-4&keywords=1157+led+phillips

No personal experience with them.

Whatever you choose do make sure it can be seen from all angles and there is adequate brightness difference between low and high settings, and check again after depressing brakes for a minute or two to heat them up.

If you get rear ended and lawyers find out you have retrofit LEDS, it is much mroe likely you will be found at fault or have issues with a claim. Unlikely but possible.

I tried 1157 amber in my fronts but they were obscenely bright, and would not work correctly with my electronic flasher, and I am not adding resistors, so I went back to incandescents up there.

#729349 - October 27th 2017 1:50 pm Re: Converting to LED lamps [Re: workerchimp]  
Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 238
Hasan Ben Sobar Offline
Hasan Ben Sobar  Offline

Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 238
I have LEDs for all bulbs EXCEPT headlights,taillights,turn signals. For the former I just make sure all are working properly with regards to grounds and no corrosion. Too many idiots out there to have a minimal change in brake light brilliance.

Tucson-it's a dry an oven

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