custom LED tail lights

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custom LED tail lights

Postby Jin » Sun Nov 20, 2016 1:05 am

Something I’ve been keeping myself occupied with for a while now.
I find the rear end of my Midas a bit awkward; it looks too narrow and tall for my liking, not helped by upright tail lights and them being set in from the sides of the car.
I considered a few options but in the end some bespoke tail lights as I have made 3 times previously now was the obvious choice, the goal being to visually make the car appear wider at the rear by physically moving the lamp units as far out to the sides as possible, so here goes

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2 brand new mk2 Astra tail lights

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Some extension pieces cut and shaped from ABS sheet to follow the contour of the rear wings

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These were then filled in with body filler and scraped over many times with a profile gauge made to the same contour as the original light unit, once flatting and shaping like this was done it was a case of going over by hand.

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Once happy I marked out the location preferred for the round light unit, then using the Astra light bulb holder as a guide for what is pointing straight back to the rear of the car I mounted each light unit in a pillar drill and proceeded to cut out through the light units and filler 110mm and 75mm for the recessed tubes

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Once happy (there was much fettling needed despite being very accurate in marking) I proceeded to bond in the acrylic tubes again each was cut down and trued on a lathe so I could mount the Astra light units square on a surface table and clock the tubes up with a spirit level and DTI pointer, once each was somewhere near I spotted each with a dab of super glue to hold secure, then after mounting on the car and being 100% sure that each tube was pointing rearwards 100% accurately I proceeded to further bond the tubes into the Astra light units and fill around any gaps with more body filler.

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I purchased some acrylic disks to cap over the rear of the tubes to mount the round light units onto, these were bonded with superglue.

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At this point I decided to put some strength back into the new light housings by filling the rears up with slow setting epoxy, nearly half a pint in each, this was needed because so much strength had been lost due to the material removal inside and I didn’t want these to flex and crack.
Once set the new assemblies were strong enough to hold firm and cut off the excess tube and shape it with hand files to follow the contour of the new light housings.

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Then came more filling and shaping, forming a radius on the inner edge of the tube where the round lights fit for aesthetic reasons and generally bringing about the shape to be perfect.

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Some aluminium spreader plates were bonded to the rear of the larger housings to screw the light units to
Then time for 2k primer

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Then after flatting it was time for 2k piano black as with the mirrors and boot trim.

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Onto the round light units themselves, for these I used my tried and tested RDX multifunction units for the main, these have stop tail and flash all in one 95mm unit, all that was legally left were reflectors and a fog, so after coming across an LED bumper reflector upgrade for the Nissan Cashcow that also have stop and tail LEDs built in I fancied these for the tops and a discreet fog for under the rear valance (temporarily) to get me going
Trial fit

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The new housings were drilled for the light units,

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I had to make up some ally spacers for the reflectors to bring them forward enough to look pleasing,

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once all mountings were drilled I set about tinting the clear LED units red since I like all red taillights especially the sexy candy red that chrome effect goes once tinted. The orange LEDs will shine through the red tint orange easily, I’ve done this many times, but one thing I wanted to be sure of was it not losing any brightness so I made some spray paint masks to mask off the orange outer LEDs while I laid down the first coats of red, then the last coat applied with the mask removed, the result is a light unit that looks fully red but in fact (if you were to remove the lens and look from behind) is a combo of red and rose pink on the outer portion, but once viewed from behind and seeing the reflection shining back looks all red.

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Once lacquered and tested they and the reflectors were bolted on along with some very tasty red anodised M4 screws.

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An aluminium heatsink was made for the load resistor and bonded to the rear of the light housings, then with all new plugs both here and on the car loom they were all wired up and fitted to the car, sealed in with non setting sealant cos I’m sick of my boot filling with water.

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50:50
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They even fit better from behind than the originals

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The long term plan is to build a rear diffuser and mould the fog light into that, but this looks ok for the time being

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Finished

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Function

Tail

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Flash

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Stop

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Next up, sideskirts (about 70% complete), headlights and rear diffuser
http://easywider.co.uk/ universal flexible wheel arch extensions
Jin
 
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Re: custom LED tail lights

Postby fozzza » Sun Nov 20, 2016 2:40 pm

Those lights look the bomb 8-) .I would like to install led lights on the rear of my MK2 but wouldn't know where to start. :?
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Re: custom LED tail lights

Postby benofbrum » Sun Nov 20, 2016 7:38 pm

No wonder you have been quiet for a while, Justin. Nice work
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Re: custom LED tail lights

Postby Jin » Sun Nov 20, 2016 9:33 pm

Thanks mate, yes I've been very busy of late.
I began these 12 months ago but the. Got distracted half way through starting my own business which took up yet more of my time and even more of my money, back on track now to hopefully get more Midas jobs done ;)
http://easywider.co.uk/ universal flexible wheel arch extensions
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Re: custom LED tail lights

Postby Jvr19630 » Mon Nov 21, 2016 7:37 am

Another excellent transformation. Keep up the good work.
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Re: custom LED tail lights

Postby Hans Efde » Mon Nov 21, 2016 8:29 pm

Looks the business. Thanks for the extensive write up. One day we need to compile all these sort of writings in a Midas tips and trics manual.
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