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Cheap and easy backup light upgrade
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geodude
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 8:21 pm    Post subject: Cheap and easy backup light upgrade Reply with quote

Thought I would share my recent upgrade to my backup lights since I didn't see anything like it when I searched. This is an easy upgrade and cheap. As anyone who has opened up their tail lights knows there is no reflector for the back up lights. The housing is just black plastic, except for a galvanized steel plate on the top. That struck me as stupid; most of the light of the bulb would be absorbed by the housing and only a bit goes out the back. So this is what I did.

1. Found something reflective that wasn't conductive on one side. In my case I used that really shiny bubble insulation (I had some laying around so really cheap). To make it non-conductive on one side I ripped one facing off (seen rolled up).
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


2. Cut the sheet to an appropriate size. The housing isn't totally rectangular so I made it wide enough to fit in the space near the bulb. I trimmed the length so I could bend it to cover the bottom of the housing and up the back to the galvanized sheet at the top. I didn't cover the top as I figure that is were most of the heat would end up.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


3. Cut a hole in the back centered on the sheet so the bulb could go through.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

4. Slipped the sheet over the bulb bent it to covert the bottom of the housing and reassembled the tail light.

Here is a comparison shot showing one side "upgraded". It is significantly brighter. Not sure why it rotated when I posted this pic, but the bottom one is the upgraded light. Total time to do this upgrade about 30 minutes.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


I wouldn't recommend using the same reflector material for lights that stay on continuously, it may melt. But for something that stays on for only a minute or so I thought it would be fine.
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purplepeopleeater
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

HVAC foil tape works better Razz
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K58
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 8:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

purplepeopleeater wrote:
HVAC foil tape works better Razz

3M 3311
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geodude
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The stuff was free and sitting there Very Happy But good ideas, maybe I'll do the side of the housings with the tape.
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seanjenn
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 10:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

purplepeopleeater wrote:
HVAC foil tape works better Razz


I was just geting ready to ask about that.
How about putting that tape behind all of the bulbs?
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bluebus86
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2016 9:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

seanjenn wrote:
purplepeopleeater wrote:
HVAC foil tape works better Razz


I was just geting ready to ask about that.
How about putting that tape behind all of the bulbs?



Yes put metalized tape in all the rear light housings, do all of the housing (except of course the lense!!!) I used the metalized duct type tape (aluminim tape) used tweezers to get it inside the lense housing on the sidewalls and on the lamp holder part, keeping clear of the electrical connectors. the improvement in brightness is huge!!! the inside is black in stock form, the aluminjzed tape does wonders for brightness, it even makes the red reflector that has no bulb in it a better reflector (this unused reflector supposedly is for a fog light option)

I went one further and added a bulb and connectors in the unused fog lamp socket and hooked it up to run with the tail lamp.

so get some metalized tape and go for it, it is sight to be seen better with Cool Cool Cool
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Sodo
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2016 9:53 pm    Post subject: Re: Cheap and easy backup light upgrade Reply with quote

The HVAC stuff I have is true aluminum. It's much thicker than tinfoil. You peel of the protective paper and there'a adhesive on the back. I'd call it a tape-ized metal. Its easy to find on Amazon, search Aluminum Tape. http://a.co/fjvQrh9
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erste
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2016 10:02 pm    Post subject: Re: Cheap and easy backup light upgrade Reply with quote

Thanks for bumping this bluebus86.
Hard to believe there's nothing reflective in the housing. Such a simple fix.
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2016 11:43 pm    Post subject: Re: Cheap and easy backup light upgrade Reply with quote

I would guess that there are some LED bulbs out there that have a directional output that would make having any reflector unnecessary.
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jimf909 Premium Member
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2016 12:22 am    Post subject: Re: Cheap and easy backup light upgrade Reply with quote

^^^ I'm leery of LED lamps used in fresnel fixtures designed for specific incandescent lamps. The LED may be brighter in a narrow angle but it's much less visible slightly off center because the light source is not positioned correctly for the fresnel lens. Most noticeable to me are motorcycles with LED lamps in old-school fixtures and how much less effective they are than with the incandescent lamps they were designed for. And both are much less effective compared to purpose-built LED tail lights.
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bluebus86
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2016 9:47 am    Post subject: Re: Cheap and easy backup light upgrade Reply with quote

Sodo wrote:
The HVAC stuff I have is true aluminum. It's much thicker than tinfoil. You peel of the protective paper and there'a adhesive on the back. I'd call it a tape-ized metal. Its easy to find on Amazon, search Aluminum Tape. http://a.co/fjvQrh9



Thats the stuff!!!!!, peel and stick aluminium tape can be had at many hardware stores. I even lined the front turn signals with it, trick is you cut it to small sizes and use treezers to feed it in thru tbe light bulb hole. be sure to wash and dry the hosuing first to assure best adhesion. the tape also brightens up the lamp fixtures when the lights are off, makes them better reflectors for say when the van is parked at night and other cars hit it with a headlight. visability is where it is at.

my lights are now so bright I have to wear shades. Cool Cool
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Steve M.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2016 11:46 am    Post subject: Re: Cheap and easy backup light upgrade Reply with quote

Wildthings wrote:
I would guess that there are some LED bulbs out there that have a directional output that would make having any reflector unnecessary.


The GoWesty kit has directional and stalk mounted LED's. It is an improvement over the stock bulbs, but your going to pay for it if you've seen the price of the kit.

Adding the foil or metal tape works too. The foil vs. tape is that the aluminum foil does have a shinier reflective surface than the tape you just can't attach it as easily as the tape.
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Last edited by Steve M. on Sat Dec 03, 2016 12:09 pm; edited 1 time in total
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bluebus86
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2016 12:01 pm    Post subject: Re: Cheap and easy backup light upgrade Reply with quote

Wildthings wrote:
I would guess that there are some LED bulbs out there that have a directional output that would make having any reflector unnecessary.



the tape greatly increases relectivity even when the lamps are off. they will be much brighter with the tape when a headlamps is shined on them, great for increased visability when parked and lamps are off.
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Last edited by bluebus86 on Sat Dec 03, 2016 12:19 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Steve M.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2016 12:03 pm    Post subject: Re: Cheap and easy backup light upgrade Reply with quote

jimf909 wrote:
^^^ I'm leery of LED lamps used in fresnel fixtures designed for specific incandescent lamps. The LED may be brighter in a narrow angle but it's much less visible slightly off center because the light source is not positioned correctly for the fresnel lens. Most noticeable to me are motorcycles with LED lamps in old-school fixtures and how much less effective they are than with the incandescent lamps they were designed for. And both are much less effective compared to purpose-built LED tail lights.



Using the GoWesty kit I have not noticed the off center problem. I think they did their research fairly well on the kit and it is reflected in the price no pun intended.
The GoWesty LED kit is directional as I said, but that is only for some of the bulbs and those bulbs have lenses on them which could very well be giving a wide pattern.
The other bulbs in the kit are on a stalk of led's so it is trying to give 360 output.
You can see the bulbs on the website:
http://www.gowesty.com/product-details.php?v=&id=23624

For the best of it this LED kit and adding the metal tape would be even more effective.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2016 12:16 pm    Post subject: Re: Cheap and easy backup light upgrade Reply with quote

That's a terrific idea - love it. Cheap fix of the week and it's a safety improvement which is my favorite place to spend money and time.
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