How To: LED 3rd Brake Light Fix/Replacement
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  1. #1
    Member DmcL's Avatar
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    Default How To: LED 3rd Brake Light Fix/Replacement

    This applies to the aftermarket V5/6 style high level spoilers for the new age models like i have on my WRX at the moment. it should, however, also be much the same for standard spoiler 3rd brake lights or other aftermarket spoilers with 3rd brake light. if this gets stickied or put somewhere it wont fall down the pages of the forum and become lost/forgotten i could also do a version for the standard WRX spoiler as i still have mine laying around. if/when i get a genuine STi spoiler i could also do another for that as the fix i have done here is bound to be cheaper than replacing the 3rd brakelight in an OEM spoiler with OEM replacement parts..


    so anyway, this is the particular spoiler used in this guide, V5/6 STi style spoiler for new age (seems a common-ish knock off out there for the new age cars). can also see my E30 325i looking beastly in the background in need of much work:



    and the offending 3rd brakelight which in my case has a segment of dud LED's (wideband is because i flashed a stage 1 tune on it the other day.. no, i cant leave anything alone):



    NOTE: i went to maplin for the 12v strip lighting i used here. i would have ordered some from ebay for less but with easter upon us it would delay delivery and i kind of wanted to just get it over and done with quickly. the specific LED strip lighting i bought from maplin is product code N87CZ "LED strip warm white" which is sold in 1cm segments with markings for cutting at every 1cm interval. i laid it out next to the board from my 3rd brake light and 5cm was a near perfect match so i bought a strip of 5cm for the grand total of £8.05.


    so here we go, first remove the screws holding the 3rd brakelight into the spoiler and disconnect the wires from the spoiler to the 3rd brake light. on mine i couldnt pull any slack out even though there was plenty of slack in the hollow void between the spoiler and bootlid so i ended up just cutting the wires and leaving as much as possible out of the hole in the spoiler for easier re-connection later.


    take your 3rd brakelight inside, to the shed, workbench, etc:



    run a blade or fine screwdriver around where the LED unit is affixed to the lense to break the sealant/epoxy and carefully wedge/twist if needed to seperate all around:



    remove the rear cover peice (on other spoilers/lights this may be the whole LED unit so may be able to skip this step in that case):



    use a hook tool or screwdriver to pull out the LED unit starting at one side. once i pulled one side out the rest came right out easily by hand:




    seperate the LED curcuit board from the backing plate (may be different on different spoilers/brakelights):




    get your adhesive backed 12v LED strip lighting (for mine 5cm worth of strip was perfect) and pull out all resistors/LED's from the original board (id adise this over trrying to replace individual LED's as easier, faster and all new LED's so longer time before having 3rd brakelight issues again):





    see next post...

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  3. #2
    Member DmcL's Avatar
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    Default Re: How To: LED 3rd Brake Light Fix/Replacement

    do not peel off the backing just yet, first overlay the LED strip onto the old circuit board making sure your new LED strip is centred on the old board so your LED's dont look wonky once you reinstall everything. once you have them centred find a handy place to put your new wires into and then drill a hole in the old board so you can pass the wires through from the back. once thats done peel off backing, make sure theyre centred on the board and the wire holes in the strip lights will be over the hole you drilled and then stick the strip lights on the board:




    poke your new wires that you robbed from something else or had laying about through the appropriate positive and negative holes in the strip light and carefully solder them on at the front:



    route your new wires out of the original wire holes in the backing plate/plates and clip the old board with new strip lights back into the backing plate:



    insert your rebuilt LED unit back into the lense as per removal and for fun and giggles either connect it to a spare 12v battery or to the wiring you cut coming out of the spoiler and get someone to press the brake pedal to confirm its all working. as they are LED's if none light up try swapping your wires around as they are polarity sensitive and only work if connected the right way. if necessary mark your wires now then remove the light again and apply sealant or glue, etc around the LED unit to replace the stuff you had to cut/break out to remove it:



    wire up your brakelight permanently this time and heat shrink over the connections:



    put it back in the original position, install your screws back in and try the brakes to verify all is working:



    go inside and have a beer/shot/bottle of something/bong/bit of hanky panky with the other half and relax.. job done..


    next week, how to replace a rear bumper

  4. #3
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    Default Re: How To: LED 3rd Brake Light Fix/Replacement

    Good thread mate, thks for that..

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  6. #4
    Craig Gambit's Avatar
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    Default Re: How To: LED 3rd Brake Light Fix/Replacement

    Looks spot on. Have you tried a heat gun on your bumper to pop out the dunt?

  7. #5
    Member DmcL's Avatar
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    Default Re: How To: LED 3rd Brake Light Fix/Replacement

    nah, have another bumper here for it already. just needs painted.

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