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85GT Taillight Makeover by 85GT_3800SC
Started on: 04-26-2012 03:21 PM
Replies: 17 (1750 views)
Last post by: 85GT_3800SC on 08-17-2013 04:06 PM
85GT_3800SC
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Report this Post04-26-2012 03:21 PM Click Here to See the Profile for 85GT_3800SCClick Here to Email 85GT_3800SCSend a Private Message to 85GT_3800SCEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Some years ago, I had a 1969 Mercury Cougar and really liked the sequential turn signals it had in the back. So, wanting to re-create that lighting system on my 85 Fiero GT, I looked for a conversion. I found “Webelectric” mentioned on the forum and ended up getting their conversion kit which was pretty reasonable at $70 delivered. It came with 2 compact modules, connectors, wire, diagrams and clear instructions on how to do everything.
The first thing I had to do was convert the 2 running lights in the back to run/turn/stop lamps. That would give me 3 run/turn/stop lamps on each side. To do this, I got 2 light sockets from the wrecking yard that matched the Fiero and tied them into the turn/stop wire of the socket beside.



There are existing holes in the fibreglass to run wires through as shown in the picture below. Using these as guides, I drilled through the trunk wall and installed grommets in the metal holes.



With this done, I mounted the sequential modules in the trunk, behind the carpet and followed the wiring instructions to complete the installation.



I tested the setup without lenses installed and it worked flawlessly, but rather than just put the lenses back on, I decided to do some cleanup and mods beforehand. The mods I performed were done in such a way that I can easily change things back to stock if I ever wanted to.
I took the taillights apart very carefully. The black “dum-dum” that holds them together was still quite sticky after 27 years, but steady pressure, some razor knife work and cautious prying got the 2 halves apart. I did crack one clip on one light and repaired that with a piece of plastic and some crazy glue. New dum-dum will seal it all.





First, the clear lenses were a bit cloudy with fine scratches



So I used some Turtle Wax Scratch & Swirl remover on them.



It took a while, but what a difference this made to the lenses. They look brand new! This shot is out of order, but it shows how clear the lenses are now.



Then I repainted the lens outer edges with Krylon black paint for plastic



My 85GT didn’t come with the rear “PONTIAC” word in the taillights. I kind of like the idea, so I modified my taillights to give a similar effect. My GT will soon have a 3800SC under the deck lid so I made up the 2 items below using overhead transparencies. I found the Pontiac font on the internet and used a graphics program called “Gimp” to design these printouts. I ran them through the laser printer twice to get good black coverage and stop light from showing through. Time will tell how long these will last, but they are easy to make and can be replaced if necessary.



I removed the original Fiero clear lens inserts to make room for my modification. I cut 2 pieces of clear acrylic and 2 pieces of diamond pattern acrylic (fluorescent light cover) for each taillight section. They were cut to the same dimension as the original lens insert face. I chose the diamond pattern to give the backlit wording a red jewelled appearance.



Then the printout, the clear piece, and the diamond pattern piece were placed into the Fiero lens, in that order, beside the red lens insert.



I secured the whole thing in place with black and clear silicone as needed,



I used a pipe nipple for some extra weight while the silicone dried.



The end result looked like this



While apart, I gave the taillight reflector surfaces a coat of chrome paint to help brighten up the lighting. I also chrome painted the mounting area for my new LEDs for the word backlighting.



I mounted red LED strips on acrylic pieces as shown.



I secured them with silicone. The wires were run through a small hole drilled in the light body to exit close to where they connect to the rear wiring.



I added some silicone to secure wires and as insurance for the 3M tape on the LED strips.



I made up some aluminum reflectors to mount where the back-up lights meet the word lighting area. This should stop the red led light from showing through into the back-up light area.



This is where the reflector was mounted using silicone.



This is a shot of the back side of the assembly. The wire exit point is sealed with silicone and the connectors I got from the wrecking yard.



Next, the lights had to be put back together. I figured it would be a good idea to use the same type of adhesive as original. It was relatively easy to take apart, even after 27 years! I called several body and paint shops and found it in 12” lengths, but not in longer rolls. I happened to bring up what I was looking for at a local glass shop and they had exactly what I wanted. It was a 20 foot roll of dum-dum for $10. It was a bit larger diameter than needed, but the glass place said “just stretch it”. They were right. You can stretch that stuff into whatever size you need



So I filled the little trough around the outside edge of the taillight back half and put the pieces back together. Then I mounted the lights back on the car. Here is the final result.



Here is a shot with the parking lights on. The sequential lighting looks even better with the lenses back in place. I will try to post a video of the sequencing lights soon.

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Donster
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Report this Post04-26-2012 04:26 PM Click Here to See the Profile for DonsterSend a Private Message to DonsterEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Awesome thread. I'll be using information from this for a similar tail light mod.

Good job.

\D
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Old Lar
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Report this Post04-26-2012 06:16 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Old LarSend a Private Message to Old LarEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
A real nice job..
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bjc 350
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Report this Post04-26-2012 11:39 PM Click Here to See the Profile for bjc 350Send a Private Message to bjc 350Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
WOW! Can't wait to see the sequentials working.
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weloveour86se
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Report this Post04-27-2012 02:48 AM Click Here to See the Profile for weloveour86seSend a Private Message to weloveour86seEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Very Nice!!

That looks awesome! Thanks for sharing.

Edit.The painting the outside edges in black, part is important. I can atest for this. Light would shine through along the top edges without it correct? Mine that I scabbed together have the light shining through above in spots if you look directly down from above at them. Annoying for so much work. Dude you have done your reasearch!!

[This message has been edited by weloveour86se (edited 04-27-2012).]

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85GT_3800SC
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Report this Post04-27-2012 09:39 AM Click Here to See the Profile for 85GT_3800SCClick Here to Email 85GT_3800SCSend a Private Message to 85GT_3800SCEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

 
quote
weloveour86se wrote
Edit.The painting the outside edges in black, part is important. I can atest for this. Light would shine through along the top edges without it correct? Mine that I scabbed together have the light shining through above in spots if you look directly down from above at them. Annoying for so much work. Dude you have done your reasearch!!



Yes. you are totally right. After I mounted the LED panels, I put the taillights back together in the basement and hooked them up to a 12v power supply. You could then see all of the little paint chips and worn painted areas where light was shining through. 4 coats of black Krylon plastic paint took care of the problem and gave the cleaned up lenses a sharper appearance.

Al
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GADJet
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Report this Post04-27-2012 10:41 AM Click Here to See the Profile for GADJetSend a Private Message to GADJetEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Oh yeah! That's hot. I like this but I would do a few thîngs different for my likes but this is a great write up. Thanks for sharing your ideas and work.
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85GT_3800SC
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Report this Post04-28-2012 05:33 PM Click Here to See the Profile for 85GT_3800SCClick Here to Email 85GT_3800SCSend a Private Message to 85GT_3800SCEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Thanks for the comments and feedback. Here is the video of the sequential lights in action.

[youtube] http://youtu.be/G1TiE78ylNA
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FieroUte
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Report this Post04-28-2012 11:24 PM Click Here to See the Profile for FieroUteClick Here to Email FieroUteSend a Private Message to FieroUteEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Thinking about making a kit for these? I'd buy from you ASAP if so!

LMK, Tyler
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Report this Post04-29-2012 05:21 AM Click Here to See the Profile for NightMare CruiserSend a Private Message to NightMare CruiserEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
very nice
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85GT_3800SC
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Report this Post04-29-2012 11:12 AM Click Here to See the Profile for 85GT_3800SCClick Here to Email 85GT_3800SCSend a Private Message to 85GT_3800SCEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
FieroUte

04-28-2012 11:24 PM

Thinking about making a kit for these? I'd buy from you ASAP if so!

LMK, Tyler


No, I don't really want to get into the production and selling of kits right now (maybe after time has proven the lifespan of the transparencies) but the stuff is not that difficult to make up.First, make up a template using cardboard to get the exact dimensions for the pieces you need.My dimensions were around 12.5" x 3.5".I didn't think to record the exact dimensions, but everyone should probably check their own in case of subtle differences. I got the 2 clear 1/8" acrylic pieces custom cut at a local glass shop for $8. The diamond pattern 1/8" acrylic pieces I cut from a 4ft x 2ft light diffuser panel I bought from Home Depot for $8. The overhead transparencies (for laser printer) were from Staples office supply (the most expensive item at $18 for 20, I only used 2). All 3 items were sized to lay flat in the taillight lens, not extending onto the bevelled area at the top of the lens. They were tweeked by sanding as needed for a perfect fit.When securing the 3 pieces, I made sure that the silicone made contact with them all so there would be no moving around inside the taillight.

Al
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Report this Post04-29-2012 04:45 PM Click Here to See the Profile for E.FurgalSend a Private Message to E.FurgalEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
nice, wonder if adding a lite smoked tint to the reverse lights would make them fit/look less "in your face.."
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85GT_3800SC
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Report this Post06-09-2012 05:07 PM Click Here to See the Profile for 85GT_3800SCClick Here to Email 85GT_3800SCSend a Private Message to 85GT_3800SCEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Well, after a few days in the hot sun, it looks like the test method I used for the taillight lettering wasn't up to the task. The transparencies have started to curl and generally look bad. I will be removing them and trying out a different method soon.

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Tony Kania
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Report this Post06-09-2012 05:39 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Tony KaniaSend a Private Message to Tony KaniaEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
IMSA GT did a wonderful write up that may help you along... http://www.fiero.nl/forum/F...1/HTML/074495-2.html

That is a beautiful Idea that you have there. Very well done. I don't know how I had missed it.

Tony
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85GT_3800SC
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Report this Post06-09-2012 07:51 PM Click Here to See the Profile for 85GT_3800SCClick Here to Email 85GT_3800SCSend a Private Message to 85GT_3800SCEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Thanks for the link Tony ! It was a great read.......lots of good tips to consider.

Al.
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Report this Post06-09-2012 11:38 PM Click Here to See the Profile for DodgerunnerClick Here to visit Dodgerunner's HomePageClick Here to Email DodgerunnerSend a Private Message to DodgerunnerEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Why don't you use a good copy of the PONTIAC as a pattern and just spray paint the words on the clear plastic instead.
That is what I would do instead of the mask.
That is what I did on my Firebird.

[This message has been edited by Dodgerunner (edited 06-09-2012).]

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85GT_3800SC
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Report this Post06-10-2012 09:30 AM Click Here to See the Profile for 85GT_3800SCClick Here to Email 85GT_3800SCSend a Private Message to 85GT_3800SCEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I may just use that. Thanks!

Al
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85GT_3800SC
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Report this Post08-17-2013 04:06 PM Click Here to See the Profile for 85GT_3800SCClick Here to Email 85GT_3800SCSend a Private Message to 85GT_3800SCEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Finally, I have gotten the time to try something new on my tail lights. The printed style logo didn't last so I took the advice given in this thread and painted the tail light inserts that I made. I decided to change the design a bit. I now have only the “PONTIAC” emblem for lettering (no “supercharged” - too hard to make the letters so small).However I did have what I thought was a cool idea. I made Pontiac emblems for the reverse lights.I think they look much better than the diamond acrylic lenses I had in there.
The making of the inserts involved printing the logo/emblems off on clear sticker paper. Then I applied the stickers to the acrylic inserts and carefully cut out the logo/emblems with a razor knife. Then I spray painted the inserts with black paint and when dry, removed the sticker paper. What was left was my chosen design as shown below. I sandblasted the backside of the inserts to give an opaque look to the logo/emblems and secured them into the taillights as before with silicone.. Hopefully this method of doing the tail lights will hold up better in the elements than my last venture. Time will tell. Will post some night time pics shortly.



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