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Old 01-20-2004, 04:25 PM   #1
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LED Lights on Motorhome

I want to convert my 93 Landyacht red bulbs to LEDs using 3157 LED modules. When accomplished my power load will be reduced from about 100 Watts to just a few Watts. This should reduce the load going down the road, reduce the alternator load and reduce heat under the hood. Since my MH is not at my house I am curious if anyone knows which flasher unit is standard. Is it a electro-mechanical 2 or is it a 3 prong unit? The reason I ask is I need to change it first so the lights will flash properly with a much smaller load. By the way my taillights are unique to one series of MH. Mine are orginally from a 1988-89 Continental and are no longer available thu Airstream or Ford. I raided two salvage yards to replace mine. I assume my 93 model is one of the last to use that particualr model taillight assy. Thanks to Airstream and Melvin who helped me find out about the taillights.
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Old 01-20-2004, 05:02 PM   #2
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Hi,

I don't know the answer to your question about the blinker module type but I saw something that might make it possible to avoid replacing the module.

http://www.superbrightleds.com/cgi-b...gi?product=CAR

On this page about the middle there's a 50 watt resister that connects across the LED to keep the old clicker working. The only problem is that it will cause more load to be drawn when you light the lights, either with the blinker or the running lights. So I don't know if this suits you or not.

BTW: This vendor is the cheapest place I've found with LED lights but there could be others as well.

Good luck,

Dave
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Old 01-20-2004, 05:29 PM   #3
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Dave, I really don't want to waste the energy and would defeat my purpose. I see on E-bay two types of electronic flashers: One for two prongs and one for three prongs. These electronic flashers use a simple circuit and eliminate the old haloween type heat clickers that are load sensitive. I need to know which one to buy before I pick up my unit. LEDs use less than one tenth of the power as equivilent bulbs, are not heat generating, and last indefinetly. They do require you to replace the flasher of which I do not know which one I need. One other advantage is the LED is much faster acting and can produce a small margin of safety. I suspect days of use of red bulbs on the back of vehicles are numbered. Thanks for the info. I wish that guy on e-bay would sell electronic flashers instead of 50 Watt resistors. Ha
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Old 01-20-2004, 08:42 PM   #4
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Hi Ron,

You just confirmed what I had suspected, that the tail lights are from a car. I stopped behind one at a light and thought, hey those tail lights look just like mine, only turned upside down

When I got back to the campground I looked and they have Ford printed on them. But I didn't know what year.

Let us know how you buld swap turns out, I may want to do that too. With your knowledge of telephone stuff the wiring should be a snap.

CYA
Don
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Old 01-20-2004, 08:47 PM   #5
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Don, I think we figured each other out. Did you get my TN?
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Old 01-20-2004, 09:02 PM   #6
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Re: LED Lights on Motorhome

Quote:
Originally posted by RonJudi
By the way my taillights are unique to one series of MH. Mine are orginally from a 1988-89 Continental and are no longer available thu Airstream or Ford. I raided two salvage yards to replace mine. I assume my 93 model is one of the last to use that particualr model taillight assy. Thanks to Airstream and Melvin who helped me find out about the taillights.
Ron, if you could help me identify my taillight lenses as the same type you have that would be a great help so I can find replacements for them too. Mine are slightly melted and discolored. They also say Ford on them.

Best Wishes,
Dave
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Old 01-20-2004, 09:55 PM   #7
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LED Lights on Motorhome

Ron, the LED taillights can be great for the increased visibility and general coolness. I put them on my Argosy and I love them.

But if you're just trying to reduce power usage and thus underhood heat, save your money. Fifty watts is like a drop of water in the ocean compared to the total energy consumption under your hood. One horsepower = 746 watts, or about 3/4 of a kilowatt. Your average 300 horsepower engine is thus capable of generating 225,000 watts of power, so plus or minus fifty watts of lighting load won't be noticeable in any way.

There's also a problem with using LED bulbs in lamps designed for incandescent bulbs. The light pattern is different, and the reflectors may not disperse the light properly. Today I sat in traffic behind one of those new cars with the clear taillight lenses. I noticed that what you see is about 500 separate reflected images of the single filament in the bulb. You won't get that with the LED bulbs. I'm afraid you may be disappointed with the overall brightness with the replacement bulbs.

In my application, I changed the taillight style and now have the 4" round units with about 50 high-brightness LEDs aimed straight back. There's no reflector at all.

If you are able to use the LED bulbs, just leave the conventional front turn signal bulbs in place. They'll provide enough load to operate the flashers.

Bob McKeown
Nashville
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Old 01-20-2004, 11:39 PM   #8
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Dave, Yes your lights are the same. 1988-89 Lincoln Continental which have faded and distorted from heat like mine. Bob makes some valid points but there are some solutions to the problems he mentioned. LEDs can be frosted just like light bulbs so the 20 degree Pattern can be broken up like a frosted light bulb to make it acceptable in our old housings. You can use a mutlple LED unit and by lightly scrubbing the lenses with a very fine emory cloth you can get the pattern you need. You can even locate a 20 LED array where a single 3157 was located. I have no intention of replaceing the White as they are not used that long and even if they are the heat build up will be less than before. I will let you know how my results turn out but I need to get that electronic flasher installed first. By the way each chain of LEDs (5) only draws .020 A and produces the same amount of light as a bulb drawing ten times as much. Surely Mr Edison would be proud of our effort. But we must make the LED radiate like an inefficent light bulb and produce light equally poorly in all directions. Even so, this kind of light emitter is so efficent that it will not heat up your fixtures even with 20 LEDs
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Old 01-21-2004, 07:06 AM   #9
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Ford on Chevy

Strange how Airstream used Ford parts on a Chevy chassis.

Makes me wonder whose logic that was and was the LY originally intended to go on a Ford chassis?

Does any one know who made the front headlights?

Smily
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Old 01-21-2004, 08:44 AM   #10
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FWIW

The Heater/AC control assy on the mid '80's MH's are Chrysler units.
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Old 01-21-2004, 08:51 AM   #11
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Quote:
Makes me wonder whose logic that was and was the LY originally intended to go on a Ford chassis?
A smart engineer at Airstream. It costs a lot of money to design, build tooling, find a supplier, get DOT approval. Cheap to buy parts that someone else has designed that will fit. This is very common in low volume operations, I am working on a kit car that uses VW, Toyota, Dodge, Chevy, Oldsmobile, whatever will fit.

I also replaced all my brake, marker, and turn signals with LED lamps. I tried some of the replacement 'bulbs' and was not happy. They do have a narrow beam, the ones to the side did nothing. I would try scuffing the ends of a cheap single LED and see the results before doing a whole bulb. I cut the end of a couple and it made a wider beam but really cut the light.

I also had a heck of a time with the electronic flashers. I tried several, none worked right consistently. I finally broke one open, it used a RC timing circuit and relays, not something like a 555 timer. They seem to be geared more to multiple lights and a heavier draw than the tiny draw of LEDs. I ended up putting resistors to ground. If you think about the time that a blinker light actually operates the heat generated and power it requires are miniscule.

John
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Old 01-21-2004, 10:55 AM   #12
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Re: FWIW

Quote:
Originally posted by 87MH
The Heater/AC control assy on the mid '80's MH's are Chrysler units.
And the heater controls on my '74 Argosy are from a '73 Mustang with factory air! I found this out thanks to a very helpful (and savvy) counterman at a Ford dealership. Then, it was off to the obsolete Ford parts vendors to find a replacement for the missing fan switch.

I assume Airstream went looking for a vacuum-operated system because that was easier to implement - rubber hoses route much more easily than cables, rods, etc. The Ford system was available and met their needs. I just wish they'd documented the source somewhere!

Bob McKeown
Nashville
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Old 01-22-2004, 07:12 PM   #13
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Dave, Additional information that I have found while trying to spruce up the tail lights on the models that use those orginally on the 1988-89 Continental. One of the problems that I can see that caused what I think is premature aging is: Lights are not accessable to clean or maintain. The plastic units are open to the dust and other contaiminants that will get to our lenses from inside. It is impossible to get into the various compartments which make up the assembly and hide the dirt. I took a spare set that I have obtained and reluntantly washed the inside with dishwashing hand. soap. I now wish I had put them thorough the dishwasher to penetrate the inside which is not easily acessable unless you are dust and dirt getting in the vent holes made into the unit. After rinsing the inside and letting them set for several days, the vapor finally evaporated out and they look pretty nice. I did use a little plastic airplane polish for the outside finish. If my LED project gets done, I plan to silcone the vent holes shut and eliminate the dust problem. I am thoroughly uphappy with Ford for making a lens that cannot be kept new looking with normal effort. After extraordinary effort they now look new. The dishwasher may make the job a lot easier for you. These types of lights could only have looked good on the show room floor and never were intended to be cleaned. The conspiricy is too make the cars look old in a very few years so you buy a new one. When used on the Airstream the rest of the Airstream looks great and the lenses only look old. My LED Project will now include the sealing up process. I was brave only since I have a spare set of taillights and I will Post when Project is further along complete with LEDs which won't need vent holes. By the way the low current filiment in the 3157 on the bottom bulb has no funtion and was never wired up. The high current filiment is the lone back up light source. Guess they just wanted to use the same type bulb for top and bottom. The clear plastic on the reflector assys are fake and have only a decorative function to match the taillights. This space could easily be converted to extra LED red strips and since the LEDs are clear in an off state could be made to match the original design. We shall see how far we want to go. With Donnal's help maybe I will post a picture. If anybody else is brave enough it is amazing what you can do to the lenses to make them look new again. [IMG]Airstream Tail[/IMG][IMG]Airstream Tailight[/IMG]
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Old 01-23-2004, 01:30 AM   #14
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I recently bought this book from Tap called "Fiberglass Repair and Construction Handbook". I'm really interested in replacing the rear lights with LED lights too but I want to mold fiberglass pieces in the same shape (possibly) as the lenses then get rid of the lenses. Probably sounds a little strange but my idea is to get the large round or rectangular LED taillights and mount them in the back somewhere but lose the taillight lenses that are there now by fitting pieces that look like the same color as the body...I hope I can get a close color match so they look more natural. If possible I could put LED tailights over the top of the replacement pieces. Just a thought.

I need to learn the skill of fiberglass molding first.

Dave
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