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Old 02-16-2010, 07:34 AM   #1
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Exterior marker lights

One of the things I have coming up as a project for the spring is fixing the exterior amber and red marker lights. Out of the 10 lights 4 are out and I don't know why. I want to replace them with led lights but need some advice on installing them, grounding them and the pit falls I should look out for. Any advice is appreciated.
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Old 02-16-2010, 08:31 AM   #2
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I replaced most of the marker lamp assemblies on the 1976 Sovereign last year as the bases were crumbling away (UV degradation, I guess ?)

If I were to the job again, today, LEDs would certainly be the way to go.

New assemblies are likely to be self grounding - that is to say that at least one of the screws holding the lamp to the skin acts as your ground. I spliced the hot wires inside the new lamp with heatshrink solder connectors that I found in the electrical dept of Home Depot.

If the wire coming through the skin is properly sealed or grommeted, I wouldn't think that you need to caulk the base to the skin.

Good Luck!
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Old 02-16-2010, 09:07 AM   #3
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I replaced all exterior light with LEDS several years ago. They are much brighter, last much longer, and draw far less current.

The cost on they is down now, about $7.00 each, and you can get them at any Truck Stop or Truck Supply house.

The only problem I had is the base of these lights tend to be cast plastic with a flat bottom surface. In order to fit the wire in without pushing thew fixture off the face of the trailer I had to grind out a wire chase on the under side of the fixture. The holes on the Airstream are not centered on the current fixture so each one has to be custom fitted.
A small price to have to pay for a Great Improvement.

I have had 1/2 of one of the lights fail. I have not removed it yet so I can't say what happened. I suspect the potting compound, used to water proof the fixture, was thin enough that moisture got into the circuit

Posts #49 and 51 of this tread show how I addressed the tail lights.
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f311...s-23544-4.html
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Old 02-16-2010, 09:12 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lifeisgood View Post
One of the things I have coming up as a project for the spring is fixing the exterior amber and red marker lights. Out of the 10 lights 4 are out and I don't know why. I want to replace them with led lights but need some advice on installing them, grounding them and the pit falls I should look out for. Any advice is appreciated.
LED replacements are the way to go.

You can attach the ground wire next to the hole where the hot wire goes thru the metal, so that it's on the backside of the light base.

You "must" seal the hole that the wire goes thru.

Also, after the light is installed, a bead of sealer around the 2 sides and the top of it, is very essential, to positively make sure there is no leak.

Simply mounting the light against the shell, wouldn't begin to stop a water leak.

Andy
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Old 02-16-2010, 10:36 AM   #5
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I replaced the trailer marker lights with LED's a couple years ago. Pictures are on my other computer, sorry. I purchased lights made by GROTE which were domestically manufactured, about $7 each at the local auto parts house. The lights are very bright and looks like a christmas tree going down the highway.
Grote Industries: Product #G4602 - Red

This is what I remember:
  • Hook up the hot wire. There is only one wire coming out of the hole in the trailer shell. Grounding is done through the trailer skin.
  • LED fixture has a hot wire and ground wire.
  • Popped the lens off the fixture and I drilled a small hole in the LED light base and pushed the ground wire through. I soldered a loop on the end so I could connect it one the screws that hold the fixture down to the trailer skin.
  • Dabbed some vulcum sealer on the screw holes and where the wire perforated the trailer skin. Screwed the base down to the skin and replaced the lens.
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Old 02-16-2010, 10:44 AM   #6
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Has anyone replaced the newer style teardrop marker lights with LED. I have seen them on the newer trailers but have not been able to find an aftermarket vendor for them.

Safe Travels!!
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Old 02-17-2010, 08:04 AM   #7
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Wow, this is all been great advice. Just a question about screwing these markers down. Should they be screwed or riveted down? I think I have everything else to start this project, the were to get them, the how to do them and the tools but I just want to make sure it is screwing or riveting. Maybe the screwing get a better ground so any additional advise would be great.
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Old 02-17-2010, 08:19 AM   #8
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Screw them down. As you said a better ground and future service if needed.
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Old 02-17-2010, 09:15 AM   #9
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If your fixtures are still good and only need new bulbs, you might try:

Super Bright LEDs – LED Lights, Bulbs, and Accessories
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Old 02-17-2010, 09:17 AM   #10
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Teardrop Lights

I have the teardrop style lights on my Classic and would like to replace the current bulbs with LED bulbs. I have been to several rallys where you can purchase the entire fixture, which is sealed against water, but they are about $20 each. I have been a bit overwhelmed with the amount of info I have found on my internet searches and was just wondering what others are using. How many LEDs on each bulb? Omni direction, multiple direction? Soft white, plain white?

Also I would like to replace the foam gaskets between the lens and the chrome mounting fixture of my lights. The current gaskets have shrunk and mostly turned to dust. Does anyone know where I can purchase these. I replaced a couple with cork gasket material but this is pretty labor intense for 14 lights.
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Old 02-17-2010, 09:22 AM   #11
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I, too, have the teardrop shaped lenses and plan to replace only the bulbs with LEDs.

You will want to use LEDs the color of the lenses for maximum amount of light. The lenses will filter out all light except the light waves the same color as the lenses.
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Old 02-17-2010, 09:49 AM   #12
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My plan was to just insert LED replacement bulbs but my gaskets had shrunk from underneth the lens on most of the fixtures and water has corroded the interior components. They are still operational but probably not for long. I replaced the gaskets with handcut gaskets but I see replacement in the future. I did see them at the Florida State Rally last year but they were about $17.00 each. Has anyone seen a better price on these?

Safe Travels!!
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Old 02-17-2010, 09:55 AM   #13
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Replacing the bulbs is a very ineffective solution. Lights are designed around a source, bulb of light, with a lens focusing the source to produce a given effect. The replacement of the original bulb with a source of a different shape or different location in the fixture will not deliver the original effect. Think of a lighthouse and what is produced from a small light source, originally an oil lamp, and the placement of the glass lenses. Yes you will see longer life with the LEDs.

The price difference between a replacement LED bulb assembly and a complete fixture is nill now. Complete fixtures are $7.00 and 2 or 3 times as bright.
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Old 02-17-2010, 10:06 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrRivet View Post
My plan was to just insert LED replacement bulbs but my gaskets had shrunk from underneth the lens on most of the fixtures and water has corroded the interior components. They are still operational but probably not for long. I replaced the gaskets with handcut gaskets but I see replacement in the future. I did see them at the Florida State Rally last year but they were about $17.00 each. Has anyone seen a better price on these?

Safe Travels!!
Tim
You can get the double bull's eye fixtures at truck stops and I believe they would work for the Airstream. I am considering the bulbs because I like our tear drop fixtures and haven't found them in LED yet.

Who sells a $7 tear drop LED fixture?
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