Upgrading With LED's | Early Classic Enterprises

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The premier manufacturer and distributor of quality suspension and restoration components for 1960-1972 GM pickups, blazers, panels and suburbans.

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Upgrading With LED's

Publication Name: 
Classic Trucks
Publication Date: 
September, 2003
Section: 
Enlightenment

 

Upgrading 60'-72'GM Pickups with LEDs*

* requires electronic flasher

In the never-ending quest to improve and update our classic trucks, the subject of lighting is one area often overlooked by most people. Many of us are looking for ways to improve the functionality of our pickups without compromising the looks.

LED's, (light-emitting diodes) are a revolutionary form of lighting that can do just that. LED's use solid-state semiconductors that emit visible light when an electrical current passes through it and excites the photons. This technology is currently used in traffic lights, scoreboards, message centers, and in the semi-truck and trailer market, and the benefits over incandescent bulbs are numerous. LED's are vibration resistant, use less power, and illuminate faster--- producing very little heat.

Early Classic Enterprises now offers custom LED inserts for the '60-'72 GM trucks that replace the original light bulbs with a patented plug in design. These inserts can literally be installed in seconds using only a screwdriver to remove and re-install the lens.

In addition to the taillight inserts, ECE also offers a third brake light insert for the '69-'72 trucks with a factory cargo light. By simply running a single wire to the brake light switch under the dash, you can now have an LED cargo light and third brake light to update your classic ride.

Follow along and we'll show you just how simple it is to install better lights in a '72 Chevy pickup.

How To Steps and Images: 
The LED panels are custom-made to fill the inside of each specific taillight housing to maximize the effect when the lights are on. The ‘67-’72 inserts feature a whopping 160 individual bulbs per panel! Compare that to the small LED replacement bulbs that have only 10 LED’s and you will see the difference immediately. The smaller panel is designed to fit the ‘60-’66 Chevy GMC Fleetside taillight housings, and feature 84 LED’s per panel.
The installation begins the same way you would replace a burned out bulb. Remove the two screws that secure the lens, and then carefully pull it away from the housing. The lens may stick to the gasket material depending on how long it has been since it has been removed. The old bulb is then twisted out and discarded to make way for the new LED panels.
Probably the biggest advantage of this new design is the patented plug-in wiring pigtail with a bulb base insert that plugs directly into the original bulb socket. This design requires no splicing to install. Every board is sized to fit each application to allow the maximum number of LED bulbs per unit. Because each bulb only generates an average one degree Fahrenheit, the boards can be mounted close to the plastic lens without causing damage.
The LED’s emit a red light so we decided to install a set of clear taillight lenses, as well. With the board set in place in the housing, the clear lens is re-installed using the new supplied gaskets. Installation is really that simple and can be done during the commercial break of your favorite sports game using only a screwdriver. The other advantage is that it doesn’t matter what condition your old reflectors are in because the new board doesn’t utilize them.
ECE also carries a wide variety of housings, along with taillight lenses in both red and clear. They also have front turn signal assemblies and side marker lights, with LED inserts in the works for those, too.
Installing the third brake/cargo light is a little more involved, and requires a few extra minutes. To power the third brake light, an additional wire needs to be run. Since an access hole needs to be drilled, the cargo light housing is removed to allow access for the new wire to be fished down through the cab.
An access hole needs to be drilled in the cargo light housing for the brake light wire. ECE supplies the proper grommet to prevent chaffing the wire and also to help seal moisture out of the housing.
The third brake light wire needs to connect to the brake light switch, which is located on the pedal assembly under the dash. Because both sections of the panel share a common ground, only the brake light power wire needs to be connected. Fortunately, the necessary connectors and wire are supplied with the kit.
The third brake/cargo light board plugs into the bulb socket in the same fashion as the taillights. Once installed, these LED’s are undetectable, but when the brakes are applied, the center of the board illuminates red. When the cargo light is turned on, the outer sections of the panel light up the bed with a brilliant white light.
What a difference LED lights make over stock bulbs! In addition to improving the taillights, the third brake light provides added safety, especially on lowered vehicles in traffic situations.
Category: 
Technical Articles
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Company Name: 
Early Classic Enterprises
Address: 
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--, CA --
United States
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