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Panici's '87 325is E30 - Classic, comfortably sporty. Restomod in progress.

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    sweet tail lights


      LED Bulb Conversion
      July 2019

      Looking for more visibility to other drivers, I've changed the following bulbs to LEDs:
      • Front running lamps / turn signals.
      • Rear turn signals
      • Rear running lamps
      • Rear brake lights

      I used some random Amazon LED lamps. If these fail prematurely I will upgrade to name-brand units.

      Note that I painted the visible rear LED bulbs using glass paint (see earlier DIY Startec post in this thread) so that they show up coloured in my rear lenses.

      I've added resistors to my turn signal circuit to prevent fast flashing due to reduced LED load.
      I opted to add these under the dash by tapping into the wiring to the flasher stalk. (Blu/Red through 2x 6ohm resistors to ground, and Blu/Blk through 2x 6ohm resistors to ground).
      This keeps the resistors out of the elements and in a centralized location. I can also replace the flasher stalk unit & wiring to convert back to stock in the future.

      I attempted to mount these resistors by zip tying them to the ABS module, but found that they got quite hot (+100c) after a short amount of time with the hazard flashers running.
      This makes sense as they are 6ohm resistors dumping about 30w of energy each!

      I ended up mounting them flat to the bottom of the ABS module, which acts as a giant heatsink.

      A better solution would be to use an LED rated flasher without resistors. However I wanted to keep my original flasher, as I like the old-school sound and feel.

      The LED conversion makes a dramatic difference both during the day and at night. I can actually pull into my garage at night with only my running lights (headlights off) and see clearly.

      Here are some pictures attempting to show the brightness, and a video showing a comparison between incandescent and LED bulbs. Note that I had not yet added the resistors when I recorded the video.">" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" height="350">

      '87 BMW E30 325is (restomod)
      '90 Mazda Miata NA
      '04 Jeep TJ
      '05 Yamaha R6 (trackbike)