2004 3rd Break Light LED MOD Replacement
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Cadillac CTS First Generation Forum - 2003 - 2007 Discussion, 2004 3rd Break Light LED MOD Replacement in Cadillac CTS Coupe, Sport Sedan and Sport Wagon Forums; So my 3rd brake light went out, so I checked out the forums and saw the LED MOD upgrade. So ...
  1. #1
    JavResendiz is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    2004 3rd Break Light LED MOD Replacement

    So my 3rd brake light went out, so I checked out the forums and saw the LED MOD upgrade. So I started my Led mod and took longer than I expected from what I read.

    Well I took the 3rd light apart with a heat gun, very slow process heating and cutting out the adhesive and prying apart. So after 2 hours of all that, I was able to get it open.

    This is what it looks like inside and opened. You can see in the one picture where the ballast for the neon light burn out (bottom section to the right- red circle).

    Neon light apart.JPG
    Old Neon light.JPG
    Old Neon ligh-3.JPG

    The pictures above is what the neon lights look like with the ballast and orange connectors at the ends of each light. As you can see the ballast is full of rust. So I just
    removed the ballast the neon lights. Cut the wires going to the ballast
    (white and black) right at the ballast, and just remove and thru everything out.

    I used partial pieces of led lights that I had left over 12" inches each side.
    Here you can see I place wires to each side and wired them to the white and black
    wires for power. The White wire is the (hot-power) and the Black is the -/negative.
    I soldered my wires together and then heat shrinked them. I placed the led lights
    right on the bottom of the plastic covers from the neon lights. I used crazy glued
    also with the adhesive from the led lights, to keep them in place.

    New LED light.JPG
    New LED light-2.JPG

    Then I test them to make sure everything was working correct. I just placed some
    wires to a 12 volt battery to check them. After I tested them the light had a pink
    color so I added a red packing tape over the plastic cover to add as a diffuser to get rid off the pink color. Then I just silicone the cover together and place zip ties to hold the light together till it dries. Let it dry for at least a day. Make sure you silicone the
    light very well so no water gets in.

    LED rear light.JPG
    LED rear light-2.JPG

    After it was dry I installed it back and this is what it looks like.
    Way better then it was.
    rear light.JPG

    These are the led lights that I used and where I bought them. You can used what
    ever led lights you like. It all depends on how much you want to spend.

    As I had said before I just used these from spare pieces that I had left over. Just make sure you buy 12vdc Led lights.
    Eco Light info.JPG

    Well good luck with your Modding upgrades.
    Ikera likes this.

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  3. #2
    Ikera's Avatar
    Ikera is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: 2004 3rd Break Light LED MOD Replacement

    so you used white LED strips? they usually come out pink or diluted thru red lens. Don't want to sound like a captain obvious but it's better to use red LEDs inside red lenses

    but anyway, cool mod, I'm planning to do that myself also

  4. #3
    arw1510 is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ikera View Post
    so you used white LED strips? they usually come out pink or diluted thru red lens. Don't want to sound like a captain obvious but it's better to use red LEDs inside red lenses

    but anyway, cool mod, I'm planning to do that myself also
    Its fine through the lenses.

  5. #4
    JavResendiz is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2004 3rd Break Light LED MOD Replacement

    Yes I did used White LED's from what said, because it was what I had and it did not cost me anything to do
    the MOD. And yes I did know about the pink color from the white led's. That's why I place the red packing
    tape to get rid off the pink color. Free is always BETTER!

    I would off bought the red ones, but I just used what I had instead.

    Well good luck with your MOD and have fun taking the light apart.

  6. #5
    Andrew Volpe is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2004 3rd Break Light LED MOD Replacement

    Hey man, so i looked at the website for those LEDs you used, they are mad expensive... and im not sure which wattage to use. Im looking at the red LEDs instead of white and the cheapest roll is about $54.00 and it only has 1.46 watts per foot.

  7. #6
    arw1510 is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    I spent all of about 12$ and they are still working 5 years later

  8. #7
    CTSM is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: 2004 3rd Break Light LED MOD Replacement

    OP, this is the first time I see an LED swap that looks decent can't tell the difference in between it and the neon light.

    Usually I see them come out like this:



    Which is why I usually recommend people not do an LED swap and instead I recommend they replace the neon ballast.

    I understand you had stuff lying around, but if were me and I had to choose in between the extra hacking and the neon ballast I would go neon ballast. NeonXA ballast that people talk about around here is $29 and it's a drop in replacement.

    My theory is this, amongst all these LED's, there is a good chance one of them is just gonna go poof. Then that leaves you with a gap in the third brake light and then you have the option to either leave things as is or hack again just to replace one LED which can be another laborious task. Neon lights on the other hand wouldn't fail so easy and a new ballast will probably serve to the rest of the vehicle's life.
    Tom's Caddy likes this.

  9. #8
    dannycop is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2004 3rd Break Light LED MOD Replacement

    Hello, what does a ballast cost?

  10. #9
    CTSM is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: 2004 3rd Break Light LED MOD Replacement

    Quote Originally Posted by dannycop View Post
    Hello, what does a ballast cost?
    NeonXA is the ballast that has been used by others on the forum to replace the stock ballast it's $29 on this page.
    http://www.amazing1.com/profneon.html

  11. #10
    dannycop is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2004 3rd Break Light LED MOD Replacement

    I just looked at the led strips with mode switch at the auto parts store and they were two 12 inch strips.
    But there designed for direct wiring to brakes, no ballast or anything in between. Do you know if this will work okay?
    Thanks again, Danny

  12. #11
    Sammy Z's Avatar
    Sammy Z is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: 2004 3rd Break Light LED MOD Replacement

    yep it'll work, it's a 12v system and the brake power is 12v so it will work. Only thing to be carefull is that LEDs are particular about the negative and positive, if they don't light, swap the wires.

  13. #12
    dannycop is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2004 3rd Break Light LED MOD Replacement

    Thanks Sammy, this has been a great topic.

  14. #13
    ghettomike's Avatar
    ghettomike is offline Cadillac Owners Master
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    Re: 2004 3rd Break Light LED MOD Replacement

    Quote Originally Posted by CTSM View Post
    OP, this is the first time I see an LED swap that looks decent can't tell the difference in between it and the neon light.

    Usually I see them come out like this:



    Which is why I usually recommend people not do an LED swap and instead I recommend they replace the neon ballast.

    I understand you had stuff lying around, but if were me and I had to choose in between the extra hacking and the neon ballast I would go neon ballast. NeonXA ballast that people talk about around here is $29 and it's a drop in replacement.

    My theory is this, amongst all these LED's, there is a good chance one of them is just gonna go poof. Then that leaves you with a gap in the third brake light and then you have the option to either leave things as is or hack again just to replace one LED which can be another laborious task. Neon lights on the other hand wouldn't fail so easy and a new ballast will probably serve to the rest of the vehicle's life.
    mine are still working, and i think i was the 1st one on here to do this repair... and the how to.
    i think i spend $12, and mine dont look that spaced out. it depends on what LED's you order, some are closer together than others.

    this is how close mine are together.
    Ikera likes this.

  15. #14
    Ikera's Avatar
    Ikera is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: 2004 3rd Break Light LED MOD Replacement

    from my experience LEDs are more reliable than CCFL or NEON

  16. #15
    dannycop is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2004 3rd Break Light LED MOD Replacement

    Hello Sammy, can you tell me the hardest part of the separation, I mean I was looking at the bottom part of the red lens and it appears to be blocked by the black housing?
    You have been a wealth of information for me, thanks.
    Danny

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