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Seville STS
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1 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I am debating wether to try and tear out my 3rd brake light in order to see if there is a loose connection because only 2/3 of my light is working. Is this possible? Or am I going to have to order a new light. How are these things hooked up? Id much rather know before I have my lights out and have the car sit in the driveway until another light comes in the mail. Thanks!
 

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2002 Cadillac STS w/ F55
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42 Posts
Your third brake light is a strip consisting of six boards (three per side if memory serves me correct) of LEDs and resistors in parallel linked together. Unfortunately, the sealant used on these lights isn't the greatest and moisture gets inside the cavity and causes the resistors to corrode and burn up, causing an open in the circuit and not passing on the voltage down the line and I'm betting your lights are burned out toward the end of either the left or right side? I think the '92-'97 setup is the same as the '98-'04 but I'm not sure. Your best bet is to go online and buy a new brake light unless you want to remove it, cut open the light, and do the repairs yourself, and then seal it back like I did; a pain but a learning experience nonetheless. Other than that the choice is yours. If it is a '98-'04 you can get any color piece trim because it is just screwed onto the light. Hope this helps
 

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1993 4.9L Seville - X920BT Navigation w/ backup cam, Flowmaster 40 Series Exhaust
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480 Posts
I have the same issue going on, if you search my thread history you'll see it. I'm contemplating whether to go to a junk yard and pull one, buy one online or attempt to replace the bulbs. Pulling the strip isn't difficult, grab a pair of pliars and a 7/16 socket wrench, it takes 30 minutes tops.

Lackey, can you expand on the process?
 

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2002.5 F55 CORSA STS, 2014 Explorer XLT FWD
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69,446 Posts
Before you begin ripping your high mount lights apart, read up in www.ledfix.com . He is (was) a vendor/member here and has the straight dope on these LED strips. Click on the removal instructions in the right menu - you may find that the light bar for the later STS FWD series, which has the new sealant technique, is currently unavailable in the repaired configuration.
 

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2002 Cadillac STS w/ F55
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42 Posts
Definitely heed Subs advice. He is one of the most trusted people on this site. First and foremost I do not recommend tearing your light apart because it is a pain in the... I would buy the replacement and mount it and call it good. Out of boredom though, Here is a schematic of how I think the LED circuit cards are set up: (there are 4 of these, not six by the way)

the resistors have an ohm value of 105 with 1% tolerance

here are some pics of my guinea pig I dissected before working on my own:




the bottom pic is what the card normally looks like. In the middle pic the corrosion was so bad I had to solder directly to the LED.
 

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2002.5 F55 CORSA STS, 2014 Explorer XLT FWD
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69,446 Posts
Lackey, I don't envy you one bit !! What did you use for sealant on the thing ?? Cripes, I have enough trouble making up stereo interconnect cables without dissecting an LED strip................
 

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1999 White Diamond STS with Sirius, 2001 Silverado
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440 Posts
Would it be a valid idea to preemptively remove a working light strip and caulk its seals?
 

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'98 STS (RIP @ 206,xxx miles)
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Would it be a valid idea to preemptively remove a working light strip and caulk its seals?
That would be cheap insurance. The question becomes - what material do you use??

If you could determine what product was used to seal the LED strip on OEM parts made after some point in 1999 or 2000, you would be in good shape.

I say that because the LED strip on my 1998 model (built in Feb. 1998) failed in Mar. 2000 and was replaced under warranty. The replacement LED strip is still working just fine.
 

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2000 Seville STS
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985 Posts
Listen to Sub, and I have my own experience to add. My 2000 STS had the LED strip fail, at first a 1/3 like yours, then after a month or 2 it was completely dead.

I spoke to the owner of ledfix.com, and he explained why he doesn't even try to fix the STS LED strips: In the earlier model (old logo with the ducks), when the sealant fails the water intrusion doesn't short out the LED's, but rather corrodes the circuit traces on the boards. So when they start failing, you have multiple failure points all over the boards. His experience in trying to fix these was that he could repair all the failed traces and get the strip working again, reseal it, and in 2 weeks the strip would fail again from a new open trace.

Do what I did: start scouting eBay, and look for the strip with the new style Cadillac logo. The new logo strips were all made after mid 2001, and have the better sealant (that came from the ledfix.com owner as well).

I got my new strip for $149 + shipping, you may do better (or not). The junkyards are well aware of the failure rate, and will want at least $225 for a used new style strip.

Good luck!
 
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