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Exterior guides and mods

LED High Level Brake Light

LEDs are the future. They last longer, have a better colour, give instant light and draw attention much more effectively than a standard bulb.

Modification Details

Fitting A Replacement High Level Brake Light

A few companies sold pre-made LED high level brake lights for the smart, the
shape is common and will fit all 450 fortwos and Roadsters and the fitment is very quick.

Here is the back of Tiny's car, you can just make out the high level brake light in the spoiler.

The standard lens is held in by a screw at each end, unscrew them.

This shows the replacement brake light that we are about to fit.

With the screws removed the lens can be pulled out leaving the reflector in place.

The reflector just pulls out, watch out because they can be sharp.

Line the new light up so the electical pins push into the correct holes. Don't force the light in so
you don't damage the two pins. It should slide into position relatively easy. The quality of the
fitment will depend on the make and price of the unit.

Replace the two screws to hold it in place, don't over tighten them.

Give them a test, here you can see how effective they will be during the night.

Sourcing An LED High Level Brake Light

This is going to be by no means easy or cheap. I was lucky to acquire this one from America for only
£16 but on further questioning, the seller couldn't obtain any more.

I have seen three different makes so far. I believe one was In-Pro, maybe the other was ABCDesign.
If you have any info on these then let me know. Generally they retail for almost £50 including delivery.
The chance of finding any of these for sale now is incredibly small as the manufacturers stopped making them.

2 Ways To Make An LED High Level Brake Light

Method 1

Remove the 2 philips screws circled red. Pull the unit away from the car.

You will find a reflector inside, take it and put it to one side. Warning, it's sharp.

Offer up the LED light strip to make sure it fits ok.

Grab a glue gun and add a few squirts at each end.

Dunk it straight into cold water to cool it down and stop it melting the diffuser.

Leave it submerged for a while to cool and the totally dry the whole unit.

There are 2 ways to wire it, either push the wires into the holes of get 2 narrow spade connectors.
Crimp them to the wires and push into the holes.

Refit the unit and test.

Method 2

For some reason, many places will tell you that the bulbs in the high level brake light
cannot be removed. It could be that they have had problems getting the bulbs out.

Needless to say, you can get the bulbs out and I have 2 nice and easy ways to do it.

Tape Method

The five bulbs are 286 bulbs, they are a mini wedge fit bulb like the 501.

Take a piece of sellotape and wrap it around the light so it sticks to itself and the bulb.

Pull the sellotape and the bulb will pop out.

You can also push them out from the back with a screwdriver or cocktail stick (Thanks Alastair).

286 LED replacement bulbs can be bought from car shops and Ebay.
They are also sold with 509T twist fit bases on some occasions.

Place the reflector in the spoiler of the car and make sure it is connected.

LED bulbs only work one way round so partially push a bulb in each hole, open the glass boot hatch and
press the brake pedal. With the hatch open, you can see which bulbs need pulling out and turning around.

They can be very stiff to get in.

The colour of the base generally tells you the colour of the LED.

Pipe Method

As you can see, the far left bulb has stopped working.

Take a short section of 3mm ID silicone or rubber vacuum tubing and push it over the end of the bulb.

Wiggle and pull the tube and the bulb should come out.

Spray some electrical cleaner on the contacts.

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