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Brighter back-up lights

 
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Old 15 Mar 2007, 07:41 pm
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Default Brighter back-up lights

I find the back-up lights on the PT (as well as many other cars) to be OK for letting someone know you are in reverse, but that's about all. We live in a rural area with no street lights and I would like to modify the back-up lights so they actually illuminate the rocks & stumps behind the car.

I assume that just sticking a higher wattage bulb into the stock assembly might cause some sort of problem. Searching online has not turned up any aftermarket solutions, although I did find a web site for the PT Creeper - with a one-off custom back-up light assembly - claimed 250,000 candlepower!! Sheesh! I just want to see the rocks, not melt them.

Anyhoo, any pearls of wisdom from the PT family would be great.
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Old 16 Mar 2007, 12:09 am
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There should be all kinds of brighter bulbs like LED's that put out more candlepower without putting out more heat that would harm the light fixture.

The normal PT back-up light takes a 7Watt bulb number #3157. Here's a site that sells super-white #3157 bulbs you might try:

http://shop.autoi.com/osb/showitem.cfm?Category=156
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Old 16 Mar 2007, 09:01 am
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Welcome, 2fer.
I wouldn't worry about heat buildup - how long do you expect to be in reverse? By the time enough heat would've built up, you should be done backing. [:I]
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Old 17 Mar 2007, 05:51 pm
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Thanks guys...especially for reminding me that back-up lights are only on for a short time. I found a couple of sites that said, in effect, that the LED substitutes will look brighter when you are looking at them, but they really don't provide a significant increase in illumination. I'm going to try the 50W halogen substitute bulbs - gotta think 100W vs. 14W will make a big difference...I'll let you know. Thanks again.
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Old 17 Mar 2007, 08:01 pm
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Just be aware that the wiring for the back-up lights is a very light gauge and going up to the 50 watt bulbs will more than likely overload and possibily fry the wires and /or insulation.
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Old 19 Mar 2007, 04:28 pm
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Thanks for the heads up tpscruiser. As indicated in my original post, I didn't really think I could get away with anything as easy as just slapping a bigger wattage bulb in. Your reply prompted some additional research and I repeat a few results here for everyone's enlightenment:

"I would wire them up using a relay. The stock wiring is probably not designed to handle the load from a 55w bulb. It may cause the harness to melt."

"Some folks wire up the lights using the same wiring that fed those low power backup bulbs in the factory tail light housing and they use the backup switch in the transmission to control them. (VERY BAD IDEA!) You run a good chance of melting down your wiring harness, burning out your backup switch, or worse case, causing an electrical fire in your vehicle."

"Turns out that I had hooked up my aftermarket back-up lights into the regular circuit. I had read somewhere that it (55W) shouldn't be too much draw. It was. The purple & white wire melted for a long way and melted some other wires too. The fellas found it (initially) in the area behind the drivers dash speaker wires. What a mess. We'll be running some new wiring for the back-up lights, properly done with a relay & switch too. Lesson learned. DO NOT hook up your higher wattage back-up lights without the proper relays, etc!!!"

Cheers,
2fer
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Old 20 Mar 2007, 11:42 am
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If you are going to the trouble of new wiring and a relay (here is a hint: the 12v socket in the 'trunk' is a good source of high wattage back there) you might want to go a step further:

Take a page from the off-roaders book, Mount a pair of heavy duty floods (KC Daylighters are a good choice) in the rear bumper. You would want to run a separate switch, cause every time you use them step one is "look around for the cops".

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Old 22 Mar 2007, 09:59 am
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try the tyc backup lights i will post you a picture of how bright they are over stock lenses.
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Old 22 Mar 2007, 10:21 pm
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Yeah, Fritz_t, I've been looking at the KC's, but at the 26 series - 2" x 6" fog lights/floods (changeable lenses). I really didn't want to be making holes in the bumper and have non-integrated light housings, but given that my PT is a road warrior's daily driver and not a show piece, it may be the best way to go.

I'll be interested to see what you have on the TYC's Taggert. I have seen ads for them all over and they are good looking, but I have seen nothing to indicate better illumination behind the car (as opposed to visual brightness...not the same thing).

Thanks to all for taking time to help...the quest continues.

Cheers,
2fer
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