Had some free time today so I decided to tackle another aesthetic project: Lupus integrated tail light. I’m not typically a fan of integrated tail lights from a safety perspective; I find most place the signals too close to the tail/brake light and they can be hard to make out. Also, most aftermarket boards and LEDs just don’t have the ‘oomph’ that I’d like my lights to have. After all, that is one of the few ways to communicate to drivers behind you. You know, the ones who can easily run you over and turn you into another greasy stain on the highway. But I digress. The Lupus light looked pretty good and I like supporting the forum. So…
I’m going to preface all of this by saying I’m nit-picky and anal. Don’t read anything more into this than that. The new board has four fewer LEDs than the stocker. As you can see in the photo, there is enough room for another turn signal on each side and one more tail/brake light. Lupus told me they were hoping to maintain good separation/distinction between the red and amber. A valid concern, but I’m not sure it’d be an issue here. I’d really enjoy more lights. Also, the new board has white lettering on the front of the board, whereas the stock board is only marked on the backside. Small point of contention, but you [I]can[/I] see the markings once installed. Again, nit-picky…
As you can see, I opted for the board so I can have the enjoyment of dismantling my own tail light assembly. Unless I’m mistaken, they offer the tail light pre-assembled, so if you’re looking to cut some time off the install, check their services out. Now that said, splitting the tail light is easy. If you’ve every cracked a headlight open, this is a cake walk; the light is smaller and the adhesive is nice and gooey. A ~220 degree oven does the trick. The old light comes out easily and is pretty self explanatory. No pictures here because I know it’s been documented elsewhere.
Reassembly is pretty straight-forward, but if you opt to reuse the factory grommet, you’ll need to turn those three wire pass-thrus into one large hole. A razor blade and a drill press made short order of this. However, you’ll need to de-pin the tail/brake connector (3 pin) before passing the wires through. Fortunately, this is an easy connector to de-pin. The turn signals, however, are another matter. Possible, but not easy. I was able to squeeze the turn signal connectors thru the grommet, but it took the aid of some P80 emulsifier. One tidbit of advice, though. Pass the wires through the back of the housing BEFORE the grommet. There is no good way to seat the grommet from the inside. DAMHIK. Also, cut those zip ties off the leads so you can slide the wires through the grommet.
As pleased as I am that the tail light included factory connectors for a clean installation, I’d prefer if the connectors came uninstalled. This would make the wires MUCH easier to slide through the grommet and adding the connectors only take a minute or two. Also, I would have liked the tail/brake connector to be in the same location as the factory light. As you can see from the picture, the new board puts the connector on the opposite side (left versus right) which abandons the nice little connector cavity in the housing.
The board mounted easily, albeit slightly crooked.
It turns out that the mounting holes were slightly askew, lending to an interference between an LED and mounting screw.
Of course, you can’t tell it’s crooked once buttoned up. Back in the oven for a few minutes, and all is well.
Now is a good time to finish with saying that the light output is AMAZING. I’ll be honest – I wasn’t expecting OEM-like light output, but this delivers! As much as I’ll miss the dual running lights, the new tail is bright and highly visible, even in direct sunlight. Same with turn signals; bright, distinct amber that stands out. I personally have no concerns about rearward visibility (well, more than usual). So, aside from a few installation hiccups, the light is good. Very happy with this and happy to support some other forum members. Nice job, guys.