Lights: Convert Tail Lights to LED
In this article, I will try to summarize the steps needed to convert the tail lights to LEDs on a Mitsubishi 3000GT/GTO. Please feel free to use it, but at your own risk! I do not bear any responsibility if something goes wrong or you are not satisfied with the end result!
I spent a lot of time researching and eventually found most of the information and materials needed for this inexpensive L.E.D. tail light conversion available for motorcycles. After a lot of trial and error, I was able to adapt these instructions to work with the 3000GT/GTO. My goal is to save you this time and effort and let you create and enjoy your own style (or use one of mine) so that more 3000GT's and Stealth's get updated and more owners be happy!
Circular LED Pattern
I used 80mm for the outside circles and 60mm for the inside circles. For the turning signal part of the tails you will need to use 75mm or 70mm for the outer circles. The outer circles in the main cluster of the tails are for running lights (dimmer) and brakes (brighter). The inner circles in the main cluster are only for brakes (always bright). The outside circle in the turning signal part of the tails is only for turning signal so it has only the bright function. The inner circle in that part of the tail light is for running lights (dimmer) and for turning signal (bright). I also wanted my tails to look a certain way during the day when they are off, so I used Sharpie to color the inside circles (save the L.E.D.s themselves) in the main cluster and the outside circles in the corner cluster black. You don't have to do it the way I did, I am just letting you know how I did mine. Initially, I used a plastic piece, covered in Din Nok 3D carbon fiber vinyl in place of the diffusers for the round tail light conversion, but later on installed the diffuser underneath the plastic piece, because I was having hard time attaching the plastic piece to the housing well.
Lambo/Audi Style LED Pattern
- 30cm LED Waterproof Strips (12v, red)
- Used for the turn signals (along the top contour of the tails)
- 24cm LED Flexible Lights Strip (red)
- Used for the running lights (corner of the tails). You can cut these to the desired length (three LEDs at a time, starting from the back)
- Load Resistors (50 watt, 6 ohm)
- Used to fix the rapidly blinking turn signals that are common when converting the taillights from a regular filament bulb to LEDs. This can also help avoid warning indicator lights on the dash and some other possible issues
- Pack of 1A 1000V Rectifier Diodes
- Used to achieve the double-function for the LEDs
- Pack of Resistors (220 ohm, 1/4 watt 5%)
- Used to achieve the double-function for the LEDs
- Wire Plug Adapters for Tail Lamp Sockets (1157 Socket)
- Used for connecting the tails to the car's wiring
- 10sqft 2D High Gloss Carbon Fiber Vinyl Wrap (Black, 3M DI-NOC style)
- Used to attach the LEDs to the inside of the tails
How To Convert Tail Lights to LEDs on a Mitsubishi 3000GT/GTO
Open the Tail Lights
The tail lights are sealed with glue. This glue can be loosened by heating the tail lights in an oven.
- Bake the tail lights. Preheat the oven on 275F and bake one tail at a time for about 5-7 minutes.
- Pry out the lens from the housing. After you get the tail out of the oven, use a flat head screw driver to pry out the lens from the housing. First, pry out the main lens and after that pry out the corner light lens. Be careful not to brake the lens.
- Remove the diffuser. Do this while the tail light is still hot and the glue is stretchy. I routed the wires between the diffuser and the part where it meets the housing, instead of drilling holes in it. Once you're done, you can re-install your diffuser in the tail light or discard it, depending on what your design is.
Note: If for some reason the glue hasn't softened enough to easily pry our the lens, stick the tail in the oven for a little bit longer and try again. Do not forget the tail in the oven, because that would melt the lens. Do one tail at a time and do not rush. Reheat the tail as needed if the glue hardens before you're able to completely pry the lens out (unlikely).
Install LEDs into Tail Lights and Test
- Remove old bulbs
- Place LED circles or strips in the pattern you desire
- Temporarily install and test the tail lights. Do this before resealing your tail lights.
Reseal the Tail Lights
- Place the lens back onto the housing. Install the corner lens first, followed by the main lens.
- Bake the tail lights. Place a tail light back in the oven to heat the glue up so you can properly reseat each lens in its original spot.
- Reseat lenses in original spot.
- Let glue re-harden/cool off.
- Reseal with clear silicone (optional). I suggest that you also use some clear silicone or something else to seal around the edges and the little holes on the housing, where the lens' tabs fit in. Do that after the stock glue has hardened and the lens is seated permanently. For the Lambo style pattern, make sure that you place the horizontal L.E.D. strip exactly between the two reflectors on the red lens or you will get a dimmer and distorted light in that area.
Install Load Resistors
You will need to use the load resistors for all of the lights (running, brake and turning signal). The best thing to do is to connect them to the wiring harness of the tails that comes from the car. Splice them inside the tail light bed, before the wires branch out so that one resistor could cover all running lights, all brake lights and the turning signal for each tail light. That way, you will end up using three resistors per tail light in total. You will have to find a way to attach those away from the wires, because they get really hot and might melt the wires or anything plastic that touches them. I screwed them to the white piece that holds the corner quarter panels over the tail lights.
Configure for Double Function
Here is how you achieve the double function for the L.E.D.s:
If you have any questions, let me know and I will try to help you out as good as I can. Enjoy your awesome L.E.D. tails and buy me a beer when you see me in a 3/S meet one day... ;) - Ilian51378