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Old 09-20-2015, 06:25 PM   #1
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Question for Josh Cavitt re: LED lights

Josh, I'm going to upgrade the tail lights on my Forester with Bargman LED replacement modules. Other forum members have done this on their Sunseekers and have reported no issues.

I got this from a fellow forum member and wanted to get your take on it:

Just a reminder of one odd thing a mechanic buddy made me aware if on my last RV, which was a Ford F53 chassis. Not sure if it holds true for the Chevy or not but bears checking. Don't trust my terminology 100%, but the gist of it is that the torque converter unlocks based on the current draw from the brake lights when you step on the pedal. The LED bulbs don't draw enough power to cause it to unlock, resulting in transmission damage. Simple solution is just to wire an incandescent bulb somewhere in the circuit and wrap it with electrical tape so you don't have to see the light from it. This gets the current draw you need. I'd rather cry wolf on this than see you damage your rig. Sure surprised me when I heard it. Good luck!

As you are installing LED tail and brake lights at the factory on Foresters and Sunseekers, is there any known issue regarding the torque converter not unlocking? Did you have to add any special modules, relays or other electronic modifications to let the LEDs operate properly without problems with the Ford or Chevy van chassis?

Thanks
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Old 09-21-2015, 08:46 AM   #2
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We are doing LED taillights here at the factory. I haven't heard of any issue with the torque convertor not unlocking. There are some other members of this forum That have upgraded to LED taillights.
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Old 09-21-2015, 09:11 AM   #3
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That sounds strange to me. Most taillights usually have two bulbs per side (I say most), so if replacing four bulbs with two new assemblies, I would think if a bulb is needed to increase the draw, you would need four bulbs. (Two bulbs if each side only has one bulb.)

However, if that was the fact, they why not just install 6 Ohm 50 Watt resistors to each circuit? That will simulate the draw the computer is looking for.

When someone replaces an incandescent turn signal bulb with an LED bulb (on a modern vehicle), the computer will sense that the bulb is burned out since there is not the required draw, and cause a hyper flash. So to stop this, you install a 6 Ohm 50 Watt resistor between the hot and ground of that wire and the computer is happy. (Older vehicles could get rid of the hyper flash with a different turn signal flasher; however, I know on my Silverados for the last few years, the flash is directly controlled by the BCM; not a flasher module or relay.)

But you have to add a resistor for EACH replaced bulb. Example, on my Silverado, there are four flasher bulbs in the front, I had to install four resistors; one for each bulb, or else the computer caused a hyper flash and kept telling me I had a failed bulb.

So, if what the mechanic says is true, why would he not say to add a hidden bulb for each bulb replaced with a LED? And I have to ask, since a taillight assembly normally has 2 bulbs in it, just in case one goes out, there is still a light on that side, what happens if one bulb goes out? Will the computer see this and not turn off the torque converter? I would hope not. But I'm familiar with GM products since that is all I have owned for many years and I work on them and I have replaced all my exterior bulbs (other than headlamps and fog lamps) with LEDs.

I will also say that I replaced my trailer park/turn lights with LEDs, but trailers have NO affect on the vehicle's lighting system so that is not a problem at all.
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Old 09-21-2015, 09:32 AM   #4
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I'm not sure about this. If something happened to the stop light circuit (i.e. the pedal or pressure switch fails) then the torque converter would not unlock.

If it were a case you could just buy the canbus no-error bulbs. They already have the resistor built in. And they have a heat sink to handle the heat generated by the resistor.
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Old 09-21-2015, 11:07 AM   #5
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If you do a google search, I guess that is a problem with Ford vehicles. Bulb goes out and the computer may not unlock the TC. That includes a turn signal bulb????

Wow....I see all types of vehicles, Ford, GM, Chrysler, etc., driving around with one brake light bulb burned out. But does not appear to be a problem for any other vehicles; other than Ford.


Canbus bulbs are ok. But they didn't offer the ones, with the output I wanted, in Canbus style.

However, the resistors I used are built into a housing that acts as a heat sink. They get no hotter than a bulb, but do not mount them to a painted item such as the inner part of a fender.

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Old 09-21-2015, 02:01 PM   #6
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The tail/brake/signal lights are made by Bargman and have 2 bulbs on each side.



They are being replaced with Bargman LED modules that I ordered, not just individual LED bulbs. I'm sure the factory is doing the same thing, the entire module not just replacing the bulb.

This is what the new module looks like:



Bargman is marketing them as a direct replacement for the 84 series tail lights.

Bargman - LED Upgrade Kits #84/85 Series

In fact, after looking at the Bargman site I'm thinking about getting an LED third brake light to mount on the rear of the coach. If I do I'll add a brake flasher module so the center mounted light flashes a couple times then goes solid red.



Bargman - LED Narrow Taillight #54 Series


I can mount it on the rear of the coach above the rear cargo door and run all my wiring inside the storage compartment.

Sorry.....getting off topic on my own thread....
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Old 09-21-2015, 02:19 PM   #7
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I'm the "fellow forum member" that the comment came from originally. Obviously I can't address all makes, etc., but my info came from a top notch mechanic that builds, races and crews all over the country. His solution was adding the extra bulb into the circuit. I would agree the resistor should do the trick. I'd also be willing to bet there are other triggers to unlocking the TC in newer models. Only threw it out as a word of caution.
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Old 09-21-2015, 02:22 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by conceptumator View Post
I'm the "fellow forum member" that the comment came from originally. Obviously I can't address all makes, etc., but my info came from a top notch mechanic that builds, races and crews all over the country. His solution was adding the extra bulb into the circuit. I would agree the resistor should do the trick. I'd also be willing to bet there are other triggers to unlocking the TC in newer models. Only threw it out as a word of caution.
I really appreciate your input, it's one of the great things about this forum. There's so much information and experience to be shared here. From what one of the posters above wrote, it looks like it may be a Ford issue? Not sure if it applies to Chevy transmissions, but it's definitely something worth looking into!
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Old 09-21-2015, 02:27 PM   #9
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Could very well be Fords only. Wouldn't surprise me. What surprised me was learning about it in the first place - would have never thought about it myself. If it helps one person, that's great by me!
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