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Dim 3rd brake light

Old 02-26-2018, 02:11 PM
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DeusExMaxima
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Default Dim 3rd brake light

I noticed that my 3rd brake light is not very bright, when I was working on my brake light switch issue. Today, I saw a 350Z roadster next to me and noticed his 3rd brake light was also dim. Has anyone noticed this issue and what has anyone done to make it brighter? I have a replica 2007-2008 Nismo 350Z rear spoiler which has a space for a brake light and thought about installing a bright red LED strip in the opening. Thoughts?
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Old 02-27-2018, 02:01 PM
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I havenít notice my 3rd brake light dimming yet but I know there are a lot of threads dedicated to this topic for the g35. There are some threads on g35driver that address this and some quick cheap fixes for it.

I would post links to the threads, but I donít think weíre technically allowed to post hyperlinks to other forums. At least I think I remember reading that somewhere...
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Old 04-23-2018, 02:45 PM
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Ok ,Ill search on the G35 forums.
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Old 04-24-2018, 04:21 PM
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Here it is in case you didnít find it.

https://g35driver.com/forums/lightin...t-fix-dyi.html
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Old 05-02-2018, 12:35 PM
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Thanks, Heel. Looks like the diode needs to be replaced with a 1N5404 so it can handle the current. I think one of my LEDs doesnt work and thats probably a loose connection that needs to be re-soldered. Getting electronic parts is difficult now since all the electronics stores in my area are close - Radio Shack, Abletronics and RVAC. The world is a different place now I guess and with the changing times, these stores cant seem to make it any more - what a shame.
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Old 05-03-2018, 05:47 AM
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I hear you. While the added convenience of online shopping definitely gives us more availability from different vendors, the local brick and mortar stores can't keep up. I remember running down to Radio Shack to buy a new relay for my factory bose amp years ago when it kept cutting out. I'm not sure there are any stores around anymore that stock generic relays and other components for us DIY'ers.
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Old 05-03-2018, 02:40 PM
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None that I know of, and I live in So Cal. There used to be $hitshacks on every corner. Now, all their phones are disconnected. I guess Ill have to order online. Ill post updates.
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Old 05-09-2018, 09:18 AM
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Give Mouser a look:

https://www.mouser.com

They dont have storefronts any longer, but for electronics (especially automotive) they have a huge range of product.

Sometimes if it is a simple part Grainger will even stock them, and I think they still have a few local stores around.
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Old 05-16-2018, 12:18 PM
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I guess online is the way to go for electronics parts...time are a changin'...
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Old 09-06-2018, 10:48 AM
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I finally got around to pulling the third brake light and replacing the diode. Before I replaced the diode, I noticed that the brake light did not light at all, even though I am getting voltage to the light. I am even getting voltage across the circuit board but no lights. I am pretty sure I replaced the diode correctly, yet it still does not light. I noticed that 3 LEDs lit up when I touched one side of the diode to the LEDs. Why cant I remove the circuit board and run 12 volts directly to the LEDs?
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Old 09-09-2018, 12:24 PM
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Default Fixed!

Ok.... I have a great solution for the finicky third brake light for the Roadster. Here's the story:

I know the 350Z and the G35 have these fussy brake lights that either don't work or the lights are dim or they work sometimes. Apparently that diode that is in the three-component circuit board should be replaced for a larger one. If you have soldering skills, like I do, you can replace this diode and that may get it to work. In my case it got the lights to function but the LEDs were burning out or burnt out.

I considered several Solutions to the problem. The first solution was purchasing a brand new one from the dealer which is on the order of $300 which seems nuts for a few cents of components and a housing. It's probably the easiest because you swap the light out and you're done.

The second solution was aftermarket. Apparently Dorman makes and led plus circuit board for the third brake light on our car. It costs about $200.

The third solution would be to go to Pepboys and get one of those LED strips and glue it in place and hope that it works. Those LEDs usually aren't as bright as Factory and they are not dot legal.

the fourth solution would be to replace the LEDs. They are called Snap LEDs and there are sources online but good luck finding a source that will sell you up to six of them because they usually want you to buy in Mass bulk of over a thousand or more and you have to have good soldering and electronics skills.

The fifth solution, and this is the solution I chose, is the junkyard or Pull-A-Part or pick a part. This is a good news bad news situation. The bad news is that there are very very few roadsters in the junkyard. Also if you are looking for a light from another car, it's very hard to find ones with LEDs that are red because most of them are white LEDs with red lenses. The good news is that if you can find one it's going to be extremely cheap.

I went to my local Pick-A-Part and started Scavenging around. Like I said, almost all third brake lights have a red lens and utilize white incandescent bulbs. Some of them do use LEDs but they are also White. The first car that had a clear third brake light lens was a 2005 Prius. It actually was a fairly good candidate because although it's longer than our 6 LED light, it is possible to fit it in our housing. The advantage would be that you get a larger light. The disadvantage is that you would have to monkey with it to get it to fit.

while I was in the Toyota section of the Pick-A-Part I found a 2005 Scion tC. It has a really wide clear lens third brake light that's just above the license plate. It's about two or three times wider than our light. I thought that I should just take a look and see what was inside. Fortunately a lot of the trim was removed so four 10 nuts and a disconnection of the electrical connector and I had the light off. I remove the cover and the angels in heaven began to sing. Lo and behold I was staring at what appeared to be the identical LED setup of our third brake light. It was the same size and with the same number of LEDs. I could not see the circuit board because it was completely covered. Also it appeared to be in much better condition than my LED set up because Toyota took extra measures to weatherproof the insides. The metal that held my LEDs was corroded and my mounting nuts were rusted.

what was deceiving about the third light was the fact that it was so long compared to the insides. Only about 6 in of it actually lights up. The rest of it doesn't do anything.

I brought the light home and cut off the ends that weren't needed leaving the center section that contains the LEDs and the circuit board. After cutting open the cover of the circuit board and pulling the guts out I compared it to the LED and circuit board of my Roadster third brake light. It was identical in every way including the manufacturer part number.

Top is 350zr LEDs...bottom is Scion tC LEDs.

the Scion LEDs were mounted a little bit different but all the holes were there, the same as for the 350Z. The circuit board of the Scion light is identical to the one for the Z. It has the same two resistors and the same diode.

I cut the wires connecting the LEDs to the circuit boards of both lights and soldered the Scion LEDs and circuit board to the Nissan brake light housing.



Here you can see the circuit boards are identical:



I assembled the light and I used some Loctite Adhesive sealant, for marine applications. I wanted to make sure that the light was going to be sealed. I then took and inner tube and cut it out for a gasket because the factory spongy gasket was brittle and broken and would not seal anything. I let it cure for a while and installed it on the car.

All the LEDs light up and they light up brightly like they are supposed to from the factory. I forgot how bright they were because it's been so long since it worked properly. Frankly, I'm not sure it ever really did work properly. I took a couple of pictures but I had to keep the camera raised above the car level because the LED lights are so bright. I'm extraordinaryly pleased with the results because I have an oem light and it cost less than $20. Ideally I should have replaced the diode with the larger diode. I have a feeling that water getting into the light might have caused it to go bad but I'm not really sure. Anyway here are the pictures and feel free to comment.




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Old 10-18-2018, 09:31 AM
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Thank you so much for this write up! I think you are the angel in heaven that is singing lol. Just ordered the light and will let you know how it goes
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Old 10-19-2018, 05:52 AM
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Originally Posted by maui1girl View Post
Thank you so much for this write up! I think you are the angel in heaven that is singing lol. Just ordered the light and will let you know how it goes
My pleasure. Its 6:50 am here and your kind words made my day already. Feel free to PM me if you have any question about the install.
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Old 03-15-2019, 12:21 PM
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How did you separate the case? Iíve tried a blade knife. Doesnít seem to work. Did you heat the glue?
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Old 05-17-2019, 12:21 AM
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Hi DeusExMaxima,

New member here...I am sincere in need of help on my 2004 350z convertible as well. The other day, by putting a Painters stirring stick...was able to press the Brakes to see of ALL my brake lights working (including the 3rd) brake light on my roadster. Next day nothing for the 3rd!!! I realize this is a very OLD thread, but I too was pondering the thought of using the LEDs from the coupe in removing the LED.s form its case to swap. And taken noticed later from your thread you have used the 2005 Scion TC LED 3d brake light. Question is this from the Trunk or from the Upper rear glass. Not too very familiar with the Scions. Would you mind to please help me out with this problem?? Thank you very much for your time!
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