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-   -   JDM style 3rd brake light DIY! (

koolkevin1107 09-12-2006 01:49 AM

JDM style 3rd brake light DIY!
Welcome! koolkev is back w/ another DIY mod. This time it's the JDM 3rd brake light. As you can tell i love working w/ led's so i had 2 conquer the jdm 3rd brake light b/c i was not about to blow $90 for something that can cost me >$5. Newazy here u go!

Disclaimer: The following is provided as a GUIDE ONLY, and neither myself, nor FITFREAK.NET take any responsibility for the outcome of someone else doing the following. You follow these steps at your own risk!

Ur gonna start out by removing your third brake light. Open up ur hatch and use a flat head screwdriver to remove the cover n take off the 2 10mm bolts that hold it onto the hatch and the plug for the bulb harness. Next go 2 ur work station. use a flat tipped screwdriver and look for the 4 clips holding the red lens on. remove that. then push down the metal bracket @ the clip points to remove that as well. You should end up with this:

Next, you can chose the led's u want to work with. I chose the 5mm led's at 8000mcd b/c those are the specs of the oem jdm 3rd brake light. I bought em off my dope ass friend that bought 100 of em and i only needed 6 of em. Super cheap btw.

Now you are going to go 2 radioshack and purchase their led circuit board. basically its just a board w/ holes in it to mount ur led's to. Well go n get that ($4.00) n cut it in 1/2 cuz thats how much ur gonna need. Next take the red lens and trace it onto this surface.

Now cut it. I used a pair of scissors but it does get difficult when u want to trim. Be careful cuz this stuff will break if you bend too much. Now for trimming. take this rough piece and test fit it into the oem housing. Check out the pic below of where you NEED the board 2 rest or else it won't allow you to put the red lens back on.

Here is where you can be creative. I decided 2 make it look just like the OEM jdm version which has 6 led's but you can do however you want and in whatever pattern you want. Find the center of ur piece n mark the 2 vertical sets that it lies in between. Now you can just guestimate and put where you want the led's but as a reference i made my led's 8 holes apart so it housed 6 perfectly. Check out my trial and error below. The green dots are where i mounted my led's:

Now go and get ur hot glue gun and turn it on. Take your led's and push them through the led board holes. Use ur judgement here b/c if it looks like the leds are too spaced apart, then fix it. Now with the led's through the board, bend the positives toward the top (or bottom) and same w/ the negatives but in the opposite direction so you don't forget which are positive n negative. Then glue the back of the led "legs" and wait for em 2 dry. check out my artwork:

Now, the way i did it was i wired the led's up so each of them has its own resistor.


You just take the resistor and solder it to the positive end of the led. Then take some wire ( i used speaker wire b/c its not much current going through) and wire them all up. check out my spider web thing below. Take the resistor end of 2 led's and solder them together (same w/ the negatives) and attach a small piece of wire to those ends and meet all the pairs together to the center to end up as only one pair of wires. If i confused you look at the pic below.

I decided not to use heat shrink this time b/c the led legs aren't going anywhere they are pretty solid.

Nest just use a 9 volt battery and test it to see if all of em light up. If you did everythign correctly they will light

From there, i put back that metal holder thing back onto the plastic housing like i removed it. I then took my board and shoved the wires through the existing hole for the wiring socket. It should hold snug by itself once you put it in the holder b/c that metal bracket added thickness to the top and bottom.

Now take the wire ends and push it into the corners of the bulb harness. It should hold snug (sorry for the bad pic)

Now here is a tricky part. YOu can do one of 2 things: the first is that you can put the red lens back on BUT WAIT! the led's are about .5mm too long for the red lens to fit w/o effort. YOu can just let it rest on top of the led's and just tape (or glue) the red lens in front of the board OR you can just use a little elbow grease and force the red lens back into its clips. I forced it (took a risk of breaking my board but it held up nicely) and it looks and clipped in like oem, its just a little snug. If you did force it on, test the light once more to make sure none of the connections came loose.

Now go back to your car and remount it onto the hatch and plug in the harness BUT BEFORE YOU LEAVE W/ A JOYOUS SMILE get someone 2 press the brake and check to make sure they light because remember led's only light one way. If your little sis or bro hit it and it doesnt light, reverse the wire's on the back of the bulb socket housing. Then test it once mo:

Below is the actual jdm third brake light. Pole position has em in stock so if u dont wanna make ur own order from him!

DAMN THATS ILL SON!! I bet ur asking "damn they don't light that bright" well its b/c i have 15% tint on my car so the led's are battling against my tint. :) Also, my digi camera didn't pick it up too well but if you do get the jdm LED taillights u will notice they are about the same brightness as my DIY 3rd brake light.

I hope i educated many ppl with this DIY and keep a look out for more DIY mod's i will post on here. So far this is #3!

Oh btw if u want you can sticky it so you will always have it on your fingertips in case you get bored n u wanna accomplish it. :)

cbrjeeper 09-12-2006 07:41 AM

Very nice. I love DIY!! Nicely written up.

Looks good.


b17gsr 09-12-2006 10:57 AM

Looks pretty good. I think the one advantage of the JDM one is that it has a different casing that isn’t as tall.

TomiGunz 09-12-2006 06:07 PM

Sweet.. thanks for the write up. I'm going to do this once I get a chance.

marokero 09-12-2006 11:36 PM

Cool!!! One of these days I'll take up that challenge :p But do you think a five 3W luxeon leds would be too much? They are really expensive too :(

koolkevin1107 09-13-2006 01:03 AM

lolll u know they sell 5watt led's. That will be soo bright and totally dope! maybe i'll make one n sell it. =]

marokero 09-13-2006 02:26 AM

I couldn't find 5W red luxeons, only white, blue and green... would've been wicked, but blinding too :p

flipaliciouz 09-13-2006 06:01 PM

wut kind of resistor would i need for it?

koolkevin1107 09-14-2006 12:45 AM

well it would depend on what kinda led's you use. I went the easy way and got them from a friend who bought 100 led's. The ebay seller sent him free resistors (for a 12volt system) with the led's so my friend just gave me 6 resistors 2 go with my led's. Teh best way would be to find an ebay seller that sells led's and gives free resistors (most of em do) and u will usually get it in less then a week from hong kong. You can also use an led calculator 2 find out what kinda resistor you need but then u have 2 go n find the resistor that will suit ur need. The one below is the best one and i use it all the time.

You need to enter the specs of the led (all of em have it jst look for it) and enter it into the boxes. Use the single led one. Hope this helps.

quangalang 09-17-2006 02:57 AM

wow you beat me to it. it didnt seem that hard to turn the stock light into LED lights. i was thinking about this and was going to do it soon but i guess you figured out the technical stuff for me. GREAT JOB!!

kps 09-17-2006 10:24 AM

Those interested in building your own LED lights, check out for information and advice.
LED calculator:
Q&A forum:,2.0.html

sLiVeRwOrM 09-17-2006 11:02 AM

so.. you will be selling some of thoes 94 LEDS you got left right?!

BTW, nice shorts.. lol

quangalang 09-22-2006 02:16 AM

i just made one today, extreamly easy!

fitjunkie 10-08-2006 02:18 PM

Just did the same DIY today...very easy and very JDM effect...thx for the great guide...

kps 10-08-2006 08:41 PM

Here's mine; I actually did most of the work last month before I got the car. I used 40 "pirhana" style LEDs (specifically Liteon LTL914SEKS) in 10 strings of 4. I used various sizes of resistors -- 220, 180, and 100ohm -- trying for a 'tapered' effect, but I think that was a mistake, and I'll probably make them all 150 or 180ohm when I get around to it.

I used 5 small pieces of protoboard instead of one large piece because that's what I happened to have on hand.

I stuck them together using pieces of card edge from some old PC. After a bit of trimming I got it to fit the Fit.

Bench test... By the way, this was taken in a lit room, with flash.

Before and after... unfortunately the sun moved (well, OK, actually the earth turned) so this doesn't say much. I think the LEDs may be a little dimmer than the original bulb, but the instant illumination makes up for it; they really do come on noticeably before the bulbs.

Finally, here's the obligatory nighttime christmas tree:

koolkevin1107 10-09-2006 11:33 AM

thats clean! yeah mine does light up a little dimmer then with a bulb but its okay. I'm going to be upgrading from some 5000mcd led's to 12000mcd's this week (once they come in) so whoever wants 6 of em for that "jdm" look holla @ a brotha it'll b cheap. I know fittogo wants em already. =)

koolkevin1107 10-25-2006 02:12 AM

HERE IS THE NEW BRAKE LIGHT!!! What do you guys think? i made this at 9pm. lol.

Papichat 10-27-2006 03:06 AM

I saw it in person at the Fit meet and man was it nice. :D

thejroisgo 10-27-2006 08:59 AM

i'm gonna be doing something like this but using a little more electronics.... and a question... should i make it say "Fit Is Go" or "Fit Is Stop"?

i thought it would be funny to do and i could do it for my electronics class... 2 birds with one stone kinda thing :D

wyy183 10-27-2006 10:17 AM

Originally Posted by koolkevin1107
HERE IS THE NEW BRAKE LIGHT!!! What do you guys think? i made this at 9pm. lol.

You should make the "dot" on the "i" BLUE!!

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