How To Be Seen With LED Taillights From United Pacific Industries

You put a lot of hard work into your project vehicle, and just like adding bigger brakes to stop shorter, equally important is being seen and signaling the drivers around you. United Pacific Industries (UPI) has the answer with LED Taillight Conversions. This simple project can help make sure your ride can be seen with improved visibility of tail, turn, and stop light signaling functions.

You might be asking yourself, why LED lights? Well, the answer comes three-fold. LED (Light Emitting Diode) lighting is brighter, draws less power from your system than a common bulb, and also, runs cooler for longer life. United Pacific Industries offers LED Conversion Taillight products for a broad application of vehicles with varied numbers of LEDs in each application. Each taillight assembly (sold separately) offers plug-and-play installation into an 1157-type connector. The electronics of each taillight are sealed to the lens in epoxy for moisture and corrosion resistance, while a solid-state circuit board is engineered for any 12-volt electrical system. Follow along as our conversion only took about thirty minutes to complete.

The stock taillight as we begin.

Since the new LED lights are a sealed unit you will not use the factory lens. Remove the two Phillips screws that hold the lens in place. You will reuse these to install the conversion units.

Removing the lens we found the old gasket had seen better days. United Pacific Industries also offers these as well, and we replaced our old one.

The new 23-LED Light-Emitting Diodes at the ready for our install. Note the brighter and more vibrant lens, and it hasn’t even been lit yet.

The back of the unit with a sealed circuit board and wiring. So many classic lenses fill with moisture because of the open back design. There’s no need to worry about that with these sealed units.

The simple plug-and-play installation into the original taillight-bulb receptacle takes any guesswork out of the equation.

Reuse the two Phillips screws and you are almost done.

A quick test of the taillights in the ON position.

You are almost finished. But when using LED taillights, the amount of power going through the switch is very little. In most cases, there is not enough heat generated for the original factory-style thermal flasher to cause the bi-metal switch to break contact. This means your turn signal lights stay on and will not blink. United Pacific Industries also has the proper electronic flasher unit that is necessary for your install during this upgrade.

United Pacific Industries Flasher Unit.

Replace the factory-style flasher unit with the UPI unit and ground as noted in Instructions.

We wanted to see how much brighter these new tail lamps are and will use Lumens, the measure of the brightness of a light that is the SI unit of luminous flux, equal to the amount of light emitted per second, for our comparison. Most older vehicle tail lamp applications used one or more  #1157 dual-element light bulbs. During our install in this 1964 Chevelle that had one #1157 per side, we discovered that most reference sources listed a single #1157 light bulb emitting 38 Lumens at LOW (Parking or Tail Lamp) and 402 Lumens at HIGH (Brake or Turn signal) bulb brightness. The Taillight conversion from UPI for a 1964 Chevelle has 23 LEDs and is estimated to produce 248 Lumens at LOW and 496 Lumens at HIGH. 

Documenting our before and after LED Taillight Conversion, we hit the streets at 8:30 pm to photograph for a visual comparison.
In regular taillamp mode, a marked improvement was observed.

(A number 1157 dual-element bulb as taillight mode) compared to (23-LED taillamp conversion in taillight mode).

Brake light activation offered a greater perceived improvement in visibility.

(An 1157 dual-element bulb in Brake light use)

(A 23-LED taillamp conversion in Brake light use)

We are excited to get back out there on the streets. Cruising with the added confidence of having better visibility at the rear of our ride with these new LED Taillights will make it all the more enjoyable. This simple install, in our estimation, is worth every minute in the added assurance of safety and visibility in keeping others off your tail.

Of course, check back with us for more installs like this one, and head over to United Pacific Industries’ website if you’d like to pick up a set for yourself.

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About the author

Vinny Costa

Fast cars, motorcycles, and loud music are what get Vinny’s blood pumping. Catch him behind the wheel of his ’68 Firebird. Chances are, Black Sabbath will be playing in the background.
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