How to wire Euro/JDM taillights

Posted by Spidey, Jun 18, 2004
Articles: Electrical & Wiring -

  1. Spidey

    Spidey Proven Member

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    Original information found here: http://www.angelfire.com/fl5/import/germantail.html

    One of the steps found there was not needed, and some of the instructions were a little confusing so I modified it a bit while everything is still fresh in my mind.

    Parts needed:
    2 8-ohm, 20-watt resistors from Radio Shack(Part #: 271-120)
    Some spare wire, you may want to pick up a roll of speaker wire at Radio Shack
    Wire cutters and strippers
    10mm deep socket
    Flathead and Philipshead screwdrivers

    Now, on to the fun:

    The amber-cornered European/Japanese taillights will work with the American version of the 2G Eclipse as long as you make some modifications to the wiring. Hopefully you have access to instructions on removing your taillights, but in case you haven’t I’ve included a brief description of the tools and process. A 10mm deep socket will come in handy here.

    Before you start, go to Radio Shack and get 2 8-ohm, 20-watt resistors(Part #: 271-120), and a roll of speaker wire if you do not already have any.

    1. Remove the two panels for bulb access. Also take out the center section of the interior section of the trunk. To do so you will have to take out the spare tire so you can pop the bottom part of this panel. With that popped you can lift it up and off. This will give you access to the seven nuts that hold the center Eclipse section. It will also make it easier to run some new wiring. With the center section off you can unbolt the right and left side taillights.

    2. Once your old taillights are removed, you need to transfer sockets/bulbs from the all red American lights to the Euro/JDM set. Mount the new taillights into the tail section and then the center Eclipse section. Plug the sockets back in the way they came out of your stock taillights.

    Now, keep in mind how the (US) lights are wired to work from the factory. This will help you understand the changes required to get the Euro/Japanese lights wired. The driving and parking lights are all the way across,in other words all three sockets are energized. They use a twin filament, 1157, bulb. The low wattage filaments are used for the running and parking lights. The corner(outer-most) ends never energize the high wattage filament, but fortunately they are there waiting for a new role. The two sockets toward the center use the high wattage filaments for brake lights, turn signals, and hazard flashing. This is important to remember because a single wire feeds the signal for these functions. The same wire that sends the electrical pulse for the turn signal also sends the steady voltage for the brakes.

    The new taillights will need to be set up so the two center bulbs use the low wattage filaments for parking and running; and the high wattage for brake lights only. The corner amber socket needs to have the high wattage filament dedicated to the turn signal and hazard voltage. Remember though that a single wire sends all three to the American taillights. So the trick is to remove the brake signal to that wire and only allow the turn/hazard signal voltage through.

    3. To get started, you are going to cut the green wires on the outer-most bulb sockets(amber corner) about 3" from the bulb socket itself. Tape the chassis side of the wire up as it is not needed anymore, and you will be running new wires to this "pigtail" later on.

    4. The next step is to remove the turn and hazard signal from the wire that carries the brake light voltage. To do this you will need to access the hazard/signal flasher behind the radio. To gain access you will need to lift off the center console and the passenger side panel. It is a small black box above and behind the radio to the right side with a white connector on the bottom of it. Once you reach it, unplug the connector from the unit. It has ten wires connected to it. As you look at the connector you will see one side has a notch. To the left and right of the notch are two wire contacts each. The one on the left closest to the notch is the one that sends the signal to the back. There is a gray clip that keeps the contacts in place so take it off and don't lose it). Push out the contact identified prior. If you want to be sure you have the correct one take a voltmeter and probe the socket. You should see it activate when you press the brake pedal (duhh) and go to zero volts when you are off the pedal. When you have the contact pushed out of the socket, replace the gray lock and then tape up the wire you just removed so it cannot short on anything. Another way of testing this once the contact is pushed out, is to have a friend look at the taillights while you press the brake pedal, they should NOT come on if you pressed out the correct contact. If they do come on, put the contact you removed back in and press out the contact on the other side closest to the notch and try again. I used a small allen key to press the contacts out of the connector harness. Now put your radio back in and your console together.

    5. The next job is to send a brake signal to the two center sockets. To do this you need to run a wire from the signal that goes to the center "third" brakelight. This is behind the panel under the rear 1/4 window on the driver's side. To remove the panel you will need to remove your lower back seat by pulling on the pieces in the middle of the seats under the seats and lifting up. This will give you access to a screw you need to remove for the panel to come off. There is harness running up under this panel with a green wire that you will tap for its signal. You can identify the correct harness by finding the white socket that is "plugged" into the chassis. It will be a green wire coming out of this white plug, you can again take a voltmeter to test this wire by pressing the brake pedal, or just snip it and see if your third brake light still works. Once you have identified the correct wire, you will want to attach a fairly long wire to this one by soldering or just tapping and taping it. Run the wire you attached back to the taillight area and place the panel back on and put your back seat in.

    6. The white socket that hangs from the taillight bulb sockets are now ready for their surgery. First the driver's side. Strip back the insulation on the chassis side of the harness to reveal 3 wires, the ground (black) and the wire next to it (parking light voltage), stay. The gray/blue wire is cut leaving a 2-3" pigtail. The end that goes to the socket will be connected to the wire you soldered in the prior step(3rd brake light wire) and will also need to be daisy-chained over to the other taillight for the brake lights over there, but that comes last.

    7. The chassis side of the cut gray/blue wire will be extended to the amber corner socket on the left side. In addition you will need to connect the 8-Ohm resistors to a chassis ground on one end and this wire on the other. So from this single wire it splits into two wires. One to the resistor and ground and the other to the socket connector on the amber arrow. To explain this a little easier, ground one end of the resistor, and connect the green wire from the amber corner as well as the gray/blue wire to the other end of the resistor.

    8. Next is the right socket. The wire to be cut is gray/red. The socket side gets connected to the brake light wire daisy changed from the left light. The chassis side gets split again. One strand goes to the amber corner wire and and the other to the grounded resistor.

    As long as you followed these instructions 100%, everything should be working perfectly. I modified the original write-up while everything was still fresh in my head as I just did all of this last night. Just test the signals now and make sure they are working, as well as the hazard lights.

    Hope this helps,
    Spidey
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