For aftermarket use.
May not comply with SAE or U.S. DOT standards.
Troubleshooting the Model 356 Taillight System
Reproduction Taillight Housings
When we were designing the Model 356 we purchased a pair of reproduction housing marked "SWF" and "Made in Germany." These housings closely matched an original taillight housing that was given to us for the mechanical design process. Our taillights fit well within these SWF taillight housings. Unfortunately we bought them off of eBay, so we cannot say which vendors carry these German made replacements. The reflective surface is conductive, and the reflective coating is not applied to the bulb compartment divider. The divider is well positioned and is compatible with the Model 356 High Intensity LED Taillight circuit boards.
"SWF Made in Germany"
Note pop rivets as opposed to spot welds on the
We have seen reproduction housings in customer's vehicles whose boxes were marked "Made In Taiwan" and these housings have given some customers problems. The bezel says SWF, but the inside of the housing is much different than stock.
One notable item is that the lighting compartment divider is spot welded in as opposed to being riveted in.
Secondly, the inside surface of the reproductions is heavily 'chromed' or mirrored, and that surface is non -conductive as opposed to the originals which are not as reflective and are conductive.
The most notable difference is in the location of the divider; the reproductions having their divider quite far off in location from the original and too far away for the divider to pass through the slot on the Model 356 circuit board. The dividers also lack the small indentation on their leading edge near the bottom.
What some customers with these reproductions have done is to bend the lighting compartment divider back and forth to break it off for removal. I do not really endorse this as it circumvents your ever being able to revert to incandescent bulbs as light from either bulb will illuminate the entire compartment.
The lack of a divider does not interfere with the performance of the Model 356 High Intensity Taillights as the light emitted from the LEDs is done so straight off the top of their lenses.
The second impediment is the lack of ground contact which can be made with ground wires that I can add if you return you lights. Each light will get a single ground wire with a ring tongue terminal that should be captured by one of the screws that holds the bezel in place. A suitable ground might also be achieved by sanding the mirrored finish down where it can make contact with an area of the Model 356 circuit board that is solder-mask relieved (the silver-colored border around the edges of the Model 356.)
Lastly, the contact leg lengths are often not correct as the depth of the lighting sockets seems to be random. In most cases the contact leg screw must be backed out to make contact. The nylon spacers on the contact legs are not required, they are merely present to preset the length when the lights are assembled. If you change the contact leg length the spacers are permitted to have gaps or can be eliminated altogether.
All in all, this degree of modification seems excessive to expect from a customer and so I do not expect it at all. I tell everyone who calls or writes about the poor fit to a reproduction housing to send the units back for a full refund.
Still though, many have done the above described modifications with success.
These are the only reproductions we are aware of, others may exist.
NO LEDS LIGHT
Painted Taillight Housings
Reproduction Taillight Housings
All taillights are individually tested and leave our offices in perfect working order.
More often than not, if you have no lights working on a taillight, the problem is usually not the contact leg length but rather the lack of a ground connection to the vehicle's metal frame.
More than one customer has found that the inside of their taillight housing has been painted silver. The painting was probably done to arrest some small amount of oxidation and to provide some small amount (or at least provide the appearance) of reflectivity in the lamp basins. A problem arises in that paint is often an electrical insulator, and here too the Model 356 Taillights fail to make a good ground connection through the painted surface of the housings. Lightly sanding the bulb compartment dividers may solve the grounding problem.
The reflective coating on the inside of the Taiwanese reproduction housings is electrically non-conductive and the Model 356 wipers do not necessarily make a good connection to ground. This results in what appears to be a completely inoperative LED board. Lightly sanding the bulb compartment dividers may solve this grounding problem.
If the bulb compartment divider has been removed, the main connection to ground (the wipers that pinch the compartment divider) will be missing. The upper and lower borders of the Model 356 either have solid silver-colored borders or mesh areas intended to contact the metal flange of the taillight housing and make a secondary ground connection.
Alternative Wiring of the Model 356
Direct wiring to the back of the circuit board.
The overriding design philosophy of the Model 356 was that there would be no modifications required to the vehicle in order to install the LED lighting and the vehicle could be returned to stock if desired. This philosophy was satisfied, but it has been brought to our attention that not everyone is a purist and that some people would welcome the elimination of the bulb contact base, a common trouble spot.
Jim Breazeale at EASY (www.easypor.com) says that the bulb base was a frequent point of failure that caused many an OEM taillight housing to be supplanted by an aftermarket reproduction, and that eliminating the bulb contact base and being able to wire directly to the Model 356 would be a way to resurrect some of the old OEM taillight housing whose bulb bases have failed thus rendering the taillight housings useless until now.
Likewise there is no longer a need to replace a taillight housing with a defective bulb contact base if you are going to upgrade to a Model 356 High Intensity Taillight System.
The concept of clearing out a bulb socket and feeding the tail (running light) and brake light wires through a rubber boot and the vacated socket hole could be easily implemented using the Model 356 High Intensity LED Taillight System.
The Model 356 High Intensity LED Taillight utilizes a pair of terminal blocks (one for the brake LEDs and one for the Tail/Running light LEDs) on the bottom of the LED board from which the contact legs emerge and descend into the bulb sockets. If the contact legs are twisted counter-clockwise and removed what is left are terminal blocks with 6-32 machine screw threaded holes. The Model 356 LED System could be supplied without contact legs by request. Using ring-tongue terminals (so that the ring tongue will not fall off if the screw were ever to loosen) both the brake light wire and tail light wire could be attached to the terminal blocks after being pulled through the rubber boots and vacated sockets.
It would seem likely that a nut driver could be used to easily push out a bulb socket.
Furthermore, if the bulb compartment divider were removed, both wires could be fed through a single vacant bulb socket hole, leaving the other socket unused but intact for added moisture resistance. We would also suggest using a lock washer and/or Loctite © to insure that the 6-32 screw would not back out of the terminal block from vibration.
The silver-colored borders top and bottom are at ground potential, and when they come to rest against the taillight housing during installation the tail and brake light circuits will be complete.
Furthermore you can request at the time of order that a ground wire be attached to each of your Model 356 Taillights. The ground wire could also be fed out a vacated bulb socket and boot and grounded by securing it to a nearby metal fastener holding the taillight to the fender. An added ground wire would work well with painted and mirrored reproduction taillight housings as the paint and reflective materials are often non-conductive and will not always allow a good ground contact.
Feel free to email us at tech-support@CuLayer.com
Remember that if you can't make the lights work on your car to your satisfaction you can return them for a full refund.