Cheap Bubble Lights Install on Late Model C3 – Save Money!
The purpose of the bubble lights is to make your brake lights more
visible plus they cosmetically look modern. They are more visible by
design and you are to wire all four rear lights to come on when braking.
You will lose your reverse lights unless you can come up with a
You need the bubble lights (I bought mine from
[url=http://www.riksvet.com]http://www.riksvet.com[/url] for $25 in May
2002), a heavy duty flasher, something to use as a gasket that you can
make a template from, drill, and your original lights.
Here are a
few pix before the install on my \’81. Notice my gross pitted
taillight. Both of my outer taillights were like this, the inners were
bubble lights will be installed right on top of your original taillights
by drilling holes in the originals. You will need to make some type of
gasket so water can\’t get in between this. RTV will work, but you will
only be able to replace your taillights from underneath the bumper. This
is because the bubble lens will cover the original screws, and the RTV
won\’t let you get back to where you can remove the original lens
anymore. I don\’t recommend this since you won\’t be able to
uninstall the lens without some major surgery.
A better idea is to
make a gasket from rubber, foam, or gasket material. We used a roll of
gasket material for ours since the local automotive store didn\’t have
any rubber gasket rolls. Remove a lens and housing, place face down on
the gasket material, and make your template. We used a dime as a guide
for the original mounting holes. Once you have one gasket, duplicate this
one 3 more times.
Now you will need to remove all of your original
lenses to modify them. Use the bubble lens as a template to drill
mounting holes into your original tallights. (The instructions with the
bubble lens tells you what drill bit size to use and what size screws to
use.) You do this by placing the bubble lens on top of the original lens
and drilling holes where the bubble lens would screw into the original
lens. Take a look at the picture below, and I will explain why and how I
cut out the center portion.
original setup has the out-most lights used as a turn signal and brake
light. The inner-most lights are used as reverse/backup lights only.
Since the inners are going to be rewired to be brake lights, the white
center is going to shine brighter than the outer lens. Since my out-most
lens were pitted, I used a rotozip bit and a dremel tool to cut the center
out of them. You can cut the centers out of the reverse lens if you want
to, but it doesn\’t make them any brighter since they are clear already.
(Plus, I\’ve already tested them to make sure.)
you\’ve drilled holes in all 4 of your taillight lenses to mount the
bubble lights, you\’re ready to mount them on your vette. First,
install the original lens and housing. Get your gasket that you made,
place it on the back of the bubble lens, and hold it in place by putting
the screws through the bubble lens mounting holes. Line up the screws to
the original lens and evenly screw them on. Repeat 3 times and take a
picture! They look awesome!
Now for the wiring. First, install
the heavy duty flasher in your fuse panel. In my \’81, it was the lower
right flasher. I didn\’t scan the wiring diagram for the rear
light\’s wiring, but I\’ll try to explain it. Each of the out-most
lights have three wires: one for ground, one for a flasher, and one for
brake. The left-inner light has a ground, a power lead, and a feeder
wire. I\’m not sure how the right-inner is wired exactly, but it has
two wires: One coming from the left-inner feeder wire, and another for
power maybe? It doesn\’t really matter since you\’re going to be
rewiring the inner lights.
What you\’ll want to do is piggy-back
the inner light with the outer light that\’s next to it. We had to play
around with the volt meter to find out which wires were the correct ones.
It helps if you have two people so that one person can tap the brakes and
operate the turn signals. First you\’ll need to cut the feeder wire
that\’s going between the inner-most lights. By doing this, the left
and right sides can be wired seperately. Also the inner lights will be
grounded by the outer-light ground, since you\’ll be splicing the brake
and blinker lights together.
Take the wire you just cut from the
inner-light and splice it onto either the outer-most brake or turn signal.
Use the other wire to splice into the brake or blinker. Test it out, and
wire the other side the same way. This is really up to you to find which
wire goes where, so that\’s why I couldn\’t provide more
That should be it! The install is time consuming, but to
me it was the best $25 that I\’ve spent so far. Here are some final
pictures of the bubble lights and their brightness. Notice they appear
orange in the picture, but I assure you they are bright red in person!
Everyone I\’ve showed them to so far says it updated the car to look
like how the newer car\’s taillights appear. Enjoy!