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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
PART 1


So as some of you know I have always wanted the rear reflectors to light up similar to the per-production model of the Volt. So I completed the job and here is the step by step, overall Im very pleased with the result, total cost was under $200 and included purchasing brand new left and right reflectors from GM.




Here is how:

1) Ordered a core set of reflectors from here:

www.gmpartseast.com
Part Desc Qty $ Each
20989185 APPLIQUE 1 44.12
20989184 APPLIQUE 1 44.12

They took about 7 days to arrive and with $12 shipping was pretty much dead on $100



2) I purchased Two sets of MAX LED APTENA red lights from Autozone, I had strips of the cheap EBAY lights that would fail often, the Aptena are the LARGE LED ones and although they are $30 a set they are very good quality



The other parts you will need are:

1 X Piece of paper (letter)
1 X Sharpie
2 X clamps (screw down)
1 X Black silicone Glue (permatex Black 81173)
2 Wire Splice Connectors
2 Wire connectors
Black + red or white 12V wire
Cleaning cloths
box cutter
Windex



BAKING TIME


3) Then it was baking time:

a) removed the foam seal from the back of the parts

b) removed the two bolts from the back of the parts
c) placed on a oven rack at 225 degrees for 20 Mins (each part, separately)

4) Remove from oven and using a hard plastic spatula work your way from the end corner, inserting until the glass clicks (separates), if it doesn't click out straight away, stick back in the oven a little longer. When you get the first separation work your way around the lens gently prying until it completely releases from the black plastic. Clean up the as best you can and put the lens aside.

5) Now comes the hard part, the Red Plastic lens. This is glued down in 4-5 places around the lens. You need to bake the lens for another 10 mins and gently pry each side up with your hands, bending the red away from the back piece, be VERY careful not to crack the lens.



If its cracked then the entire part is waste!! BE VERY Careful and take your time. Once this is out you have this:



To be continued...........
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Ok, So now you have the lenses all apart, its time to clean them up with some Windex, get them sparkling clean on all sides and set the outside lens to the side.

6) Taking the Silver back portion of the light lens using an alcohol swap clean the entire lens.

7) now trace a template of the front light lens that you put aside and using a ruler mark the center line of the clear sections(middle) and then Cut the center line out with a box cutter.



8) place the template back on the silver back lens and using a sharpie trace dot the cutout, this will be where the LED strips will be stuck down





9) You are now going to unwrap the LED strips and using one on the top section place the wired end as close to the end of the lens as possible, peel off the back and stick down and bend to the line, when you get to the bottom point you need to bend it almost 90 degrees to get it to go along the bottom. It will bend and it will stick. Its normal for it to stick up in sections along the bend, and its critical to get the strip to sit on the dotted line you made with the sharpie (center point).

Now do the same for the bottom piece, bending around until you meet the other piece (you will need to cut this LED light strip, With LED's you cut every THREE (as they are wired like that) the good news is that removing three is an almost perfect distance to meet the other piece


IMPORTANT NOTE
The picture below is of the original strip LED's i purchased (cheap crap) its imperative you use the Aptera ones as those are of much higher quality and will bend and not break, I do not have pictures of the Aptera ones, apologies.



10) you now need to drill a small hole through the assembly so that the wires can exit the back of the lens, attach the LED's to the test pack that came with the Aptera package and once you confirm all is working seal this hole up with silicone.

11) Now you need to purchase a silver touch up painter pen/brush ($7 autozone). Paint anything on the strips that isn't a LED with the brush(any black or any writing etc etc) this will ensure that you dont see these as much when you put the lens back together.

12) now just push the red lens on top (do not glue down as it will be held in place just fine) test the lights again



13) now you need to purchase some Silicone sealant/glue
This is what i used as it was highly rated int he light baking world



14) spread the silicone all the way around the outside channel of the bottom lens (dont be shy). Place the outside lens on top and use TWO clamps, braces etc (one on each end) to hold the lenses together for 24 hours. Once cured clean up any silicone with a knife and fill any areas to make them look clean from the outside.. test them again




your lights are finished, now you have to remove your old ones from the car, install these new ones and hook them up, Ill wrote that up later.....
 

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Great work! Can you take some daylight shots too? Maybe a 30 second vid clip would work as well. Looking forward to the rest of the instructions.
 

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So the reflectors turn on at night with the tailights and lights up when you hit the brakes too?
 

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Most impressive Brittt,

Ingenuity at its best. I'm looking forward to the rest of story on the electrical part of the challenge and whether you choose to have the lights just as running lights or part of the brake light circuit as well. Thanks for your efforts and your sharing of the solution to this improvement on our Volts.
 

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Phenomenal job! Would be interested in all of the details. Assume you had to remove the rear bumper to replace the lamp assembly.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Here is a better one of the back during the day...Right now the lights work with the brake lights, it would be too much light back there otherwise.

 

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Discussion Starter #8
Phenomenal job! Would be interested in all of the details. Assume you had to remove the rear bumper to replace the lamp assembly.
No just the plastic cover on the back of the hatch, then its two bolts for each light unit to release them..real easy
 

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In you photo the brake lights are on. How is the brightness compared to parking lights? Or do you have them wired to brakes?

Looks good!

thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
In you photo the brake lights are on. How is the brightness compared to parking lights? Or do you have them wired to brakes?

Looks good!

thanks!
Wired to Brakes....too bright for running night lights
 

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Figured that out when I check the hatch after posting my message.

I've tried to remove the plastic covers on the hatch. The upper and side pieces snapped off pretty easily, but the lower piece that covers the lights resisted so much that I was afraid I'd break something. Any tips you can provide about removing that piece would be very helpful.

No just the plastic cover on the back of the hatch, then its two bolts for each light unit to release them..real easy
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Figured that out when I check the hatch after posting my message.

I've tried to remove the plastic covers on the hatch. The upper and side pieces snapped off pretty easily, but the lower piece that covers the lights resisted so much that I was afraid I'd break something. Any tips you can provide about removing that piece would be very helpful.
Take the smaller side pieces off first (you can just pull them inwards and snap the first couple of snaps off). Now the important piece. Take the handle off first. use a small flat headed screwdriver and take the rubber piece that is at the deepest part of the handle leveraging the flat head into the corner and lifting it up. That will uncover two Philips screws to remove the handle cover. Take that off. Then pull the piece of plastic off the hatch locking mechanism (just pulls off easy). Then you can just pull the hatch cover off with a little bit of force.

Some of the plastic snaps will pop off and you'll need to refit them but none of mine broke.

Hope that helps
 

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Brittt1, the photos look great. Do you think you will make more of these and offer them for sale to forum members or on eBay? The baking and prying is a little too much for me. But it seems that swapping the stock parts with the modified parts isn't too difficult. I assume that it was easy to tap into the brake light wires to power the LEDs.
 

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I have already ordered the Apliques and am going shopping for the Leds today.

Question: Any chance that those Leds are dimmable? If so, then some sort of a resistive load could be used to feed power from the regular running lights through an extra wire in the wiring harneses to them and use that as running lights.

Even if no one wants to make these for other people, possibly some who have done it with new parts might sell the original apliques for others to use.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Brittt1, the photos look great. Do you think you will make more of these and offer them for sale to forum members or on eBay? The baking and prying is a little too much for me. But it seems that swapping the stock parts with the modified parts isn't too difficult. I assume that it was easy to tap into the brake light wires to power the LEDs.
Quite honestly I don't have time for it all..its quite time consuming and if you don't get it right then one light is basically toast. I'll be writing the rest of the procedure up later..
 

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So you are saying the reflectors sit dormant until you hit the brakes? They don't turn on with the headlight and tailights at night? That would have been nicer looking like the Audi rear assemblies.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
They don't turn on with the headlight and tailights at night? That would have been nicer looking like the Audi rear assemblies.
In the current configuration no...you could obviously wire it up that way if you were to choose to do so, you could have two sets of power going to the LED's; at night they are lit for the lights and during the day they work with the brake lights. Maybe there is some type of resistor/relay? out there that could manage this, if you guys have ideas ill give it a try for you.
 

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Unlike conventional filament bulbs, resistors don't work well for dimming LEDs. There are gizmos that will though. They work by flashing the LEDs at a rate that the human eye cannot detect but simply appear to be half brightness. Usually have a small heatsink.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Unlike conventional filament bulbs, resistors don't work well for dimming LEDs. There are gizmos that will though. They work by flashing the LEDs at a rate that the human eye cannot detect but simply appear to be half brightness. Usually have a small heatsink.
Yeah i just read about them (PVM units), looks like its a few components you have to solder together, not my bag. But if you find a kit let me know
 
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