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Old 03-13-2017, 08:25 PM   #1
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Question about lights

So I plan on replacing the lights on my bus with LED lights, such as the ones you would find on semis, trailers, and buses to some degree.

The lights I plan on using recess into the bus body and are mounted with a sealed rubber grommet. They are designed to replace the old lights,filling the holes left behind so they are super easy to install.

That said, I have two concerns:

1. My father said that vehicles aren't supposed to have amber lights in the back, only on the side and front, in order to distinguish between the back and the front easily at night. If you look at pretty much any other vehicle, this is true; he says buses are just weird (which seems to be the case). All the migrant buses for the farm have their brake lights and blinkers red. Is this true, should I order amber lights, should they all be red, or does it even matter?

2. I have two sets of blinkers in the front-one set by the headlights, and one set in the face of the bus above the hood (which take the place of the pedestal lights that sit on the fenders of some other buses). This is fine and all, but replacement becomes difficult because behind one of the blinkers is where a lot of wires enter the bus, and a recessed light wouldn't fit and would damage the wires over time. This could be remedied with flush-mount lights that wouldn't match, but my father thinks that these lights are unnecessary and can be removed and patched, but I want to make sure.

Does anyone here know? I've looked both here and on google but haven't really found anything. Any input is appreciated.
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Old 03-13-2017, 08:51 PM   #2
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Another problem you may run into is the turn signal flasher. When I replaced mine with LED lights they would no longer flash. I had to find and replace the flasher module with one that didnt rely on current level to flash. I found a relay version that worked. Before you make the swap find the flasher. You can hear it clicking. After it stops who knows where it is.

Turns out bluebird tc2000 buses have a hidden electrixal relay and flasher panel. Behind the left front wiper motor access panel.

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Old 03-13-2017, 09:35 PM   #3
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In the USA it is OK to have Amber turn signals in the rear, but not Amber running lights. So, you can replace the turn signals with either Amber or Red, its up to you. Just do not put any Amber running or Brake lights in the rear.
As for the extra turn signals up front, you don't NEED all of them to be legal, you just NEED one per side that is visible to all vehicle/drivers at multiple angles to the front. That said, the more you have the better you will be seen. You might want to remove the ones in the face above the hood, and relocate them elsewhere or use flush mount. They do not need to be the same size. One more option is to just leave the housing and replace the bulb with an LED bulb.
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Old 03-13-2017, 09:40 PM   #4
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Typical each state is different when it comes to vehicle lighting.
Generally:
Steady Amber front and sides.
Steady Red rear only.
White front only, only stead as headlight, driving light, off road or fog lamp.

Now, larger vehicles that require higher clearance allowances can place steady red mark lights to the top rear and steady red "top" side lamps on the upper sides of the vehicle. Such taller vehicles can have steady amber cab lamps or any variation between amber or white.

In my state just as in most states, Purple and Green lights are not regulated. The use may be regulated for example if you order a lightbar or dash warning light, they may be regulated or restricted. In my state they are not but the locations and uses are with those two colors.

My bus has green cab lights on top, lower amber side lights, red top side lights, red rear marker lights in addition to my new led headlights with green led accent lighting built in. I also plan to install twenty 3/4 inch green led marker lights all over for looks. A few on the sides and top sides, rear top, in front here and there. The only thing is they will be switched independently of all other lights. So, I can turn them on and off without impacting normal operational lights.

Ok, as far as the led flashers. I replaced my tail lights as well with 6 inch oval no-show LED tail lights. They wouldnt work on my 3800 as single point LED brakes and runners. I never intended to use them as replacements alone, I ordered a Ford Mustang three lamp sequencer flasher for the new mustang led tail lights. The three pair of tail lights drew enough power to actuate the flasher unit which in turn activated the trail lights. Plus, they are pretty nice flashing inside to the outside and all at once with brake depressing. There are LED inline power converters you can buy at most auto stores, I dont remember what they are called but they are basically an out light bypass or burn out override.

When I upgraded the lighting in my cruiser I had to buy them for the garage to install between shifts. I thought i was going to be a big deal but they have the push and pull inline chop installation. The device itself cuts the line, passes the current through a diode which activates the light and signals the computer that the light is working properly. The computer reads the lower power draw as a burned out light and causes the controller to do the fast flash indicator. I am sure you have seen that in traffic, in some vehicles will flash the rear or front turn signal twice as fast as normal.

The bypasses are $10-15 each. I would just ask someone at the counter, they should know what you mean. I would email your local state police FAQ or Troop Commander / District Captain / Section Chief with specific questions relating to the lighting. Honestly, 90% of the time beat cops dont know anything about light requirements or use. As long as it is not impacting your vision or other drivers vision, it is not backwards of standard marking requirements or on some little street racer, most cops and troopers wouldnt care. If all else fails, do what you want and wire them up on their own like I did. The Green is not regulated on my bus, but, I didnt want the hassle of shutting down bored cops every county line.
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Old 03-13-2017, 11:38 PM   #5
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I appreciate the input

I'll keep all my rear lights red, other than the backup and plate lights of course. All my marker/running lights are the correct colors and positions. I'll probably go with flush mount replacements for the front blinkers, as close in appearance to the grommet mounts as possible. I think just leaving those beveled squares there would look odd, and it's not worth welding them up in my opinion.

And I'll keep those great blinker tips in mind. If I run into any issues with that, the shop guys can give me a hand, and I'll probably post what happens here.
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Old 03-14-2017, 11:21 AM   #6
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I would agree with what has been stated above. I plan on only using red lights on the rear of my bus/toy hauler with the exception of the reverse lights and license plate light. I also plan on replacing the flashing lights with red tail/turn/brake lights. I figure an extra set of brake lights and turn signals up top can't hurt. Especially when we have ATVs park on the flatbed part of the bus.
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Old 03-14-2017, 12:27 PM   #7
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The others are correct that amber is accepted all across the US for rear turn signals.

Side markers should be red as near to the tail as possible, amber for the intermediate lamp ahead of the rear axle when vehicle is over 30 feet long, and amber as near to the front as possible.

Illustrated source: Blazer International
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Old 04-21-2017, 02:52 PM   #8
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Just to make sure I don't screw anything up, can anyone comment on which of these should be removed/changed to a different color?

The lights on the top are amber on the left and red on the right. There is also an a small amber light along the side in the top corner.

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Old 04-21-2017, 04:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PigPen View Post
Just to make sure I don't screw anything up, can anyone comment on which of these should be removed/changed to a different color?

The lights on the top are amber on the left and red on the right. There is also an a small amber light along the side in the top corner.

That rear-corner marker light should correctly be red; it was likely changed by some bus shop to "whatever they had available". The brake lights appear to be red, the turn signals can be red or amber (the latter of which should not be steady-burning) (I put red turn signals on my bus and wired them to be steady burning in addition to providing turn signal indications. My goal here was to provide maximum possible rearward visibility).
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Old 04-22-2017, 11:17 AM   #10
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Okay, that's what I thought.

What about in front? There are two lights on each side up top in the front as well. Do colors matter for these?
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Old 04-22-2017, 12:22 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PigPen View Post
Okay, that's what I thought.

What about in front? There are two lights on each side up top in the front as well. Do colors matter for these?
All the middle and front lights should be amber. (Except, of course, the alternating red flashers for use when loading/unloading passengers.)

All rear steady-burning lights should be red. Turn signals may be red or amber, reverse light(s) should be white.

Vehicles 80" or more in width should have the 3 centered, top mounted marker lights, in addition to corner mounted clearance lights. Vehicles 30' and longer should have intermediate amber marker lights. All steady-burning lights mounted within 12" of the rear should be red.

These standards are in place to help you, and other motorists for the exact same reason planes and boats have standardized red/green/white marker lights. When it's dark and hard to see, knowing "Red is rear" on a slow moving vehicle helps give an indication of which direction it will be moving (1 reason the corner mounted red light should be visible from the side). Seeing the five amber lights up top, coming toward you on a narrow road indicates a large vehicle and it will need plenty of lane space to safely pass by.

All these standards are explained in the FMCS (Federal Motor Carrier Safety) regulations, in considerable detail. Copies are available at any truckstop, and trucking companies give them out to drivers like candy bars (ask any company driver and I'm sure they can give you an extra copy).
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Old 04-22-2017, 12:29 PM   #12
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Yes, I realize this link is Canadian, but the U.S. standards are almost identical.

https://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/motorvehiclesafety/tp-tp14116-menu-175.htm
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Old 04-22-2017, 03:34 PM   #13
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Thank you very much for the detailed answer.

When you said 'almost identical', I tried to find a similar page for US vehicles. While I failed in that, I did find this wiki article interesting, so I'll link it here for people looking for similar answers in the future...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automotive_lighting
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Old 04-22-2017, 04:41 PM   #14
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I would have said the Canadian and U.S. standards are identical, but I haven't looked into enough to say definitively. I would feel comfortable saying the standards are identical *for all practical purposes*, since vehicles travel back and forth between the two countries all the time, and as long as the lighting is more or less "as the factory installed it" there should be no issues.
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Old 04-22-2017, 05:28 PM   #15
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Yeah, international driving standards have been getting worked on for years so they don't confuse us poor mortals.
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