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Tail Light Retrofit- AMBER turn signal

meso

Member
Jul 14, 2020
24
37
USA
One thing I've always hated about my 3 was how they use the Brake light as the turn signal. I'm a big believer in a dedicated color(amber) for turn signal. Unfortunately a lot of manufactures are going away from that in favor for the brake/turn combo. Maybe it's cost savings.IDK, but I am out to change that.

I started looking into just purchasing the European model 3 Tail lights which have an amber turn signal factory(its required by law over seas to have a orange signal). The problem I ran into was the US spec cars are programmed to use the brake AS the turn signal. Which means than even if I got a European lamp, i would still need to find a way to change the computer system to flash a dedicated output for the turn signal.

So I purchased a set of stock tail lights and cut them apart. While inside I painted the chrome black which gave i a much cleaner look. Then I retrofitted a 3" Diode dynamics HD amber LED strip where the OEM reverse was. For the reverse, I retrofitted a 3" white LED strip right next to it(inner). The wiring was a bit tricky as I had to tap off the 3rd brake light for dedicated "BRAKE" then the front camera side markers for a dedicated "TURN" signal. Overall worked pretty well!
o3sTyaV.jpeg


In the trunk, pass side there's a harness. Blue wire is 3rd brake light which is where I tapped off.
F6O0REs.jpeg


Running the turn wires through the trunk boot. fun stuff
w4JuJoy.jpeg



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here's a video showing the functions. They might look dim, but its out in direct sunlight. I assure you they are bright:)
Also you may notice they are hyperflashing because the car isn't seeing any load(i disconnected the stock brake/turn wire) I left them as is, but if it get annoying I will throw a resistor in there.

Also Decided to do blackout headlight, and AMBER DRL mod
KAbsLuh.jpeg

QTNKCRt.jpeg

NQfQpuW.jpeg

 

meso

Member
Jul 14, 2020
24
37
USA
Thanks guys. To me it's more of a safety thing. Having a dedicated brighter/visible color is reassuring..especially with all the airhead drivers out there. Also, installed the F1 rain light back there which should get their attention too:). I really wanted the internals blacked out(I HATE chrome) so while I was in there it wasn't much work to throw some LEDS in. I have done many retrofits and like tinkering, the wiring in the car was the most time consuming part. Now it's different than all the other 3's I'm starting to see on the road.
 

TydalForce

Member
Nov 24, 2019
230
160
West Chester, PA, USA
Love what you've done, and agree 100% - turn signals should be amber to help distinguish them from brakes (and while I'm ranting, what's with so many cars putting the signals real low like at the bumpers? Shouldn't they be higher and more visible?)
I'd do this myself but I'm sure I'd mess something up.
 
Aug 7, 2020
578
1,224
USA
Love what you've done, and agree 100% - turn signals should be amber to help distinguish them from brakes (and while I'm ranting, what's with so many cars putting the signals real low like at the bumpers? Shouldn't they be higher and more visible?)
I'd do this myself but I'm sure I'd mess something up.

I’m a former BMW driver so I never use my turn signals anyway
 

TexasTezla

Member
Feb 28, 2020
104
68
Texas
Looks really nice. Coming from European cars with orange turn lights I do prefer them. I wont however do this mod as it is a bit much for me!
 

fortunex

Member
Mar 19, 2021
33
5
Arizona
One thing I've always hated about my 3 was how they use the Brake light as the turn signal. I'm a big believer in a dedicated color(amber) for turn signal. Unfortunately a lot of manufactures are going away from that in favor for the brake/turn combo. Maybe it's cost savings.IDK, but I am out to change that.

What did you use to paint the chrome in the lights? Is this easy to do? Looks great, didn't realize this was possible!
 

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