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whitedavidp
10-25-2010, 12:54 PM
Hello. I have two older 240 sedans (1983 242 and 1980 244). Both have issues with their tail lights. I have discovered that new 5-panel assemblies (available via IPD) would cost basically more than the blue book value of the cars. I have been told there are 6-panel assemblies that are much less expensive. But it appears that some sheet metal modifications would be required for them to fit the existing 240mm openings. Perhaps another 40-50mm would need to be removed. Plus, there would seem to be some need for re-wiring at least at the connector, which otherwise seems the same. I am hoping that someone here has been down this path and can let me know about what happened. Thanks for your replies.

Redwood Chair
10-25-2010, 02:41 PM
Search in the for sale forum here there are always good deals to be found on these.
The aftermarket tails have been known to burn cars to the ground unless properly modified anyways.



Contrary to popular belief,
The value of a car lies in the transportation it can provide not what it can or cannot be sold for.

whitedavidp
10-25-2010, 03:26 PM
Oh my! Can you please expand on the burning to the ground comment? Where might I find more info on this? Man, nothing is easy. But I will check the for sale forum. Cheers!

Kjets On a Plane
10-25-2010, 03:49 PM
If the lenses are good, the 5-panels don't have the infamous printed circuit board that the cibies do (they are bosch). Much less miserable design.

First, remove the assembly from the car via the 4 nuts on studs carefully. Don't forget the ground strap (phillips head screw on ring terminal).

They still do let water in the lenses, but not as badly there either. I usually drill a small hole that can't be seen to "drain" them in each reflector bucket. I locate the hole not on the lens, on a low point and outside of the gasket to the body to prevent water from winding up in the trunk. Choose wisely. The cibie 6-panel late model ones are so bad they leak after a couple years from brand new anyway. Bosch 5-panel less bad, but most leak by now. Nothing you can really do about it. So, first address water getting in them causing things to oxidize or bulbs to blow.

Next, examine all the bulb holders and their tabs for corrosion. You can wire brush them but I usually just cherry pick nice ones rather than wire wheel the zync or cad plating off the contacts and encouraging future rust to show up a whole lot faster. If you don't have a big pile of sockets and yours aren't melted but a bit crusty, some contact cleaner and contact paste or something to zync treat them and keep them conducting well helps after brushing them carefully.

Next, examine the board on the tail. They are usually crusty. I do wire wheel those at all contact spots including the plug. They are galvanized. I put some contact grease or zync them after acid washing them.

Once you put them all back together nice, all your tail lights should stay working for the next 20ish years. I much prefer the 5 panels to the 6s. Rarer though. Basic stripper DL, but distinctly later (er more mid-model is 80-85 to me) model 240.

coonmanx
10-25-2010, 04:52 PM
What kind of issues do you have? You can bypass the printed circuit board with a wire straight to the bulb socket. I recently did this with the driver's side brake light bulb. Now the brake light works all of the time. I didn't bother with the ground because that is fine. All that I did was drill a small hole in the positive tab of the bulb socket and run a wire through it so that the wire gets wedged between the tab and the circuit board. Didn't have to solder anything at all.

whitedavidp
10-25-2010, 05:38 PM
Are you talking about the ones with the odd, flexible circuit "cards"? At the junk yard, they tried to sell me something that was from eastern Europe and looked basically like these (http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/TAIL-LIGHT-TAILLIGHT-LAMP-VOLVO-240-85-93-Left-BK-_W0QQcmdZViewItemQQhashZitem53e4564d65QQitemZ36031 3146725QQptZMotorsQ5fCarQ5fTruckQ5fPartsQ5fAccesso ries). The plastic on which the circuits were printed were basically floppy. I didn't judge if they were bad or dangerous - only if they would fit without modifications or not. I concluded they would most certainly NOT despite repeated comments that they would (and implying that I was an idiot for even questioning them). But if there is a know history of danger or other crappy results using these I simply would not go there. Thanks

Kjets On a Plane
10-25-2010, 05:41 PM
The estonia ones aren't as good as the OEM. They can be functional with an OE board. If your car has 5-panels, which by your original post, it seems it does, the printed circuit board doesn't come into it anyway.

Don't okie-rig it with a bunch of ghetto wiring. Just repair it and enjoy for 10-20 years.

whitedavidp
10-25-2010, 05:44 PM
What kind of issues do you have? You can bypass the printed circuit board with a wire straight to the bulb socket. I recently did this with the driver's side brake light bulb. Now the brake light works all of the time. I didn't bother with the ground because that is fine. All that I did was drill a small hole in the positive tab of the bulb socket and run a wire through it so that the wire gets wedged between the tab and the circuit board. Didn't have to solder anything at all.

Well, on my 1983, the left reverse lens simply disappeared. I just finished cutting and gluing on a piece of lexan which I first sanded to "frost" it. That works but looks fairly poor. The right reverse lens is cracked on the side facing the license plate and I am not sure how long it will last.

On my 1980, I have cracks and even a hole in some of the lens pieces (but none yet entirely gone AWOL). But the real hassle here seems to be the quality of the contact made between the various bulb sockets and the the "wiring". I almost always get the warning light shortly after "fixing" things. I have brushed and bent the contacts. I have applied dielectric grease. But they always seem to get loose or something that causes the warning light to go on and a bulb to stop working - generally the brake bulb. I am just pretty sick of fooling with it and would like to get it back to a decent shape.

Redwood Chair
10-25-2010, 06:00 PM
Oh my! Can you please expand on the burning to the ground comment? Where might I find more info on this? Man, nothing is easy. But I will check the for sale forum. Cheers!

"Nothing is easy." Truer words were never spoken.
I'll take "The easy way isn't" for a close second Alex.....

Poor contacts are poor.
Poor conductivity causes heat.
Heat melts plastic.
Sometimes plastic catches fire.

I have seen 15 or 20 cars in the JY with fires originating from this area,of course it is impossible to tell if they were aftermarket units,but I have seen plenty of them with melty buckets that appeared to be nice units from the outside.

cleanflametrap
10-25-2010, 07:55 PM
The OP was looking for experience in cutting sheet metal to adapt the 6-panel tail lamps to his 5-panel car. I told him, if any place, he'd find it on T-bricks.

The 5-panels I bought new for $135 7 years ago are now twice that price from Tasca. I already sent my old ones to someone else looking for these rare ones. I agree, the 5 panel lights look better, for some reason, but when they're broken and missing lenses, where do you find them?

whitedavidp
10-25-2010, 07:59 PM
The OP was looking for experience in cutting sheet metal to adapt the 6-panel tail lamps to his 5-panel car. I told him, if any place, he'd find it on T-bricks.

The 5-panels I bought new for $135 7 years ago are now twice that price from Tasca. I already sent my old ones to someone else looking for these rare ones. I agree, the 5 panel lights look better, for some reason, but when they're broken and missing lenses, where do you find them?

Hi Art. And thanks for directing me to this site. I wasn't aware of it. So far, I am not getting much of anyone's experience with doing the modification proposed (5 to 6 panel) but I have heard less than ideal things about the aftermarket 6-panel assemblies and this worries me a bit. I have posted on the for sale forum here and have gotten some replies. Cheers

Redwood Chair
10-25-2010, 08:31 PM
The OP was looking for experience in cutting sheet metal to adapt the 6-panel tail lamps to his 5-panel car. I told him, if any place, he'd find it on T-bricks.

The 5-panels I bought new for $135 7 years ago are now twice that price from Tasca. I already sent my old ones to someone else looking for these rare ones. I agree, the 5 panel lights look better, for some reason, but when they're broken and missing lenses, where do you find them?


We're telling him to go forward,not backwards.:)

cleanflametrap
10-25-2010, 09:26 PM
I get the impression 5-panels and cars likely to have them are much better preserved out in the PNW.

coonmanx
10-25-2010, 10:05 PM
As far as "okie-rigging" the tail light, my brake light now works perfectly whereas before it would work for a while and then fail. I have removed the brake light failure bulb from the instrument cluster a long time ago as I am capable of checking those bulbs from time to time. It was simply staying on all of the time so I took care of that issue.

Look, poor engineering is poor engineering. The tail lights on my 1984 242 GLT are a perfect example of poor engineering. If they were engineered correctly they would have wires that ran all of the way to the bulb sockets like most other cars. I have now solved the issue with the driver's side brake light and it works great!

Those reverse light lenses are available from IPD...

http://www.ipdusa.com/Volvo-200/Electrical/Lighting-&-Lenses/Reverse-Lens/p-69-257-263-2197/

cleanflametrap
10-25-2010, 10:21 PM
As far as "okie-rigging" the tail light, my brake light now works perfectly whereas before it would work for a while and then fail. I have removed the brake light failure bulb from the instrument cluster a long time ago as I am capable of checking those bulbs from time to time. It was simply staying on all of the time so I took care of that issue.

Look, poor engineering is poor engineering. The tail lights on my 1984 242 GLT are a perfect example of poor engineering. If they were engineered correctly they would have wires that ran all of the way to the bulb sockets like most other cars. I have now solved the issue with the driver's side brake light and it works great!

Those reverse light lenses are available from IPD...

http://www.ipdusa.com/Volvo-200/Electrical/Lighting-&-Lenses/Reverse-Lens/p-69-257-263-2197/

Yeah, I agree. "Okie-rigging" paints an ugly stripe with a broad brush. If the tail lights did not leak, the contacts would not have corroded. If the contacts had not corroded, the plastic would not have melted. If the plastic had not melted, the spring force would still be available to use once the leaks were fixed and the contacts cleaned. The only taillights in my fleet I haven't hard-wired are the only ones that still have trouble, and these are full priced Valeo replacements.

And yeah, the (clear) lenses are available except for the 5-panel, which is the lamp of choice here. But back to the 6-panel....

http://cleanflametrap.com/tlight045.jpg

Kjets On a Plane
10-26-2010, 12:48 AM
Fair enough. I've just had to re-repair some really okie-rigged ones with some fresh boards and drilled them. Not to tar and feather a guy for what looks like a fairly well done fix for a miserable design.

Mom's 244 has basically brand new tails on it. I hemmed and hawed and switched the pins on the connector (to get rid of the dual-filament brake light and make them work like early 84- 6-panels) and drilled them. Didn't want to, but no misbehaving or melting whatever.

5-panels have a far less horrible circuit board. They get corroded and such, but if you have some decent holders and the right tools and chemicals on a usable housing, it is easier to keep those going than the 6 panel miserable things or 89- 7x4 tails.

cleanflametrap
10-26-2010, 11:00 AM
Discussion is useful, I think.

In any case, I have not viewed the flex circuit as a problem or a quality issue, as much as the plastic supporting it. In my experience, replacing a damaged flex circuit is a very temporary fix once the black plastic at the lamp sockets, or at the harness connector tongue, is deformed by the heat of a poor connection.

The harness connector is a board-edge connector with quite a bit of contact force, but I think its original design assumes a hard circuit board (phenolic or G10 epoxy like at the speedo) and not a piece of polyester film folded over a thermoplastic tongue. Here are a couple worm's eye views of the compression caused by contact force and distortion caused by contact heating at the harness connector and at the bulb socket. The problem is underneath the much-maligned flexible circuit board.

http://cleanflametrap.com/tail01.jpg

http://cleanflametrap.com/tailLight01.jpg

A fellow brick owner, who also happens to be a PC board designer, supplied me with the cute card-edge-to-wire adapters. I would like to see him sell these to us, but I'm thinking he will not want the responsibility of instruction to novice users. It really takes the stigma from the owner-customized approach and preserves the ability to service with standard parts.

Now the 5-panels I had were okied like this, before I replaced them, so I had to put the harness connectors back together after getting the new Bosch lamps.

http://cleanflametrap.com/tlight039.jpg

http://cleanflametrap.com/tlight040.jpg

http://cleanflametrap.com/tlight041.jpg

http://cleanflametrap.com/tlight042.jpg

smokeyfan1000
10-26-2010, 11:08 AM
I have some 86-93 Reverse light LENSES in really good shape. Also have a set of early 5 panel TLs good for parts, bulb sockets and Reverse lenses. PM me.

coonmanx
10-26-2010, 12:02 PM
Well, it looks like we created a new word on this forum, "okie-rig". Better hope that the people in Oklahoma don't find out about this. Anyway, my problem was at the wire harness connector in the trunk where it attaches to the actual copper connections on the flimsy plastic circuit board. That plastic piece with the little metal fingers that go on each side of the copper. Instead of having only one connection between the bulb and socket, Volvo designed them to have three separate connections. The first one is the one that I am talking about, the second one between the bulb socket and the flimsy plastic, and then finally the connection between the bulb and socket. More connections simply means that there are more places for the electrical current to fail to get to the bulb. I was having to put a piece of foil in that first connection and then the bulb would work for a while and then fail. At first I tried to do what is in the fourth picture above, but I didn't sand the metal enough or use flux so my solder job broke. Realized that it was much easier to drill a small hole in the tab of the bulb socket and run the end of the wire through that, wedging the wire between the metal tab and the circuit board. So far works flawlessly. For the first time in eight years I don't have to keep "fixing" the driver's side brake light.

I once thought about completely replacing those tail lights with some similar lights off of an old Mercedes. I am guessing that it wouldn't be that hard as they look like they are about the same size.

cleanflametrap
10-26-2010, 12:16 PM
Well, it looks like we created a new word on this forum, "okie-rig". Better hope that the people in Oklahoma don't find out about this.

Although it does sound a bit like a quick substitute for a less politically-correct moniker, "Jerry rigged," supposedly a WW-II misheard lyric for "Jury rigged," Okie, in this sense doesn't refer to people in Oklahoma, but rather those who migrated to Northern California from Oklahoma during the dust bowl years of the 30's. The Grapes of Wrath depicted resourceful roadside repairs to main bearings, and this is the image I have of "Okie-rigged." MacGyvered, for you younger folk.

Redwood Chair
10-26-2010, 01:04 PM
Thanks for the pictures,and nice work cleanflametrap.
You sedan guys got it tough,even the $65.00 'E - bay special' 245 tails are useable with a quick scuff and bend down on the contacts. It seems there is a plastic layer or something on the metal contact strips that needs to be scuffed. I use the pencil eraser in a drill technique to clean them,and preserve a fairly smooth and conductive surface. A burgundy scotch pad works well too..

Pix from my 240 Power Window Switch RR thread.

<a href="http://s255.photobucket.com/albums/hh136/redwoodchair/Davis%202008/?action=view&current=240powerWindowSwitchRR8.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i255.photobucket.com/albums/hh136/redwoodchair/Davis%202008/240powerWindowSwitchRR8.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

cleanflametrap
10-26-2010, 01:19 PM
You sedan guys got it tough,even the $65.00 'E - bay special' 245 tails are useable with a quick scuff and bend down on the contacts.

I wish I had known that before mine melted so much I couldn't retrieve the bulb. I do find it very difficult to get the aftermarket bulb holders (or the metal strips on the aftermarket wagon lamps) to take solder without first removing the plating. Yes, they'll solder up, but a little yank and the plating comes off with the wire. I feel fortunate to have saved a few Volvo sockets.

http://cleanflametrap.com/tlight060.jpg

http://cleanflametrap.com/tlamp062.jpg

http://cleanflametrap.com/tlamp063.jpg

BTW, you know I like your window switch thread. It has been a long time since I've had to clean a window switch, and I was thinking that might be for the same reason I haven't bemoaned the deterioration of the door cards. I replaced the paper moisture barriers with plastic on the older cars.

Redwood Chair
10-26-2010, 03:14 PM
Interesting information on the soldering difficulty-plating deal.
Maybe step it up a notch on the abrasive scale,and use a pen eraser for the rubber wheeling of the surface,and use some of that superflex superfine tailgate harness wire to solder to the sedan printed circuit board.

Kjets On a Plane
10-26-2010, 03:44 PM
It must not get as hot here.

I've seen them melted, but water is MUCH more the issue. Bulbs blow out, things get rusty and crusty and cease to work at all before they make poor contact, but still work. Here, the crusty takes over first and the lamp won't turn on, so it can't get hot at all if there is no lamp heat or current draw at all while the lamp SNAFU is occurring in 36 degrees and pouring rain. Dry CO or hot, humid Baltimore probably different.

Grapes of wrath is one of my favorite books. I'd like to visit the Steinbeck museum again when I hit cali this fall. I'm looking for a nice no-rust king cab 4wd hilux pickup from (probably central valley) cali...I'm sure I'll see a lot of "okied" in my search. That is all I meant by it. "Okie-rigged" has its place.

cleanflametrap
10-26-2010, 07:11 PM
It must not get as hot here.

Yes, water is the start of it all. Ambient heat is not the problem. Neither is the heat the standard lamps produce. All of the heat damage I report is strictly due to water. The corrosion builds the contact resistance, and the heat is generated by the contact resistance. Once the connections are okied, contact resistance eliminated for the most part, the heat is no longer an issue. Of course, if the lenses leak so bad they plug up the 1/8" holes we drain them with, and it overflows into the trunk, we get the cracked, white bulbs.