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#4007298 - 03/14/19 03:20 AM Long winded full width taillight thread
ClayBelt Offline

Over the Hill

Registered: 04/03/18
Posts: 1749
Loc: Leon County
Alright, here goes the beginning of what I hope to be a promising journey into the unknown in the realm of cool customizations for those kinda ugly looking Grand Marquis rear fascii. Have you even looked at the back of one of these and wondered “gee, why didn’t ford make the center light up?” or some variation thereof? Than boy, oh boy, do I have the thread for you. Almost a year ago I bought my Grand Marquis and had that same thought. Prior to my only experience with that big expanse of plastic was the full width tail lights of my 1966 Ford Thunderbird, which looked a bit like this:

Now I got behind it one day after I bought the car and wondered where those lights were, only to realize Ford never did anything like that! So, I took it upon myself to correct this wrongdoing.

First, I started off asking around the forums here. “Nobody’s done it,” “It’s more effort than it’s worth,” “I’ve thought about it before but it’s always been curiousity.” YouTube revealed only a lone box. Getting those responses caused me to shelf the idea for a few months, but then come October I started thinking again. I ordered a metric buttload of LED strips from China thanks to eBay, and got a couple tail light panels off of 03-05 Grand Marquis’ in the junkyard so I’d have room to [censored] up as I did my trial and error. Not long after, the car and life threw some obstacles at me that caused me to shelf my thought processes once more. Come this week though, I started thinking again. The more I thought, the more I realized that I had the perfect scenario for experimentation, and thus set to work.

I began by examining the lenses themselves. They appear to be sealed with some sort of liquid nails compound on all the ones I have seen, so they won’t just pop off. It may be possible to bake them off, but not all of us have access to industrial pizza ovens, so I had to find another option. Cutting the lease off around the edges was out of the question due to the reverse light bezel, so I chose to cut into the back of the rear fascia.


Doing so revealed there is roughly 1/8” of space between the reflector and the lense, which was a relief to me. I was worried about cutting into the lense. However, I did find that grey tint inside the lense that I would like gone. Any suggestions?

While trying to decide how to tackle that grayness, I moved forward towards the end goal of lighting it. Since my inspiration was the old Tbird, I decided to do 2 sections of LED’s for the faux trunk lights and utilize the factory lights as part three of the flashers. I took the section I had cut out of the back, drilled holes for wires in it, and threw 2 sets of LED strips onto the plastic, as seen below:

They are fastened with superglue.

I have a set of cheap eBay special flashers made for the SN95 that I used to test the setup in a temporary manner as proof of concept, but will replace before I do the install. Here is the first test, the proof of concept:

The plan is to get a quality set of flashers for wiring duty and light them all up as Ford should have done eventually. Stay tuned for more pioneering madness as work continues!
_________________________
There’s a right way, a wrong way, and a janky way to fix something; I don’t usually have the brains or the money to pick the right way.

2001 Chevrolet Tracker LT “Featherbrick” - 6/2016-10/2016 - SOLD
2005 Toyota 4Runner SR5 “Panzer” - 8/2016-4/2018 - SOLD
1966 Ford Thunderbird “Fordy McFordface” - 11/2016-2/2020 - TRADED
2005 Buick LaCrosse CXS “Jumba” - 2/2017-2/2018 - SOLD
2010 Mercury Grand Marquis LS “Touge Sofa” - 4/2018-?
1990 Mazda Miata “Little Boy” - 5/2019-10/2019 - SOLD
1986 Ford Mustang SVO “Touge Fox” - 2/2020-11/2020 - TRADED
1978 MG Midget 1500 - 11/2020-?

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#4007314 - 03/14/19 10:56 AM Re: Long winded full width taillight thread [Re: ClayBelt]
BlackVic_P71 Offline
Grand Poobah

Registered: 08/28/09
Posts: 14602
Loc: LI, NY
I like this idea, keep us posted on it.
_________________________
Originally Posted By Jeremy Clarkson
The future is very fast and extremely quiet...but a bit burny.

1989 Ford Crown Victoria Country Squire - 347
2005 Crown Victoria LX Sport with Stainless Works full exhaust, Addco swaybars, Heinous control arms, Powerslot rotors, Hawk HPS pads
Accufab plenum for a DBW Panther
Blue LED buttons/switches how to

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#4007318 - 03/14/19 11:06 AM Re: Long winded full width taillight thread [Re: ClayBelt]
RF_Overlord Offline

Poobah

Registered: 12/14/02
Posts: 7676
Loc: MA
Consider using some sort of diffuser so we don't see the individual LEDs quite as prominently.
_________________________
'03 Mercury Marauder (The Blackbird)
Trilogy Motorsports supercharged #61
Too many mods to list / Driveway Queen

'04 Grand Marquis LS Limited Edition (Spruce Green)
Daily Driver (Thanks, Adam!)

'00 Grand Marquis GS (Silver)
Rotted frame and broken transmission crossmember
Being resurrected...slowly.

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#4007696 - 03/18/19 11:21 AM Re: Long winded full width taillight thread [Re: ClayBelt]
traksta15 Offline
Member

Registered: 03/31/18
Posts: 103
Loc: oklahoma
this could be very cool.
_________________________


2009 CVPI

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#4007716 - 03/18/19 03:42 PM Re: Long winded full width taillight thread [Re: ClayBelt]
hot__box Offline

Over the Hill

Registered: 09/22/15
Posts: 1740
Loc: Bayou State
Interesting. This is right up my alley. Like what i’m seeing so far. I’m not sure how you visionize the whole thing coming together so here’s my constructive criticisms..

Hopefully you plan on doing the regular tails with LEDs aswell, for a cleaner more uniform appearance. Also, not sure how I feel about the light ‘pattern’ mimicing the mustang taillights. I’d be more partial to a solid on/off pattern.

And on that same note, i too have always wondered about why ford chose the reflector panel instead of putting actual lights (well simply put: cost) on the grand marquis but that’s one thing about 90’s towncars. The first generation had the taillight bar go across the whole rear fascia but was completely dead.. purely reflectors; then, in ‘95 they did a small redesign and included the bulbs in the rear fascia like they should have been the whole time. Of course only for the higher trim levels

Always wished ford did what you’re doing from the start on all whale panthers.. and clipped the pointy part off the taillight housings themselves to produce a long rectangular shape up to the plate bracket

Can’t wait to see the end result.
_________________________
‘94 CVLX
‘99 Cherokee XJ
‘21 F-250

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#4007746 - 03/18/19 08:51 PM Re: Long winded full width taillight thread [Re: hot__box]
ClayBelt Offline

Over the Hill

Registered: 04/03/18
Posts: 1749
Loc: Leon County
Originally Posted By hot__box
Interesting. This is right up my alley. Like what i’m seeing so far. I’m not sure how you visionize the whole thing coming together so here’s my constructive criticisms..

Hopefully you plan on doing the regular tails with LEDs aswell, for a cleaner more uniform appearance. Also, not sure how I feel about the light ‘pattern’ mimicing the mustang taillights. I’d be more partial to a solid on/off pattern.

And on that same note, i too have always wondered about why ford chose the reflector panel instead of putting actual lights (well simply put: cost) on the grand marquis but that’s one thing about 90’s towncars. The first generation had the taillight bar go across the whole rear fascia but was completely dead.. purely reflectors; then, in ‘95 they did a small redesign and included the bulbs in the rear fascia like they should have been the whole time. Of course only for the higher trim levels

Always wished ford did what you’re doing from the start on all whale panthers.. and clipped the pointy part off the taillight housings themselves to produce a long rectangular shape up to the plate bracket

Can’t wait to see the end result.


I’m more partial to the solid on/off as well, but best I could find was either OG 1960’s parts from a Cougar or Thunderbird, or else these SN95 refit boxes. May do the cougar mechanism eventually since I have experience with it, but we will see. Goal will be to do a uniform LED eventually, but that will be version 2.0 with the cougar signal mechanism. Currently I just want to do a bit of a proof of concept/gain some practice with this set and make sure it will even be feasible (wiring being my primary concern). The upgraded version will probably come some point in 2020.
_________________________
There’s a right way, a wrong way, and a janky way to fix something; I don’t usually have the brains or the money to pick the right way.

2001 Chevrolet Tracker LT “Featherbrick” - 6/2016-10/2016 - SOLD
2005 Toyota 4Runner SR5 “Panzer” - 8/2016-4/2018 - SOLD
1966 Ford Thunderbird “Fordy McFordface” - 11/2016-2/2020 - TRADED
2005 Buick LaCrosse CXS “Jumba” - 2/2017-2/2018 - SOLD
2010 Mercury Grand Marquis LS “Touge Sofa” - 4/2018-?
1990 Mazda Miata “Little Boy” - 5/2019-10/2019 - SOLD
1986 Ford Mustang SVO “Touge Fox” - 2/2020-11/2020 - TRADED
1978 MG Midget 1500 - 11/2020-?

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#4007776 - 03/19/19 09:46 AM Re: Long winded full width taillight thread [Re: ClayBelt]
a_d_a_m Offline

3 Orange Whips
Metroplectic

Registered: 10/25/05
Posts: 27907
Loc: Cleveland, OH
This is a sweet idea. Not sure I'd have done it to any of my cars, because I tend to stick with stock lighting, but for you wiring gizmos this is a no-brainer.

Tend to agree with Bob about the diffuser. May make it look a little more OEM.
_________________________

'91 LTD Country Squire (POTM Mar. '19) | '03 Marauder (POTM Nov. '10, Jul. '20) | 2010 P7B (POTM Feb. '21)
formerly: '02 MGM, '04 MGM, '04 MGM v2.0, '04 MM, '07 P71 (POTM Feb. '18), '04 CVLX (POTM Jun. '19 and the best car ever), '03 SAP P71

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#4007872 - 03/19/19 11:44 PM Re: Long winded full width taillight thread [Re: a_d_a_m]
ClayBelt Offline

Over the Hill

Registered: 04/03/18
Posts: 1749
Loc: Leon County
Originally Posted By a_d_a_m
This is a sweet idea. Not sure I'd have done it to any of my cars, because I tend to stick with stock lighting, but for you wiring gizmos this is a no-brainer.

Tend to agree with Bob about the diffuser. May make it look a little more OEM.


Probably going experiment there some as well, currently contemplating holding these in with hot glue to double as a diffuser
_________________________
There’s a right way, a wrong way, and a janky way to fix something; I don’t usually have the brains or the money to pick the right way.

2001 Chevrolet Tracker LT “Featherbrick” - 6/2016-10/2016 - SOLD
2005 Toyota 4Runner SR5 “Panzer” - 8/2016-4/2018 - SOLD
1966 Ford Thunderbird “Fordy McFordface” - 11/2016-2/2020 - TRADED
2005 Buick LaCrosse CXS “Jumba” - 2/2017-2/2018 - SOLD
2010 Mercury Grand Marquis LS “Touge Sofa” - 4/2018-?
1990 Mazda Miata “Little Boy” - 5/2019-10/2019 - SOLD
1986 Ford Mustang SVO “Touge Fox” - 2/2020-11/2020 - TRADED
1978 MG Midget 1500 - 11/2020-?

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#4008490 - 03/27/19 03:53 PM Re: Long winded full width taillight thread [Re: ClayBelt]
Danger2manifold Offline
Member

Registered: 02/23/19
Posts: 253
Loc: Little Poland, CT
I'll third the diffuser. I love this idea though, always thought the rear of the GMQ looked incomplete without the full length tail lights
_________________________
Current Panther:
1999 Crown Victoria LX - 69,420 miles (nice) as of 1/27/21, Toreador red, 18x8 Anthracite Torq Thrust M's, AEM Dryflow panel filter, custom 2.25" dual exhaust with H-pipe, Magnaflow XL mufflers, Jones 22" long 4" slash cut tips, Kenwood KMM-BT225U head unit, PPI A600/4 4-channel amplifier, PPI i650.1 monoblock amplifier, Pioneer 6x8 2-way speakers, two 12" JBL subs in sealed enclosures, 2/2019 to present

Past Rides:
2003 Buick Regal GS Joseph Abboud edition - as close to a Grand National as I'll probably get, traded in 2/2019
1996 Lincoln Town Car Signature - 1st car ever bought, dubbed "The Emancipator" by friends, rear ended and totalled in 5/2016
2002 Buick Rendezvous CXL - passed to me by the folks, handed down to younger brother in 2/2015

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#4008656 - 03/29/19 12:23 AM Re: Long winded full width taillight thread [Re: ClayBelt]
ClayBelt Offline

Over the Hill

Registered: 04/03/18
Posts: 1749
Loc: Leon County
Might make some progress on assembly this weekend. Thinking about using hot glue to both hold it together and work as a diffuser. Thoughts?
_________________________
There’s a right way, a wrong way, and a janky way to fix something; I don’t usually have the brains or the money to pick the right way.

2001 Chevrolet Tracker LT “Featherbrick” - 6/2016-10/2016 - SOLD
2005 Toyota 4Runner SR5 “Panzer” - 8/2016-4/2018 - SOLD
1966 Ford Thunderbird “Fordy McFordface” - 11/2016-2/2020 - TRADED
2005 Buick LaCrosse CXS “Jumba” - 2/2017-2/2018 - SOLD
2010 Mercury Grand Marquis LS “Touge Sofa” - 4/2018-?
1990 Mazda Miata “Little Boy” - 5/2019-10/2019 - SOLD
1986 Ford Mustang SVO “Touge Fox” - 2/2020-11/2020 - TRADED
1978 MG Midget 1500 - 11/2020-?

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#4009024 - 04/01/19 12:03 AM Re: Long winded full width taillight thread [Re: ClayBelt]
CrystalPistol Offline
Banned
Over the Hill

Registered: 10/16/01
Posts: 3474
Loc: Shenandoah Valley
Originally Posted By ClayBelt
Alright, here goes the beginning of what I hope to be a promising journey into the unknown in the realm of cool customizations for those kinda ugly looking Grand Marquis rear fascii…. … etc …..
Oh, yeah, I see now …. you have the kinda ugly tail reflector. wink

Watching thread!

Ours is a reflector, looks lit when headlights are behind us.


Edited by CrystalPistol (04/01/19 12:04 AM)
_________________________

________________________________________ ____________________
Problems huh? Then Read THE Book. Signed: Natural Borne Neanderthal .







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#4116704 - 07/30/21 09:04 AM Re: Long winded full width taillight thread [Re: ClayBelt]
46Mod99 Offline
n00b

Registered: 09/01/19
Posts: 14
Loc: Hudson, New Hampshire
Apologies for necroing an old thread but I am taking on this mod with 3528 LED strips.

_________________________
1999 Lincoln Town Car Cartier 112k and counting :: BiXenon & LED Lamps :: Fog Lights :: Heavy Duty Shocks :: 03+ Headrests
2003 Mercury Grand Marquis GS 161k and counting
1988 Lincoln Town Car Base 87k and counting

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#4116732 - 07/30/21 01:27 PM Re: Long winded full width taillight thread [Re: 46Mod99]
Danger2manifold Offline
Member

Registered: 02/23/19
Posts: 253
Loc: Little Poland, CT
Originally Posted By 46Mod99
Apologies for necroing an old thread but I am taking on this mod with 3528 LED strips.



Sweet! let us know how it turns out, maybe make a build thread
_________________________
Current Panther:
1999 Crown Victoria LX - 69,420 miles (nice) as of 1/27/21, Toreador red, 18x8 Anthracite Torq Thrust M's, AEM Dryflow panel filter, custom 2.25" dual exhaust with H-pipe, Magnaflow XL mufflers, Jones 22" long 4" slash cut tips, Kenwood KMM-BT225U head unit, PPI A600/4 4-channel amplifier, PPI i650.1 monoblock amplifier, Pioneer 6x8 2-way speakers, two 12" JBL subs in sealed enclosures, 2/2019 to present

Past Rides:
2003 Buick Regal GS Joseph Abboud edition - as close to a Grand National as I'll probably get, traded in 2/2019
1996 Lincoln Town Car Signature - 1st car ever bought, dubbed "The Emancipator" by friends, rear ended and totalled in 5/2016
2002 Buick Rendezvous CXL - passed to me by the folks, handed down to younger brother in 2/2015

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#4116754 - 07/30/21 07:23 PM Re: Long winded full width taillight thread [Re: ClayBelt]
46Mod99 Offline
n00b

Registered: 09/01/19
Posts: 14
Loc: Hudson, New Hampshire
I've finished connecting three 10" strips each for the lower reflector section.



This is my first time soldering with these strips. What's working for me is to put a drop of solder on each copper pad first, and have solder already on the ends of the mini 20-22 gauge wire I'm using to bridge the strips, before connecting the wires with the strips.

Hot gluing around the solder joints to strain relief is critical.

I'm physically holding the strips together with packaging tape.

To get them behind the reflector, I use a high speed and high power cutting disc to cut through the outboard edges of the red covers, the LED strips are just low profile enough to slide in. I've not have success breaking the butyl seal (particularly at the lock cylinder) or cutting a panel out the back like ClayBelt's version. All this testing has been done on a junkyard piece, which won't be going on a car again, I've damaged it too much. I haven't attacked my car's yet.

Epoxy and silicone are at the ready to seal the panel back up when I get to that point....

Putting LEDs behind the upper reflector will warrant some sort of additional diffusion, in very limited space. The lower section goes through a dense retroreflector which ends up diffusing the LEDs enough. The upper section doesn't have this. I'll likely leave it unlit.
_________________________
1999 Lincoln Town Car Cartier 112k and counting :: BiXenon & LED Lamps :: Fog Lights :: Heavy Duty Shocks :: 03+ Headrests
2003 Mercury Grand Marquis GS 161k and counting
1988 Lincoln Town Car Base 87k and counting

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#4117024 - 08/02/21 12:08 PM Re: Long winded full width taillight thread [Re: ClayBelt]
playtoyregal Offline
Stranger

Registered: 05/18/21
Posts: 7
Loc: Wisconsin
Nice project. There is definitely some challenges with it.
I had a Marauder for 13 years before getting my 2006 MGM. I definitely am not a fan of the back end look of the MGM. I ended up ordering a new set of 2006 Crown Vic taillights with chrome, yet to install them, and may use them. I also do not like the big empty panel. My Marauder had it painted, like the crown vic, which I was thinking of doing until I saw this thread. I may wait a bit to see how this turns out. I could see something like this on mine.
_________________________
1983 Buick Regal
2004 Mercury Marauder
2006 Mercury Grand Marquis

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