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Old 12-05-2019, 02:43 PM   #1
Upstate Saturn
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2001 SL2
Default Any way to make tail lights and brake lights brighter?

Is it possible to get brighter bulbs for the tail lights and brake lights? I saw a couple of threads here that didn't recommend it due to the older wiring design not working with newer bulbs, but since the threads were a few years old, I thought I'd pose the question again.

...
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2001 SL2 manual - original owner - remanufactured engine at 228k miles, December 2015
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Old 12-05-2019, 02:47 PM   #2
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2001 SC2
Default Re: Any way to make tail lights and brake lights brighter?

LED's may help but you'd have to get the correct color for each position, otherwise I believe 30 series bulbs are upgrades on 10, 11 and 20 series. I believe stock bulbs are 1157, so you'd look for 3057: https://shop.advanceautoparts.com/p/...lbp2/5080916-P

I don't remember if the S-Series uses a round base or a wedge base for the bulb (the 3057 I linked to is a wedge base), verify the one you get has the correct base and correct number of filaments.

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Old 12-05-2019, 10:49 PM   #3
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1997 SL2
Default Re: Any way to make tail lights and brake lights brighter?

The S-Series uses a round base

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Old 12-06-2019, 01:37 AM   #4
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Default Re: Any way to make tail lights and brake lights brighter?

I've had great luck with the wire harness generally, and lights on both my '97 & 2000 S cars. On the '97 i renewed the headlamps fixture because 1.) lens yellow, 2.) reflective backing corroded dull, 3.) level adjustments frozen-corroded.

Some folks have experienced leaking water into the rear light fixture. If the bulb sockets get wet, the connections can degrade due to corrosion.
Sometimes cleaning the bulbs/sockets can improve the illumination. Sometimes a thin coat of silicone dielectric can exclude moisture from clean contacts.

If wet lamps maybe try good dry ones from a wrecking yard.

I do think brighter bulbs are available-check base,voltage,lumens...
but frequently a brighter bulb will burn out sooner. There may be aircraft bulbs available for the brakes (they are illegal for headlamps.

For the 'upper' brake light array, red LEDs would probably be better because they create less heat (use less power).

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Old 12-07-2019, 01:57 AM   #5
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: Any way to make tail lights and brake lights brighter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Upstate Saturn View Post
Is it possible to get brighter bulbs for the tail lights and brake lights? I saw a couple of threads here that didn't recommend it due to the older wiring design not working with newer bulbs, but since the threads were a few years old, I thought I'd pose the question again.
Interesting thread. I believe wiring for 3rd gen Saturns is improved over original first gen to correct original weaknesses. With that in mind, if there were any issues with 3rd gen lighting/wiring issues, there should be threads about them. Presuming there aren't any, I would tend to think if brighter brake lights are considered then some factors should be considered if brighter lamps can fit; lens body accommodating any extra heat, sockets relatively free of severe corrosion preventing good electrical flow, and other things.

At the least, start with the basics - what wattages are used in original brake lights. Using the 1157 round base images, the card indicates two wattages - 26.9w and 8.3w. I presume 26.9w for brake lighting, 8.3w for rear running light. I would use these two wattages as baseline values when looking for brighter lamps with assumptions of higher wattage interpreted as brighter lighting. Be aware that led lamps may mislead by conveniently leaving out any references to wattage and use lumens. Equivalent wattage is one misleading method while lumens is more accurate. The problem is converting wattage to lumens and vice versa to find compatible lamps meeting original wattage then finding brighter lamps to achieve your goal of brighter brake lights. I mention this because of a similar issue when attempting to replace dome lights with leds.

In my case, I have three dome lights; two for right or left rear passenger use and the main dome light for general lighting. I bought three leds and found they didn't improve on lighting. My mistake was assuming replacement leds would be plug 'n play and brighter when they were actually dimmer than expected. I kept the two rear leds but returned the main led as it was lower in equivalent wattage then the original. Some things don't work despite good intentions.

It's a little unusual for anyone to ask for brighter rear brake lights when the tendency is to darken/smoke the red lens and replace lamps for leds. This tends to have a two fold effect of lowering brake lighting. While no one has reported being stopped for dimmed rear lighting, this may be a safety issue as far as warning the rear driver about braking at night when these smoked lenses and led conversions dim DOT standards for rear illumination. As always, its a personal choice.

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Old 12-07-2019, 05:16 AM   #6
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: Any way to make tail lights and brake lights brighter?

Forgot to include this image.....
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 1157 dual filament lamps.jpg (66.7 KB, 12 views)

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Old 12-07-2019, 07:52 AM   #7
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2001 SL2
Default Re: Any way to make tail lights and brake lights brighter?

My 3rd gens both use the wedge style bulbs

in my 2001 I have LL 3157
https://www.sylvania-automotive.com/...7_longlife.jsp

in my 2002 I decided to try out the Sylvania ZEVO Super Bright 3157R
https://www.sylvania-automotive.com/.../3157_zevo.jsp

They are brighter but not that much brighter TBH especially not bright enough to justify the $20 price tag

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Old 12-07-2019, 06:54 PM   #8
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2001 SC2
Default Re: Any way to make tail lights and brake lights brighter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by me.theuser View Post
My 3rd gens both use the wedge style bulbs

in my 2001 I have LL 3157
https://www.sylvania-automotive.com/...7_longlife.jsp

in my 2002 I decided to try out the Sylvania ZEVO Super Bright 3157R
https://www.sylvania-automotive.com/.../3157_zevo.jsp

They are brighter but not that much brighter TBH especially not bright enough to justify the $20 price tag
$20!? They're $8 for 2 at the 50-100% overpriced FLAPS! lmao (they're under $4 on Amazon...)

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Old 12-07-2019, 07:16 PM   #9
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1997 SL2
Default Re: Any way to make tail lights and brake lights brighter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by me.theuser View Post
]in my 2002 I decided to try out the Sylvania ZEVO Super Bright 3157R
https://www.sylvania-automotive.com/.../3157_zevo.jsp

They are brighter but not that much brighter TBH especially not bright enough to justify the $20 price tag
An LED is usually only brighter if you use a color that matches the lenses. Red for brake light, amber for turn signal...

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Old 12-07-2019, 09:24 PM   #10
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2002 SL2
Default Re: Any way to make tail lights and brake lights brighter?

I have replaced the dome, side lights, trunk, and backup lights with LEDís...
https://www.superbrightleds.com/

...
2002 Silver SL2, manual, 5th gear swap (.605), 80,000 miles, black badges,
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Old 12-08-2019, 01:02 PM   #11
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Default Re: Any way to make tail lights and brake lights brighter?

The ZEVO 3157R is the red version, main issue is that the LEDs point towards the reflector and the Saturn reflectors are silver spray paint rather than real reflectors


fetchitfido maybe your FLAPS and Amazon are different than mine??
Attached Images
File Type: jpg zevo.jpg (162.6 KB, 33 views)

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Old 12-08-2019, 03:35 PM   #12
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1998 SC2
Default Re: Any way to make tail lights and brake lights brighter?

Yes there is and there above that will really do the job either.

eBay item number:
392454597802

Once you get into these you will see many different LED drivers for multifunction use. The rear body support tends to kick-up slightly from the wheel suspension back to the bumper shield enough to hide a pair of these wired as white lights an placed inboard of the rear tires on that rear structure and still not get scraped off. The really do fix the backup light problem. All the put a better bulb in it fail from either heat, useless housing design or both. This will work and there may actually be a couple of holes that make this a bolt on and they will not overload existing Saturn backup light wimpy wiring. They are also usually lower cost.

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