$5 3rd brakelight fix - DYI

Old 01-25-2016, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by SNOWDOGG View Post
I am not the best at soldering and found this to be beyond my ability. Impossible IMO to soldier without removing the circuit board from the assembly which is braced into place and also is retained by both the + and - contacts which are also soldered. maybe if I had two more hands I could do it..... but soldering from the top of the board with the larger 1N5404 is a very difficult task. Just a warning to the people without soldering experience. Wasted 2+ hours and a trip to radio shack before giving up. I hope it works for everyone else!
I have never soldered before and I tried this over the weekend. Got the 1N5404 and a soldering iron for $12 at radio shack.You cant melt the current solder on the old diode and pull it out. You have to break the diode off. I used an exacto knife and "sawed" off one end of the old diode and then was able to twist off the other end. The larger 1N5404 is harder to solder because theres not that much space to place the solder without touching the plastic housing or other parts on the board. The key is the bend the ends of the new diode downwards so its an upside down "U" and then cut it shorter with wire cutters and then match it up with the existing solder connections. Then solder in place.

I was able to do all this in about an hour or so since this was my first time. When I connected everything back, the lights worked. However after a couple days the lights are now not working. Not sure if I did something wrong. I read on another forum that someone bought a red led strip from amazon (In Amazon search: red led strip) and then soldered the power harness to the new strip. The strip has tape on the back of it and you can place it right over the existing leds. I'm gonna give that a try since its only $6 for the strip and since I now have a soldering iron. Will report back.
Old 01-31-2016, 06:02 PM
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I just got done with this repair as I also had dim led's on my 3rd brake light. I bought a pair of 1N4005 Diodes from Radio Shack for $1.49 which did the trick. Instead of removing the bad diode, I soldered the new diode to the existing diode in parallel. Works great! A buck fiddy and I'm back in business!
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Old 05-22-2016, 12:09 AM
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Huge thanks to the OP for this great post. I will warn others that his 3 amp diode is too large for the through holes on the circuit board. I had to shave them down. Therefore i recommend sticking with the original diodes. Lastly on the removal, i completely agree with another post here that cutting it in half and then pulling out one leg at a time is best.
Old 02-26-2017, 04:08 PM
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Tried the resistor method, but some of the bulbs were still out and it wouldn't work consistently (might be my horrible welding skills at play). Got on ebay and ordered some led strips and attached in place of the old one (cut to fit and taped up). Seems to be working for now. It looks dim, but in-person it's much better. Hopefully those cops won't give me **** at night again

P.S. For those with sedans, the easiest way to get to the passenger side screw is to drill a hole in the sheet metal. I didn't see any other way, other than getting to it from the inside, but that's whole 'nother pita right there.


Last edited by 99zx2turd; 02-26-2017 at 09:02 PM.
Old 06-10-2017, 01:55 PM
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Thanks a bunch!

I took my G35 in for the annual inspection yesterday, and it failed because the 3rd brake light was not functioning. I had no idea that it wasn't working so I started looking for the possible causes and stumbled upon your post. This morning I went to my local surplus electronics parts dealer and bought 3 diodes (IN5404) for 12 cents each! Snipped off the failed diode and soldered in the IN5404 and voila, everything is now working again. If this hadn't worked, the cheapest replacement was $119.95, and I saw them as high as $329.99! So many thanks for the tip, saved me a bundle!

BTW, I snipped the old diode off at the diode body, lifted the "legs" up, "tinned" them and tinned the thicker 3A diode legs and soldered them together ... worked like a champ! There was no need to remove the old diode completely, if I had tried, it might have damaged the circuit board, this way I had a solid solder peg to solder to. Just FYI if any of you want to do it this way!

Last edited by Greg G35; 06-10-2017 at 02:01 PM.
Old 06-10-2017, 09:28 PM
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I ended up installing some side firing ones in place of the OEM ones for a more complete look when mine went bad.

Thanks for the bump.
Old 06-09-2018, 06:49 PM
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I know this post is old, but I just wanted to thank you, this worked great. I had a little problem de-soldering the old diode because the board is held in by plastic. I used wire snippers to snip the plastic holding the board down, and had to de-solder the two metal clips that are ground and positive for the led's. The new diode's post were too fat to fit in where the old diode was. So I made a mound of solder and basically shoved the posts in the solder. Either way it worked fine, and I also added a $7 LED strobe controller from eBay while the light was out. All in all the project worked out great!

Update, the beefier diode fix only lasted a little more than month unfortunately ... i broke down and bought a red LED strip from ebay. they are 6 on a strip so it should fit pretty good. i was really hoping diode would last a while. It did definitely work for a little though. It also seems like it works when it's cooler but in the afternoon heat it does not. oh well.

Last edited by bigwass42; 07-23-2018 at 09:32 PM.
Old 11-08-2018, 10:56 AM
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Well I tried the diode fix but it did not work.
I did find a red LED strip for about $10 that seems to be a direct replacement. I have some minor fabrication to do but that is easy. Pics attached.
Old 11-08-2018, 01:32 PM
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I just bought the LED replacement available for $40 on eBay as I wanted a PNP option.
Old 11-08-2018, 05:51 PM
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I just finished installing the LED unit. The fabrication was minimal at best. Best part, IT WORKS!

Last edited by B52Rule; 11-08-2018 at 10:56 PM.
Old 11-15-2018, 11:14 AM
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Cheap fix. No real fabrication, just attach the original connector to the module.

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