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Old 08-01-2018, 09:07 PM
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Third Brake Light Question

Hey guys! I added an LED ring break light behind my spare tire and connected it using my third brake light wiring. Works great.

The problem is that I actually need my actual third brake light to work in order to pass inspection. Do any of you know of a Y-adapter or anything I can use so that both my LED ring light and third brake light can work simultaneously?

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Old 08-01-2018, 09:14 PM   #2
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The ring should count as your 3rd. What state do you live in? If you have to have the factory light, just unplug the ring and plug in factory until after inspection is done.

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Old 08-01-2018, 09:26 PM
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Virginia...so about as bureaucratic as it gets.

I could definitely do that, but I'd actually kind of like to have the factory third and LED brake light run simultaneously, if possible. I just don't like the way the dead light looks.
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Old 09-18-2018, 07:34 PM
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Anyone have any ideas? I know connecting the two 3rd brake lights is possible because I've seen it done, I just don't know what kind of wiring I need to make it happen.
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Old 09-18-2018, 08:53 PM   #5
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The Rugged Ridge one I got has a split for your factory third. I just have mine taped off. It's just two wires, you could easily rig it up with some crimp connectors and electrical tape.
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Old 09-18-2018, 09:04 PM   #6
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I believe I've read somewhere on here a debate about this scenario. The answer was to remove the non-functioning 3rd brake light. The gist of the discussion was, most inspection laws say that 'if' you have a 3rd brake light, it must function. This may be different state to state I'm sure.
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Old 09-19-2018, 02:06 AM   #7
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You can tap the power wire feeding your 3rd brake light, it runs from the car, through the nylon wrap at tailgate hinge, across the tailgate behind the plastic piece (this is where I tapped mine), through the inside tailgate and out through the tire carrier area.


2nd pic here shows the wiring: https://www.wranglerforum.com/f274/t...ml#post3572093


I apologize I forget which color wire is power. I used 3M Scotchlok double tap (in-line wire tap), a whole pack is $10 on Amazon here. There's an abundance of styles, brands. All very cheap.


I tapped mine to feed both rear tail/brake lights, because I imported ECE (European) style JW Speaker lights w/ the separate amber turn signal. No issues w/ wiring. The LED amperage draw is low enough that the factory wire can handle the 3rd brake light plus my extra load.
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Old 09-19-2018, 02:32 AM   #8
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You don't need to have your third light operational in Northern VA. I just had my Jeep inspected two days ago in Springfield and I live in Lorton. My spare ring light passed with no OEM light.

What I did get busted for was not having a cover on the light bar on my bull bar.
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Old 09-22-2018, 08:04 PM
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You can tap the power wire feeding your 3rd brake light, it runs from the car, through the nylon wrap at tailgate hinge, across the tailgate behind the plastic piece (this is where I tapped mine), through the inside tailgate and out through the tire carrier area.


2nd pic here shows the wiring: https://www.wranglerforum.com/f274/t...ml#post3572093


I apologize I forget which color wire is power. I used 3M Scotchlok double tap (in-line wire tap), a whole pack is $10 on Amazon here. There's an abundance of styles, brands. All very cheap.


I tapped mine to feed both rear tail/brake lights, because I imported ECE (European) style JW Speaker lights w/ the separate amber turn signal. No issues w/ wiring. The LED amperage draw is low enough that the factory wire can handle the 3rd brake light plus my extra load.
Matt, this is awesome info! Thanks so much for taking the time to get me all this information. Definitely going to give this a shot.
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Old 09-22-2018, 08:08 PM
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You don't need to have your third light operational in Northern VA. I just had my Jeep inspected two days ago in Springfield and I live in Lorton. My spare ring light passed with no OEM light.

What I did get busted for was not having a cover on the light bar on my bull bar.
This is actually super helpful to know and makes me feel a little better. Planning on killing the factory third, just haven't been willing to dish out the money for a new tire carrier yet.

I usually get my cars inspected in Springfield as well. Where do you go?

I also love how's there's absolutely no standard for inspections in NoVA. Brought in my old car last year (which had some pretty significant damage from an accident) and it passed inspection no problem, but then they'll nail you for not having a cover on your light bar...priorities.
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Old 09-24-2018, 02:06 AM   #11
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@schumway Anytime. Reply or hit me with a PM if you need more pics. Im happy to snap some if you need.
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Old 09-24-2018, 09:06 AM
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@schumway Anytime. Reply or hit me with a PM if you need more pics. Im happy to snap some if you need.
I'll almost definitely be doing that. Never spliced wires before, so I'm a little concerned that I'll do something incorrectly and cut all power to my brake lights. For sure wouldn't pass inspection then.
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Old 09-24-2018, 12:12 PM   #13
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I had mine done at Safford Jeep on Loisdale.

Also, Fairwinds Brewery is 3 minutes away. Bring a growler and fill it with some Quayside Kolsh when you're done!
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Old 09-24-2018, 01:23 PM   #14
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I believe I've read somewhere on here a debate about this scenario. The answer was to remove the non-functioning 3rd brake light. The gist of the discussion was, most inspection laws say that 'if' you have a 3rd brake light, it must function. This may be different state to state I'm sure.
Actual answer is that the third eye is federally regulated and that it has to be a proper/certified-compliant light. That ring inside a tire thing is illegal everywhere in North America.
It is RARE that any inspection station is fully aware of this. And rarer that you'd find a LEO that knows or cares.

But, you know me, I have to tell you guys....
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Old 09-24-2018, 04:06 PM   #15
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Actual answer is that the third eye is federally regulated and that it has to be a proper/certified-compliant light. That ring inside a tire thing is illegal everywhere in North America.
It is RARE that any inspection station is fully aware of this. And rarer that you'd find a LEO that knows or cares.

But, you know me, I have to tell you guys....


Hmm.


WV inspection codes are fairly lax. When I had my Jeep inspected in May, the guy that did the inspection actually commented about how cool the LED ring third brake light was as he was putting the new inspection sticker on the windshield.
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Old 09-24-2018, 04:44 PM   #16
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Quadratec states on its website that this light ring is not DOT compliant. From that perspective it should be viewed more like a Christmas light.

I thought a Y-wire was included with the install kit to allow the factory light to work. Isn’t that the case?
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Old 09-25-2018, 01:02 AM   #17
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Quadratec states on its website that this light ring is not DOT compliant.
Good point. Just copy/pasting here for reference for those that hadn't thought of this (I didn't), per Quadratec: "The Quadratec Spare Tire LED Brake Light Ring is a non-DOT approved accessory and NOT intended to replace the original equipment center high-mount stop light."


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I thought a Y-wire was included with the install kit to allow the factory light to work. Isn’t that the case?

If this is the kit (here), then there is a plug-and-play wiring harness with a Y so you keep the 3rd brake light.

Here's the install manual, and here's a video of the install...I tried skip to relevant wiring part:

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Old 09-25-2018, 03:59 AM   #18
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Actual answer is that the third eye is federally regulated and that it has to be a proper/certified-compliant light. That ring inside a tire thing is illegal everywhere in North America.
It is RARE that any inspection station is fully aware of this. And rarer that you'd find a LEO that knows or cares.

But, you know me, I have to tell you guys....
I'm not doubting you... I've seen your write-ups.

But please cite how it's illegal. The guy inspecting my Jeep was a class 1A hardass. I know he'd give me grief about a brake light. He wouldn't even pass me without a light cover for my bumper mounted light bar.

From my understanding the third light has to be center mounted red and steady. No mention of DOT requirements from anyone I've asked. You also get a ton of leeway since it's mounted on a door.

I glossed over the fed mandate... Can't bring myself to dig in at 4am. I'll look in a few hours. I can't find anything making it illegal with a cursory look.
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Old 09-25-2018, 07:36 AM   #19
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I did a skim of FMVSS-108 and cut/pasted a few quick references:

High-mounted stop lamp
High-mounted stop lamp means a lamp mounted high and possibly forward of the tail, stop, and rear turn signal lamps intended to give a steady stop warning through intervening vehicles to operators of following vehicles.

S6.1.3.4.1 Interior mounting. A high-mounted stop lamp mounted inside the vehicle must have means provided to minimize reflections from the light of the lamp upon the rear window glazing that might be visible to the driver when viewed directly, or indirectly in the rearview mirror.

S6.1.3.4.2 Accessibility. Each high-mounted stop lamp must provide access for convenient replacement of bulbs without special tools.

S6.1.4.1.1 A high-mounted stop lamp mounted below the rear window must have no lens portion lower than 153 mm [6 in] below the lower edge of the rear glazing on convertibles, or 77 mm [3 in] on other passenger cars.

S6.1.5 Activation. Each lamp must be activated as specified, in the combinations specified, and in response to the inputs specified in Table I and Table II.

S6.2.1 No additional lamp, reflective device, or other motor vehicle equipment is permitted to be installed that impairs the effectiveness of lighting equipment required by this standard.

S6.2.2 If any required lamp or reflective device is obstructed by motor vehicle equipment (e.g., mirrors, snow plows, wrecker booms, backhoes, winches, etc.) including dealer installed equipment, and cannot meet the applicable photometry and visibility requirements, the vehicle must be equipped with an additional lamp or device of the same type which meet all applicable requirements of this standard, including photometry and visibility.

S6.3.1 No high-mounted stop lamp is permitted to be combined with any other lamp or reflective device, other than with a cargo lamp.

S6.3.2 No high-mounted stop lamp is permitted to be optically combined with any cargo lamp.

S6.4.1 Effective projected luminous lens area. Each turn signal lamp, stop lamp, high-mounted stop lamp, and school bus signal lamp must meet the applicable effective projected luminous lens area requirement specified in Tables IV-a, IV-b, and IV-c.

S6.4.2 Visibility. Each backup lamp, single or combination of dual high-mounted stop lamp(s), and school bus signal lamp must meet the applicable visibility requirement specified in Table V-a.

S6.4.3 Visibility options. A manufacturer must certify compliance of each lamp function to one of the following visibility requirement options, and it may not thereafter choose a different option for that vehicle:

(a) Lens area option. When a vehicle is equipped with any lamp listed in Table V-b each such lamp must provide not less than 1250 sq mm of unobstructed effective projected luminous lens area in any direction throughout the pattern defined by the corner points specified in Table V-b for each such lamp; or

(b) Luminous intensity option. When a vehicle is equipped with any lamp listed in Table V-c each such lamp must provide a luminous intensity of not less than that specified in Table V-c in any direction throughout the pattern defined by the corner points specified in Table V-c for each such lamp when measured in accordance with the photometry test requirements of this standard.
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Old 09-25-2018, 10:31 AM   #20
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Quote:
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I did a skim of FMVSS-108 and cut/pasted a few quick references:

High-mounted stop lamp
High-mounted stop lamp means a lamp mounted high and possibly forward of the tail, stop, and rear turn signal lamps intended to give a steady stop warning through intervening vehicles to operators of following vehicles.
Speaking of which, I’m sure FCA got approval from DOT, but the high-mounted brake light that comes with the optional oversized spare tire carrier barely meets the requirement of a lamp mounted high(er) than the tail lights.



If I were to mount the 3rd light upside down, which can be done either to clear some aftermarket wheel designs or simply in error, the light would sit level with the tail lights, and cease to meet regulation.
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Old 09-25-2018, 10:45 AM   #21
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The problem is that I actually need my actual third brake light to work in order to pass inspection.
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Originally Posted by gillamonstar View Post
The gist of the discussion was, most inspection laws say that 'if' you have a 3rd brake light, it must function.
I agree. In reading thru this, IMHO, the problem is having a 3rd brake light, and that light isn't working.


Though, I also have to agree that some safety inspectors are more anal than others.
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Old 09-25-2018, 10:51 AM   #22
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Speaking of which, I’m sure FCA got approval from DOT, but the high-mounted brake light that comes with the optional oversized spare tire carrier barely meets the requirement of a lamp mounted high(er) than the tail lights.



If I were to mount the 3rd light upside down, which can be done either to clear some aftermarket wheel designs or simply in error, the light would sit level with the tail lights, and cease to meet regulation.

Mustangs have had their 3rd light not much higher than their tail lights for several generations. I am sure others have too.


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Old 09-25-2018, 10:52 AM   #23
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I’ll gladly do anything that improves my safety and that of my loved ones even if it is not required by law in my state. I even activated the DRLs using the AEV ProCal, to make my Jeep more visible to other drivers.

With so many people staring at their phones rather than seeing where they are going, we have to increase our chances of being noticed.
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Old 09-25-2018, 10:57 AM   #24
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Ill gladly do anything to improve my safety and my loved ones even if it is not required by law in my state.

I spliced into my 3rd brake light, a "flasher" I bought off eBay. When my 3rd brake light first comes on, it will quickly flash a few times, and then go steady. Its hopeful that if the driver behind me isn't paying attention, the flashes will get noticed.
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Old 09-25-2018, 11:22 AM   #25
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I spliced into my 3rd brake light, a "flasher" I bought off eBay. When my 3rd brake light first comes on, it will quickly flash a few times, and then go steady. Its hopeful that if the driver behind me isn't paying attention, the flashes will get noticed.
I did that with a motorcycle I had a long time ago. Had a friend that was an undercover LEO with the same kind of bike who did it too. As we were wiring them he says, "you know this is illegal, right?"
In other words, it can't blink and be legal. The one loophole are the lights you see on some emergency vehicles that hyperflashes for a millisecond and then comes on fully; the NHTSA had decided that the time period where it hyperflashes equals the warm-up period of a halogen bulb and it's okay.


Speaking of safety, a NHTSA technical report showed that the CHMSL reduces crashes by 4.3% and it became law that we have them.
https://one.nhtsa.gov/cars/rules/reg...te/808696.html
A different report found that amber turn signals decrease crashes by 5.3% and they never made that a law.
https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api...ication/811115

@epreza50 --- we need amber turn signals in back of our Jeeps...
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Old 09-25-2018, 12:44 PM   #26
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The one loophole are the lights you see on some emergency vehicles that hyperflashes for a millisecond and then comes on fully; the NHTSA had decided that the time period where it hyperflashes equals the warm-up period of a halogen bulb and it's okay.
Actually, that is what I used as an example. The brake lights (all of them, not just the "3rd" brake light... they have about a dozen), will flash on all the local ambulances. Just to clarify, yes, I am talking about the brake lights, not the emergency lights.

Though, on these ambulances, they flash for a lot longer than the warm-up period of a regular bulb.

I live about 1/2 between the ambulance bay and the hospital. So, get behind a returning ambulance several times a week.
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Old 09-25-2018, 12:51 PM   #27
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Actually, that is what I used as an example. The brake lights (all of them, not just the "3rd" brake light... they have about a dozen), will flash on all the local ambulances. Just to clarify, yes, I am talking about the brake lights, not the emergency lights.

Though, on these ambulances, they flash for a lot longer than the warm-up period of a regular bulb.

I live about 1/2 between the ambulance bay and the hospital. So, get behind a returning ambulance several times a week.
Those lights aggravate the living bejesus out of pedantic automotive lighting professionals.
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Old 10-04-2018, 12:46 AM   #28
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The brake lights (all of them, not just the "3rd" brake light... they have about a dozen), will flash on all the local ambulances. Just to clarify, yes, I am talking about the brake lights, not the emergency lights.
Not to revive a dead horse, but we have this outfitted in our fire dept cars. In case curious, the way it's done is the OEM bulb is removed and a LED flashing bulb is installed in its place (Feniex's Cannon, or Whelen, etc).

The bulb's flash patterns usually include a "steady on" or a flash+steady-on. The latter we run (and I frequently see other dept's run), as a safety feature...make the car stopping more visible. Not defending it, and I get why it's annoying to some. But for anyone curious how/why that happens...now you know.

Anyway, you can see this flash+steadyon pattern in this video @1:56 mark:

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