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Old 08-19-2011, 10:42 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Truck trailer LED lights

Posting this here instead of hi-jacking the headlight thread

We tried LED tail lights on the trucks here, but the lights kept getting covered in snow when driving through snowstorms, and the drivers would get ticketed by the cops as soon as they got back into clear weather, so we had to switch back to incandescent tail lamps

The lights aren't getting snow that falls ON them, they are getting snow sucked onto them from the vortex created by the squared off rear of the trailer. The trailer can be totally impaced with snow in under an hour during a snowstorm, and there's not always somewhere safe that you can pull over and wipe the snow off (Think of two lane highways for example).

There was a lengthy discussion about the problem with one of the LED tail light manufacturers (I think it was Truck-lite) on a call-in show a few years back. Their rep thought it was snow falling on the light rather than being sucked onto the light and recommended flush mounting the lights rather than having them recessed by an inch. They have to be recessed by an inch so they dont get smashed off at the loading docks - but that wouldn't have fixed the problem anyway, since the problem is snow being blown onto the lights, not building up from the ledge below.

one of the drivers suggested the heater as well, but the light manufacturer said that if the trailer was designed for LED lights, the whole point was to reduce the weight and cost of the trailer by using lighter gauge copper wiring, and adding a heater to the circuit would require that all of the wiring be changed to the heavier gauge stuff.

School buses in this area get to use LED lights because they aren't as tall - they have what looks like a spoiler on top, and it's sole purpose in life is to blow air down the back of the bus to keep snow off the lights. That would be the solution for a truck trailer too, but we can't put a wing on top cause they would get knocked off by older bridges that have no extra clearance. Not sure if they get any other aero benefits from their spoilers, but the main purpose is to blow snow off the LED tail and warning lights.



In regional driving in more southern areas that dont get quite as much snow as northern Wisconsin, LED lights are very nice - they allow making the trailer lighter by using less copper in the wiring, the alternator can be lighter, the engine doesn't have to work as hard for lights, parking lights can be left on longer without running the main engine.

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Old 08-20-2011, 12:03 PM   #2 (permalink)
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How about waxing the lights so the cover doesn't let snow stick?
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Old 08-20-2011, 01:14 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I don't think we ever tried waxing the lights - if I ever get the opportunity, I'll try it. I've mostly stopped driving big rigs though, so probably won't get a chance any time soon.
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Old 08-20-2011, 04:25 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I think there was an issue with LED lights being used for road signs in cold and snowy areas for the same problem. The older style bulbs melted the snow so the signs were clear but the LED versions didn't and so were invisible.
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Old 08-20-2011, 07:20 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arragonis View Post
I think there was an issue with LED lights being used for road signs in cold and snowy areas for the same problem. The older style bulbs melted the snow so the signs were clear but the LED versions didn't and so were invisible.
I've seen that issue with traffic lights in Flagstaff. The wind packs the snow into the lights, making them invisible. The lights facing the opposite direction are clear.
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Old 08-23-2011, 03:48 AM   #6 (permalink)
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good
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Old 09-07-2011, 01:11 AM   #7 (permalink)
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This is the exact reason my pickup doesn't have led taillights. I don't feel like changing them out every winter, kind of sucks.
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Old 01-07-2013, 05:16 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by p38fln View Post
Posting this here instead of hi-jacking the headlight thread

We tried LED tail lights on the trucks here, but the lights kept getting covered in snow when driving through snowstorms, and the drivers would get ticketed by the cops as soon as they got back into clear weather, so we had to switch back to incandescent tail lamps

The lights aren't getting snow that falls ON them, they are getting snow sucked onto them from the vortex created by the squared off rear of the trailer. The trailer can be totally impaced with snow in under an hour during a snowstorm, and there's not always somewhere safe that you can pull over and wipe the snow off (Think of two lane highways for example).

There was a lengthy discussion about the problem with one of the LED tail light manufacturers (I think it was Truck-lite) on a call-in show a few years back. Their rep thought it was snow falling on the light rather than being sucked onto the light and recommended flush mounting the lights rather than having them recessed by an inch. They have to be recessed by an inch so they dont get smashed off at the loading docks - but that wouldn't have fixed the problem anyway, since the problem is snow being blown onto the lights, not building up from the ledge below.

one of the drivers suggested the heater as well, but the light manufacturer said that if the trailer was designed for LED lights, the whole point was to reduce the weight and cost of the trailer by using lighter gauge copper wiring, and adding a heater to the circuit would require that all of the wiring be changed to the heavier gauge stuff.

School buses in this area get to use LED lights because they aren't as tall - they have what looks like a spoiler on top, and it's sole purpose in life is to blow air down the back of the bus to keep snow off the lights. That would be the solution for a truck trailer too, but we can't put a wing on top cause they would get knocked off by older bridges that have no extra clearance. Not sure if they get any other aero benefits from their spoilers, but the main purpose is to blow snow off the LED tail and warning lights.


In regional driving in more southern areas that dont get quite as much snow as northern Wisconsin, LED lights are very nice - they allow making the trailer lighter by using less copper in the wiring, the alternator can be lighter, the engine doesn't have to work as hard for lights, parking lights can be left on longer without running the main engine.
I am planning to have led parking lights for my truck. Can you tell me some reliable site to purchase them?
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Old 01-07-2013, 05:23 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Napa has the m I believe i got mine on ebay , check the specs though some, will fit but arent near as bright. .
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Old 01-07-2013, 09:25 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Most truck stops sell the standard 3057 and 1157 lights in LED form (in both regular and NA / amber styles) which are found on almost every vehicle ever made, and the round snap in lights you find on most semi-trailers, also in LED form. They're about $20 a bulb the last time I checked, which was several years ago.

Be careful doing this though - LED lights are far more directional than their incandescent counterparts, if you have wrap-around tail-light you need an LED light that has LED's pointing around the edges of the bulb too.

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