I had been pondering for some time ways to get
more brake light presence in the rear of my Healey. The obvious
solution was to add a third brake light, but I was very reluctant to do
this... partly because I think it detracts from the styling of the car, and
partly because I didn't want to cut holes in anything. So I started
thinking... you know what would be really great? If the turn
signals were also brake lights! Then you'd essentially have 4
brake lights in the rear. Sure, it's not a third brake light in
the middle... but it sure sounds like it would increase brake visibility
So after a bit of research, it turns out this is
something really easy to do!
The key to making this easy is finding a device that
can convert the Healey's rear turn signal lights into both turn signal +
brake lights. And it just so happens that such a device already
exists to do this...
What you're seeing above is the Tri-Star turn signal
to brake light conversion module, from
Corporation. The package is Part No. 01006, and comes
with both the conversion module and the load equalizer module (to get
your turn signal flasher to flash properly without the brake light load
on it anymore). This was originally created (I think) as a mod for
motorcycles... but the same reason for doing it on a bike applies
perfectly to the Healey as well.
The only other thing you need in order to do this
upgrade is some basic wiring supplies and a pair of complete brake
light assemblies - which I bought from NOS Locators on eBay.
The result of doing this upgrade is that ALL FOUR
lenses in the back of your Healey become brake lights... all four coming
on as both running lights and brake lights... with the upper two lenses
still blinking as turn signals! It's really awesome, and was
really easy to do.
I've uploaded a video to YouTube where you
see the brake lights in action...
check it out here!
Here are the basic how-to steps:
Remove your existing turn signal assemblies and
replace them with your new brake light assemblies. You need
the brake light assemblies not just for the red lens, but also for
the dual wire and dual filament bulbs needed for both brake and
Splice the running light wires from your new
assemblies into the existing running lights. I did this simply
by making up some 3-way connector junctions that I could plug
everything into (on each side).
Install both Signal Dynamics modules per the the
detailed schematic and instructions that come in the package.
Very easy to follow. I had to use both - had to use the load
equalizer module in order for the turn signals to blink correctly.
If you have an upgraded electrical flasher instead of a thermal
flasher, you likely won't need the load equalizer. I'm
to do this, because I don't like my blink speed - slightly too slow
So I'm going to try a Tridon EL13 electronic flasher, and then may
remove the load equalizer if all works well.
The Tri-Star module needs an external power
source (in addition to the power it receives from the brake light
wire). I really didn't like the idea of this thing running on
battery power and always being hot... but I also didn't like the
idea of running a whole new ignition wire from the dash to the
trunk... so I connected to the power line that goes to the
fuel pump. I ran the wire from the pump connection, along the
battery cable, and then joined into the existing wiring harness that
went into the trunk. At the end of this wire, I added the
recommended 10 amp fuse in line before connecting to the module.
And that's it! Granted, the wiring stuff is a
bit time consuming and frustrating, but I really didn't have any major
problems. Once it's all done and working, here's what you can
With the ignition key OFF:
All four parking lights turn on.
The bottom two brake lights turn on (and this is
only because I have my brake light switch wired to an always-hot
connection). If you don't have your brake switch rewired, then
no brake lights will come on, just as original.
Turn signals don't work (just like original).
With the ignition key ON:
All four parking lights turn on.
All four brake lights turn on when pressing the
If the brake lights are on (brake pedal pressed):
When the turn signal is activated, the corresponding brake light on
the UPPER light begins to blink. When the turn signal is
deactivated, it goes back to being a solid brake light (assuming the
brake pedal is still being pressed).
When the brake lights are NOT on: When the turn
signal is activated, the corresponding UPPER light blinks.
The photo below shows where I put the two modules,
back to back. They get hidden under the trunk mat...
AN IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT THE
DON'T buy the Tri-Star "XP" module.
You just want the standard Tri-Star, not the "XP" version. The
"XP" version adds running lights... which may sound like what you'd
want, since you need running lights... but it's not. The XP module
enables a single filament to serve as running and brake lights by
supplying a reduced voltage when the brakes or turn signal aren't in
use. If you use this on your Healey, it would mean that the upper
running lights on your new four light system will always be on whenever
the ignition key is on... regardless of whether or not you actually have
the running lights switched on the dash. This looks a bit silly,
so trust me, just get the non-XP version and wire as I've stated here.
If anyone has any questions about any of this, feel free to send me an email!