Jump to content

LED sizes and sources

Bill Stewart

Recommended Posts

I would like to install LED's in my 36 (excluding headlights). I am finding the numbers and terms used by different sources confusing. The 36 shop manual labels the original incandescent bulbs #51, 55, 63-L, 81-L, and 87-L. Can someone provide the numbers for the right LED's or point me in the right direction for info? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For others not familiar, be aware, some incandescent bulbs had vertical filaments and some horizontal with different spacing to provide proper focus in conjunction with the style of lens in the headlight. For headlights I would stay with the proper bulb.

Edited by JFranklin (see edit history)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Bill,

you might want to look at SuperBright LED listings. You will have to specify 6Volt rather than Buick but you should find enough there for interior and dash lighting. I used them for 12V Buick and 6V and found their LEDs worked.

good luck

Rodney 😀😀😀😀😀😀

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Old bulbs vary mostly in base type and filament voltage.

A source of specifications & photos is here: https://www.bulbtown.com/Bulbs_By_Base_Type_s/27.htm


If you are replacing  ,for example,  a bulb that used 6 volts as it was installed in your old car

you need to replace it either with an LED that uses the same voltage or you need to

change the 6 volts from your battery to the voltage required by the LED. The LED voltage

requirement will usually be less than what the car supplies. In that case you

insert a voltage dropping resistor in series with the LED replacement so that the LED

gets the proper voltage. A neat calculator to help determine what value 

resistor to use is here: Dropping Resistor Calculator | GTSparkplugs

(note: voltage dropping resistors will heat up; use ones of adequate size so heat is dissipated. )


And if anyone is replacing bulbs with ones of the same type you might

want to check Bob's Antique Radios and Electronics. He has some of them at a very reasonable price.

I have purchased from him and he is reliable.


Here is a nice chart that gives specifications about

a variety of bulbs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In the June 2020 Buick Bugle my article on LED conversion for my 6 volt 1953 Buick Special contained a table for replacing the original incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs.  I have run with the LED bulbs for well over a year now (I did the conversion first and then submitted the article)

and have had great success.  From the table I would suggest you replace bulbs 51 and 55 with SUPERBRIGHTLEDS.com LED # BA9S-WW4-32-6VAC.  I also list bulb 63 not 63-L.  I am not familiar with 63-L or 81-L.   What does the L signify?

For the 63 I suggest you use LEDLIGHT.com # 68798WWBA15S#63, 9 LED and for bulb 81 I suggest LEDLIGHT.com # 78845#1156 BA15S, 6-24 V. 

In the article I explain how each supplier denotes their replacement LED bulbs.   They typically use the basing diagram of 12 volt bulbs to denote the base of the replacement bulb as in the 1156 in the number for replacing bulb 81.

The major differences you will notice is the much reduced battery discharge at idle with the lights on and the much brighter light output.

Good luck with the your conversion.

Joe Indusi, BCA 33493


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Many thanks to everybody!!! But especially to Joe. Joe, I read your article before looking for bulbs. It was perfectly organized and very informative but, of course, couldn't provide the specific detail that I was looking for. My head does not work well for electrical stuff and there were too many choices available on line. I do not know what the "L" means with the 63-L and 81-L but they are shown that way in my shop manual. And Joe, can you recommend a bulb for the stop light, # 87?

The information and sources given by others will also be very helpful.----Turn signals are next! I'll try to go to school first.

Thanks again everybody. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well! I feel really dumb----or at least terribly unobservant! In your very good article Joe, I missed the "Key to Suppliers" which told where to get the bulb part numbers that you listed. Certainly takes the mystery out of things! I could also have helped myself if I had first learned what the abbreviation/code numbers system is all about. Thanks to all of you who did not point out that I should know at least a little bit before expecting to get bailed out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...