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LED bulbs in turn signals


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New to this Forum as I recently acquired a 1941 Buick.  Has anyone had experience putting LED bulbs in the tail/stop lights and turn signals?  I understand you need to have an electronic flasher to make them work right.  Is this correct.  Any info on this topic will be appreciated.

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As long as you're just running them in the rear lights, you do not need to modify the flasher, it will work correctly. Leave the front bulbs as incandescents and it'll be fine. Do a forum search for LED bulbs and you will find myriad posts regarding LED bulbs in general and more than a few about LED bulbs in 1941 Buicks in particular. I use them throughout my '41 Limited, as do several other members. It's a well-worn path for you to follow.

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Old mechanical flashers require a certain amount of resistance in the circuit. This heats up the bimetallic strip in the flasher, which causes it to deflect and open the circuit. The resistance in the filaments of the original incandescent bulbs provides this. As Matt points out, if you keep incandescent bulbs in the front, that's typically enough resistance for the flasher to work. I've done this in my 62 Olds (LED in the rear only) and the original flasher works fine. FYI, the LEDs are MUCH brighter than the incandescents.

 

The electronic flasher modules simply use a solid state timing circuit to open and close the turn signal circuit instead of that bimetallic strip. The good news is that flash rate is completely independent from circuit resistance as a result. They work with either LED or incandescent bulbs, or any combination.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi,

ensure you purchase a quality brand of LED.

 

I purchased some that were inexpensive from the Far East but proceeded to spent countless hours diagnosing why they did not work correctly on a ‘38 Buick conversion from front park to park/turn signal.
 

The answer lay in their construction whereby they used a common wire to trigger some of the LEDs to “Dull or park illumination “ then all of the LEDs to “Bright or turn signal”

 

This meant that both sides would flash. I would have had to rewire the whole of the front wiring from standard to get these to work, so in the end chose good old incandescent, just like the old days!

 

Choose carefully!

Rodney 😀😀😀😀😀😀😀

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Interesting discussion.  I changed almost all the lamps in my car to LED's early in 2019 and have been happy ever since.  (The headlight high beams don't seem to "project" out, as incandescents do, but that's another story.)  I did use the electronic flashers, which are a great improvement over the old style flashers.  I was told by the LED supplier (in England) that one must not mix incandescents and LEDs on the same circuit.  However, my front turn signals are still incandescent while the rears are LED, and it all works!   The LED tail / brake / turnsignal lights are brighter than ever, and the dashboard instruments are finally visible at night.  Incidentally, I'm using a 6-volt positive ground system on my 1937 car, for what it's worth.

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