Pickup topper shell brake light alternatives?

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Bill Idaho

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I have an 2003 Dodge 2500 with a fiberglass topper shell mounted on the bed. It came with a brake light flush-mounted centered on the top of the rear. The "third brake light" or whatever it is called. The bulb in it burned out sometime-at least a year ago, and I have gotten quotes to replace the bulb. Apparently the red lens is glued down from the factory (It's a Leer, I think) and it is a relatively major undertaking to repair/replace it since more often than not the lens breaks upon removal. Every quote I got was well over $100.00(!!!!!!?)
Do I have any alternatives? Aftermarket? I plan on keeping this rig and shell for the long term, so I am going to have to do something. The rear glass is tinted, otherwise I would mount something inside.
 
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-Virgil-

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Well, that's unpleasant. You might consider abandoning the original center brake light and mounting an LED light from a GMC Safari or Chevrolet Astro van, if your topper shell has a flat surface (not rounded/angled) at the rear for you to mount it. Or maybe off an older Ford Transit Connect. Whatever you choose, the tricky and important part will be getting the angle right. It has to be oriented exactly as it was on the original vehicle, so if you go to the junkyard, take along a level. You may have to shim the lamp on your camper shell to achieve the correct angle.

Or if there's a flat vertical surface above the hatch or door at the rear of the shell, you could cut an appropriate hole and mount one of these.
 
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SCEMan

SCEMan

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I replaced a similar topper shell brake light on my 2001 Nissan Frontier with an LED assembly a few years ago.. Mine was glued in and fairly easy to remove/replace. I found a vendor on the internet and so far so good.
 
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milehigher

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Get a Universal mount Whelen Ion in Red or Red/white rip out the original wires for the brake light connect to new light if it has white you can connect it to the recerse lights for illumination when backing remember to add a 100 ohm resistor in line to prevent hyperflash if the original blinks with turn signals or flashers will cost about $85 for the light and maybe 20 minutes of your labor 3 X's brighter more effective, guaranteed for 5 years and the LEDS are continous duty rated for 100,000k hours or more ,done!
 
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-Virgil-

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Get a Universal mount Whelen Ion in Red or Red/white

That's bad advice; don't follow it. The CHMSL (center high-mount stop lamp, official name of the 3rd brake light), like all other vehicle lights, is specified in specific detail with regard to its output (intensities throughout a specified vertical and horizontal region) as well as design, construction, and other aspects. It's not just any random red light. "3x brighter" is not an improvement. And why are we talking about blinking or flashing? The CHMSL is supposed to light up in a steady-burning manner. The one and only legitimate exception is a certain variant of a function mostly found only on European-market, European-brand cars, called Emergency Stop Signal (a system that flashes the vehicle's hazard warning lights or its brake lights at 4 Hz under panic-level braking from a vehicle speed over 50 km/h). That system is not present on the vehicle in question here, and there is no other legitimate flashing of the CHMSL. Turn signals? No! The CHMSL is never supposed to blink with the turn signals.

(milehigher, be advised: the lighting modifications you're recommending are illegal and/or unsafe. Rule 11 of this board prohibits advocating illegal or dangerous activity, so this line of discussion will need to end here; we will not be arguing about it.)
 
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eggsalad

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It would be helpful if you could show us a photo the cap/topper/camper shell (a highly regional term!) so we might provide more useful suggestions. If the existing hole is (or can be opened up to) a 2x6 oval, you could use the "stop" portion of an off-the-shelf LED S/T/T light. Or maybe I'm wrong if a "stop" light has different specs than a CHMSL - and someone will correct me.

I'm a huge fan of the Blazer/Jimmy/Astro/Safari CHMSL. They're cheap, durable, and easy to mount. I installed one on my Volvo 245 many years ago.
 
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-Virgil-

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The main stop lights do not have the same specs as the CHMSL, hence the link in post #2 of this thread to a page full of CHMSLs.
 
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eggsalad

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I kind of figured I was wrong on using a stop lamp :) I still like the S-Blazer part, if it can be mounted appropriately.
 
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JasonOk

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Sometimes you can have good luck loosening glue with a heat gun
 
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Bill Idaho

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UPDATE:
I found a replacement on an un-named auction site. The seller claimed they were NOS from ARE. (The brand of my particular shell.) Based on the measurements provided, the photos, and the price ($28.00), I figured what-the-heck. I watched a couple of videos on youtube in regards to removing the original light. No guts-no glory.
When it arrived, it did turn out to be exactly the same as mine- other than the new one was LED. The packaging did say ARE on it, BTW.
Following the "instructions" on the videos, after spending a total of about 3 minutes with a putty knife, another 5 minutes cleaning the residue left over from the adhesive tape, 2 minutes plugging in the wires- I was finished!!!!
Every once in awhile--life doesn't suck.
Thanks to all for the input. (If anyone else has similar issues.....show them this thread.)
 

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