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AndrewX192

How bright is your 3rd brake light?

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How bright is your 2010-2013 3rd brake light? I'm concerned mine may have gotten dimmer over the years and need to be replaced. Thoughts?

 

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I'm still hoping to see someone else's brake light if someone can compare their results. I'm using standard brake lights, and the results shown here are pretty representative of what it looks like in real life.

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My 2014 TC just failed annual inspection due to the 3rd brake light not working, and the local shop wouldn’t touch it. They sent me to the dealer, who said it’s hard-wired in and requires removing part of the headliner to replace. $100 for the part and $180 for labor.
 

The amount of electrical issues I’ve had with this car is making me question ever buying Ford again. My Honda and 2 Subaru’s in the past have - combined - never had this many problems or cost me this much to fix. All had over 100k miles and this car has just over 60k.

 

 Anyway, if you need that light replaced, here’s hoping your generation TC has a light that’s cheaper and easier to replace! 

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Pulling the light is easy and you can test it to make sure it is bad.  The connection at the light is the weak link.  A good shop with a scan tool can definitively  handle it.  

The brightness is also adjustable.

Edited by G B L

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2 hours ago, G B L said:

The brightness is also adjustable.

How do you do that?

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The scan tool allows check the light and increment the brightness. Once you  pull the light , test its operation with test wires and a booster pack.

Edited by G B L

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I should've mentioned, I have the XLT wagon version (with seats, upholstery, etc.) which makes it a bit more difficult to get at a few things.

 

I took a look a couple times, hoping it would be obvious how I could pull the light out and have a look.  I'm usually OK with taking things apart, but in this case I'm assuming this unit, exposed as it is to the elements, must have some weather sealing where the bolts connect to the roof.  I can't find any directions or even a good schematic to show where the fasteners and electrical connections are, so I'm concerned if I start fiddling with it, I'll do more damage and end up worse than it is now.  I can't even find a replacement to purchase, which would be helpful because then I could see where it's bolted in, etc.

 

The dealer said sometimes the connection is bad and they tested the light and confirmed it's bad.  So, clearly they're either lying, or there must be an easy way to get at and connect the electrical lines to a battery to test the light.  I was there about 40 minutes, but they didn't pull my car into the bay right away, so it really didn't take them more than 25-30 minutes to check it all out.  And they had enough time to do a "free" brake inspection in an attempt to drum up some additional business, too.

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Mine is an XLT Passenger also.  If you are not sure about the Dealer pulling the light is easy and checking it with a booster pack is even easier.  Then thee answer will be clear and if the light is bad then you already know how to change it.  Mine tested good and mucking with the plug cured the issue.

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The videos I found on youtube won't help much.  On your van, you will need to pull away the weather seal strip, and remove the headliner.  

17 hours ago, bu11frogg said:

I can't even find a replacement to purchase, which would be helpful because then I could see where it's bolted in, etc.

The part is available from dealers on the InterWeb.  

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Wow @Fifty150, I don't know how you found that brake light photo and drawing!  I searched a long time and only found them for older TC's and full-size Transits!  I did tell the dealer it was a go, but the part hasn't come in yet.  I'm wondering if they'll let me just buy the part and skip scheduling the job.

 

Thanks @Fifty150 and @G B L!

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You haven't paid them for anything yet.  You don't have to let the dealer charge you for whatever parts and labor.  Just cancel it.  Order the part online.  Do it yourself.

 

8 hours ago, bu11frogg said:

don't know how you found that brake light photo and drawing!

 

  I don't know.  You should get the same results with the search on your computer.

 

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Well, I searched for "third brake light" whereas you searched for "high mount lamp".  I didn't know Ford referred to it as that.  Again, thank you!

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You're more than welcome.  Glad I could help out.  That's why we are on these forums.  Exchanging information.  If you cancel your dealership appointment, and decide to do it yourself, maybe you can help the next guy with a few photos and a write-up.  

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You read my mind, @Fifty150!  And yes, you and @G B L were correct, it was quite an easy job.  I had my 11 year old hold the flashlight, but otherwise all I needed for the job was a ¼" ratchet, small extension, 10mm socket, and needle-nose pliers.  And of course, the replacement light, which I did get from Ford for $100 (yes, it's online for a bit cheaper, but oh well).  DT1Z-13A613-A

 

We saved $180 (dealer install price) in less than 30 minutes.  My shrewd 11-year old tried getting me to split the difference...sorry, buddy.

 

For anyone who wants to see the process, here it is.  First, I pulled the headliner down a few inches and put a couple wooden blocks in there to hold the headliner down for me.  

IMG_0286.thumb.jpeg.32e9dc1df08e2411fd0a20baabe8ae57.jpeg

 

There are 3 bolts coming out of the bottom of the new light, and it's easy to identify where those 3 bolts are accessed -- the 3 square holes.  

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Once the nuts are out, lift up the light to get at the wiring.  I squeezed the clip with the needle-nose pliers to pull it out.

IMG_0294.thumb.jpeg.9e67c6353b1d663746a97a9624904b16.jpeg

 

And the old brake light is now free!

 

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Then I cleaned up all the dirt, leaves, etc. to make sure the new foam seal on the bottom of the new light would seat properly and seal out the elements.  Then clip the wire back in and test!  (Don't forget to put the nuts back on if all goes well!)

IMG_0298.thumb.jpeg.ac46c0e75ebdfbc2820274da4260e159.jpeg

 

The whole thing took less than 30 minutes.

 

 

Edited by bu11frogg
Edited to complete the post...accidentally posted an unfinished version.

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Posted by accident so I deleted the content...couldn't figure out how to delete the entire post, sorry!

Edited by bu11frogg

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@AndrewX192  I posted a photo of my 2014 TC above with all brake lights on.  I know it's a different generation, but maybe it'll help.

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1 hour ago, bu11frogg said:

 I had my 11 year old hold the flashlight

 

 

Not everybody has 1 of those.  We will need to find a work-around.  But otherwise, nice work.  Thanks for the photos and write-up.  Speaking only for myself, your contribution is much appreciated.

 

 

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