Opera lamp electroluminescent EL strip replacement procedures 1988 5th Ave

Interior and Electrical

  1. Master M

    Master M Well-Known Member

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    Start by disconnecting your battery negative cable. Test your new light strips and make sure they work properly. Remove the triangle shaped interior door piece directly behind the opera lamp by carefully getting under it and prying it out from the 3 clips holding it in. Next, protect your paint directly under the exterior area of the chrome lamp assembly. Scribe around the speed nuts before loosening. Remove the speed nuts exposed on the interior where you removed the padded triangle shaped piece. Hang on to the exterior lamp assembly as you remove the nuts. Tilt the exterior assembly away from the top to expose the wiring and old inverter. Remove any silicone like caulking used to fill holes for wiring. Now you have to disconnect the wiring and remove the nuts holding the chrome lamp housing to the large exterior triangle piece. Try not to pull up on the piece too much to avoid pulling the vinyl top material out from the trim piece. Once you have the assembly removed, mark the top and bottom for reassembly. Take out the clear plastic and housing assembly. This is a good time to wax the chrome of the housing and set it aside. Take the opera lamp itself and slide a razor blade carefully at one corner where the clear lens is glued to the black housing. Slowly work the clear lens from the black housing. Once the clear lens is removed, scrape any dried glue from the mating surfaces on the lens and housing. Snip out the wire leads and remove the old EL strip. The new strips are made to be cut to any length you need. Cut to about 12" long (measure your old one first). Test the strip again after cutting it. The new strip will be placed in the black housing with the wire lead at the top. Next, take a file the same width as the heat shrink wire lead assembly on the EL strip and file a groove into the black housing so the wire lead lays flush to the mating surface of the black housing. Clean the black housing with isopropyl alcohol. Next, take five 1/2" wide strips of thin double-sided side molding tape and space them evenly on the black housing where the strip will lay in the center of the housing. Clean the BACK SIDE (non-glowing side) of the EL strip with isopropyl alcohol. Peel off the protective layer on the strips and carefully lay and press the EL strip into place. This would be a good time to polish the clear lens if needed before gluing it on. Next apply glue (I used Loctite stik'n seal outdoor adhesive. Don't use a 2 part epoxy or something that would be hard to remove if you had to). Put a bead of the glue on the black housing sealing area and immediately lightly press the clear housing onto the black housing. You can hold it in place until the glue tacks up. After it has set up, look around the clear lens and make sure there is a good bond. If there are some places where the glue is a little thin add some to those areas. Let dry overnight. Test the strip again. Dry fit the assembly and mark where to drill a hole where the EL strip connector will pass through. Using 2 pieces of double sided tape mount the new inverter right above the original one. Fill any holes with silicone caulk. Carefully reassemble making sure the clear lens is positioned properly in the opening. Start your speed nuts using the scribe marks to line up your assembly, and tighten the speed nuts. Test your opera lamps with your headlight switch. Please use this info as a guide. I did this project 3 months ago.

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  2. Captain Caravelle

    Captain Caravelle Moderator--Mopar Maniac

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    Excellent!
    Thank you!
     
  3. alf44

    alf44 Well-Known Member

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    very good info
     
  4. Mr C

    Mr C Well-Known Member

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    This article should be preserved like the Lean Burn one...
     
  5. Captain Caravelle

    Captain Caravelle Moderator--Mopar Maniac

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    I agree.
     
  6. Monkeyed

    Monkeyed Well-Known Member

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    THE FOLLOWING IS THE ACTUAL INSTALL WITH PICS AND DESCRIPTION FROM OUR MEMBER MONKEYED

    Here is his original post....


    http://www.forfmjbodiesonly.com/cla...t-wish-quot-list&p=36275&viewfull=1#post36275


    Ok, so the installation was pretty straight forward. A couple minor things to look out for, but other than that went very smoothly.

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    I just popped this out to use for splice into with the new kit wiring.

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    I like to put the fasteners in the ashtray. keeps them in one easy to find place, and I can keep each side's separated from each other.

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    Have to be careful removing the clear plastic cover. It looks like they were either joined with heat, or some kind of chemical process, either way they're melted together. That and mine were a bit brittle with age.

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    Test fitting, the replacement strip isn't as wide as the original, so it's important that it's centered in the housing. As you can see, I bought the cut to fit piece, and planned to run the wire out the bottom (more on that later).

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    I just trimmed the end off to fit with a pair of scissors, and used the 3M mounting tape to secure it in place.

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    I used RTV Black around the edges, because it's tough, rubbery, will form a nice watertight seal, and unlike silicone will also be resistant to heat and temperature changes for many years to come. just a little cheap insurance. Again I had to be careful with how tight I clamped these since they're becoming brittle with age, and exposure..

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    This is the other side, as you can see I just cut thin strips of the mounting tape and set them in a row.

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    This is the problem I ran into with trying to run the wire out of the bottom, easy enough fix..

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    I just flipped it and have the wire running from the top, I doubt anyone would ever know the difference.

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    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 26, 2014
  7. Monkeyed

    Monkeyed Well-Known Member

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    Part 2

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    Test fitting, you can kind of see where I drilled the hole for the wire on the top of the one in the background.

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    I decided to just mount the new inverter next to the old heat sink. Another important point, if you're going to splice into the old connector, (and why wouldn't you?) black is positive, and white is ground for some reason.

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    Neatened up a bit, I put more RTV on the connectors that are between the electrical tapes, only because it's likely to be exposed to water, and I don't want that corroding.

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    All buttoned back up, and working like a charm!

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    Trashy, but Classy!

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    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 26, 2014
  8. Mr C

    Mr C Well-Known Member

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    Monkeyed: Thanks for the research and the excellent "How to" that you provided.

    The only thing I'd like to mention is that glowhut said for me NOT to cut the strips, so I had to make their 12 inch by 1.25 inch strips fit and hang outside the factory backing plate...otherwise I followed your directions and the results are great !

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