Jim Smart
January 20, 2014

Light emitting diode (LED) lighting is finding its way into more and more classic Mustang applications as this relatively new technology becomes more commonplace and affordable. A good example is Dakota Digital’s LED taillight package for the ’70 Mustang, which is easy to install in about one hour without special modifications. All you have to do is disconnect and disassemble the taillight assemblies on each side and install the Dakota Digital LED light modules. These modules plug into existing taillight sockets without cutting or splicing. No electronic modules to sweat out, just easy plug-in installation. All you’re going to need is a 7⁄16-inch deep well socket and a #2 Phillips head screwdriver.

1 Dakota Digital’s LED taillight kit for the ’70 Mustang (#LAT-NR442) offers brilliant trouble free performance void of external modules and specialized connections. Just plug them into existing taillight sockets once you have them secured inside the taillight housings and you’re good to go.
2 Existing 1157 lamps are quite visible. However, they do burn out, get hot, and don’t attract attention as well as LED technology. LED modules can easily last the life of any restoration.
3 The taillight socket is removed, exposing the 1157 twin-filament bulb that provides OE parking and brake/turn signal lighting. We’re going to shelve the incandescent bulb for better technology that will far outlast Thomas Edison’s glass envelope.
4 The ’70 taillights are removed beginning with a deep-well 7⁄16-inch socket on the four flanged nuts inside the trunk. Once the four nuts are removed, the taillight bezel and reflector come out like this.
5 The taillight lens is removed next using a #2 Phillips head screwdriver. Check gasket integrity, replace as necessary.
6 The lens is then separated from the reflector. This is the time to examine the reflector for rust and discoloration.
7 Adhesive included in the Dakota Digital kit is applied where the LED module will be mounted. The clear lens is a diffuser designed to spread light across the lens.
8 This image shows where the LED module mounts are in red.
9 Here, the Dakota Digital LED module has been glued to the lens and is ready for installation. Wait for the adhesive to cure before assembly.
10 The module and lens are installed with the wire lead fed through the reflector. It is suggested you use a rubber grommet around this passage to prevent short circuits. Now you can reinstall the lens.
11 The reflector and bezel are reinstalled and secured using a 7⁄16-inch deep well socket. Do not overtighten fasteners.
12 The Dakota Digital LED taillight module plugs into your Mustang’s sockets in place of the 1157 lamps. Wrap these leads in Painless Wiring’s Power Braid or electrical tape for protection.
13 Check it out—brilliant, attention getting light designed to last for many years without maintenance or replacement.


New Life For Old Lenses

Who says you can’t do anything with faded taillight lenses? Certainly not Meguiar’s, which brings us PlastX Clear Plastic Cleaner & Polish (#G12310). Rub this stuff into your Mustang’s taillight lenses and give them a pinch of elbow grease. You will be amazed at the luster and clarity when you are finished.