High level brake lights and indicators

Installed a 3rd level brake light 9 years back as a ‘temporary’ solution to make it clearer when I was using the brakes. I’ve been meaning to install something cleaner that’s not partly covered by the spare wheel cover. I’ve also noticed that my indictors could be clearer, people don’t seem to see them. This is either because they are quite low or the angle makes it more difficult to see them.

I found some LED tail lights from the motor bike aftermarket made by Kellermann model Atto DF. There are versions that are brakes only but the ones I bought are tail, indictor and brake combined.

The LED lights are very small, but very bright.

Here’s one unit next to the regular rear lights.

Bench testing the lights – they leave bright spot in your eyes!

In order to mount these I dug into more of the motorbike aftermarket, ordering this bracket from – this is a P clamp made by Kuryakyn, and a Kellerman Atto rigid mounting M8 x 20mm which fits nicely into the P clamp. The clamp mounts to my seatbelt bar which is 1.25″ cold drawn steel. The aluminium spacer is removed to fit on the 1.25″ pipe.

I also tried a Kellermann Bullet Atto extension 15mm to see what the lights were like a bit higher up – wasn’t needed to clear the spare wheel cover and didn’t look as good.

The M8 bolts that came with the Kellerman M8 x 20mm where silver, so I dug out some more compact nuts and powder coated them gloss black.

One came out perfect and one with a bit of chip, but you can’t see that when mounted.

Test fit with all the parts

The wires that come out the bottom are quite thin. To make these look nicer and protect them I covered them in shrink tube and zip tied them to the seatbelt bar and roll bar.

To get the wires inside the tub I added a hole and rubber grommet big enough to put spade terminals through.

The second stage of the projected required the entire boot area to be taken out so I could get to the rear wiring loom.

This is the exposed loom, I spliced into to the tail lights, indictor left and indicator right. There was already a cable for the brake lights, plus an extra 12v+ and a ground.

Put a PVC cover over the new wires, used shrink tubing and insulating tape to tidy up the loom. I added some weather sealed connectors at the other end.

From the rear car loom into the tub I created a small loom just for the lighting cables. I left the ground separate so at a later date I can use it for also grounding an interior boot light. The 4 pin is all the rear light connections.

I went a bit overboard and ran wires for the left and the right indictor to both sides – oops. Maybe some day I’ll need them.

So one of the wires on each side is covered up. I used coloured shrink tube to make it easy to connect the spade terminals together correctly.

I added a large hold in the side panel big enough to fit the 4 pin connectors through.

The final part of the process was to tie up the cables along the top of the tub so they are not hanging down. Then mount all the rest of he boot interior panels and boot hatch back onto the car.

The final result – nice and clear high level brake lights and as a bonus supplementary indictors.



Reverse a switch – upated brake fuild level warning circuit

On a 1988 car the brake level sensor works the opposite way around to a 2011. On the 1988 when the brake level gets low the switch connects the circuit and turns the light on. On the 2011 it is the other way around, a reed switch is close so there is power through the circuit until the fluid gets low and opens the circuit.

This presents a problem when you use a 2011 level sensor on a 1988 circuit. Fortunately there is a solution in the form of a relay. It needs to be a normally close type. Or one with open and closed contacts, but connect to the NC terminal. Normally closed means if no power is applied to the relay it is close.

The normally close part of the relay replaces the old level switch. This means when power is applied to the relay the circuit is open and the light is off. When power is cut the circuit closes and turns the light on.

Power is taken from ignition runs through the relay and the new level sensor. This means the relay is power as long as ignition is on and the brake fluid is full. 

The advantage of the new brake sensor circuit is that it will pick up low fluid but also any brakes in the wiring to the sensor.

Shiny new brake level sensor

New relay, normally closed. Pin 30 and 87a take the place of the old sensor, Pin 30 and 86 take power from ignition and are connected to the new sensor.

Used a ratcheting crimper to – highly recommend getting one of these as it makes crimping terminals really easy.

Couple more terminals, these go into the car’s E30 1988 circuit.

This handy relay holder/fuse holder combo makes it easy to change should the relay ever fail, or if the fuse blows.

Using a power probe to test the relay, it simulates the new level sensor circuit, with power applied the brake warning light is off, this would be the normal state when the car is on.

Power disconnected from the relay the warning light turns on – if the fuse blows, the brake level is low or a wiring breaks it will show the warning light.

All the wires added to the fuse and relay holder.

Zipped tied up into place under the dash where it’s easy to get to and service if needed.



Reassembly, paint, lighting, electrics

The rear wings, tub and spare cover are back from for some touch up work and removal of all the stone chips on the wings! The wings were starting to look more stone chip hole than paint on the front. To protect the wings this time I purchased some 3M VentureShield from – I made a pattern using paper first then cut out the 3M stone chip protection film and applied. It took a lot of soapy water and work with the squeegee to get everything stuck down.

After fitting the stone chip protection film, I installed the new 3D printed light covers:

Wiring updated for the new inner LED lights:

Stuck the rear tub back on, this time using A316 stainless ‘A4’ nuts and bolts, these shouldn’t go rusty as easily as the previous 304 stainless ones. Got the nuts and bolts from

Decided to use vinyl wing piping from instead of the rubber trim that’s been on there since 2005 (that had started to go solid). The texture on the trim is very nice.

Next it was time to tackle some electrical, this tool from (via is an invaluable tool for dealing with 12v car electrics. It will tell you if you have a ground, or a positive (and how many volts), plus you can use the switch to send a ground or 12 volts to the item your are connected to. A good way to test relays, bulbs, LED polarity etc.

Reconnected the 4 pin water proof connectors and tied up the excess cables out of the way of the tyres.

These are new two pole Lucas 403 bulb holders and a very cool set of LED lights that output both white and red light spending on which pins you connect up. They cover reverse and fog, which means I can run twin fog / twin reverse lights! The old Lucas 403 holders were starting to look a bit rusty so the new ones were good to get anyway.

Finally, an extra cross over cable is needed to bring the 12v+ fog/reverse to both sides of the car:

Reverse on!

Fog on!

Finally, due to the indicators now being LED they ran in super insane broken bulb mode. As such the flasher relay needed to be swapped out. I had gotten an LED flasher from S-V-C it’s pin out is reversed from the BMW flasher relay and the ground is on a wire from the top. The flasher relay comes with a polarity swapping attachment so it goes right into the same connector as the stock flasher. The ground I’ve attached to the same location as the horn and other steering wheel wiring grounds.

Finally, some assembled shots:


Varex exhaust build part 4

As I was busy Richard sorted the wiring out for the control box:

Wiring, inside the tub running along the tank with the rest of the rear loom

Wiring running along transmission tunnel, protected by a piece of fuel tubing to stop stray debris from damaging it.

Behind the fuse box, hooked in via 7.5amp fuse to an ignition feed

Located the control box in the same area just off the centre console.

Everything back in place under the dash

Just needs the rear putting back together again.


Under scuttle and dash wiring

Cleaning up and finishing the internal wiring, a much bigger and time consuming task that you would think! Cleaning up and finishing the internal wiring, a much bigger and time consuming task that you would think!

and on the next gallery page:

Dash wiring, bit of custom wiring on speedo and rev counter – the light bulbs are wiring for always on, so we’ve take of the tags that wiring internally and attached wires directly to the bulb holder. Now those dim along with the rest of the dash when the light switch is twisted.

Dash installed

Glove box now housing the fuse box which is lockable.

Mirrors – these are chrome bullet mirror which will be replaced with cheapo Halfords ones for the test – these won’t pass SVA.

Shot over the bonnet at the mirrors


Dash & Nose Cone

As promised here are a some better pictures of the dashboard taken in the light:

And some better pictures of the heater speed control:

And the back of the dashboard – by redoing the sponge part we were able to scretch the vinyl over the back and glue to the dash. This means there will be no bumps or gaps between the scuttle and the dash / trim.

Finally some body work, cutting out the holes on the nose cone , these are quite big but the bigger the holes the more cold air can flow in to cool the engine.:

and on the next page:

Holes are now rounded out and the grille placed behind – grille still needs to be cut down and mounted.

All it needs is the spotlights remounting, grill mouting and the front end will be complete.


lights & interior

All the lights are now working! Blew the 7.5amp fuses though. The current on the high beams + spots peaks at 11amps (possible spikes higher) so 15amp fuses are going in for those. We’ll see how it behaves with those.

A smallish job we’ve been putting off for a long time. The 6 branch manifold gets quite close to the brake master cylinder and pipes so we’ve put in a shield to try and reduce the amount of heat around it. Keep brake fluid cooler can only be a good thing!

Big thanks to Mike at Car Audio for sending this pack of Damplifer out so quickly so we could do this over the weekend! Sound deadening such as Damplifier or Dynamat is used in the car audio industry to reduce rattly panels. On the plus side this stuff will dampen vibrations through the floor as well as heat shield it.

3 sheets plus half a sheet of Dynamat we had left over from a bulk pack covers both floors, the lower half of the firewall and part of the side of the transmission tunnel. Which should be enough to protect our feet from heat. 

Also added extra bolts to the seat runner brackets that go through the brackets, floor and chassis.

More dashboard work – installed the switches around the steering wheel – yes those holes on the right are in the wrong place! – oops 🙂 Luckily the whole dash will be covered so its not and issue.

Bottom to top: Main light switch (from the E30), fog light, interior light, speedo LCD switch button.

The main light switch is the one from the donor E30. You can spin the button to change the brightness of the dash lighting.

Installation is made easy by using part of the E30 dashboard screwed to the back of the Sportster dash.

Glove box attached to the dash, had to chop a load off the scuttle so it would fit in nicely.

Finally the beginning of an initial template for the boot floor.


Gauge Wiring

The final gauge wiring is now complete, everything has been connected.

The dash lights on, at the moment the rpm & speedo lights turn on with the ignition, the light bulb holders will need to be modified so the bulbs can be wired into the same circuit as the other dash lights.  This will allow them to be dimmed from the light switch.

The fuel tank was filled with 25liters if fuel to test the gauge. Success, the gauge shows half full, we need to see how accurate the gauge once we have the car on the road.


Body adjustments and wiring

The striker pin plate re-enforcement is complete on both sides. Each has a rivnut in place to help secure the front of the tub in place. It helps pull the passenger side in which naturally sits slightly wrong.

The counter sunk bolt and cup washer really finish it off nicely!

Also done loads of fine tuning and clean up on various fibreglass bits like the scuttle panel (to make it easier to put the front bolts in and the rear tub.
As a part of this week decided to rivnut the rear wings on. This means they can be taken on or off without the tub needing to be taken off the car – a good feature should the worst happen and the wing needs to come off for repair. The rivnuts are fibreglassed at the back to reduce the chances of one spinning free and stopping the bolts form coming out.

Finally a more wiring! This time we’ve installed door jam switches for the interior lighting and as part of the security system:


Wiring, and a few small things

Lots of wiring done under the bonnet :

Bumpers bolted in – the nut is welded to the top so the bumper can be taken out from the bottom. There is also a bolt in the side to stabilise it.

Additional bracket added to the striker pin plate to make it stronger. Its bolted at the bottom and held to the striker plate with a rivnut – this should serve well in pulling the bottom of the fiberglass tub into place on the passenger side.