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Filling tail light boxes on a rollback, how flexible?


Typical light box on a rollback contains side markers, tail lights, reverse lights, license plate light.  If you're lucky, a backup alarm, backup camera, dedicated turn signals, and a tow harness plug.


I'm thinking something a little more stylish than that.


I've noticed there are two distinct groups of "DOT Compliant" truck lights.  There's the expensive ones that you have to take a box and cut holes and install individual lights and grommets and then it looks like every other truck on the road.  Then there's the cheap ones that look like they belong on a landscaping trailer or the back of a Jeep CJ.


Then there are just "ATV/trailer/camper" lights that are good looking, sometimes LED, have red stop/tail lights, amber turn signals, and white reverse lights, and often come with a wire cage for protection, are water submersible, et cetera.  These however are NOT for use on highway trucks.


My question is, why can't I just grab a set of tail lights with DOT approval on them from another kind of on highway vehicle?  Kinda like car tail lights get used on large Class A motorhomes?


I'm thinking they make a lot of reproduction tail light assemblies for pony cars.  Fox body Mustangs?  Third gen Camaro?  Why can't I just mount those in a box and use them?



Edited by occupant272

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You can, if they are compliant with the lighting standards for your class of vehicle. The biggest difference between car and truck lights is the built in reflectors. There are conspicuity and reflective requirements for commercial vehicles that have been integrated into the use of certain types of tail lights.


Here is a link to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations regarding lighting on commercial motor vehicles

FMCSA Truck Lighting Regulations


They reference the FMVSS 108, which can be found at this link

FMVSS Standard 108 Lighting


Between these two sections of code you can find all the information needed to build your own rear tail light assemblies that are both stylish as well as compliant. Please make sure any device you use is clearly marked DOT, both lens as well as reflective tape or other reflective device, otherwise at roadside inspection an officer may declare it unfit.

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