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Picture of RV Backup Lights
For the serious BIG RIG campers among us night time backup lights are great for those late night campground arrivals.  Many plan to arrive and setup long before dark sets in.  While I like that idea it doesn't always agree with the way things actually happen.  I've pulled into a campground many a night well after dark set in.  So I reverted back to my days of driving an 18 wheeler and the lighting system the company I drove for had on their rigs.
 
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Step 1: Rear Wheel Lights

Picture of Rear Wheel Lights
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I like camping in state parks and wooded campgrounds.  I don't really care much for the paved campgrounds although their sites are usually already leveled.  I've pulled into some campgrounds with big ditches and drop-offs large enough to swallow a big rig.  Since my luck has not always allowed me to arrive before dark I needed help in pulling into dark places.

These lights are simple fog lights from Walmart for about $19 for the pair.

Locate where you want to place the lights and find a suitable place to attach them to the vehicle.  It's best to try and locate a position for them at night or in a dark place to actually see how much improvement you will obtain from each position.  I used a separate car battery attached to one of the lights having the light on as I tried different locations on the bus to see where I could get the best visibility and leaving the light in the least danger of road hazard.

Once I decided on a location I mounted them and wired them. There is an amber pilot light on the dash to tell me when the rear wheel backup lights are on.

These are not connected to the reverse switch so that if needed I can also turn them on while inching forward in some treacherous terrain and see that I am not driving forward into a ditch.

Step 2: School Bus Backup Lights

Picture of School Bus Backup Lights
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Different school bus converters choose to do different things with the overhead flashing light system. Since I regularly arrive at campgrounds after dark I decided to keep them and use them to assist me backing into campsites with overhanging tree limbs.

 

It was a simple matter of tracing down the wires that connected to the lights and re-purpose them for my own use. On this Bluebird tracing the wires was a simple matter. In 1988 (this bus year) they used a spaghetti type wiring harness where all the wires were ran individually. At first glance it looks like a nightmare but when a closer look is taken it's not so bad. Each wire is numbered from end to end. Find the number wires to the overhear lights and then look in the fuse box for the same numbered wires.

I could have just bought clear lenses for the lights that were there but since I was changing all the lights from round to square I changed these fixtures also.

The four amber and red flashing lights at the top of the bus were changed for four white backup lights that are switched and connected to the backup lights that come on when in reverse.  That way I won't drive down the highway forward with glaring backup lights blinding the drivers behind me.  Also when I do backup only the lower back up lights will come on unless I manually turn on the upper lights.

Step 3: And So Lets Backup!

Have you ever backed a BIG RIG into a wooded site at midnight?

Well I have.  It can get pretty hairy!  So I decided a few extra backup lights might be in order.

The four amber and red flashing lights at the top of the bus were changed for four white backup lights that are switched and connected to the backup lights that come on when in reverse.  That way I won't drive down the highway forward with glaring backup lights blinding the drivers behind me.  Also when I do backup only the lower back up lights will come on unless I manually turn on the upper lights.

Watch the video to see the lights in action.  This was taken during daylight in a darkened garage.

And as usual:
Follow the entire bus project at
http://leonardsteward.blogspot.com/
nice.
rovingcraftshop (author)  astral_mage1 year ago
Thanks.