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Optronics Low Profile LED RV Tail Light Installation - 2021 Coachmen Apex Ultra-Lite Travel Trailer

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How to Install the Optronics Low Profile LED RV Tail Light on a 2021 Coachmen Apex Ultra-Lite Trave

Hi there Coachmen owners. Today on your 2021 Coachman Apex Ultra-Lite, we're going to be taking a look at and showing you how to install Optronics' replacement taillight assemblies. We're going to be replacing both the driver and passenger side. On our driver's side, our license plate was not on this side, so we're using the Optronics light that has the included bracket. Both of them are going to wire up exactly the same way, and they're both going to have almost all the same features. The only difference between the two is you have the bracket for your license plate, as well as a light down below to illuminate the license plate, keeping you DOT compliant in all states.

This light's going to provide you with all the necessary functions, which includes your left turn signal, right turn signal, tail lamps, and brake lamps. Both of the assemblies, regardless of the license plate bracket, are going to have nine LED diodes inside that will produce those signals for your stop turn and tail light. The ones that have the license plate bracket do have an additional three LEDs here at the bottom to illuminate for your license plate light.So you can see our factory one here, it was a regular incandescent bulb. The incandescent bulbs don't last nearly as long as LED lights. LEDs typically last about 50 times longer than an incandescent.

So you can see how that's going to pretty much benefit probably the life of this trailer. The bulbs inside are also typically brighter than your incandescent. You can see it produces kind of a wider light, a little bit higher frequency than what your incandescents would. And LEDs also draw less current, which that means if you're trickle charging your truck when driving down the road with your trailer, there's less load going on the batteries on your trailer, so it's easier for your truck to keep it topped up and potentially even charge it all the way up. Whereas a lot of incandescent lights could potentially exceed the charge from your truck, depending on how many you have.And if you're wanting to add more lights, switching over to LED will allow you to do so without increasing your cap for how much amperage you're drawing if you're taking out those old incandescents, because most of these are going to draw way less, probably less than half of what an incandescent would in most situations.

There's only three wires coming out of the back of our lights, so it's extremely easy to hook up. If you follow along with me now, we'll show you how to remove your old ones, get the new ones installed, sealed up, and wired in.We'll begin our installation here at the back of the vehicle by removing our old taillight assembly. The covers on these do have release tabs on the side. I like to use a screwdriver to push in on the release tab. I just find it makes it a little bit easier than using your finger.

And then that'll kind of just pop off of there. Once you get one side off, the other side comes off, usually without having to press it on the release tab. Once that's out of the way though, you can see we've got four screws, one located in each corner that we're going to remove with our Phillips screwdriver. Oftentimes on these trailers, whether it be your camper, fifth wheel, or even an RV, they also support number two square bits as well if you've got that laying around, that can sometimes speed up the process if one of those in a gun.Now that we've got all of our screws removed, we can take the light off. It is going to be stuck on there, so I do recommend using something like this plastic trim panel tool here. I did take it over to just a grinder real quick and just made the end a little bit smoother to make it easier to get up under there. And we're just going to get up behind the light here and then just carefully work our way around, releasing it from the body. If you need a trim panel tool, we do have sets available here at etrailer. behind each of your screw holes there's also butyl tape that the manufacturer used to help seal those up to prevent any moisture from getting in down into those. We're going to be using butyl tape as well, which you can also get here at etrailer, because the old butyl tape here, there's no real point in trying to reuse it. It's just going to come apart as a giant mess. So we don't need to worry about that.We're going to take our wires, we're going to get them pulled out. Sometimes it's easiest to do it one wire at a time because they do have these caps on them where they crimp them together, and they're pretty large caps so they can make it difficult to get the wires to pull through, so oftentimes you have to be one at a time just to get them. You may also need to use a screwdriver to help you, kind of just pry it into the right position to get it out of there. Now we've got the wires and everything pulled out, we've got our assembly out of the way, we can clean all of the mess up that was left behind. The butyl tape and the sealant. You can see here that the factory sealant did only seal it on top of the light assembly. When we put ours on we're going to be sealing it all the way around to ensure that it does stay moisture free in there. We're also going to be putting butyl tape all the way around as well instead of just all over the screw holes.We're just using our trim panel tool that we kind of just shaved the edge down a little bit on. The soft plastic won't scratch the paint, but it will help you get this sealant off here a lot easier. So we don't even need 100% of the sealant off of there. We just want to get the bulk off of it to where it feels relatively smooth when you run your hand across it. Next we're going to turn our attention to the wires. You can see our new light only has three wires on it, so all this bundle here may look a little intimidating, but these are the three we want to concern ourselves with. And we're actually not going to be cutting here where they're crimped altogether, because we don't want to have to re-crimp. You can see this is several wires, you're going to need a massive butt connector. So we'll just cut it right on the other side so we can make our connection right back to it.We're going to be using regular butt connectors, which you can get here at etrailer. Since our light does seal up on the inside, we don't really need anything more than that. But if you we're installing this in an area where a light was not sealed up all the way around, you would want to use heat shrink butt connectors instead, and we also have those available here at etrailer. So we're just going to cut our lights. I like to cut them one at a time just because when you're working with these trailer lights, sometimes if you cut all the wires, these wires, even though it seems like they're pulled out really far, sometimes have tension on them. And even if it doesn't feel like it, they might suck back in that hole, it can make it a real big pain in your butt to get it back out of there. So we're just going to take each one, one at a time, start with green, and we're going to match color for color.Now, if you're wondering which ones each one are for, the black one is for your stop turn, the white is ground, and the green is going to be your taillight signal. But if you're unsure which wires are what, and you're not able to match them color for color like we're going to do, the black wire's your taillights, the white wire is your ground, and the green wire here is going to be your stop turn signal. So again, we're just going to do one at a time. We're going to snip it off there. We'll strip back the wire here on the trailer side. We'll crimp one of our butt connectors to it. Then we'll grab our taillight assembly. They do come pre-stripped. However, I find that there's hardly enough strip there to work with, so I always like to strip a little bit more off. And we're just going to connect this to the other side of that wire.Once you've got this wire in and connected, we're just going to repeat this for the remaining two wires. Either matching them up color for color like we are or matching them per their functionality. Again, ground and tail lights. You only got the two left. So now we're going to be feeding the wires back in, but we do want to seal up the backside. So I've got some butyl tape here. We're going to grab some small sections of it and we're going to cover it up. We're going to start by making sure we cover up the screw holes top to bottom here. We'll do the same thing over on the other side. And then we're going to run patches along the top and bottom as well. We want to avoid the outer edge just for cleanup purposes. We don't have to clean up any of the butyl tape around the outside.Then we'll just push our wires back in. And again, you'll probably have to do these one at a time, just because of the tight space. So just take your time with it. Be careful. You don't want to pull any of the wires out of the connectors while you're doing this. And it can be a little tricky to get them to work the way you want them to work, but if you can try to get them to choose a direction and head towards that direction. It does make things a little easier. Once we've got them fed in most of the way, the wires are going to tuck in between the strip where we didn't put butyl tape down there. So just poke those wires down in there. And match up your screw holes with the existing ones. I like to get one started in each corner on the opposite corner to help make sure that my holes line up. And once you get the two started, the remaining two should be easy to get their holes lined up.Once you've got them all tightened down, we can go ahead and install our cover. We're showing off the license plate version, which does need to slide into the little slots down here. So slide those guys in and then we can line up our cover and snap it in place. So now that we've got our light on, we do want to seal it back up around the outside once again, just like it was before. We're going to be using some clear silicone. You can get this at your local hardware store. Or you could also get colored silicones here at etrailer. We've got white, black, gray, and beige available, so you can match the color of your particular motor home or trailer. On this one here, the gray doesn't quite match our gray, so that's why we're going with the clear to give it the best look.And I've cut the end of the tip, kind of at a 45, and that's going to help me get good. You can see how it goes right across the top there. You get a nice, solid bead that's nice and clean, and that's what we're looking for right there all the way across. And we'll just do this all the way around. And then if you have any drips, just go back and just touch those up. You can use a napkin to do so. I can just transfer over our license plate and hardware from our old one into our new one. The customer did have the bolts that ran through the backside like this. Since it is a plastic panel, it is a little bit flexible, so you can put those back in just how he had them. If you don't have hardware, then you can pick some up at your local hardware store.Once you've got your license plate installed, that will complete your installation. As you picked up one for your passenger side, the installation is going to be the same, but you can see here, you don't have those extra license plate or a light here at the bottom, but the wiring is still identical. So I hooked up our tester and turned it on. You can see here that our tail lights are illuminated as well as the light down below for our license plate. If we turn on our turn signal, we can see here that it's flashing just like it should. Our brake lights are also working properly. So we have all the signals. And if you had installed the other side as well, you want to verify that the turn signal works over there, as well as the brake lights and the tail lights. And that completes our installation of Optronics' LED tail lights on our 2021 Coachmen Apex Ultra-Lite.

Info for these parts were:

Employee Dustin K
Video by:
Dustin K
Employee Chris R
Video Edited:
Chris R
Employee Hayden R
Installed by:
Hayden R
Employee David F
Test Fit:
David F

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