Front facing Running Lights

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Front facing Running Lights

Postby IndyTom » Mon Mar 27, 2017 3:32 pm

Wow, I really suck at the search function here. I am at the point of sealing up the roof and ceiling permanently and I have one last decision to be made. I have wired for my front, side mounted amber lights, but I am slightly over 80 inches so I need at least two front facing amber lights, but I am not sure what I want to do.
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Here are the drawings showing my basic profile. If I put lights on the only flat area that is front facing, then I am afraid they will be shining right into my mirrors at night. But if I put them high, then they will need to be back a way from the front and be the sort of light I see on the tops of truck cabs. I can do either or both, but I am feeling really confused right now. Any and all(polite) opinions welcome.

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Re: Front facing Running Lights

Postby noseoil » Tue Mar 28, 2017 7:44 am

Tom, first I'm wondering what the code says for fwd mounted running lights. Is there a standard which keeps you from putting them lower than on the front-facing flat area? A small bracket might let you place them lower down than the flat. Would a reverse mount (pocket) be possible this late in the game if you can find one? Just curious about other options which might exist for a simple solution.
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Re: Front facing Running Lights

Postby absolutsnwbrdr » Tue Mar 28, 2017 8:15 am

How far over 80 are you? With fenders I'm at 82 1/4", which technically requires the front lights AND lights on the fenders. But I'm a rebel and only installed the side markers and the tail lights. Also, none of my lights have built in reflectors, so technically I'm pretty far out of compliance.

I'm going into the fourth season on the road and have never had anyone question the lighting (or lack of reflectors). I was even pulled over for doing 37 in a 25, and the cop didnt say a word about my Maine plates (I live in PA). People see our campers are are overwhelmed with so many other questions ("you actually sleep in that?") that they don't think about the nitty gritty technical mumbo jumbo.

If you're close to 80, I would REALLY doubt anyone will bother you. If you need to get an initial inspection, slip the guy an extra $20. :twisted: :lol:



For everyone's reference, NHTSB info is here: https://one.nhtsa.gov/cars/rules/standa ... rpstr.html

And eTrailer has a great write-up here: https://www.etrailer.com/faq-trailer-li ... tions.aspx
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Re: Front facing Running Lights

Postby absolutsnwbrdr » Tue Mar 28, 2017 8:24 am

If you decide to play by the rules, what about making a standoff or bracket like noseoil mentioned? At the top edge of my galley hatch, I wanted to mount a high center brake light (it was an afterthought), but the angle of the hatch wasn't conducive to it so I whittled away at a piece of wood to get the right angle.

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Maybe you can make some mounts that flow with the design of the overall design of the trailer.
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Re: Front facing Running Lights

Postby Dale M. » Tue Mar 28, 2017 9:54 am

NHTSA does not require front facing front clearance lights, only side facing (front) clearance lights as far forward as possible (practical)... A front facing clearance light will only light up your rearview mirrors and serve no safety purpose...

Basically I would stay "pretty close" to the NHTSA specs "absolutsnwbrdr" posted...

Basically if you have proper front and rear side markers and skip putting on fender markers I don't think that any law enforcement is going to look twice or even stop you.... I see so many trailer lighting and reflector violations on road that if I were officer I would not have a big enough ticket book... Most don't care if you are pretty close to "legal"...

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Re: Front facing Running Lights

Postby IndyTom » Tue Mar 28, 2017 3:07 pm

Thanks for all the input guys. With door latch on one side and a possibly a vent on the other side I am a little over 84". Noseoil, the way I am reading the code that absolutsnwbrdr and others have posted links to is that those lights have to be there "at the widest point, symmetrical, as far forward as practicable, and facing forward." Also. "as high as practicable". With the sloping curve on my upper front those two things really don't go well together. And absolutsnwbrdr as far as the extra $20 goes, in my town that would probably get me 2 years. I am not looking forward to my safety inspection. That is why I am sweating this issue so much. Also, I like your idea for the brackets, I had planned on something like that in the back, but have no idea why I had not thought of the same thing for the front. Dale it looks like the link that absolutsnwbrdr posted is pretty explicit, if you are over 80" you have to have front facing clearance lights.

If anyone has installed any front facing clearance lights, I would love to see some pictures of what you did.

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Re: Front facing Running Lights

Postby dmdc411 » Tue Mar 28, 2017 11:05 pm

My biggest concern is just having tail lights that work! Then side marker lights for safety. Pull up the requirements for your state online. I'm in Minn, and the chart is easy to follow. I have a friend that is a police officer. He could really care less if it's to the law. As long as they work. Even then, it's all in the running & brake lights he says.
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Re: Front facing Running Lights

Postby swoody126 » Wed Mar 29, 2017 7:09 am

have a look at some of the TEARDROP(imagine that term ;-) ) shaped lights used on top of big truck cabs that when mounted on the side high up and a bit back would be visible both fwd & to the side

as i rememberize some of them are even designed to mount on a curved surface

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Re: Front facing Running Lights

Postby Dale M. » Wed Mar 29, 2017 8:34 am

IndyTom wrote:Thanks for all the input guys. With door latch on one side and a possibly a vent on the other side I am a little over 84". Noseoil, the way I am reading the code that absolutsnwbrdr and others have posted links to is that those lights have to be there "at the widest point, symmetrical, as far forward as practicable, and facing forward." Also. "as high as practicable". With the sloping curve on my upper front those two things really don't go well together. And absolutsnwbrdr as far as the extra $20 goes, in my town that would probably get me 2 years. I am not looking forward to my safety inspection. That is why I am sweating this issue so much. Also, I like your idea for the brackets, I had planned on something like that in the back, but have no idea why I had not thought of the same thing for the front. Dale it looks like the link that absolutsnwbrdr posted is pretty explicit, if you are over 80" you have to have front facing clearance lights.

If anyone has installed any front facing clearance lights, I would love to see some pictures of what you did.

Tom


Personally if it were me, I would just use front amber clearance lamps facing out OUTWARDS and forget the "facing forwards"... In practical application I don't recall ever seeing "front facing forward" clearance lamps on anything but really big (semi) trailers.... Even my commercially build and licenced car carrier trailer that is quit a bit over 80 inched does not have them...

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Re: Front facing Running Lights

Postby Philip » Wed Mar 29, 2017 12:20 pm

Your only 6' tall by your plans. I wouldn't even worry about upper markers. As far as the width measurement the DOT requires. I very much dought a police officer would even care.

I had a talk with a Indiana DOT officer before I changed my cab out. I asked him about upper markers on the cab. Which the truck had from the factory. He told me in a none commerical app like I use my truck. No upper markers didn't matter. If I was towing commercial then it might cause a problem or not depending on the officer.

If you go back a decade or so. Smaller TT trailers never had any upper lights.

I would do a full set of lower markers.

If your still in the building part. Just run wires to the top incase you find a nit picky officer.
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Re: Front facing Running Lights

Postby working on it » Wed Mar 29, 2017 3:06 pm

I have a 20-ft Puma trailer, that is 96" wide, requiring clearance lighting. It has a sloping front face, and the amber front clearance lights are mounted to the angled face, not compensating for the slope. If manufacturers are allowed to "slightly" not follow the letter of the law, then the home builder should be allowed to get as close to compliance as possible. Get it close, and it should be passed.
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Re: Front facing Running Lights

Postby IndyTom » Wed Mar 29, 2017 3:57 pm

Thanks for all the replies guys. I think i am going to play it safe and put the front clearance lights on. I like the idea of the brackets to mostly compensate for the extreme slope of the front of my rig. I can appreciate what all of you said about no one probably caring, but then I do wear a belt with my suspenders. :lol:

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Re: Front facing Running Lights

Postby aggie79 » Thu Mar 30, 2017 8:01 am

I'm late to this thread, but I'm with the others. My teardrop is over 80" - can't recall but I believe it is about 83" give or take. I don't have front or rear clearance lamps and it hasn't been an issue.

Since you're going to install the front-mounted lights, you may want to put those on switch - "on" to pass inspection, and "off" when in travel.
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Re: Front facing Running Lights

Postby Tomterrific » Thu Mar 30, 2017 8:41 am

I wanted to make sure my trailer would show up at night. It's a big white box already but still I went to Harbor Freight and bought red/white reflective stickers, like you see on trucks. I cut them in half and put red on the back of each fenderr and white on the front. I've got the things all over, just to be sure. They really reflect when a light hits them. Makes it easy to find the camper at night with a flashlight! :-)

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Re: Front facing Running Lights

Postby working on it » Thu Mar 30, 2017 10:24 am

Tomterrific wrote:I wanted to make sure my trailer would show up at night. It's a big white box already but still I went to Harbor Freight and bought red/white reflective stickers, like you see on trucks. I cut them in half and put red on the back of each fender and white on the front. I've got the things all over, just to be sure. They really reflect when a light hits them. Makes it easy to find the camper at night with a flashlight! :-) Tt
  • I had thought that my trailer was not very noticeable at night, if the powered tail and side lighting failed, so at first, I added more reflectors. Then, two more small, rear, (powered) running lights. Then, a trailer-wide rear conspicuity strip.
  • I made my own license plate frame, mounted midway up my hatch, for greater visibility (reflectivity), and used a large LED license light, with two additional LEDs, to boot. Finally, I added a "line of fire" LED light strip, with running-brake-sequential turn signals functions. I had always liked the old Thunderbird with sequential turn signals, and there are many cars with them, now, so, why not my trailer? They are very noticeable at night.
  • I like LED lighting; I even have 12vdc LEDs under my doors, in case my outside 120vac rope lighting fails, I can push a button to see what I'm stepping on, at night (I once stepped on a copperhead, going to my garage, in the dark). I should have all the bases covered, now, but what if....?
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  • MORE REAR VISIBILITY.png
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  • hi-vis.png
    hi-vis.png (357.02 KiB) Viewed 138 times
  • 2013 HHRv,"squareback/simple" TTT, semi-offroad? 4x8, 2000+ lbs travel weight
  • featuring: 3500 lb Dexter axle w/brakes & HD leaf spring system > riding on General Grabber 27x8.5-14LT tires, LED lighting inside, A/C & heat, AGM battery 12vdc, 110vac from extended run generator onboard or park power, Coleman dual-fuel stove & Northstar lantern
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