Making a Rear Bullet Light

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Making a Rear Bullet Light

Postby Hengy » Tue Oct 14, 2008 10:15 pm

Hi all!

Here is a fun project that I did for Merlin's restoration. I needed lights for the tractor, and just happened to get three well used lights from Cub Bud. All three of the lights were the same teardrop lights...no rear light in the bunch. I like the "retro" look of the double rear bullet light, and that seemed to be an easier project to do, so that is what I tried. A while ago, a thread happened on the forum talking about making a bullet rear light set for a cub. I know that Oronc did one of these projects, and I remember seeing is finished product pictures a while ago... I can't take total credit for this project since the discussion happened a while ago, but I wanted to show the folks on the forum that ANYONE can make one of these cool retro rear lights for a cub.

Here is how I did it...

Materials list
One original teardrop headlight
One "retro" bullet red light - these are available at a motorcycle shop in either 6V or 12V, single or double element.
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One on-off-on switch. I used Part number 275-654 Toggle Switch SPDT (Center Off)
Silver Solder

Tools
Electric Drill
Pencil
Soldering Iron
1/4 Inch Drill Bit
Pliers
Wire Strippers

How I did it...

Completely disassemble the original teardrop light and store the parts in a safe place.
Mark the position of the new bullet light... I used the TLAR method (That Looks About Right). I made sure that the bullet light would be in a straight line directly across from the light post so it would stand up straight when mounted. I then looked at where I thought the position would be of the light when mounted and made sure that the bullet would be parallel with the ground... I traced the outline of the base of the bullet light right on the housing...
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Drill a 1/4 inch hole in the housing in the center of the outline you traced like THIS:
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Again, using the TLAR Method, I marked the location of the switch. Be careful not to position the switch too close to the front of the light or you will NOT be able to get the reflector back in the light properly...Don't ask how I know... :roll:

Drill another 1/4 inch hole for the swich where you marked. The completed, drilled housing looks like THIS:
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Mount the bullet light on the housing and tighten down...Feed the wire or wires down through the post that holds the bullet light to the main housing.

Next, make a short "jumper wire" about 3-4 inches long. I used a crimp on ring connector and soldered it. The ring needs to be large enough to accept the power screw on the back of the light.

Next, cut the ring off of the wire that goes into the reflector...the one that screws to the back of the housing originally. You will be soldering this one in later.

Strip back about 5/16 or so on each of the wires you will be soldering...the jumper, the wire for the main light and the wire for the bullet taillight. Using a soldering iron and silver solder, solder the three wires to the switch. The jumper goes in the middle post, and the bullet and original reflector wire go on opposite ends of the switch. Make sure that they are well soldered and can't come loose! Here is what the soldered wires look like on the switch:
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Next, insert the switch into the housing and tighten the outside nut to hold the switch down: It will look like THIS inside:
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When I installed the switch, I made sure that the switch would "point" toward the bullet light when that light would be on...

After some intensive "finish work" and painting on my light, here is the finished product...

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Looks pretty cool, doesn't it? I like the "retro Look"! The total cost (if you have the tools on hand) was pretty low. The bullet light was $19.00 from the motorcycle dealer. Add on some solder and some paint,and it is a cheap way to dress up your cub!

This would be what I would call a "weekend" project for the average novice... If you are good with tools, you can get it done much faster than I did...

Enjoy!!!

Mike in La Crosse, WI
Mike (Happy as a Lark in Allison Park, PA)
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Check out my Restoration Thread (1955 Cub, Lewis)
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Hengy
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Tractors Owned: 1949 Cub "Merlin"
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