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Old 04-10-2019, 06:45 PM   #1
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Question Condensation in tail lights

Always had this issue, should have asked about it when under warranty, is condensation in the tail lights normal, bad, anything to worry about?
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Old 04-10-2019, 06:54 PM   #2
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I may be telling you, what you already expect. No itís not normal. Itís common, but moisture is not a goof thing.Sometimes the moisture will appear to go away but itís still in there. As the space warms up, it condenses on that warm surface. But itís trapped. It can cause corrosion on the electrical contacts and ruin LED circuitry. Open it up, clean the surfaces where the lens meets the housing. Look for cracks or chips that would allow water in. Thatís my 2 cents C.
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Old 04-10-2019, 06:56 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by TWINCAMSAM View Post
I may be telling you, what you already expect. No it’s not normal. It’s common, but moisture is not a goof thing.Sometimes the moisture will appear to go away but it’s still in there. As the space warms up, it condenses on that warm surface. But it’s trapped. It can cause corrosion on the electrical contacts and ruin LED circuitry. Open it up, clean the surfaces where the lens meets the housing. Look for cracks or chips that would allow water in. That’s my 2 cents C.
Agree, just have to figure out how to get into it and/or seal it. Do the covers pop off?
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Old 04-10-2019, 07:02 PM   #4
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What is the dot number on those lights? They may be cheap to replace
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Old 04-10-2019, 07:04 PM   #5
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I'll check but how do you think they are removed?
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Old 04-10-2019, 07:08 PM   #6
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I'll check but how do you think they are removed?
with a hammer. it's easy.
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Old 04-10-2019, 07:15 PM   #7
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I'd just do a Google search for video showing how. Most likely two or three hidden screws on side or on the inside somewhere. The hammer technique will always work, then you can where the screws are located.

I'd expect you've got a crack in the lens somewhere and rain is getting in. That's been my experience. Replace or use some silicone sealant when you figure it out.
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Old 04-10-2019, 07:24 PM   #8
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with a hammer. it's easy.
I'm parked a few spots down from you. I'll see how yours come out, if you hear a noise, or plastic shattering, it's just me tinkering with your tail lights.
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Old 04-10-2019, 07:44 PM   #9
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Always had this issue, should have asked about it when under warranty, is condensation in the tail lights normal, bad, anything to worry about?

Nope, not normal, and I'll echo what TwinCams said about the ill-effects of the confined moisture. I couldn't see any external mounting screws for the light assemblies, so you might have to look for some inside compartments behind the lights. There should be a joint where the red lens is attached to the back that holds the light sockets. If you're lucky the lens will be attached to the back with screws which will make this an easy fix. Unfortunately if the sections are glued together it may be more complicated. If your rig is on the older side (I forgot to look) the glue in the joint may have deteriorated. You might be able to separate the halves with judicious use of a flat-blade screwdriver or utility knife. Just be very careful unless you have the means to buy new light assemblies. If you are able to separate the halves by whatever means, be sure to reseal the joint after cleaning the lens. If you already have it apart, you might consider putting in new bulbs after cleaning the sockets. Unless someone recommends something better, I'd use silicone for both its adhesive and sealing properties.
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Old 04-10-2019, 07:50 PM   #10
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Nope, not normal, and I'll echo what TwinCams said about the ill-effects of the confined moisture. I couldn't see any external mounting screws for the light assemblies, so you might have to look for some inside compartments behind the lights. There should be a joint where the red lens is attached to the back that holds the light sockets. If you're lucky the lens will be attached to the back with screws which will make this an easy fix. Unfortunately if the sections are glued together it may be more complicated. If your rig is on the older side (I forgot to look) the glue in the joint may have deteriorated. You might be able to separate the halves with judicious use of a flat-blade screwdriver or utility knife. Just be very careful unless you have the means to buy new light assemblies. If you are able to separate the halves by whatever means, be sure to reseal the joint after cleaning the lens. If you already have it apart, you might consider putting in new bulbs after cleaning the sockets. Unless someone recommends something better, I'd use silicone for both its adhesive and sealing properties.
Thanks, will inspect tomorrow in the daylight. 2017 Newmar Ventana, less than 2 years old.
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Old 04-10-2019, 08:22 PM   #11
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Just from the picture you've posted , I'd say the lights were originally on a Dodge P/U , in that application , there would be mount screws from the tailgate opening and one or two push clips to stabilize the outside edge.

The light assembly ( lens and reflector ) is manufactured in two pieces then glued together , water can enter along the glue line or through seals at the bulb mounting.
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Old 04-10-2019, 08:23 PM   #12
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I went out and took a look. Itís only right side which is good. I opened the engine compartment which gives me access to the rear clam shell and the screws for the lights. Will look into removing it tomorrow to see if I can find the crack. I see the usual Newmar self tapping screws back there too so maybe something compromised it.
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Old 04-10-2019, 08:35 PM   #13
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From internet images of Dodge lights , you can see from the back side image the screw attach points and the outside push pins , that need to be pried and wiggled out.
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Old 04-10-2019, 09:28 PM   #14
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Always had this issue, should have asked about it when under warranty, is condensation in the tail lights normal, bad, anything to worry about?
Yes it's bad if you let it continue. You have condensed humidity on the inside of the lens. I've also seen rain or car wash moisture seepage through a deteriorated body-to-lens gasket. I've also seen missing or badly fitting gaskets.

The long term effect is lamp socket rust or corrosion (or if it's a LED light then circuit board damage) from the trapped moisture. I've also seen badly corroded reflectors caused by corrosion from moisture from bad or missing gaskets.

I first saw this situation in my mom's 1950s Cadillac exterior lights when I was real young. I saw it later in my dad's Corvair. Saw it later in almost every single car that I owned... I've never had a car that was less than 10 years old when I got it and I've kept almost every one for a decade or more.

In each case the gasket between the lens and the car body had deteriorated and allowed humid air into the space. On some cars where the gasket really leaked it was rain water that filled the lens... On several occasions I've seen lenses that were over 1/3 full...

People that didn't know any better (like my grandfather) drilled a single tiny (1/32 or 1/16 inch) hole in the low point of the lens to let the water drain out. That cured the water pooling but didn't fix the moisture seepage through the gasket... and therefore prevent lamp socket rust or corrosion of the reflector... it's better to replace the gaskets and prevent the socket / reflector deterioration in the first place.

In some cases you can't get replacement gaskets. In that case you make your own... lay the lens upside down on your workbench. Use blocks or pads to keep the gasket surface flat horizontal. Spread a bead of non-acidic clear RTV around the surface where the gasket should be. Let it fully harden, maybe overnight, then trim the excess around the outer and inner edge using a new single edge razor blade or an X-acto hobby knife (or the Harbor Freight clone).

Install the lens and new gasket on a warm dry day after you wipe all the moisture out of the lamp housing and polish the reflector.

As soon as it warms up a little more I'm going to be making and installing a set of 6 gaskets for my RV's Bargman 34-84-009 rear light clusters (taillight / stoplight / turn signal / backup lights).

Below is a photo of one segment of my rear light cluster. You can see the corrosion of the lamp socket exterior (and that's not the worst socket, just the one I had a photo of). You can also see the reduced reflectivity of the reflector (the one in the photo is pretty good, I have one that looks like a rectangle of brown rust). You can see a dirt track from the gasket crack at the top. The center contacts of the lamp socket are badly corroded to the point where they do not make contact 90% of the time. I was able to find replacement socket inserts (both single contact and two-contact inserts) that will fix that problem. I can get stainless steel "army" shaving mirrors at the surplus store and cut pieces to replace the bad reflectors in the tail/stop/turn lights. The backup lights may get a different fix... I might just mount a "10 W COB LED Panel" that I find on eBay for under $2 each... they are so bright that you cannot look at them even from 30 feet away. Or I may mount two or three of them in each backup light housing.
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