View Full Version : Emergency Lights

09-03-2007, 09:33 PM
Was wondering if anyone has any experience with any emergency lights. I am thinking about putting hide-away strobes in my head and tail lights. I am just nervous about putting a hole in the lights giving moisture a chance to get in. I know that they have seals built into them.

Here is a link to what I am looking at. http://www.whelen.com/pb/Automotive/ProductSheets/Lightheads/Hide-A-Way_Stobe_Tubes_HA238-HA239C.pdf


09-03-2007, 10:02 PM
Yeh, anybody who's priced headlight assemblies would be nervous about that, however those units are very good and seal well. If you're concerned, dab some silicone where they enter. That's what they do around here - we've got emergency vehicles up the wazoo at work. The guys bug me to put those exact strobes in my truck - I've declined so far. I've had a few vehicles with that stuff - even a siren once. I never got a ticket, but I did get a few personal "visits" from the State Patrol after they saw me coming down the road with lights flashing - they pulled over for me, but they know who I am. I have taken the state's high-speed driving course and I did have a permit for my vehicle, but the exuberance of the EMTs at work that installed the stuff vastly exceeded the scope of the permit It was a Ford Explorer several years ago and their installation was like something from "Pimp my Ride". It was fun, but I caught a lot of crap from the troopers around here.

So, don't forget to check with your state about the legality of wig-wags on private vehicles. Usually they're pretty restrictive and they'll want a permit. Also, don't forget to check with your insurance carrier - using your POV as an emergency response vehicle (which is what they'll call it if you get into an accident) is a whole different insurance policy and usually they want a BIG premium boost. Having emergency equipment like that on it is about all they need to deny a claim, and that's why I don't use that stuff anymore.

Truthfully, I think you get the same effect and safety from a window mounted strobe or flasher without the permanent alteration.

09-03-2007, 10:12 PM
I currently have a winshield mounted light that I got second hand for free but it has been repaired a few times and needs to be replaced. The captian of the FD is also a lieutenant for the PD and he recomended that I have something so that there is more visibility. I am thinking more of LEDs that I can mount behind the grill but want something for the front corners and for the back.

09-03-2007, 10:16 PM
Certainly you know your needs better than I do. My driving is mostly rural, never saw a need for anything in the rear, so a windshield mounted strobe and a $20 wigwag module would suit me just fine.

09-04-2007, 10:41 AM
I currently have a winshield mounted light that I got second hand for free but it has been repaired a few times and needs to be replaced. The captian of the FD is also a lieutenant for the PD and he recomended that I have something so that there is more visibility. I am thinking more of LEDs that I can mount behind the grill but want something for the front corners and for the back.
Hey dmayer!

I am a regional sales rep for Whelen Engineering in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. PM and I can talk to you about the hide-away units. I got a few ideas for you to think about. my other e-mail is [email protected]

Thansk, Kyle

Tourney Team 197
09-04-2007, 11:02 AM
Here is a link to a reputable company in MN. They outfit squads in my city and I know the owner is a great guy.


Doug G
09-05-2007, 12:55 AM
Unless you are a chief officer, I don't recommend doing it. The first thing you need to check is your state laws for what you can do and what the requirements are (360 degree visibility, colors permitted, lighted switching, white light restrictions, etc...) The second thing is department policy. In some states headlight flashers are also illegal except for certain vehicles.

Even with front and back strobes / LED's you won't give good intersection warning / visibility for cross traffic. In most states if you are not a chief officer or authorized as an emergency vehicle the warning lights (blue in PA for volunteer firefighters) are a request for courtesy but do not give any priviledges to violate any traffic law. Think of the yellow lights on a tow truck and you have the same priviledges ... none. Liability can be opened up if the lighting is not up to code and something happens. Resist the "cool" factor and evaluate what you really need and where you are driving. Way too many volunteer firefighters are hurt or killed or hurt / kill others in their POV going to the firehouse driving like idiots and it just isn't worth it. Not saying that's you but it's something to think about. Why chop up your car if a simple magnetic light on the roof will do the trick and it's removable and powered through the cigarette lighter.

That all being said... IF you drill and install properly they will not cause issues. If you screw up your buying a new housing. If you decide to do pull a housing before you buy the strobes and check the install possibilities. Many new housings have double wall setups that won't let the bulb end up where you think it will looking from the outside. Also pay attention to the front location in realtion to the headlights and evaluate how much they will wash out with the headlights on. In the rear watch for reflectors that may block the light. Don't scrimp on the wiring and electrical setup either. Current generation LEDS have very low amperage draw and are much kinder to the stock alternator than halogens/rotators and strobes. So don't forget to evaluate your electrical load if you are going to let the car idle with the lights on.

My Durango has 4 strobes in the rear, 2 strobes in the front, 2 grill LED's, 1 dual windshield LED, 2 LED's inside the rear window along with the lightbar and LED arrow stick. It is wired through a fused power distribution block hidden in the rear storage compartment. The radio / siren package have a separate power feed. My brother and I installed everything except the radio in about 8 hours but we are both pretty anal about that type of work and when I remove it you will have to look hard to find the holes :cool:

09-05-2007, 03:02 PM
I wired up my Tahoe a few years ago with the following equipment.

Control Unit:
Grill Lights

The strobes are all clear and run the Quad-Flash patterns. I separated the front and rear so that if I am in a traffic situation I can run the appropriate set of strobes.

For the front, I also installed a set of Blue grill lights to give a little more authority. These compliment the strobes that are in the turn indicators under the headlights. The 4 strobes are setup to flash the Left-Blue-Grill with the Right-Clear-Strobe and alternate. Give a real nice effect and are attention getting. For the rear a just installed the heads in the taillight housings.

Space is a huge issue in the rear taillights so my only option was the hide-a-ways. Drilling is not hard. Find the flatest surface on the rear of the light, check the depth several times, then do it again, now one last time and then drill a very small pilot hole. Once your convinced that this is the proper mounting spot, start with large round bit(3/8" for example), then increase the hole using a Uni-bit. While they do have good foam on them to seal, use some caulking to help, especially in the rear taillights. Run the wires for each light seperately and then bring them together to the control box. I mounted the control box under the driver seat. Lots of space there and this seat almost never moves.

I wired up the box, attached the connectors for the heads. wired up the switches and fired it up. I have not had to touch the unit for any purpose in over two years. I also don't have any moisture problems in any of the lights. I'll take some pics and post them up.

09-05-2007, 03:08 PM
My dad has headlight strobes, parking light strobes and rear strobes on his work van, no issues with leakage or problems, he is glad he got them because people now think he is a cop car when he is working and they get out of the way.

09-10-2007, 12:37 PM
Here are the photos...
The arrows in the lights show the section I installed the hide-a-way's.
The grill shows the lights and the mounting screws. If you choose a grill option, you may have to add a spacer to get the correct height and angle for the lights to project thru the grill.
The last is the wiring. I am not a big fan of letting ppl know what I have in my car so I made it a factory as possible. nothing looks out of the ordinary unless you really look. Feel free to PM or email me if you have other questions.




09-10-2007, 12:38 PM