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 Post subject: Tail light replacements
PostPosted: May 1st, 2017, 7:08 am 
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Joined: August 5th, 2016, 6:21 am
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Location: Front Range, Colorado
I've been wondering what happens when my tail light lenses or housings crack. I have the older red/yellow/white ones. I don't really care if I keep the yellow or go all red, but what can I replace them with? Are they standard Ford Econoline fixtures, a generic RV fixture or proprietary Chinook?

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PostPosted: May 1st, 2017, 7:49 am 
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Joined: July 31st, 2014, 1:01 am
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Location: 1999 Concourse
I believe that in your "era" they are just standard Ford Econoline 1992+ van taillights. Perhaps they came on the back of the cutaway chassis. My 1999 does also have the typical Ford van taillights. Mine are the ones without the amber lenses (durn). But I looked at a 1997 Premier that still had the amber lenses, so they must have stockpiled some (I forget exactly when Ford quit putting the amber ones in their vans.... must have been around 1994 or so). I would be surprised if the normal van body taillights changed between 1992 and up (that is the shape of them and the metal cutout in the normal van body), so you may very well be able to source a wide range of years' van taillights.

I think in 2001 (or thereabouts), Chinook changed to a push-in taillight from a Ford... Explorer? You can tell the difference because the van taillights are smooth, whereas the other ones have three bulges. I would guess that some changes to the fiberglass body mold might have been made for that (but don't know for sure).

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PostPosted: May 1st, 2017, 10:30 am 
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Location: Santa Cruz, CA
I remember reading somewhere on the forum that the taillights on the later models - mine included (2003) came from the Ford Expedition.

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PostPosted: May 1st, 2017, 4:00 pm 
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Location: Northern NJ
Yeah the early ones were supposed to be stock Econoline. Lots of those lights available on eBay and Amazon. For instance,
https://www.amazon.com/1992-1993-1994-E ... B004DS1L30
Attachment:
File comment: 1992-1994 Econoline light
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image.jpeg [ 14.2 KiB | Viewed 339 times ]

While we need confirmation, I'm pretty certain that owners with the smooth version like above should also be able to use the 1995-2006 Econoline lights that are red & white. Plus a choice of custom lights if you want a different look. E.g. on eBay:
Attachment:
File comment: 1995-2006 E350 lights
image.jpeg
image.jpeg [ 56.22 KiB | Viewed 330 times ]

---

However, my 1994 Chinook apparently came with different lights plus a different body shape to fit them. Compared to the stock E-series replacements like those above, my lenses are slightly shorter, more curved, have no gaskets, and even the sockets have different locking tabs. So Econoline lights simply don't fit, even after modification.

Hmm. Come to think of it, they're also ribbed, unlike the flat smooth Econoline replacements. And red-white-yellow instead of a later pattern. I wonder... maybe I should look for another truck model or even brand. I bet Chinook was using up old stock with mine.

Edit: well, I finally looked at their part number (duh) and figured out what tail lights Chinook put on my Concourse... they used 1989 Aerostar tail lights !!! No wonder Econoline lights didn't fit. Well, at least I finally know. Mischief managed!
Attachment:
File comment: 1989 Aerostar used in my 1994 Concourse
image.jpeg
image.jpeg [ 25.37 KiB | Viewed 339 times ]

Checking my picture collection, I now see that Chinook used the Aerostar lights up through mid 1995. I even found what is likely a late 1991 flat hood Ford Concourse with them, probably a result of the mold starting to be updated for 1992.

--- To recap, with some model year overlap, it looks like for the post 1992 Ford Chinooks:

1992-1995 Chinook : used '86-'95 Aerostar (red-white-yellow / ribbed)
1995-1997 Chinook : used '92-'94 Econoline (yellow-red-white / smooth)
1996-1999 Chinook : used '95-'99 Econoline (red-red-white / smooth)
2000-2005 Chinook : used '97-'02 Expedition (red-red-white / three bulges)

Kevin

PS. There are lots of really cool looking Expedition lights available on eBay, from clear to smoke to multi-LED. Could be fun to put one on a late model Chinook to make it stand out at your next rally :)

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1994 Concourse, wood & heated tile floors, tin ceiling, custom lighting


Last edited by kdarling on May 3rd, 2017, 2:03 am, edited 57 times in total.

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PostPosted: May 1st, 2017, 4:17 pm 
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Location: 1999 Concourse
Yes, Expedition, that's it for the later ones. I knew Explorer didn't sound right. Thanks for correcting me.

The '97 Premier I looked at, and my '99 Concourse definitely have the stock Econoline taillights. Reason I'm so confident is that I had an Econoline-bodied campervan just before my Chinook, and at one point I had to remove/repair one of the van's taillights. My Chinook ones are just like those were. The surface is smooth, and there is a smooth black "rubber" rim around the edge (whereas the later Expedition ones have three "Michelin tire man" type bulges, and maybe don't have any visible rubber).

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PostPosted: May 2nd, 2017, 7:17 am 
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Location: Front Range, Colorado
AH-HA!

It's the ribbed Aerostar lights on my 1994 Premier. Thanks guys. Glad I asked. It seems odd that they'd spec the Aerostar lights instead of the Econoline lights. Too bad they didn't have the foresight to know how much more successful the Econoline would remain (along with the aftermarket) compared to the Aerostar.

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PostPosted: May 2nd, 2017, 7:54 am 
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Location: Northern NJ
I'm very glad you asked, too. Can't believe I never checked the part number before. D'oh! LIke everyone else, I just always assumed they must be some kind of Econoline lenses.

Note to Aerostar replacement lens buyers: you want the ones WITHOUT support for the rear washer. Otherwise at least the right rear lens will have a large top notch cut out for the tank or pump. Instead you want the washerless solid top versions.

Interestingly, Chinook sold an all wheel drive Aerostar popup roof camper in at least 1991. That must be where they got the idea for using that particular lens.
Attachment:
File comment: 1991 Chinook Aerostar
image.jpeg
image.jpeg [ 50.62 KiB | Viewed 311 times ]

From the lens years being used, it looks like Chinook went with whatever they get the most of, for the best price, by waiting until less expensive replacements were widely available.

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PostPosted: May 10th, 2017, 3:05 am 
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Okay, now that I knew the earlier units used Aerostar tail lights, I simply had to try to modernize mine to match my front LED daytime lights and billet grille :D

While there are lots of cool aftermarket taillights for the Econoline and Expedition versions, I only found one Aerostar aftermarket set. So..

From this crusty old lens:
Attachment:
File comment: Aerostar lens
oldleftlens.jpg
oldleftlens.jpg [ 745.03 KiB | Viewed 259 times ]

To this Euro style:
Attachment:
File comment: Aftermarket Euro lens
newleftlens.jpg
newleftlens.jpg [ 1.28 MiB | Viewed 259 times ]

(Still cleaning up old caulking someone had put around old lens.)
Attachment:
File comment: new rear
newleftview.jpg
newleftview.jpg [ 1.41 MiB | Viewed 240 times ]

Still not sure I love them yet, as I miss the yellow a bit, but I do like the modernized feel of them... and of course, having a unique Chinook with them :)

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1994 Concourse, wood & heated tile floors, tin ceiling, custom lighting


Last edited by kdarling on May 13th, 2017, 4:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: May 10th, 2017, 6:28 am 
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Hah. Who knew my original post would end up costing you money. :lol:

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PostPosted: May 10th, 2017, 7:26 am 
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Location: Indiana
kdarling wrote:
--- To recap, with some model year overlap, it looks like for the post 1992 Ford Chinooks:

1992-1995 Chinook : used '86-'95 Aerostar (red-white-yellow / ribbed)
1995-1997 Chinook : used '92-'94 Econoline (yellow-red-white / smooth)
1996-1999 Chinook : used '95-'99 Econoline (red-red-white / smooth)
2000-2005 Chinook : used '97-'02 Expedition (red-red-white / three bulges)

Kevin

PS. There are lots of really cool looking Expedition lights available on eBay, from clear to smoke to multi-LED. Could be fun to put one on a late model Chinook to make it stand out at your next rally :)


This got me interested in doing the LED swap for the rear tail lights. According to your research, the '97-02 Expedition units would be for my '01 Concourse. However, looking on eBay for what's available, and some youtube installation videos, they all seem to have a top tab with two holes for screws to attach the assembly to the body. Access to perform this procedure is "after lifting the tail gate"...? What am I missing...?

Could it be the "'99-'05 Excursion"? Looks to be the right fit with four screws, etc., and when listed, most mention it fits the Econolines as well.

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