Advanced Turn Signals

Mustang FAQ's Page

Frequently asked questions such as;

[ 1. ] Will ATS work with COBRA model Mustangs?
[ 2. ] Do the brakelights constantly blink like turn signals?

[ 3. ] Can I have completely stock acting brakelights?
[ 4. ] Can I incorporate the ATS system with OTHER 3rd. party lighting systems (rear wig-wags?).

[ 5. ] Can I have an "adjustable" turn signal system?
[ 6. ] Is the system easy to install? Can I return to stock operation easily?

[ 7. ] Are sequentials illegal?
[ 8. ] Can I use newer LED taillight bulbs without problem?
[ 9. ] Will the ATS sequential system affect my rear deck 3rd. brakelight operation(s)??
[ 10. ] What about the 2005-2007 Mustangs? Is there a Kit, when will it be available, etc.?

FAQ - #1

James R. wrote:
> I have a 1999 Mustang "COBRA" model and only have one "amber" turn signal, will this work with
> the ATS sequential lighting system?

James you have what is called a "Euro" style rear lighting system and you only have one amber turn signal per rear side as well as having the brakes on separate circuits. This is to satisfy the European auto safety requirements. Since you have to have the minimum of three red lamps to have the correct animation for sequential operation, the color and number of lamps is not correct. Some have tied the brakelights back into the amber turn signal to have one amber and two red turn signals but I do not think this look right and could cause some confusion on the part of some drivers driving behind you. Also in trying to feed the brakelights with a "parallel" power source, means that when you brake, the two brakelights are already powered on and stay powered on while the brakes are pressed! You then loose the sequential effect on turn signals while the brakes are on and are back to a single amber turn signal. Using a "T" controller for trailer harness can be used to re-route power from the Euro 4-WIRE system to the US 3-WIRE system. Using this will eliminate the use of the amber turn signal but will cause problems with vehicle inspections as you will have a non-functioning AMBER turn signal(s). The inspector may hesitate to pass the vehicle with inoperative or non-functioning turn signal lights even though something indicates turn signals.

So at present, ATS lighting systems do not support the "Euro" style rear turn signal systems.

Please note the different model year Cobra!

What Ford Cobra model years are ATS system compatible?
The 1996-1998 Cobra and new 2003-04 models have standard US style brake/turn signals. ATS systems will work the exact same way installed as on "GT" Mustang models. They are identically the same rear taillight systems.

The Cobra model years 1999-2002 have the "Euro" style amber (yellow) turn signals. ATS systems will NOT work with this type of rear wiring/lighting.


FAQ - #2

Ernest T. wrote:
> Does your system only engage the sequential lights when using the blinkers, or does it also do it for braking
> and hazards? I am looking for a system that only uses this special lighting for the blinkers.

Your rear lighting system is based on the FORD/GM 3-Wire system unless you have a late model Cobra (except 2003) which uses "Euro" style rear lights. These have AMBER turn signals and cannot be adapted to the ATS system.

The 3-wire rear lighting has BOTH the brake and turn signals on one bulb filament and one bulb wire. This means that if you wish to have independent control over turn signals and brakes you will need to changeover your wiring harness and turn signal controls for this.

Since this is very expensive and time consuming, most opt for the system where-by the controllers to stage the lighting is mounted and wired at the rear lights (like shown on the webpage install). This takes about 1 hour to install. The "inboard" brakelights, (ones closest to vehicle centerline or license plates) is kept total stock in its operation. Only the middle and outboard lamps are animated or staged. The CHMSL (rear deck 3rd. brakelight) is also not touched or modified.

This means that when pressing and holding the brakes, the rear brake lights come on rapidly (in a center going out fashion at approximately 200 ms staged delay) and will stay ON like normal, as long as you hold your brake.

When you select the turn signal, the turn signal flasher controls the "flash rate" and the lights sequence out showing the direction of the turn you are signaling. The hazard flasher function shows the effect of brake lights exploding from inboard to outboard and then re-cycling again, based on the rate of timing (FPM) of the turn signal flasher.

Most (especially those in CA.) like the braking effect as it is very effective on those who like to hog your rear bumper. It tends to make them 'back-up", hence the nick-name of "traffic- backer" effect.


FAQ - #3

> Is stock brakelight action available at all?

If you are one who MUST-HAVE standard brake light action, you can use the SEQ.disable option controllers to be wired into the CHMSL (third brakelight on rear deck or trunk lid) using an additional small BOM module, and you will have completely stock brakelight action. The BOM (brake only module) is a special order option and runs $10.00 and is used in conjunction with the specially designed ATS SEQ.disable system controller(s). These more advance design units are designed to work with OTHER 3rd. party lighting systems or have complete manual/automatic control over the ATS sequential action.

This means if you are signaling for a turn and have the brakes on, the turn signals will sequence (light up sequentially) just like normal. Brake signals will now act "just like stock" operations.

FAQ - #4

Can I incorporate the ATS system with OTHER 3rd. party lighting systems (rear wig-wags?).

Yes. You will need the advanced ATS system with disable control so you can wire in the disable signal input(s) to the 12VDC power going to the rear wig-wag controller unit. In this way, when the rear wig-wag unit is powered up, it will disable the sequencing action of the ATS system so it turns over complete control of the rear taillights to the controller. This way, the rear wig-wags will LOOK LIKE rear wig-wags and not some combination of both, where timing and lamp control become an issue.

FAQ - #5

> Can I have an "adjustable" sequential system I can tune for personal taste?

Yes, look at the order form and order form options explained and note that you can purchase a precision calibrated and fully adjustable turn signal flasher module (100% FORD compatible flasher). You can tune it for a "slow, medium or fast rate. Or anywhere in-between! See other write-up for more details on FLA-4060a calibrated factory flashers.

FAQ - #6

>Is it easy to install? Being that I am not mechanically inclined, should I utilize the help of one who is?

Most find is extremely easy to install if you can work a pair of good quality wire crimpers, strip wiring and can follow the step-by-step instructions. The Mustang kit is complete and you need only supply the few handtools needed. Any average auto mechanic who can read and has a good set of crimpers can follow the manual. You can return to stock action anytime easily and quickly with the "retrofit" to stock wiring harness/adapters. Unplug the ATS system, plug in your adapter harness and you are back to stock operation in only a few minutes!


FAQ - #7

Jeff L. wrote:
> I am interested in getting the ATS system for my 1998 mustang but I'm wondering if they are legal in
> New York State or any other states.

Sequential turn signal systems are legal in all 50 states and in Canada. I know of no state inspection that specifically states that sequential turn signals or sequential hazard flashers are illegal. Now, if used with a CLEAR rear lens, you will be out of compliance with nearly all state inspection reg's, and most state that you must have a RED rear reflector as part of the rear lens. So, that if the car is parked and no power is being delivered to the rear lights, an oncoming cars headlights must be able to see a red REFLECTION off the rear of the vehicle. All state inspection stations will have a copy of that states vehicle inspection code/rules and regulations. You will find no references to sequential taillight systems being illegal. Now a few states like Pennsylvania DO SPECIFY in their vehicle inspection code the min/max speed or rate by which the turn signals operate, like 60 FPM min, and 90 FPM max. (FPM = flashes per min).

Now, other 3rd. party systems, like front/rear wig-wags, traffic backers and strobes are illegal unless used on emergency vehicles. You must be a volunteer fireman, EMT or some other emergency services person to use specifically classified automotive emergency lighting systems. Sequential turn signals do not fall in this category. Now, during an inspection all rear turn signal, hazard and brake light bulbs must illuminate in order to pass, just like any other front/rear signaling bulb.

FAQ - #8

Brian B. wrote;
> Hi there, I purchased a sequential taillight kit from you nearly a year ago for a '03 mustang cobra.
> I have >considered upgrading the taillights to LED bulbs, will the sequencer still work with LEDs?
> I have heard sometimes the flasher doesn't even work, because of the low current draw, which
> made me think the sequencer may have the same problem, I was considering a 12 LED cluster
> like these.
>Or if you have any suggestions that you have tried, let me know.


I've received a *LOT* of email about LED bulbs and their applications with the ATS system lamp controllers. The actual controller modules do not care if they switch LED, incandescent or pure resistive loads. So the use of LED or related bulbs with the ATS lamp controllers is not an issue.

HOWEVER, I do not remove or modify the shunt sensing feature of the factory flasher as;

(1) this is a safety feature I think is important, as you need to know when you have two or more signal bulbs out, and
(2) when you defeat the internal shunt feature the factory flasher becomes unstable and operates unpredictably.

Now, the stock FORD flasher module (electronic) design does care as it has an internal current "sensing shunt" that detects "low" load and will cause the unit to step into a 2X flash (double) rate mode. This is to indicate "bulbs out" and is part of the safety design. In figuring up the actual load for the turn signal flasher, you can count each bulb and note that standard 3057 wedge based bulbs use 2.25 A each.

So, three (2 in back, 1 in front) would be 6.75A total. The trigger point for bulbs out in the flasher is >4A, which would be in effect if you were to use LED bulbs in the back. You can install a device called a "LOAD EQUALIZER" sold by several LED/Automotive bulb dealers or distributors that will keep the flasher load above this point. This is nothing more that a power type wire-wound resistor wired in "parallel" (across) the power feed to the rear bulbs at the trunk wiring harness connector(s).

Here is a sample of the several type of products out there ready to install.

Now, you can build you own by purchasing some 10 OHM/15-20W "wire-wound" power resistors and soldering connection wires onto them and use one on each rear side for dummy load (wired across the brake/turn signal feed and ground). Use heat shrink tubing on the solder connections and silicone adhesive can be used to mount them on the rear trunk bulkhead, as they will get warn to the touch when in continuous use (extended periods holding brakes on).

The dummy load in addition to the three LED's would add the extra bulb "load" to the rear to keep the flasher in normal mode. If the flasher is on the edge of it low current trip point, you would add one more in parallel to each side to simulate a standard 3057 bulb load. For most folks, one per side is all that's needed.

In this way, you can return to stock type light bulbs by simply removing the load equalizer and LED's. Everything is back to "normal".

LED bulbs and liability vs DOT approval.

NOTE on packaging whether or not it is specified that the bulb is for OFF ROAD USE ONLY!

Ok, as for LED replacement bulbs, you need to understand that currently there are NO replacement LED bulbs that are D.O.T. approved. This means that if you were rear-ended in an accident, and the driver behind you swears up and down to the cop that he could not see your brake lights, and the cop investigates and notes that you are using LED bulbs, you could be getting a ticket for illegal equipment (like clear taillight lens in many states) and you could be liable for the damages. Most likely this would not happen, but technically speaking it could as your vehicle could not pass many state inspections with taillight or turn signal bulbs not DOT approved.

There are LED bulbs on the market that are in better "compliance" to how the standard bulbs work within the reflector, as LED array bulb replacements only cover about 15 deg. of viewing angle, so they are pretty bright if you are in direct line-of-sight, but as you move off axis, their light output does radically drop off. This means that someone in an adjacent lane next to you, a little back behind your blind spot might not see your brake or turn signal bulb indications with LED bulbs.

To address this issue, this vendor below has a "multi-array" that much more accurately emulates an incandescent bulb with its dispersion properties with the fast turn on rates of LED! If I had to recommend an LED replacement for the 1157/2057/3057 bulb series, this would be the one.

They're not cheap, and do utilize the more of the reflector portion of the bucket as incandescent bulbs do. I would feel better in recommending these type as you would have better coverage behind the vehicle, especially at night. I hope this answers your basic questions and gives you some more information to make your decisions on LED replacement bulbs.


FAQ - #9

Darral J. asks;
>Will the ATS system affect my rear deck 3rd. brakelight operation(s)?

No! Your third brakelight is on a SEPARATE and isolated circuit by itself and is not affected in any way. For those who wish to have more advanced features (ATS with seq.disable and/or BOM options) the 3rd brakelight power (signal) is tapped into and utilized. This does NOT affect in any way the operation of the 3rd.brakelight itself.

FAQ - #10

Folks ask;
>What about the 2005-2007 Mustangs? Is there a Kit, when will it be available, etc.?

There will be no support or system kit for these model Mustangs at this time.

I could produce a rear module to stage lights but there would be NO CONTROL over timing like earlier models due to no standard flasher module. Electronics have been re-worked to elimiate this and incorporate various timing components into a generic electronics (GEM) module which support these multifunction devices of past design. To come up with a replacement unit would make the cost of the kit prohibitive.

The first thing customer would complain about is speed and lack of adjustment. Thanks Ford for this new feature. So when your turn signal flasher fails, you will now have to replace a much more expensive electronics component.


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Special thanks to Rusty Harris, Alex Constan and Michael Davis for their support, contributions and Mustangs during the development of the ATS lighting systems kit for late model Mustangs.

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All contents Copyright 1997-2007 Marvin Davis

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