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Bargman Tailights, worth it?


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I am pulling this question I buried out of my Comedy thread, adding a few bits.   

 

I am still torn on the taillights.  The stock taillights are destroyed, and I think only one bulb is even working now.  While I have gone in and gotten them working before, I didn't get them all sorted and they will continue to be a problem until I replace them.    

 

I can get some cheaper surface mount LED ones for as little as $30.  Or I can get the Bargman ones for $107-130 a pair, but they have to be recess mounted.  As much trouble as the Bargman ones are, I am leaning that way a LOT more.  But at some point you have to make decisions on continuing to pour money into a project this far from completion.

 

What do you guys think, should I spend the extra on the Bargmans?  Tough call.  The Bargmans are slightly more of a project, but do it once?  The others I would be replacing the whole deal if one goes bad.  I just really can't convince myself the cheap $30 ones will be worth the savings.  But I have to plan for the $100+ Bargman lights.  I can pull the trigger on the cheap $30 ones anytime.  I haven't yet though, so I know I am leaning towards the extra work, and I believe extra quality of the Bargmans.  But more expensive does not always mean more quality.       

 

 

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Bought a $30 set, cheap plastic, needed to replace them in about 2 years.   Sealed the seems with caulk on the 2nd set and several coats of clear spray.  They are holding up better but are not going to be in use in 5 years. 

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Linkitom 75 LED Truck Tail Light Bar, Super Bright 12v Turn Signal Brake Reverse Taillight for Truck Boat Snowmobile Trailer Pickup RV Camper UTV UTE Vans (2PCS) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07QC6K8SD/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_PPKS8JGNP22F5NS9EQAK?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

 

I bought these about 6 months ago. They work great and are very bright. They’re set up for a separate turn light like most Toyota’s have. Very pleased with quality and price.

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Those Linkitom sound promising!  But they also look suspiciously just like the $30 ones I have been looking at...  Knowing how the Chinese make everything that looks alike in the same factory...  LOL!  Still, if I went with the assumption they are made the same place and at only 30-50 I could probably get 2yrs out of them...  

 

On the other hand the Bargman lights have lasted the test of time.  They have been around since 1931.  I know that if something goes bad not only will they likely still be around in another ten years, that they will have the replacement part.  So If I know I am going to spend $50, but likely have to spend another $50 in 2-4yrs, I am already sold on the Bargmans.  Quality hopefully means I WON'T have to spend more in that time period, but if so I can replace just one section at a time.  

 

I hope on having this beast for the long haul.  Wether the wife plans to keep me and the RV as long, who can say!  LOL!  Right now it amuses her that it keeps me occupied.  But I must balance that amusement with money spent, and actual productive use.  Eventually she will get tired of paying insurance for an RV she has never gotten to actually go camping in.  She wouldn't be amused with "well we can use it in the driveway..." either.  In fact, that would likely cause her to sell it the very next day.   

 

If I factor in my time, especially if I have to do it twice, and the reality that a $20-30 part is more likely to just sit around than motivate me to install it immediately, the Bargmans are quickly coming out as the winner.  

 

It would be cool if somebody had experience with the Bargmans and could speak to their quality.  For the moment, I am going to try and be frugal and save up for the Bargmans.  I have easily spent that in more fun upgrades over the past couple months...   

 

 

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Experience with the Bargman's? Hello, all of us. Yes they are very long lasting. Must be mine still work from 1986. As far as finding parts 10 years from now maybe not so much. They have been phasing out models much faster than they used to. You just never know 

Linda S

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6 hours ago, thewanderlustking said:

Those Linkitom sound promising!  But they also look suspiciously just like the $30 ones I have been looking at...  Knowing how the Chinese make everything that looks alike in the same factory...  LOL!  Still, if I went with the assumption they are made the same place and at only 30-50 I could probably get 2yrs out of them...  

 

On the other hand the Bargman lights have lasted the test of time.  They have been around since 1931.  I know that if something goes bad not only will they likely still be around in another ten years, that they will have the replacement part.  So If I know I am going to spend $50, but likely have to spend another $50 in 2-4yrs, I am already sold on the Bargmans.  Quality hopefully means I WON'T have to spend more in that time period, but if so I can replace just one section at a time.  

 

I hope on having this beast for the long haul.  Wether the wife plans to keep me and the RV as long, who can say!  LOL!  Right now it amuses her that it keeps me occupied.  But I must balance that amusement with money spent, and actual productive use.  Eventually she will get tired of paying insurance for an RV she has never gotten to actually go camping in.  She wouldn't be amused with "well we can use it in the driveway..." either.  In fact, that would likely cause her to sell it the very next day.   

 

If I factor in my time, especially if I have to do it twice, and the reality that a $20-30 part is more likely to just sit around than motivate me to install it immediately, the Bargmans are quickly coming out as the winner.  

 

It would be cool if somebody had experience with the Bargmans and could speak to their quality.  For the moment, I am going to try and be frugal and save up for the Bargmans.  I have easily spent that in more fun upgrades over the past couple months...   

 

 

Any LED setup is usually plug and play. Easier to replace the entire unit than attempt repairs.

The units I purchased are completely encapsulated. They are designed for use on boat trailers and withstand water absorption. The construction is actually pretty heavy duty. I’ve looked at other LED setups, these are far superior to anything else I’ve seen.

Only time will tell on longevity, but cheap enough to replace if necessary.

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Posted (edited)

Bargman (and also Blazer, Walmart’s brand of choice) did it differently. Both have frames with connectors that can be connected, fixed and sealed to the vehicle.  

 

Takes about 30 seconds to replace a Blazer marker light. Easy, cheap, and quick enough it is potentially worth carrying a spare of each color. 

 

Bargman did it to save on tooling. They are likely using their old incandescent frame tooling. But each color panel comes off individually. If you wanted two red and a reverse panel, you can get them that way, or change one from one to the other.  But you can also just change a bad panel for cheaper and they supposedly carry them at most rev supply houses.  I have never actually seen such a store so not convinced they are more than urban legend though...  I probably wouldn’t bother with carrying spares, but it is an easy brand to find and get quickly. 

 

The Bargmans are also a quick change in a parking lot. Unscrew the bad led panel, slip off, unplug, plug in new one, pop on, done.  Slightly more work, but a minute or two tops.  Before, those panels were the incandescent lens.  

 

Bargman is actually OEM equipment on many RVs. 

 

Not or trying to ask then just say “Hey, gonna go with these no matter what  anyways.”  While I am almost completely sold on the Bargmans, they do come at a cost...  More expensive, and harder initial install.  

 

If if I had to go somewhere next week with the RV, the cheaper and quicker option wins.  

 

Bargman did something odd too. Their reverse bulbs are still incandescent. I have noticed that led lights, while visually bright, don’t necessarily throw light as well. I suspect this might be why Bargman made that weird decision.  

 

If if I decide to go the less expensive route, those Linkitoms are probably the runner up. Still at $55 vs $107...  The super cheap $20-30 ones are a bigger difference and easier to stomach the potential issues on.

 

One thing the Bargmans win hands down on is style.  They wer actually used on some of our motor homes and don,t look as obviously modern and out of place.  If such things were to matter to the person living with them.  

 

That at might be my hesitation.  I have to look at them lol. I would have kept all incandescent lights, if it made sense to do so. I like the softness more.  But on a vehicle not used daily, led is much better and more reliable choice.  

Edited by thewanderlustking
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I replaced the incandescent OEM Bargman set up with their LED version. It was an easy bolt in solution to upgrading the rear lights, I'm happy with the results. I also pondered the cheaper options that would requires some fabrication or alterations to install. In the end I decided it was worth the extra $$ to have a bolt-on solution. I still have the old incandescent set up if any one wants them for the postage!

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Posted (edited)

Unfortunately in my case, the Bargmans do require some minor alterations.  My current beat and broken assemblies are surface mounted.  But cutting and fitting the Bargmans in shouldn't be too difficult for me.  

 

But, you prove my point, Bargmans are OEM on a lot of RV's, apparently including some of ours.   

 

Please PM me some pictures, I might just take you up on that offer!  I have to replace mine since they are destroyed, but honestly don't care about the LED vs the halogens.    

Edited by thewanderlustking
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On 5/2/2021 at 2:53 AM, linda s said:

Experience with the Bargman's? Hello, all of us. Yes they are very long lasting. Must be mine still work from 1986. As far as finding parts 10 years from now maybe not so much. They have been phasing out models much faster than they used to. You just never know 

Linda S


lol I missed this one Linda!  
 

Oddly my OEM apparently are NOT Bargmans....  I will post a pic tonight. Neilp is sending me pictures too. His old ones sound way better than mine. I’m more okay with that than the China LED panels that look way off from OEM.

 

But I am decided on the Bargmans one way or another. 

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Posted (edited)

Linda, I think you are right.  

 

Mine say "Reflect-o-Lite 1400" on them.  Searching for them gets mixed results.  It seems these might actually be a Bargman side brand or model.  If so, they aren't the style I am used to seeing.  Like these (not mine, what I think of as Bargman):

 

image.png.951f930333be8187f26ffa5aee34c812.png

 

Whatever the case, I can't find any replacement lenses or parts for them.  So replacing with some more modern Bargmans seems to be the ticket.  

 

Or if this is actually what Neilp has, then it could make my life even easier!  Alright here are mine:

 

IMG_7839.jpeg.32f8d131c62803eaae09014c801c7162.jpeg

 

As you can see, they have seen better days.  

 

IMG_7840.jpeg.77bf7424db532ca7489938578eb31042.jpeg

 

I got some/most of the lights working, but with the broken lenses and bad gaskets, EVERYTIME I check them something else is out.    

 

Interesting....  The more pictures I look at the more I suspect that not only are these actual Barman lights, but that the LED upgrade panels might even bolt right into the existing housings.  But finding the right panel seems more trouble than just replacing everything.  This is annoying.  I am at the point where if I paid myself for the time spent looking, I could already have replaced them for less LOL!  

 

 

 

Edited by thewanderlustking
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Yes those reflecto lites are the same as mine and yes they are Bargman. I wouldn't expect 30 year old lights to look like the new ones. The 1400's were discontinued many years ago. Occasionally you can find new lenses on eBay but the entire light can be rewired with new sockets and wiring. Difficulty in replacing the whole unit  is they are longer and taller than the new Bargman triples. You have to frame the new ones out to fill the space. This is what one of our members did instead

post-3411-0-78702800-1298857510_thumb.jp

post-3411-0-28683800-1298857525_thumb.jp

post-3411-0-25741200-1298857573_thumb.jp

He sold these frames on eBay r a while with a list of parts to buy. Unfortunately no more

Linda S

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Mine appear surface mounted.  While I haven't actually pulled them off yet to check, they do stick out a GOOD bit.  And inside, I just see a small hole with the wiring fed through.  I am out there poking at things today and doing a deep dive investigation on the engine management.  I will take a closer look at the lights too, and pull one off.

 

   

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I replaced my stock taillights with the Triple Long Bargman:

https://www.etrailer.com/Trailer_Lights/Bargman/47-84-104.html

 

I had to make a frame to mount on as the stock holes were too big. I opted for HDPE plastic sheet(1/8" inch) for its superior UV protection and durability. I cut the frames using a jigsaw and a drill and it was relatively easy. The bargmans interfaced into my stock wiring without a converter. You'll notice I added an additional light above the bargmans. I did this because the hole from the stock lights was quite large and it looked weird with the extended frame covering it. The top lights I had to run through a powered converter. Running congruent systems gives me peace of mind if the converter goes out the bottom lights will still function. The build quality is nice but these lights are NOT sealed from the manufacturer and I do not how long they will last in exposed weather. I keep a cover on my rig when it rains. The individual led arrays can be purchased separately for replacement.

20201126_205914.jpg

20210105_120635.jpg

20201216_132801.jpg

20201216_235457.jpg

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Posted (edited)
On 5/3/2021 at 2:19 PM, neilp said:

I replaced the incandescent OEM Bargman set up with their LED version. It was an easy bolt in solution to upgrading the rear lights, I'm happy with the results. I also pondered the cheaper options that would requires some fabrication or alterations to install. In the end I decided it was worth the extra $$ to have a bolt-on solution. I still have the old incandescent set up if any one wants them for the postage!

 

Thank you Neilp!!!  He is sending the old incandescent set my way!  Much much appreciated!

 

It will take a small bit of work.  Mine are surface mount, and those are recessed.  I will do a little DIY write up on the process.  But installing them gives me a nice base to work with and a quick path to the LED upgrade in the future, if I choose to bother.  Hard to say, I might in that pursuit of fuel economy, but I am also pretty sure that a conversion to mostly LED lights would make a huge difference, if still running the halogen headlights.  Thats where the main power draw would be...  Also I will still have the incandescent front turns.         

 

Now if I put some crazy driving or fog lights on there, I will likely use something more power friendly.  

 

 

Edited by thewanderlustking
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