RESEALING TAIL LIGHTS

 

Step 1 - Removing Interior Trim

I did not take any pictures for this step as my hatch was already torn apart from the rear shock replacement. You better be able to figure it out though.

  1. Remove spare tire trim.

  2. Remove trim right up against the tail lights.

 

Step 2 - Removing Tail Lights

Again, no pictures were taken here, but I may come back and add some later.

  1. Unplug lights from the wiring harness. There are three plugs you need to unclip. You do not have to remove the bulbs from their housings.

  2. Remove wiring anchors from bolts. A thin screwdriver may help you here but you basically just need to pull them straight off so you can access the nut underneath.

  3. Undo all 12 bolts holding the three sections of taillights on. The middle section must be removed before the two outer sections can be removed

  4. Push both outer sections from within the car. You may apply heat if necessary as the butyl rubber used for the seals can still hold on pretty tight. DO NOT PRY ON THE LIGHTS

 

Step 3 - Cleaning

WD40 is your friend here. Make sure to clean the surface of the car as best you can. I cleaned one tail light with WD40 before I got concerned about the oil making its way in to the housing so I just did a once-over on the other light.

  1. Remove as much rubber as you can by pulling large chunks directly away from the car/light. If you're lucky, it will lose its grip on the surface and come completely off.

  2. With minimal rubber left, spray the area or a paper towel with WD40 and scrub to remove the rest. You may consider using your figernail through the towel to get any solidified bits off. I do not recommend scraping with anything other than your nails or a plastic trim tool.

  3. Make sure to thoroughly clean the area with isopropyl to remove the WD40.

 
 

Step 4 - Reinstallation

Once the surface is clean and completely degreased, use butyl rubber ribbon sealer around the border of each tail light section. I chose not to use ribbon sealer for the center tail light as the factory gasket was in decent condition and did not appear to be the source of the leak.

  1. Place ribbon sealer on car.

  2. Install the left and right tail lights before installing the middle section. Hold them to the body of the car with the nuts you removed earlier.

  3. Plug the lights in to the wiring harness and ensure that they light as expected before proceeding.

  4. Assuming the lights remain operational, press the tail lights in from the exterior of the car, compressing the rubber sealant as much as you can, this will ensure a proper seal.

  5. Tighten the nuts that hold the lights to the body of the car, do so evenly and do not wrench them down too hard. The bolts are held in a plastic housing and can easily be ripped out if over tightened.

 
 

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