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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 15 Apr 2017, 11:20 am
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Default Tail light questions

So, I need to replace my brake lights. The passenger side has a new screw in it, but is stripped. The driver side still has the original screw in it. I am going to replace both bulbs, and both screws. Questions are as follows -

1 - Is it common to need to replace both (or even all three) brake lights at the same time? I have replaced the passenger side 2x now, and the driver side burns out pretty quickly after. I think I had to replace them concurrently on my Neon to keep this from happening. Something about an unequal electrical load...

2 - Any suggestions on screw extraction? I am considering just buying new assemblies and smashing the old ones out...

3 - Any change anyone happens to know the screw size for these? I am trying to make one trip to the store for everything.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 15 Apr 2017, 11:34 am
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Default Re: Tail light questions

These tail light assemblies often get small cracks and/or the sealant that holds them together deteriorates and allows moisture to get inside. This can greatly shorten the life of the bulbs. If me, I'd first inspect for water and moisture in the tail light assemblies. If I found any, I'd order replacements on Amazon. You can get a new pair for $50 to $65 and they even come with new bulbs and sockets.

On the screws, there seems to be two types, one type has a Philips head and the other a Torx head. If I remember correctly, they are interchangeable and I have swapped them out on one of my PT's. Behind the screws are clips that act as nuts for the screws. These can be changed out as well if needed.

The 1st Gen (2001-2005) tail lights with orange turn signal lenses and the 2nd Gen (2006 - 2010) tail lights with clean turn signal lenses and orange bulbs are interchangeable if you take a Dremel tool and remove the tabs in the bulb sockets. Here's the tabs that must be removed:

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Last edited by Handy_Cruiser; 15 Apr 2017 at 11:38 am.
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Old 15 Apr 2017, 11:39 am
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Default Re: Tail light questions

When you say the screw is stripped, do you mean: (1) the torx part you cannot get a torx driver into it? or (2) that you can get a torx driver in it, but it just spins?

If (1) if the torx portion is stripped, there are still 2 notches that you should be able to use a large flat bladed screwdriver to get the screw out.

If (2) you may have to gently pull on the light housing while loosening the screw, using the housing as leverage to pull the screw out.

You should then be able to take the screw into an auto parts store and find a suitable similar fastener.

You can see one of the slots for a flat blade screwdriver at about the 3 o'clock position in this pic, there is another slot on the other side of the screw:


Last edited by rckstein; 15 Apr 2017 at 11:49 am.
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Old 15 Apr 2017, 11:43 am
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Default Re: Tail light questions

Use a heavy grease to coat the screw and flat nut it screws into before remounting the rear brake lens assembly.
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Old 15 Apr 2017, 01:03 pm
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Default Re: Tail light questions

Thanks, all. The screw that is stripped is a Phillips head, the other side still has the Torx screw in it. Both sides have moisture in them, so I am going to replace both housings. Looks like that will be the best option. Those that have done this before and purchased from Amazon or Rock Auto, did the clips come with the assemblies? I did find the screw on eBay, but it was a couple of dollars, plus 6+ more for shipping. HA! I will take one to the hardware store and get new ones that way.
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Old 15 Apr 2017, 01:04 pm
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Default Re: Tail light questions

Forgot to add - 2007 Touring 4 door. I am now looking at LED replacements for bulbs as well.
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Old 15 Apr 2017, 02:37 pm
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Default Re: Tail light questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by siamese_retriever View Post
Forgot to add - 2007 Touring 4 door. I am now looking at LED replacements for bulbs as well.
If you can't find a screw that will work at a local auto parts store, you should be able to get it at a dealership and avoid any shipping charges.

Be sure to look for LED bulbs that are CANbus safe to avoid hyper-flashing and the need to install additional resistors.
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Old 15 Apr 2017, 03:11 pm
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Default Re: Tail light questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by rckstein View Post
If you can't find a screw that will work at a local auto parts store, you should be able to get it at a dealership and avoid any shipping charges.

Be sure to look for LED bulbs that are CANbus safe to avoid hyper-flashing and the need to install additional resistors.
+1
Either use resistors or change out thermal flasher relay
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Old 15 Apr 2017, 03:23 pm
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Default Re: Tail light questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by siamese_retriever View Post
Thanks, all. The screw that is stripped is a Phillips head, the other side still has the Torx screw in it. Both sides have moisture in them, so I am going to replace both housings. Looks like that will be the best option. Those that have done this before and purchased from Amazon or Rock Auto, did the clips come with the assemblies? I did find the screw on eBay, but it was a couple of dollars, plus 6+ more for shipping. HA! I will take one to the hardware store and get new ones that way.
They do come with new side clips. However, the quality of the original side clips may be better. I reused the OEM clips with the last tail light I installed. You can see the side clips in this photo:





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Last edited by Handy_Cruiser; 15 Apr 2017 at 03:32 pm.
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Old 15 Apr 2017, 04:05 pm
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Default Re: Tail light questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by pawpawdiv9 View Post
+1
Either use resistors or change out thermal flasher relay
I don't believe you can change out the flasher relay on the Gen2.
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