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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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The tools you will need (or atleast i used):
1. 3/8 inch drive extender
2. 3/8 inch ratchet
3. 10mm screwdriver bit
4. 10mm 12 pt socket
5. 8mm 12pt socket
6. 10mm wrench
7. 1/4 inch ratchet
8. 1/4 inch drive extender
9. screwdriver thing
10. toothpaste
I am going to assume that everyone knows how to undo the carpet in order to expose the backs of the tail lights. If you don’t, it is really easy. Looks in the hatch, and you will figure it out. Once you have removed the carpet flaps, you can start to work.
The passenger side:
There are 3 bolts holding the tail light to the car. Two of the bolts are visible (circled in green) and the third bolt is hidden behind the flap of carpet. All the bolts are 8mm. I had to use an extender to get to the bolts. Once the bolts are loosened, I recommend removing them by hand. This way you don’t run the risk of dropping them down into the body of the car. If you do drop a nut, it is ok, just reach down and grab it.
Once all the nuts are removed, you pull the tail light off the car. When facing the hatch, you are going to pull the tail to the right (away from the wheel) straight out. This is to avoid breaking the rivet at the end of the tail. You may have to pull rather hard.
The tail light removed:
Peel off the black foam-rubber thing. Don’t discard it. You will need it for your new taillights.
The driver’s side:
The driver’s side is a little more complicated. Make sure to remove the tail light bulbs. Unbolt the two bolts (in pink) that connect the taillight to the car. These are two of the three bolts that hold the tail light in place. These two bolts are 8mm. Be careful not to drop them down inside of the car. Once this is done, you will have to do a little work to remove the third bolt. The first thing that you need to do is to remove the CD changer holder. Remove the 5 bolts (circled in yellow). They are all 10mm. I used a wrench to remove bolt number 5 because it was a tight fit with the ratchet and extender. Once you have removed the CD holder, peel back the carpet. Be careful to not rip the carpet. It is help into place by a plastic rivet. Remove that and peel the carpet to expose the body of the car. Once this is done, you will see some wires and a square cut out in the body of the car.
This is where the third bolt is located. Everyone stresses that you do not want to drop the bolt down inside of the car. This is true, you don’t. If you do, it is OK just reach down in there and get it. It does make things a little harder if you do drop it though. To prevent from dropping it, many people suggest the “sticky nut” idea. This involves using some gum to stick the nut to the end of your socket. I didn’t have any gum, so I used some toothpaste. It worked very well. Use tools number 9 and 3, along with some toothpaste, and fish around inside of that hole until you can loosen the bolt. Remove the taillight just as you did on the passenger side. To avoid dropping the nut, I just left my screwdriver in the hole. I didn’t want to risk pulling it out and dropping the nut. Once the new taillight was in place I just fished around until I lined the two up once more. It was easy. Once you have the new taillight bolted in, just put everything back together the same way you took it apart. There should be nothing left over. Don’t forget to put the black foam-rubber thing on your new tails if you need it. It is a pain to remove it all again.

5 Posts
Thanks for this... I think, for the most part, this is the way I thought it was, although it was months ago that I first tried it. I just remember it being more difficult than it should be to reach one of the 3 bolts, and I was hoping there was a way to do it that I wasn't seeing. This description makes it seem easier than I remember. I'll try it again when I get home. I LOVE the car. Probably the most practical investment I've ever made.

Member - VR6 Crew
205 Posts
I was able to gain access to the three nuts holding the tail light assembly on by manipulating (folding) the carpet back and up. Didn't have to actually remove the entire carpet piece. It was kinda tricky but in the end I was successful. Swapped out my OEM tails for smoked candy canes. They look great...
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