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Hey everyone. I decided to do this the other day after reading a few different threads about it. I figured I'd consolidate everything I did/learned and post it up for everyone who's interested but afraid to do this mod. It takes a few days (due to the paint drying/silicone drying times) but only a few hours of work.

WARNINGS: You need to go slow and be careful with this mod. If you're in a rush, this mod is not for you. If you have a lot of time, but you are unsure of your dremeling/cutting skills with the lens, I think you can do it. I have 0 experience with the dremel and I was able to cut the lenses off and reattach them.
**The only problem I encountered is that after resealing the lens, there is a small white border left around the taillight because the cross section of the lens turns an opaque white after being cut. I thought that the black silicone I used would show through it and it would be black but it did not. It's not that noticeable but I am going to eventually paint over it to fix it and post pics and edit this post. But for now, here's how I did it:

BLACKING OUT YOUR TAILS:

1) Gather the equipment. I used the following, most of which can be purchased at home depot:

-Ryobi dremel kit (purchase a dremel, they are awesome and useful)
-Cutting disks for the dremel
-Spray Primer for plastics (gray or anything but black)
-Black spray paint for plastic
-3m blue painters tape
-Sand paper (use whatever grit you'd like, it's to rough the surface up)
-Phillips head screwdriver
-Flathead screwdriver
-safety glasses/goggles (DEFINITELY needed)
-Black silicone adhesive sealant
-Clamps of some kind (For after applying the sealant)

Dremel and goggles:


Cutting disks:


Sealant:


2) Take out your taillights.
Open your trunk. Notice the two black tabs the trunk was hiding that are along the black border of the light.


Take out the two black tabs to the right of the light using a small flathead screwdriver. Don't be afraid to pry them out, they're just tabs.


Once they are out, you should see a screw under each one. These screws can be taken out using a phillips head or a 10mm ratchet. I used the 10mm ratchet because they were in tight and I was stripping the heads with the screwdriver.


Once you take those out, grab the light and try to pull it out. You need to pull it out away from the car as it is held in by two plastic tabs on the back of it. Don't be afraid to pull. Now pull it forward and look at it from the top. You should see this:


Each light fixture is held in place so you need to give them a quarter turn and they pop right out. Leave the lamps in the sockets. Once they are all unplugged the light should come free.


On the right tail light, there is an extra wire connection with a Phillips head screw holding it in. You need to unscrew that along with the other light bulbs to free it up and get it out. Here it is pictured here on the left:


3) Prepping the lens for cutting.
Use the painters tape to tape up the lens completely. This will prevent damage during the process.



4) Cutting the lens
Get your dremel ready, and position the light. Make the incision along the gray part/lens border. It looks like this as you're doing it:

Be CAREFUL. Be PATIENT.

Cut it all the way around.


Once you have finished cutting, the lens comes off. Make sure the lens is cut all the way through on all sides. If done properly, the lens comes right off very easily. No need to force it off. Forcing it runs the risk of cracking it.


5) Getting the chrome housing out.
Once the lens is off, you can remove the chrome housing from the grey housing. There is a single Phillips head screw with a white plastic washer and a black rubber washer on it. Remove it and don't lose the washers.


The chrome housing took a little persuasion to come off. I used a Flathead to levy it up on all sides a little at a time. There is a tab on the non-black corner of the light that needs to come out. Use the screwdriver to levy it up and out of its tab.

There are also two tabs on the black border side of the light pictured here:


Once it's out set the grey housing aside. You now need to remove the red brake light lens. Look at the back of the chrome housing and you can see two tabs on the right and left side of where the lens sits, and a large red tab sticking out on the bottom. Lift up the small side tabs using a very small screwdriver or needle nose pliers (one at a time is how I did it) and push on the large red bottom tab to pop them out. Once both are popped out, I used a blunt object to push the lens out through the hole.



6) Prepping the chrome housing for painting.
I tapped up the inner circle (that is under the red taillight) so my light will be a little brighter at least (as opposed to blacking it out)


Once that is done, you need to rough up the chrome for painting. Use sandpaper so you don't damage the plastic too much.

It takes some time and patience.

7) Priming and painting.
I used paint designed for plastic for this purpose. If you'd like to use high heat paint, you can. I did not, as the regular paint should be fine. Wash the housing with soap and water. This gets the debris off and gets it clean. DRY it thoroughly afterward. Now find a place to paint and lay down the primer coat. Do NOT use heavy coats. Do small light passes until it is fully covered. Using light coats is key. Primer:


When that's done, let it dry for at least an hour or two. Then you're ready to paint the color coat. I used light passes to fully cover the housing from all angles. Since it's an odd shape with nooks and crannies you need to come in from many different angles. Make sure it's fully covered, but do NOT use heavy passes. Keep it light. I used two coats to make sure the color really stuck on there (waiting 10 mins between coats).

Once it's dry, remove your tape and stick the red lens back in (it pops back in):

Starting to look badass already!

8) Prepping the gray housing and lens for silicone.
I used sandpaper to rough up and clean up the areas where I dremeled on the lens and the gray housing. Do both sides (the lens and the gray housing) This preps it for the silicone and cleans off excess plastic debris left on there. After I did that I dabbed a sponge on there with soap and water, and then dried it off thoroughly too. When doing the sanding on the lens side, be CAREFUL because the inside of the lens scratches easily.



I then tapped up the black portion on the gray housing because it's visible after you put the tails back on.


Then put your shiny new black housing back onto the gray housing using that philips head screw you took off earlier. Make sure the tabs pop back into place.


Do a test fit on the lens and make sure it fits back into place nicely. For me there were some weird edges (where I messed up with the dremel a bit) that I removed with the dremel to make the lens seat nicely on there.

Now you are ready to seal it back up.

9) Sealing it back up.
Put some latex gloves on if you can because the silicone is some gross stuff.
Apply a nice bead along gray housing edges. Be generous (but not too generous). It should feel like decorating a cupcake with that colorful icing, except in a "making your car more badass" way.

Once the silicone is on and you're ready to set the lens down on it, be careful. Set it down correctly the first time. You don't want to pull it back apart and reset it down.


Now grab the clamps and clamp down the corners and edges best you can.



Once that's done, let it set for as long as you can. 24hrs is good. Once it sets, cut the excess off with an exacto knife.
NOW YOU'RE DONE! Enjoy!


(Notice the white border....yeah I'm working on fixing that)
 

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Great write-up I was actually going to do this in the near future, I like the great detail and pics you posted. If you find a solution to the white edges, definitely let us know. + rep
 

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Very nice and thorough. Maybe this will get peeps confidence in doing it, since you shown where to cut along the edges.

+reppage :cool:
 

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just did this too!

looks good, white edges happened to me too, but its not too noticeable, took my like 11 hours to completely finish...i had a different dremel set up with an air compressor and it kept having to recharge itself.
 

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white edges can be removed by sanding it down with an even stroke.
 

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You do not have to cut anything at all. Just put the unit in a oven at 250 degrees for 15 minutes and you can pull it apart.
Pretty sure thats only for the front lights.
 
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MasterTJ,

Thank you for your contributions. Now you'll get a huge load of +rape from my rep wang.

This DIY is most excellent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for all the comments/rep everyone!

Yes you have to CUT the lens off. Baking it off only works on the HEADLIGHTS, as they are sealed with silicone, where the tails are all one piece of plastic.

This is my second DIY (caliper painting was my first). More DIYs to come. Maybe headlights/halos next if I can afford to buy the halo kit haha.

DIYs from this site have really spurred me to do more work on my car, and they've helped me a lot so I just wanna return the favors! Thanks all.
 

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Job well done! Looks to be a nice turnout.
 

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You do not have to cut anything at all. Just put the unit in a oven at 250 degrees for 15 minutes and you can pull it apart.
Thats only for the headlights!!!
 
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OOH!! I will try this 2morrow! Nice DIY :D I wanted to buy the darker ones to do my red tails but this will work haha. doesnt painting inside the turn signal reflector light mess up the output?
 

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No, I painted the inside of all my taillights and it doesnt reduce the effectiveness of the lights.
 
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