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Any Tips for successful removal of Tail Light Assembly?

I’ve searched and found helpful threads but still have a few questions.

One of my maintenance projects is to replace the 25 year old gaskets on my Carrera’s taillights.

Apparently the gasket not only seals the tail light lens but must be installed on the tail light housing, requiring the removal of the housing.

I’ve searched and found helpful threads but still have a few questions.

There are two Phillips head screws, internally, one at each end of the housing
which. I assume hold the housing in place. After 25 years these have become stubborn and don’t want to free up and turn.

I’ve tapped them lightly and again more firmly several times using a Phillips screw driver and rubber mallet, hoping to free them without success.

PB Blaster was my next thought but there is a warning on the can saying it is harmful to some plastics.

• Is the housing plastic or metal ? From one thread it seems to be metal.

• Should I be approaching this from below the car rather than going through the housing?

• If you’ve done this before is there any advice you can share ?

• Also, the new seals from our host will do the perimeter of the housing and lens, but do not have any provision to seal along the dividers between tail/brake light and back up light, and between the back up light and the turn signal. Do you think a length of split vacuum hose would be sufficient to keep the light from passing between the separate light areas?

Thanks in advance,
Willie
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Old 01-18-2009, 10:46 AM
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if you can't loosen them you can drill them out and replace the screws .
the one thing that you must do is remove the drain hose in the center of the lens housing before pulling the housing out just pry it up or use needle nose pliers to pull it up.
the housing is pot metal.
split vacuum hose would work great for the dividers.
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Old 01-18-2009, 11:06 AM
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thanks for the quick reply

If the housing is pot metal the PB Blaster should be okay to use ... I'll go down to the garage and hit the screws with a few short bursts and then wait a bit - I'd rather not drill them if I can avoid it.

thanks for the tip on the drain house ..
after reading Porsche-O-Phile's thread on his LED upgrade I felt a bit sheepish about asking what seems to be such simple questions ...
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Old 01-18-2009, 11:17 AM
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Try an old fashioned impact screwdriver (the kind you hit with a hammer) on the screws before you drill them out ...
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Old 01-18-2009, 11:26 AM
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yes, but

FIRST - hose out all the crap as much as you can using highpressure water hose thru wheel wells

housing is pot metal

refer to the recently active thread on taping the fender

go ahead and buy some new rubber drains & the impossible to find German metric captive nuts that the housing

be CAREFUL not to over-tighten the lenses screws - that will crack the lens

the lens screws have small blue plastic washers on them - can use tiny O-rings if need be.

collect all links you found here to help you as you go and to help the next guy
Old 01-18-2009, 12:12 PM
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Hey, I'm doing the exact same project today! My internal screws came out no problem. Couple of things I noticed.

I scraped / sanded the old gasket glue off and used a light coat of 3M weather strip and gasket adhesive when I put the new rubber seals in.

I lubed the rubber drain plug with a little bit of dawn dish soap and it popped out and back in easily

Clean out the internal housing and replace bulbs and now my rear lights are brighter

Make sure you tape the bumper or use a cloth, the housing will scratch your bumper (learned that the hard way.)
Old 01-18-2009, 01:17 PM
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burgermeister, thanks for the suggestion on the impact screwdriver , unfortunately, even with all the tools I own, that isn’t in my box … if needs be I’ll borrow or buy one …

Lunde4, sorry to hear about the hard learned lesson – thanks for the warning and for the tip on using the dish soap as a lube when removing the drains, even in the “protected” environment of the closed light housing they are frighteningly dry and cracked. A quick search on Pelican yielded no results as far as replacements, so care will be used .

Randy, thanks for your input … next step in this project will be chip the ice from my shaded, sloping, north facing driveway so I can get under the car and hit the light housings with the hose and have a prayer of getting back up the slope and in the garage.

I saw the retaining washers on the screws when I pulled the right lens and found they were missing on the two screws that were holding on the left lens – a quick trip to Ace hardware will solve that.

I will keep track of useful threads and post them for future use by other Pelicans.

I will say that this thread started by snbush67 was a great source,

The Ultimate Porshe 911 Technical Forum "Ultimate Thread" and "How to" Thread

and lead me to Ian Macarthur’s’ Rennlist thread which is an enormous base of links to resolve almost anything for “early” 911s.
http://members.rennlist.com/imcarthur/resources2.htm

Even found some guidance from Warren on my next project – replacing the instrument gauge lights. Really wish I’d owned my Targa and been active on the BB while he was still with us. His words and knowledge still are there for us, and as I find his posts I understand more and more why the community cared so much …

Now, I’m off to the ice flow…

Willie
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Old 01-18-2009, 02:01 PM
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One of the screws on my right lens was impossible to remove, even using pliers to hold the nut while my son tried to loosen the screw. Ended up drilling the dam thing out and replacing the seized screw with a new small bolt and nut. Spent 90 minutes on one screw!
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Old 01-18-2009, 02:02 PM
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another real good treatment for rubber seals gaskets, etc... is, silicone rubber lube. i use it all the time.
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Old 01-18-2009, 02:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lunde4 View Post
make sure you tape the bumper or use a cloth, the housing will scratch your bumper (learned that the hard way.)
+1
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Old 01-18-2009, 02:05 PM
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Willie - everyone who does this in the future owes you a beer.

North-facing is the key -- got off the phone minutes ago with a friend in Evergreen -- and he's toasty at 7,000 ft. on the south side of the hill....
Old 01-18-2009, 03:31 PM
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i replaced mine last winter...had the same problems with the screws...they were rusted and wouldnt come out. Drill the screws out and go to your local ACE hardware and buy some new stainless screws and those, dont know the technical term, screw clips
Old 01-18-2009, 06:36 PM
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clip nut

aka, captive nut

aka, caged nut

has to be metric... hard to find
Old 01-18-2009, 07:13 PM
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BE CAREFUL with an impact driver!! I had the same trouble some years ago, used the impact driver, and knocked out the back of the pot metal housing!

Best,
Tom
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Old 01-18-2009, 08:03 PM
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Well most of the ice is gone – the underside has been washed down with high-pressure through the wheel wells and I’m certain that by morning my side of the drive, and the lower portion (due to compound angle of the slope) of my wife’s side, will have a thin coating of invisible slickness as the temperature drops over night.

There really wasn’t much to wash off, probably because prior to arriving in CO during late 2006 much of the cars previous life was spent in the Newport Beach area. Since arriving here it sat idle for most of the time until I bought her in August of 2007. So idle the rotors had rust on them.

But I digress…

Another few shots of PB Blaster on the screws, some Dawn DWL on the drain hoses and she will soak over night to be toyed with in the morning. Love those market holidays, I get to stay home, the wife goes to work and I get to center the car in the garage with lots of room to play.

I did replace the license plate lights in the rear, glad I ordered complete units, the plastic sockets were badly misshapened from years of heat, the bulbs no longer were holding in the proper place and the lenses were slightly brown.

If the PB Blaster hasn’t helped by morning it will be time drill out the screws and go visit Kelly at Ace, he’s rebuilding a 911S … ’69 I believe. Common interests always get me special service.

Not sure why the guys and gals would owe me a beer over this thread – all I did was post a few links that some dedicated Pelicanites put their efforts into.

There were several times today that I got side tracked as I searched and got lost in unrelated but fascinating threads … this by the way is not uncommon for me to my wife’s chagrin.

Porsche-O-Phile’s Tail Light Rebuild / LED Conversion, which didn’t cover my question … but sure presented a possible future project.

By popular demand - tail light rebuild/LED conversion


Leland Pate’s 2003 thread “Dr. Pate's "101 Tips for 911 Owners" “

Dr. Pate's "101 Tips for 911 Owners"


A 2004 thread from a fellow who resided on Planet Eugene, now relocated to beautiful downtown Nimrod, Orygun, titled “Long term & Commonly Neglected Maintenance ”

Long term & Commonly Neglected Maintenance

I can see this as an innocent way to start the descent on the slippery slope ..

Pelicanites it’s I who raise a glass of foamy to you all, for you all contribute so much …
Randy, as a side note, I imagine your friend on the south slope in Evergreen 1600 feet higher than me, has been reminded what a wise location he chose … much like my neighbor across the street who just chuckled when he saw me chipping away this afternoon.
Funny, when we first saw this house 14 years ago, it was April, the driveway was full of snow and I chalked it up to the fact that the house had been unoccupied for some time.
“Eyes Wide Shut”

Willie[
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Last edited by roodog911; 01-18-2009 at 08:12 PM..
Old 01-18-2009, 08:08 PM
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A delayed follow up -

Apologies for the long delayed follow up to this thread – can’t believe I started this over a month ago. Lot’s of interruptions including dropping an exhaust valve into a cylinder on my daily driver 4 Runner.

So what did I try and what did I learn?

I tried all the suggestions from those that responded – a high pressure pre-wash per Randy’s suggestion.

I followed Lunde4’s advice to protect my bumper – maybe a bit more extreme … instead of just a layer of tape as a protector I used the taillight lens as a template and cut cardboard shields from a box, and taped them to the bumper.

Jacked the rear up - supported it with jackstands and crawled underneath to apply some PB Blaster … I could see the outboard retaining nuts but couldn’t find a way to reach them easily. Unlike the gasket replacement described by sawbonz ( Rear light removal ) I didn’t have the muffler off the car. This made access to the inboard nuts impossible, physically, visually and really gave no direct path to spray any beneficial amount of PB Blaster where it would do any good.

It seemed that my path of least resistance was through the housing itself. I sprayed on PB Blaster to no avail … I purchased and applied a bit of persuasion with an impact screw driver … nothing … back under and another liberal application of Blaster to the outboard nuts and a liberal application of Blaster to where I thought the inboard nuts would be. Another round of persuasion with the impact driver … nothing – frustrated I walked away.

After relating my tale of woe to a friend, a few days later, he suggested using a small butane torch to heat the heads of the Phillips screws and applying more Blaster. The theory being the heat would help wick the liquid back where it needed to go.
He also recommended a dab of valve grinding compound on the screw driver to give it more bite and reduce the risk of rounding the slots.
Heat, apply, wait, impact driver, screw driver nothing … repeat …. repeat … nothing . Frustration – walk away before I break something.

Same friend, a few days later – but did you use the valve grinding compound? “No …”. He just rolled his eyes ...

I picked up some compound put it on the tip of the screw driver – put a box wrench on the hex shaped portion of the screw driver shaft and … both outboard screws loosened without any major effort and no indication of potential risk of rounding the slots in the screw heads.

Not so with the inboard screws so I gave up on my stubborn “Not gonna drill ‘em out” attitude and within half an hour the housing was out -

So what did I learn – there are lots of great suggestions from those with experience … listen, - try ‘em –
valve grinding compound works to give your screw driver extra bite and reduces the risk of slippage and rounding the slots -
and to stop being so d**ned stubborn – accept the fact that some times you just have to drill ‘em out ..

The new gaskets, the cleaning of the housing and polishing of the lenses inside and out made a huge difference to the appearance and IMO the brightness of the lights …

Willie
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Old 02-26-2009, 07:30 PM
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congrats!

replace those screws
Old 02-26-2009, 09:17 PM
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wow, great thread, i'm just about to replace the seal, too.

two things i'm wondering about, though: do you really need to use glue? don't they just stay in place? i mean they are between the housing & the cover, right? and do you actually have to remove the light assembly or is it really more good practice ... sort of while you're in there ... ?

cheers

georgie
Old 02-26-2009, 11:54 PM
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Thanks Randy - the screws and clips were replaced - compliments of a pretty extensive selection of common and specialty fasteners at my local Ace Hardware -

geoz the tail light housing must come out, if you look sawbonz's thread, which I linked above, jhubs shared some great photos- thanks Jerry, wish I'd spotted those when I started my project - you can see in the forth photo that the gasket actually serves a double purpose - it seals the perimeter of the housing to the body and seals the lens to the housing.
The use of adhesive? Maybe not necesssary but definitely keeps the gasket where you want it (after drying) while you slide the housing back in- a snug fit. The gasket comes with it's own memory from being packed in a plastic bag and will try to slip off the housing flange.

Another little detailing step I did while the lenses were off and the Blaster was being given time to loosen things up, was to mask the lens, inside and out thoroughly clean the recessed groove around the rear of the perimeter, (where it will fit against the gasket) and respray the faded black ring. If I were to do it again I think I'd probably use modelers paint and a brush.

REMEMBER TO COVER YOUR BUMPER ! Those Pelicans weren't talking hot air about damage to your paint.

I need to hop in the shower and head to work ...

Willie
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Old 02-27-2009, 03:11 AM
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Good summary of the stubbornness of those screws. Most everybody I know locally has needed to drill them out. Sometimes it's just easier, especially when you know that you can replace the "nut" that the screws are drilling into. I too am fortunate to have a great Ace Hardware a 5 min. bike ride away from my house. Metric stainless screws and new blind nuts are always in stock at my store.

Also a good idea is to use a good glob of antiseize paste on the screws when you install them. The blind nuts sit in a perfect spot to collect tire spray and road debris, so the new screws will be fed some crud & water as soon as you drive it. I also put a small length of silicone vaccuum hose over the exposed end of the screw, to keep the threads as clean as possible.

And i'd recommend against heat for anyone trying to get these screws out w/out resorting to drilling. Heat is usually a great way to deal with stubborn fasteners. Except in this case, the light housings are coated on the inside with the reflective foil surface. Too much heat and you'll dull and bubble the reflective surface. Ask me how I know........
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Old 02-27-2009, 06:28 AM
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