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Joined: Nov 2013
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 351
Drives: S13.5 Nissan 240sx (Fastback)

#1 - 12-28-2013, 10:22 PM.

Disclaimer: I am in no way responsible for you if something happens to you or your car after doing this modification. Perform this task at your own risk and always remember... SAFETY FIRST!

Alright alright, the most anticipated writeup of... yeah. There can be many ways to approach this project, and honestly I think my way is the most pain staking, but I do it this way to insure that I'm doing the best possible I can do. I'm a perfectionist when it comes to projects like such. I will say if you try to rush this procedure you will become discouraged and I guarantee one of two things will happen, you will either: A) half ass finish the tail lights and they will end up messing up the first time you knock a speed bump or B) not finish and smash the tail lights with the nearest possible sledgehammer.

Let's see a before and after shot of what you will attempt to accomplish.





And yes this writeup is ONLY for the hatchback tail lights. You could try to same thing with the coupe tails although honestly I don't think it'll work because the bend is way to extreme for the prismatic section to hold. Never hurts to try I guess...

With that said, here's the supplies you'll need, you may want to write all this down on some paper because autozone is going to love raping your funds.

#1) Clear Prismatic Florescent Pattern - Can be bought at Home Depot or Lowes, the key here is to get the CLOSEST POSSIBLE PATTERN that resembles the stock appearance. Failure to do this will make the tails look tacky and will completely hinder the entire look. Search for the right pattern, do NOT settle.

#2) One tube of Black AND Clear Weather Resistant Silicone.

#3) Dry erase marker or wet erase marker or something to mark with

#4) New bulbs, just do it. 1157 CLEAR BULBS for the brake lights. You need TWO per tail light. 1156 in AMBER BULBS you only need ONE per tail light. So thats FOUR 1157 CLEAR BULBS and TWO 1156 AMBER BULBS.


#5) Clothes pins... not needed but really helps. To hold down your cutout while the silicone drys.

#6) Windex and some Goo Gone.

Sweet. Now that you have the supplies, you need the tools.

A) Dremel. This will be your tool of choice. Make sure you get one that plugs into the wall. The first time I did this I had a dremel that only had a battery and it would die after 30 minutes of use. Then I'd have to wait FOUR HOURS for the recharge.

B) Couple of flathead screw drivers, various sizes.

C) Oven... Aluminum Foil... Hot Pads. Ask mommy ;)

D) Table clamps, something that won't press down too much pressure on the florescent pattern otherwise it'll crack it.


Here's an idea of my table area:


Don't mind the kool lube... I was uhhh... testing things out.


Let's start the procedure shall we!

First things first. Go into your kitchen and warm the oven up to 275 F, and wait till it reaches this temperature. At this time you can begin taking out the bulb harness assembly out of the tail light (the back pieces that the bulbs rest in). Take those out completely, because if you put the tail light in with the electrical stuff attached, I don't know what could happen. The bulbs will more than likely shatter.


You then unscrew the screws holding the amber piece in place. You won't be needing these anymore.


Once you've taken those out, wrap the entire tail light in aluminum foil. You don't have to be perfect, but try to cover most of it. Do one tail light at a time! Put it in for about 10 minutes. Once ten minutes is up, take it out, and then put the other one in. You then take the baked tail light to your work space and immediately begin to pry to amber piece out with the screw drivers. Now this part can get tricky and I suggest some type of eye protection because chips of amber pieces might decide to come flying up at you at random. If the glue doesn't seem melted enough for the amber section to come out with ease, then throw it back in the oven for another 5 minutes. If it's fighting with you then you didn't bake it long enough, trying to pry it out like this will leave you nightmares. I tore my hand in half practically trying to rip it out. Ouch.

And here's the same picture twice to show the amber piece separated from the tail light...


Oh wow look, this is almost how we want it to look like in the end... almost...


If you get discouraged you might decide to stop at this point hahaha.

Ok. Hopefully you got the amber section out at least in good enough shape to trace a section in the prismatic pattern because that's what we are going to do next.

Take the amber piece and trace it to the best of your first grade abilities onto the prismatic pattern. Make sure you do it on the SMOOTH side and not the side with ridges otherwise good luck washing the marker out of the grooves lol.

IMPORTANT TIP: Give yourself plenty of slack in case you mess up on the tracing. It's better to trace bigger rather than smaller, either way you'll be trimming it down to a perfect shape with the dremel later. Don't cut corners here.

Now comes the dremeling part. The part you will hate I promise you. Honestly I can say it's almost not even worth the trouble but I'm a pretty determined person to get things done so I get my shit done. However at this point you can come up with your own way to cut this shape out. I used the dremel and the cutting piece along with the sanding piece. The main focal point of this procedure is just getting the basic shape out from the sheet of prismatic pattern so you can work on it better. Then trim it and shape it down to the perfect dimensions so that it fits right into the tail light.

Eventually you will get a shape like this:


You will use this as your UNIVERSAL PATTERN. Make sure it fits snug into the tail light. It has to fit tight, you need to use a little force to get it in, if it just goes in with no force it will not seal correctly when you use the silicone. You keep this that way you can duplicate it with ease whenever you want to make more tail lights.

So now that you have your universal pattern, trace a LEFT and RIGHT section for both tail lights. (SMOOTH SIDE FACES OUT) Don't get it confused or you'll shoot yourself later when you're halfway done cutting it out.


Alright. Now that you have your clear sections cut out perfectly, its time to prep them for insertion. Ha. Insertion...

At this time you need to bust out the black silicone and cut it to a pretty fine tip because you're gonna be doing some precision silicone placement. If you can see, you'll notice a disgusting yellow glue around the inside of the tail light where the clear section is.


You'll want to remove this as best as possible, and then once you've done that... begin going over the entire grove with black silicone. DO NOT overdue it though because if you use too much when you press down on the clear prismatic section you made, it'll get on it and look really stupid. Just layer it thin enough so that it'll look black from the outside. This step makes the tail light look really clean.

You then wait for this silicone to dry. I'd say about 20 minutes is good. Once its dry insert your prismatic piece into the tail light so that it fits snug. You should be able to put it in, and leave it in there without it popping out, or at least only the ends pop out, but not enough stress for the silicone to not hold it in properly. The fitment part of this prismatic section is the worst, it literally has to be perfect.

Once you're happy with the fitment inside the tail light, begin layering the gap in between the clear prismatic section and the tail light itself with the clear silicone. Here is where you may need clothes pins to hold down the clear prismatic piece while the silicone drys, otherwise you will have to use your hands and literally sit there for a good 20 minutes. Really sucks actually. Not to mention the smell of the silicone hahaha.

Eventually the clear silicone will dry and it will hold in the prismatic piece like a rock. But now you have a little problem... There is some excess silicone on the prismatic piece itself that you definitely need to remove. I used a combination of Windex and Goo Gone with light scraping of a small flathead screw driver until most of it is eliminated.

Well, once you've done all of this... This is what you will end up with:


Ball out with these, they rock because they're super rare!

Hopefully I didn't leave anything out, if you have any questions or suggestions to add to the write-up let me know. I think I've covered pretty much everything.

Last edited by KiLLeR2001 on 12-28-2013, 10:23 PM.
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