How to replace rear light sockets

Discussion in 'Sparky's corner' started by 68 Skylark cust, Jan 4, 2020.

  1. 68 Skylark cust

    68 Skylark cust French Canadian Member

    Hi,I'm looking to refresh my rear taillights by replacing light bulb socket and maybe wiring (if needed) .

    Also looking for brighter bulb like "Crystal Vison" ones by Phillips. (1157CV)

    But first I'd like to figure out how took the old sockets out without damaging anything and finding the good replacement parts.

    Thank you

    I started out by cleaning my lenses ;-)
    DSCN3032.JPG DSCN3035.JPG DSCN3036.JPG
  2. Dr. Roger

    Dr. Roger Stock enthusiast

    Cleaning the lenses (inside and out) and repainting the inside chrome/silver goes a long way in brightening up your tail lights.
  3. 68 Skylark cust

    68 Skylark cust French Canadian Member

    As soon as I'll be able to figure out how to took sockets out with care , I'll clean/paint the housing and clean the gasket with caution as well
  4. Dr. Roger

    Dr. Roger Stock enthusiast

    The newer ones (1970 and up) that I am familiar with, you turn to unlock and pull them out. These older ones look different, so maybe someone with a 68 can chime in.
  5. Duane

    Duane Member

    The 68-69 Taillight sockets, to state it plainly, are a real PITA. They are made of a brittle plastic and have small brass pieces that go between the sockets and the wiring harness to make the electrical contacts. If those brass "pins" get bent, or break, where they are folded over then the light will not work.

    If you try to take those sockets out you will break them into pieces and then will be looking for another complete assembly.
    It is a horrible design.

    If everything works on your light assembly, you might want to clean everything up without taking it apart. I always use the "chrome painting method" as described above, and they look really bright/nice when done.

    Also, be careful with putting in brighter bulbs instead of the correct ones. That is the surest way to melt your lenses, as they were only designed to withstand a certain amount of heat. (Ask me how I know.)

    So if you are going to work with the newer LED lighting that gives off less heat, you will probably be OK.
    68 Skylark cust likes this.
  6. LARRY70GS

    LARRY70GS a.k.a. "THE WIZARD"

    Might there be a way to retrofit the 70 and up design to work? It isn't like you are going to see the work as it would be hidden behind the bumper. Of course it wouldn't be concourse.:D
    1973gs likes this.
  7. Duane

    Duane Member

    Who cares about concourse, you would never see the work.

    You know I am a grunt for spending time on a resto, and I am sure you could do something with this set-up, but why bother. The light sockets are pressed into the pot metal housings and are not removable. (Like you see on front parking light assemblies.) You would have to break them out, grind the housings to accept the "toothed" socket assemblies for the 70-72 style, which I don't think you could even do, and then hope they fit in the small area between the bumper and the rear of the body. Plus you need to make sure the damn things seal up correctly or they will fill up with water.

    You have to remember the 68-69 rear bumpers are really tight against the body back there. You can't even get to these parts once the bumper is installed.

    The Engineers fixed a lot of things for the 70 model year, that we all take for granted. Two of those things were the taillight assemblies and the front parking light assemblies. What a PITA it is to try to get them out once the front bumper is installed.
  8. LARRY70GS

    LARRY70GS a.k.a. "THE WIZARD"

    I was thinking more along the lines of using the complete assemblies, but wasn't aware the bumper was tighter against the body. I guess they wouldn't fit, then there is the sealing issue. Might be a better option for the front to make the later sockets fit, or is the assembly much smaller?
  9. Daves69

    Daves69 Too many cars too work on

  10. 68 Skylark cust

    68 Skylark cust French Canadian Member

    With a Tremclad aluminium colored rust paint ?

  11. Duane

    Duane Member

    What I use is the paint that looks like "chrome". What you want is the most reflective paint you can find. That way it reflects the most light.
    68 Skylark cust likes this.
  12. JohnKaz

    JohnKaz Well-Known Member

    You can actually get the sockets in and out, it just takes a little patience and a willingness to live with reinstalled sockets that aren't perfect - if you look at the little brass or copper part on the inside of each taillight bulb's bucket, it's soft enough that you can gently bend it upward with a pick or small bent flathead screwdriver - once you get all the way around, you can pull it out. Reinstallation requires bending the little lip backwards to the original position, which I did with a small punch with a slightly rounded face. It didn't look as perfectly smooth as it was before I started, but between the repaint and rewiring of sockets (using an item like Dave69 linked to above) they came out well and, more importantly, all functional. NB - I screwed up a few too, but I was OK because I had purchased another set of them from ebay, so I had some extras (the ebay purchase was really for the much nicer lenses, so it was a lucky break).

    Good luck -

    Attached Files:

  13. gsgnnut

    gsgnnut Well-Known Member

    I did an experiment with 72 taillights.was sick of the dim taillights so I Painted a set of the tail light reflective backs Chrome and another set gloss white. Gloss white gave noticeably brighter taillights with the same bulbs so I used the white reflector backs in my sun coupe.

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