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86 tailights

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fatboyreyn

Guest
My 86 tailights have no screws on the lenses on the back, so bulb replacement has to be done from the back. The service manual says the inner ones you get to through the license plate hole, and the outside two from under the car. My arms won't make it more than 6" either way. Am I missing something here, or is just another engineering nightmare on the corvette. Also are my lenses stock, or did somebody change them? Thanx.
 

3dale1

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 12, 2005
Messages
158
Location
PA
Corvette
65 convertible L-76
They sound like stock lenses. (no screws)

I have heard about guys having major problems with these, and some other (like me) just a minor hassle.

I can reach mine up through the quarter panels, and the harness will drop down "just" far enough to twist a new bulb in. However, its all a blind repair and done by feel. Might be helpful to you to pull the wheel as well.

I think that the replacement through the plate panel is made easier by pulling the backup sockets and/or panels as well. Doublecheck on this as I have never personally done it this way. Also could be helpful to raise the rear and remove the spare, just so you can get yourself under the car at a better angle.
 

Agent 86

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 11, 2005
Messages
144
Location
Summerland, B.C. Canada
Corvette
86 4+3 Coupe-Yellow
Haven't had to mess with mine yet, but from what I've read, after you remove the license plate, remove inboard lights and then reach through their hole to get to outers.
 

c4cruiser

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 22, 2002
Messages
971
Location
Lacey, WA USA
Corvette
87 Gold Z52 Coupe 02 EB Z51 Supercharged Coupe
Removing the backup lamp housings provide extra room to get your arms in so that you can remove the two 10mm screws per housing. Once the inboard tail light assemblies re out, then reach thru that hole to get the outboard ones removed.

I use a small thumbwheel 1/4" drive ratchet and a deep socket to get the screws out. Works better that a standard ratchet as the screws are not in that tight and it's easier to twist the thumbwheel ratchet with your fingers than trying to move a handle type ratchet.

If you happen to have a single bulb go out, it's a good time to simply replace all 4 bulbs especially if the bulbs are old or even original. Get some Sylvania "Long-Life" 1157 bulbs for replacements.

The factory used a dilelectric grease on the sockets when the cars were built and over time this stuff gets very stiff and almost hard. Chances are that if you have original bulbs in the sockets, they will break when you try to remove the bulb. Once you get the old bulb out, use a screwdriver or pointed tool to scrape all of the old sealant out.

When you insert a new bulb, use some Permatex dielectric grease #67VR or equal (available at pats stores in small tubes) and coat the bulb base and the contacts.

With all of the housing removed, you can clean the recesses in the bumper cover. Put a few ounces of soapy water into the lamp housings and shake for a few weconds, then rinse and let dry. That will remove years of dust that does accumulate inside the housings.
 
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fatboyreyn

Guest
thanks guys, my wife (skinny little arms) was a major help. We reached the outer ones from underneath, and the inner ones from up top, through the gas cap lid, after removing hindged cover. Took about a half hour. I think the bulbs were very old, cause 2 out of four were corroded in socket and broke off. Put in expensive, long lasting blue bulbs, cause I don't want to go through that again.
 

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