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Chris
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928 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I created a couple videos a while ago, 30 minutes in total, that show start to finish me cutting open the stock tails, and cleanly removing the bezels so that they can be reinstalled after mods.

Here's an example of the final result of cutting open your tails to mod them:





Tools that I used for this job are:

1 Philips screwdriver
Dremel with flexible extension and plastic cutting saw
Clear facemask
Plastic Cling Wrap

You start out by removing the 3 screws on top, taking off the black piece, and then removing the 4 screws with plastic washers that hold the bezels to the back of the tail light housing. I also remove all of the bulbs for this at the start so I dont forget and damage them later trying to pull the housing apart.

After that, its all dremel. You need to cut a perfect slit in the plastic, without leaving a gnarly trail of evidence behind as you go. On the bottom of the lights, I keep the cut RIGHT at the line (I point out this line in the video below). On top, there are a couple little things that make cutting along the line a bad idea, since the alignment posts for the black piece are all on top.

The hardest part, and what I want to make very clear, is that the corners need extreme car taken when you are working on them for a few reasons:

-Dont slip and let the saw touch the clear plastic that you see on the outside.
-Dont cut too deep and go into the bezel
-Dont leave too much plastic uncut or unshaven around the bezel, or it wont come out (at least not without forcing it to)
-DO NOT FOR ANY REASON PRY ON THIS SECTION (its the weakest part of the light, and you can easily crack the clear plastic by prying against it, or any where near it. Ive done this, so dont screw up like I did while I had to learn all of this going in blind.

One other thing before we get started... Sorry! I'm sure a few people will start this project and hate themselves for it. Its about a 8 on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the hardest. If you dont care about it being perfect, its much easier to do a slapped together job and just cut everything up since you wont see most of it. I dont have that luxury, and my work has to be top notch, so I'm showing you how I do this. The whole measure twice, cut once methodology is used here, only with a crap load of cuts I had to figure out through trial and error:

Part 1 Making your cuts

Part 2 Removing the Bezel

Here are the lines to follow to make the cuts. Just click these images to see HUUUUGE versions where you can get as much detail as you could possibly want.

This show shows the whole top cut line. Just keep it close to the little posts that are used to line up the black top piece. The great thing here, is that the black piece covers all of this, but you might as well do it clean ;)



At this corner, keep the line in front of the post, then make a 90 degree turn AFTER the post. CAUTION! if you let the blade get away from you while making the cut (which runs parallel with the post), you'll cut the clear lens at the corner. That would suck, so dont do it!



Another closer look at the curved cut line. One little part I should mention, is make sure you keep to the same path, but you dont need to just slice through on the first pass. Unless you have a plastic cutting blade for your dremel, you should try to keep the speed low enough to not melt the crap out of the plastic, but high enough that the dremel doesn't ever slow too much when its cutting through.

There is one little dip right in the middle of this shot, and make sure you've gone all the way through the plastic (you'll see through the cut when its fully through).



From this point on, you'll be cutting around the edge of the light, so be super careful. One thing to mention here, is that regardless of how it looks at first glance, you are NOT cutting along the seam where you can tell the front lens was attached to the back of the plastic. Any attempt at doing so, will result in MAD scoring of the front lens. It'll look... like you cut the clear plastic off with a dremel, lol.



This is the bottom of the light, and it looks like I forgot to get the pic of the second half of the bottom cut line. Its exactly the same as here, but there's two little tabs you have to cut between and that leads up to the corner, which is the biggest pain in the process.

In this shot, you can see where I suggest you NOT cut around the raised lines, its so much cleaner and easier to just cut right through them. Makes it easier when you reseal the lights for sure. I've done these a few ways, and this is by far the best way IMO.



I kinda dont know why I posted this pic, lol?



Click this one for sure so you can see detail on the corner. You'll want to start cutting the curve of the corner super careful and do lots of small cuts and paths across this section. Your first cuts should be the furthest from the edge, and as you cut, you'll start to reveal the chrome bezel. Make sure you keep trimming and bringing the gap closer to the edge until you see the edge of the bezel. Its sooo easy to mess this part up, so take your time. You want to be able to pull the bezel out without TOO much effort, but it shouldn't just fall out. You can always revisit this part later after the bezel is out so you can test how it fits in there and pops back out.

 

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tadam!
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2,572 Posts
thanks !
looking to do this to the spare light i bought
 

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Registered
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278 Posts
i tried this job
hard as f
i failed and ruined one of my tails

be careful guys
 

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Registered
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651 Posts
I picked up a spare light for 30 bucks, might give this a try on it.
 

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Chris
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928 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
yeah for sure, I did 4 jobs before I got it right. The first set I was just hacking away at since I didn't know what was down there. Now I can slice both open in less than an hour, but of course, I'm supposed to be good at this stuff unlike 9 out of 10 people who just want a new DIY. This is one of the first things most people should want to do, but one of the last things they should try to do, lol.
 

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Great job..how much do you charge?
 

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Chris
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928 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'm updating the first post with pics of where to cut the line. I just installed a set of Nord Gray painted tails yesterday, and WOW. They looked so great compared to the chrome:



 

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tadam!
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2,572 Posts
Chris, a big thank you...

not a lot of people would do what you do and help other people do it themselve and giving tips... specialy since its a source of income for you

RESPECT
 

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Chris
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928 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
For sure, if you guys follow the guidelines I put up, your success rate should be waaay better than just going at it without any direction. Its still a BIG PITA so dont let the pics or video fool you. But if you have a steady hand and are good with DIY stuff, then go at it! I realize not everyone wants to take risks like ruining their lights, but I also understand that there are others like myself who would rather use their own two hands to modify their cars than have someone else do it! Just be careful, and patient, and you'll do great :)
 

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Your the man. I did the fronts but I was a bit nervous to tackle the rears. I may give it a go. Or just have You do it and put the halos in

Sent from my SGH-T959 using AutoGuide App
 

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have you ever tried doing it with a thermocutter (like the zetz ones)?
 

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Chris
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928 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Never heard of a thermocutter :) I can say with certainty though, that there is no faster, cleaner way to open these up than my process I use now. Mainly since my blade makes a perfect perpendicular slice into the plastic without leaving any melted plastic behind. The thought of anything with thermo in its name makes me think of mad melted plastic!
 

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Banned
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Never heard of a thermocutter :) I can say with certainty though, that there is no faster, cleaner way to open these up than my process I use now. Mainly since my blade makes a perfect perpendicular slice into the plastic without leaving any melted plastic behind. The thought of anything with thermo in its name makes me think of mad melted plastic!
what disc are you using??
 
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