Monday, April 7, 2008

Red Tails

As I mentioned before, I really don't like the factory chrome tail lamps. I thought I'd cover them in red vinyl, but the contour is a little difficult -- thin vinyl tends to wrinkle if you try to curve it too much. There is thicker stuff, like "Rockblocker," but that can't wrap around the edges, so the clear will show through. That leaves painting. We took the lamps to our favorite body shop, and now they're nice and red. The car really looks different from the back.

For those of you who want to remove your tail lamps for whatever reason, here are some pointers on getting the center lamps (on the hatch) off the car:
  1. First, remove the interior hatch trim. Start at the top, by the hinges. Pop the four pieces loose. The bottom piece is pretty tight, but it will pop free.
  2. Remove the 8mm long nuts from the sides. Note that these have little teflon washers that are easy to lose.
  3. There's one last 8mm nut inside the hatch. Use a socket extension or 8mm nut driver to get to it.
  4. Once all the nuts are free, the lamp will still be tightly attached to the car. It's got a pop fastener that holds it in. We just pushed on that last stud (where the nut was) with the socket wrench, and the lamp popped loose.
While we were in there with the hatch trim apart, we swapped out the backup bulbs with LED replacements.


dugandick said...

I acquired an 08STI and one of the first things I want to change are the tail lights. Thanks for the pointers on tail/brake light removal. I'm wondering if a can of quality spray paint would work as I don't have a bodywork painter.
Also, are you planning to install an oil catch can? Thanks, dugandick

Anonymous said...

Hey Dan,

The STi looks great -- have you replaced your Mini as a daily driver with it yet? Have you looked into BlueBatmobile's overlays? He often posts on and I know several other 08 STi owners on the site have purchased his vinyl overlays. Of course if you can afford to get it done professionally by a body mechanic, that would be your best bet! :)

Can't wait for you guys to get your dyno ready so I can get my protune done on my 07!


Mach V Dan said...

I looked into vinyl but I feared the compound curves would result in wrinkles. And I wanted to try the paint -- I'd like to offer pre-painted units to our customers.


Mach V Dan said...

Oh, and no, I'm still driving the MINI most days. Lately that's been because the STI has been inside the shop.


Chris said...

Just wondering if you know what color your tails were painted? I like that dark red. Blends in very well.