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Trim painting question

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I recently won an eBay auction for a set of tail lights. Upon arrival I went through them, cleaned them up, and compared them to my originals. After realizing that my current ones have no reflective aspect to them, I decided I would tackle a refresh.

I painted the internals with "Krylon: Automotive Chrome" to give them a much needed reflective coating. Also with the addition of a second chrome trim piece I decided I would paint them satin black. I have enjoyed other cars where the trim was painted black and since this was a secondary set (I took the best chrome ones to set aside) I decided I would give it a shot. I am still undecided on if I like it more or less painted black, but I will say that the internal refresh DEFINITELY helps in making the lights shine bright!

8299340316_487eb2b054.jpg

I wish I had snapped a before and after shot with the lights on, but I will try and get a shot in the dark with the lights on one of these days. I also removed the lower chrome strip. Also not sure if it is better with or without.

Opinions on it all?

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Guest Anonymous

You are lookin clean, heres my take on rear lighting, I run the running lights in the lower bar of tailights, can run the big bulb withour melting the lenes, put the brake light in the top bar, ditto with the big bulb, like the brighter bulbs and higher location of brake lights, easy switch.

Dave Miller

DBMW2002

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It is interesting that the top lens does not have any texture to disperse the light, but I do like that idea.

On that same note, does anybody have a wiring diagram for the rear license plate lights? I've been having some issues with them, and I noticed there are 4 wires going to them... yet I thought they were grounded by the bolts to mount the bracket.

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Guest Anonymous

Your ground wires on these old timers will be brown, check in the left rear lower corner of trunk for cround connection to body, the trouble points on license plate light will either be the bulb itself, try rotating in mount to make better connect, or better remove bulb and steel wool connects, or the wire connections to the unit, remove clean restrip wire and should solve any issues.

Dave

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Your ground wires on these old timers will be brown, check in the left rear lower corner of trunk for ground connection to body, the trouble points on license plate light will either be the bulb itself, try rotating in mount to make better connect, or better remove bulb and steel wool connects, or the wire connections to the unit, remove clean restrip wire and should solve any issues.

Dave

I tackled it with a wire brush, moved onto sandpaper, and finally a wire wheel on a bench grinder. Coupled with new bulbs and could get it working, but when I went over a bump it would turn off. At least one side still works. It needs to be tackled off the car with some time to really get in there. Like you mentioned, rewiring it will be my next step.

I picked up a 320's rear license plate holder but noticed that it only has 2 wires as opposed to the 4 on the stock setup. I figured I would wire it up and see how it fairs, though with its lights oriented on top, it might look odd. I'll snap some photos when I get a chance to install it.

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The early(77-79) e21 had a bracket with the lights to the side. This bracket actually fits the 02 rear panel pretty well.

As for the trim, try the spray on Plasti-Dip. When you're tired of it, you can peel it off.

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8304705405_0e5231ea8f.jpg

I like how subtle it turned out, but at the same time, I think I still prefer the lights on the sides. I am hoping a friend whom is in Europe can score me a matching set of license plates. I do have an Ingolstadt plate, but I hear they are all Audi over there.

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Also got a chance to tear down the original setup:

8304760069_6e10bbd6a1.jpg

Not really salvageable. I bet I can find a replacement at the Pick N' Pull next time I head over there. Is someone still producing new brackets?

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Guest Anonymous

Nice rear end, i believe replacemnt brackets are available, your pieces could be retored, the trick is to find a fair priced source for the license plate lenses, pretty pricey, those guys are "hella" proud of their bits. I gave up, and wanted to anyway, mounted my new single license plate light on bumper, ala euro style, i like it.

Dave

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I think it looks clean. I used the LED lower profile from superbright. FYI, a local here has a set of new Hella tag lights for sale. Email me if you want specifics.

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I think it looks clean. I used the LED lower profile from superbright. FYI, a local here has a set of new Hella tag lights for sale. Email me if you want specifics.

I had some LED bulbs in my old plate lights. The color was a little off. Coincidentally, they don't fit in the new housings. I do plan on designing a new set of tail lights that would look right at home with the LED bulbs, but that won't happen for awhile.

I think I need to give it a good bath, and take out the connectors for the trim piece. Perhaps the side markers trim painted in black until I can remove them properly?

Does anybody have any photos of generic LED replacement bulbs in a squaretail? I've seen the kit that a fellow member makes, but I am wondering about just the bulb replacement for the tail lights.

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