How to get new tail lights... for FREE!!! - ModernCamaro.com - 5th Generation Camaro Enthusiasts
3rd Generation F-Body 1982-1992 Camaro & Firebird Discussion

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post #1 of 17 Old 12-30-2009, 10:47 PM Thread Starter
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How to get new tail lights... for FREE!!!

One thing that has always bothered me on Thirdgens is the tail lights. Just like the park lamps, over time they get very cloudy and start to look like crap. Occasionally, I'll see a Camaro for sale, the owners have repainted and replaced everything on it, new paint, badges, park lamps, grill, the car is mint... and then they show a rear picture and you see the cloudy lamps. I had strongly considered buying new lamps for my car, but a pair of new tail lamps can cost you $500!!! That's a lot of dough to hand over when your tail lights work as they should and are not damaged! With a budget in mind, I decided I would take a stab at making my existing tail lights look new again. I wasn't really expecting results... boy was I suprised!

Today I pulled the tail lights off of my Camaro and brought them home. I decided to only do one tonight to show a before/after.

This is what I did:
1. Filled up a bath tub with enough water to submerge the lamp fully.
2. Let the lamp sit in the tub submerged for about 30 minutes.
3. Added a mix of Simple Green cleaning product and RV Gel Cleaner to the water.
4. I poured some RV cleaner and water into the bulb holes in the tail lights and swished it around.
5. Violently shake the tail light side to side, swishing the water and cleaner around inside the lense.
6. Submerge the lamp in water again and repeat step 5 a few more times.
7. This step is optional, but I gave it a shot... find an old toothbrush and try to scrub any build up from condensation.
8. Drain the tub, fill it up with clean water.
9. Submerge the lamp in the water again, and move it around in the water to make sure that the soap gets washed out, as you don't want a haze left in the lense.
10. Grab a hose and spray the lamp, I did this just to make sure there was no soap left over.
11. Wait for it to dry. You can use a hair dryer to speed up the process. You tail light will most likely look cloudy and not much different for about an hour, this is condensation.
12. Get a plastic shiner and shine up the outside of the lamp.
13. Enjoy your amazing clean, brand new looking tail lights and pat yourself on the back for saving yourself hundreds of dollars over buying new tail lights!!!

This is the difference it made with mine! The top one is not cleaned, the bottom one is...


Leave me feedback and LMK how I did! I am very happy with the results!!!

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post #2 of 17 Old 12-30-2009, 11:00 PM
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Looks great.. If you go to eastwood .com they have a polish system to do that as well, for ones that are worse off. You can take the two halfs apart and repolish both and get brand new looking ones.. Yours looked just dirty and looked in good shape to start. If you had more fading like you mentioned before this stuff would fix that as well.. Great job..

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Look at it this way, if you have "Camaro" written on your car somewhere, you're already starting with a great platform!!
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post #3 of 17 Old 12-30-2009, 11:15 PM Thread Starter
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Looks great.. If you go to eastwood .com they have a polish system to do that as well, for ones that are worse off. You can take the two halfs apart and repolish both and get brand new looking ones.. Yours looked just dirty and looked in good shape to start. If you had more fading like you mentioned before this stuff would fix that as well.. Great job..
Thanks I was lucky, Actually I have been extremely lucky with the whole car... (knock on wood)... everything seems to be in pretty good shape lol. They were very dirty, a nice bath in RV Cleaner and All Purpose soap really turned them around! And to think I was actually considering spending $5-600 to replace them lol!

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post #4 of 17 Old 01-04-2010, 08:05 PM
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Looks good man.

I did something similar with mine, but the outside lense was still cloudy from light scratches. I tried all of the glass cleaners / waxes, they worked OK, but didnt have enough grit to really get the medium to larger scratches out.

I wound up using 2000 grit wet sanding paper, then 3M products made for buffing out cars. The auto paint products worked better than the stuff made for tailights, imho. I buffed the tailights out with a buffing pad on a bench grinder. Just need to be carefull, the pad will melt the plastic if you let in one spot for to long. You will need to repaint the black grids if you go this route also.

After doing this on both of my cars, I just purchased new turn signels and fog lights for the front.

FYI, I tried to purchase gridded tail lights new from GM 5 years ago, they didnt have any, anywere. I dont know were you can find new tailights now?
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post #5 of 17 Old 01-05-2010, 01:53 AM
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Yea i get what you mean. Third gen tail lights looks awesome when they are not cloudy.



but yea you did a good job


Last edited by APCamaro; 01-05-2010 at 01:59 AM.
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post #6 of 17 Old 01-08-2010, 01:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IROCDave View Post
Looks good man.

I did something similar with mine, but the outside lense was still cloudy from light scratches. I tried all of the glass cleaners / waxes, they worked OK, but didnt have enough grit to really get the medium to larger scratches out.

I wound up using 2000 grit wet sanding paper, then 3M products made for buffing out cars. The auto paint products worked better than the stuff made for tailights, imho. I buffed the tailights out with a buffing pad on a bench grinder. Just need to be carefull, the pad will melt the plastic if you let in one spot for to long. You will need to repaint the black grids if you go this route also.

After doing this on both of my cars, I just purchased new turn signels and fog lights for the front.

FYI, I tried to purchase gridded tail lights new from GM 5 years ago, they didnt have any, anywere. I dont know were you can find new tailights now?
good luck finding new ones, but used ones can always be cleaned up.
http://www.hawksthirdgenparts.com/ca...taillamps.aspx

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post #7 of 17 Old 01-08-2010, 04:10 PM
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A useful contribution from HB. Yes, it does seem like a cold day in hell outside.

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post #8 of 17 Old 01-08-2010, 07:07 PM
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[QUOTE=Thirdgenrallysport;213606]good luck finding new ones, but used ones can always be cleaned up.


I did find a new one when I was searching 5 years ago, my buddy at Biddle Chevy loacated it in Texas. Last one in GM dealer stock. I got the phone # for the dealer and ordered it. When it arrived I was shocked at how clear the plastic was, it looked awsome. Then noticed it was non gridded. I still have it, it's been out of the box twice. If anyone is interested in buying it email me at [email protected]. I paid about 150.00 for it, and would like to recoupe the cost.
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post #9 of 17 Old 01-08-2010, 07:51 PM
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Googled around:
http://www.youngsfbody.com/inc/sdetail/32468
Not as good as irocdave's price(since that site's price is per each)..but it's there.
And used:
http://www.youngsfbody.com/inc/sdetail/32284



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post #10 of 17 Old 01-08-2010, 08:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thirdgenrallysport View Post
good luck finding new ones, but used ones can always be cleaned up.
http://www.hawksthirdgenparts.com/ca...taillamps.aspx
Easy to get new ones.. Classicindustries.com..

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Originally Posted by el ess X View Post
Look at it this way, if you have "Camaro" written on your car somewhere, you're already starting with a great platform!!
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