'97+ Camaro tail light conversion to '93-96 version - FirebirdV6.com/CamaroV6.com Message Board

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  • '97+ Camaro tail light conversion to '93-96 version

    I did a lot of research on this, and I couldn't get ANY straight answers from anyone, so I just went ahead and did it myself. The results turned out great, and I want to help everyone who's considering this swap by giving a detailed write-up of how to do it. It's very simple to do, and I'll walk you through step-by-step. Unfortunately, I don't have any real pictures, but I will make the directions very easy to follow and have some simple pictures I made to help you along.

    Why do the later model Camaro owners want to switch to the earlier style tail lights? In my opinion, the earlier style lights looks 1000 times better than the later versions. The yellow turn signal ruins the look - it looks out of place. The earlier style lights were much smoother-looking and much more attractive. This is all a matter of opinion, though, so to each his own.

    Ready to get started? Let's begin.

    1. First, get yourself a set of '93-96 Camaro tail lights. This can be accomplished by browsing various forums, or by searching eBay, or going through your local junkyard.

    2. Open the rear hatch of the car. Lift up the passenger-side speaker panel (the one that covers the spare tire). Remove the jack first, then the spare tire. Lift the carpet that surrounds the hatch lock over the lock, and you'll be able to see two plastic nuts holding each tail light in. Unscrew them, and pull the light housings out. Each light will have 4 bulbs attached to it. The three large bulbs have a tab that you must squeeze in to be able to unlock them from the housing. The smaller bulb just needs to be twisted to unlock it.

    3. So now you have the stock ugly tail lights off of your car, and you're ready to install the new ones. There are two problems confronting you at the moment:

    The turn signal bulb (2nd bulb from the inside) and large tail light/brake bulb (2nd from the outside) will not fit into the '93-96 style housing. You'll notice that the sockets have three cutouts in them, to match the raised portions of the bulb housing that lock the bulb in. The sockets have two small cutouts and one large one. The large one is the problem, as it's too small for the later model bulb housings. Use a pair of cutting pliers to enlarge the cutout. Cut about half of the overhang off. This should make it large enough to get the bulb housing in, and still have enough to be able to lock the bulb in securely. Here's a crude drawing of what i'm talking about:



    Do this for both the turn signal and the tail/brake light sockets. Test fit the bulbs, and if they don't go in, cut a little more.

    The second problem is whether or not you want the turn signal to come on with the rest of the tail light when the lights are on, or when braking. You could just put the turn signal in the housing, and leave it alone. For a cleaner look, though, you can wire the turn signal to work with the rest of the tail light. It's very simple and will only take you a few minutes for each side.

    1. REMOVE THE NEGATIVE BATTERY CABLE FROM THE BATTERY FIRST. Don't do any electrical work with the battery hooked up. Look at the turn signal bulb housing. You'll see two wires coming out of it, a green wire (power), and a black wire (ground). In the middle is a green rubber plug. Remove this plug with needle nose pliers. Inside this hole is a pin from the bulb socket. The other two wires are connected to the other pins of the socket. Take a piece of wire (I forget what gauge I used, but it was about the same thickness as the wires hooked up to the bulb housing) and strip about 3/8's of an inch of the insulation off the wire. Stick it into the middle hole, making sure it's making contact with the pin. Then, stuff the green rubber plug back into the hole. This will keep the wire from falling out of the bulb housing.

    2. Look at the large tail/brake light housing. You will see three wires coming out of it - a green wire (power), a black wire (ground), and a brown wire in the middle. I figured out that it must be the wire that connects to the light switch. Take a pair of wire cutters and snip this wire in half. Strip a 1/4 inch of the insulation off of each piece. I used this connector:



    -to splice the wires together. Take the two pieces of the brown wire and insert them into the slots of the connector. Get a pair of pliers and clamp the slots flat. It won't be easy, make sure you have a strong grip and squeeze hard. Once the wire pieces are securely clamped, take the wire you spliced into the turn signal and strip about 1/2 of an inch off of the other end and insert it into the connector. Clamp the connector hard, and make sure the wire is connected securely. Repeat the procedure on the other side.

    3. Reconnect the negative battery cable. Test your work by turning the lights on, and using the turn signals as well. If you did it correctly, the turn signals should come on with the two outer lights, and still retain the turn signal function. If not, check your connections. The end of the wire that's spliced into the turn signal housing is usually the problem. Make sure it's in contact with the pin of the bulb socket, and that the green rubber plug is holding it in tightly.

    4. Once you've confirmed that the turn signals are working as it should, use electrical tape to wrap up the splice connectors, and then tape the wires to the wire looms protecting the other tail light wires. Insert the bulb housings into the sockets in the tail lights. Re-install the tail lights. Pull the carpet back over the hatch lock, and push it back underneath the weatherstripping that lines the hatch. Put the spare tire back in, and then put the jack back in it's place. Replace the passenger-side speaker panel, and close the hatch. Stand back and admire your work. There will be a lot of people getting a good look at your tail lights when you pass them :D

    I think most will agree, this should be made a sticky.
    \'98 Camaro - SOLD<br />Best E/T: 15.489 @ 86.48 MPH<br />60\': 2.131<br /><a href=\"http://members.cardomain.com/skorpion317\" target=\"_blank\">members.cardomain.com/skorpion317 </a><br />1998 Saturn SL2<br />Official <a href=\"http://www.njdisturbance.com\" target=\"_blank\">NJ Disturbance</a> bracket racer

  • #2
    Re: '97+ Camaro tail light conversion to '93-96 version

    Hey man, this was awesome, thanx.

    I actually just hooked up some 96s on my 97 on saturday lol

    your too late! haha

    no but a good writeup nonetheless and it should be made a sticky...cuz ive searched and searched and this is it.

    Good Job

    Here are some b4 and afters

    Before with 97-02 Euros


    After with some 96s on my 97
    Last edited by Niko97RS; 10-30-2006, 09:37 AM.

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    • #3
      Re: '97+ Camaro tail light conversion to '93-96 version

      I just used wire tap ins...


      I did this awhile ago and I think someone else did too... we had some threads on it.... either way good write up.

      Great mod to do, I think I made $70 after I bought all the stuff I needed and sold the 97+ taillights.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: '97+ Camaro tail light conversion to '93-96 version

        yeah, there were some threads on this subject, but no clear directions on what to do. That's why I wrote this up.
        \'98 Camaro - SOLD<br />Best E/T: 15.489 @ 86.48 MPH<br />60\': 2.131<br /><a href=\"http://members.cardomain.com/skorpion317\" target=\"_blank\">members.cardomain.com/skorpion317 </a><br />1998 Saturn SL2<br />Official <a href=\"http://www.njdisturbance.com\" target=\"_blank\">NJ Disturbance</a> bracket racer

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: '97+ Camaro tail light conversion to '93-96 version

          I hate amber anything with front or turn lights...


          BEFORE




          AFTER


          Comment


          • #6
            Re: '97+ Camaro tail light conversion to '93-96 version

            amber turn signals always look out of place.
            \'98 Camaro - SOLD<br />Best E/T: 15.489 @ 86.48 MPH<br />60\': 2.131<br /><a href=\"http://members.cardomain.com/skorpion317\" target=\"_blank\">members.cardomain.com/skorpion317 </a><br />1998 Saturn SL2<br />Official <a href=\"http://www.njdisturbance.com\" target=\"_blank\">NJ Disturbance</a> bracket racer

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: '97+ Camaro tail light conversion to '93-96 version

              i see you successfully did the conversion by yourself did the link help at all?

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: '97+ Camaro tail light conversion to '93-96 version

                Originally posted by j sofa
                i see you successfully did the conversion by yourself did the link help at all?
                Kind of. It gave me a general idea of what to do.

                Like I said, it's a very simple modification. Not too hard to do.
                \'98 Camaro - SOLD<br />Best E/T: 15.489 @ 86.48 MPH<br />60\': 2.131<br /><a href=\"http://members.cardomain.com/skorpion317\" target=\"_blank\">members.cardomain.com/skorpion317 </a><br />1998 Saturn SL2<br />Official <a href=\"http://www.njdisturbance.com\" target=\"_blank\">NJ Disturbance</a> bracket racer

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: '97+ Camaro tail light conversion to '93-96 version

                  Now just figure out how to do sequentials... and do a write up on that!
                  *Matt


                  Old people shouldnt use the internet.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: '97+ Camaro tail light conversion to '93-96 version

                    nah, no need. there's already a couple write-ups for sequentials. I don't like them anyway. Kinda tacky, IMO.
                    \'98 Camaro - SOLD<br />Best E/T: 15.489 @ 86.48 MPH<br />60\': 2.131<br /><a href=\"http://members.cardomain.com/skorpion317\" target=\"_blank\">members.cardomain.com/skorpion317 </a><br />1998 Saturn SL2<br />Official <a href=\"http://www.njdisturbance.com\" target=\"_blank\">NJ Disturbance</a> bracket racer

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: '97+ Camaro tail light conversion to '93-96 version

                      Before

                      After
                      Mystic Teal Metallic
                      ET:15.1 NA 14.3@96 MPH 75 Dry Shot

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: '97+ Camaro tail light conversion to '93-96 version

                        Before:

                        After:



                        Great writeup

                        sorry for the HUGE pics! lol
                        Last edited by 2000_camaro; 06-03-2007, 10:32 AM.

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