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Old 05-09-05, 10:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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D.I.Y: Tail Light Gasket Replacement

Whenever it rains I always find a little damp spot near the tail light (mostly on the passenger side). I wasn't sure where it was coming from exactly but the last couple of rainy days we had I noticed droplets coming from the tail light cover and calcium deposits on the nuts and around the tail light housing.

So I finally ordered and replaced my tail light gaskets before the next rain comes in later today so I thought I'd post a DIY article, hopefully this can help someone if they're also having a water leak in the trunk. Feel free to add anything I may have missed or something that would make it easier.

Tools Needed
8mm Socket (best if its 1/4" drive)
1/4" extention
1/4" ratchet
Small flat blade screw driver (optional)

Parts Needed
2 Tail Light Gaskets [Honda Part Number 33503-SP0-A01]
I paid about 32 dollars for each gasket at Thomas Acura in Covina CA.
or
A tube of RTV Silicon. This will work as well but will make it harder to remove the tail light if you ever need to again.

Time Required
Approx 30 - 45 minutes per tail light

Step 1:
First remove the tail light cover from the inside of your trunk by unscrewing the little knob at the base


Step 2:
Disconnect the wiring harness thats zip tied to the car


Step 3:
Once you remove the cover you will see 5 screws (6 total because 1 is hidden under the carpet) Use the 8mm socket with the extention to get the 5 visible nuts off. The 6th one is a bit harder because the carpet is covering it. I just removed the extention from the socket and lifted the carpet with one hand and loosened the nut with the ratchet and removed it by hand. Becareful not to drop the nut because it's very hard to find it.



This is the hidden nut located under the carpet


Step 4:
Once you remove all 6 nuts, gently press the tail light from the back and it will come off. Have your other hand in the front of the tail light so it doesn't fly off and break or scratch your bumper. Once you remove your tail light the gasket will probably be stuck to the car like this


Peel off the gasket and it should look like this after


You can leave it dirty like this or you can take a moment to clean it up. I just filled a spray bottle with distilled water and a cap full of car wash shampoo. Sprayed the area and wiped it clean with a microfiber towel. There will be spots where there is rubber from the gasket stuck to the metal so try and remove as much of it as you can. Most of it should come off by rubbing it with water and a towel.

Step 5:
Take the tail light and look at each of the studs and you will see pieces of dried up rubber stuck. Use the small flat blade screw driver to scrape off the rubber. If you don't have a small enough screw driver a pin or paper clip will work.


Since you already have your tail lights off the car you may want to clean them up a bit. Mine were looking pretty dirty so I wiped them down and treated the rubber parts with some silicon spray.


Step 6:
Line up your gasket over the tail light and press the studs through the holes in the gasket.



Step 7:
Reinstall the tail light and tighten up the nuts in an opposite fashion like you would your tire lugs so you don't compress the gasket in an uneven manner.
Step 8:
Plug in the tail light wire harness and put the tail light cover back on and you're done.
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Old 05-09-05, 10:51 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Here are some pictures of what my old gasket looked like




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Old 05-10-05, 12:58 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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great write-up. This will come in handy!
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Old 05-10-05, 11:52 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Thanks for the comment's guys I'm glad I can finally give something back to the community.

I also wanted to add a couple more things that I forgot earlier.


If you're planning on using silicon to seal the tail lights up you should make sure to clean the tail light edge with some rubbing alcohol. The yellow outline is where you should clean and apply silicon. I say should because it's the only spot on the gasket that has a pressure spot so I'm guessing this is where the tail light compresses against the car. Just make sure both surfaces where the silicon will be bonding are clean because if it is dirty it won't seal properly. You could apply it around the studs on the tail light but I wouldn't because if any got on the threads it will be very hard to remove them again when it dries.


Again I did not use silicon and don't really recommend it but if your tapped for cash this would be the economical way to go since a tube will cost about 5 bucks at any local home improvement store.

I was trying to think of a cheap way to make a replica gasket because this gasket just seems to be some kind of neoprene foam that you could buy at a hobby store (I went out but was unsuccessful in finding it). You could just take one of your gaskets and trace it onto a piece of butcher paper and trace it onto a piece of rubber or if you can find this neoprene foam. It looks to be about 1/8" thick. I checked Michaels and Jo-Ann's for this stuff but couldn't find a sheet large or as thick as needed. It would be a lot cheaper and as good if not better than the OEM gaskets. Experiment and see what you come up with. Good Luck!

Also while you're working in the trunk you might want to remove the two screws on the bottom of your accessory box and check to make sure that your drain is not plugged up. What I experienced was a lot of water would build up on the bottom and when ever I made a sudden stop the water would slosh forward and get the carpet wet. All you need to do is pull the rubber drain gromet out and wash out any dirt or other junk that accumulated and reinstall. This drain will lead to under the rear passenger side over the mud guard. I usually check it after a heavy rain to make sure that it's draining properly and is not plugged up.

Last edited by HiTek21; 05-12-05 at 06:26 PM.
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Old 05-04-06, 05:46 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Two suggestions:
* You can find the same material for sale @ Walmart for 32-56 cents a sheet in the craft section as "Craft Foam." It comes in multiple colors and two styles (adhesive backed and plain). Why pay $17 for the same material?
* While this is not as much of a problem with Acura Legends, my 92 Honda Accord suffered from water getting into the taillights. I found the quickest way to get ALL of the moisture out after pouring out the water was to drill a small hole in the side and blow an air dryer into the hole. You can then fill the hole with silicone.

-g
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Old 05-24-06, 12:52 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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I'll be posting a DIY for the G1 Legend shortly. The same basic procedure with the same tools. The G1 leak is on the passenger side around the trunk key hole. The gasket has only a thin piece of material across the top of the hole and as the gasket gets old and shrinks, the thin strip of material tears allowing water into the tail light assembly and trunk.
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Old 02-03-07, 10:18 AM   #7 (permalink)
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My coupes drivers side taillight gets foggy after washing. Should I replace this gasket or not? I checked the taillight it has no cracks. I have no idea how the water gets inside the lamp. Thanks for any help!

thanks Kenso!

Last edited by lgnd; 02-03-07 at 07:23 PM.
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Old 02-03-07, 02:26 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lgnd View Post
My coupes drivers side taillight gets foggy after washing. Should I replace this gasket or not? I checked the taillight it has no cracks. I have no idea how the water gets inside the lamp. Thanks for any help!
Replace the gasket.
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Old 02-14-07, 02:01 PM   #9 (permalink)
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CRAFT FOAM!
I cannot believe you guys like taking it up the ass and spending $32/ea at the dealership vs THIRTY FIVE CENTS at Walmart! We're not talking about head gaskets here... its just foam

Tell you want:
Paypal me $32 and I'll mail you 4 gasket cutouts. 2 pre-cut (general shape) and 2 for you cut cut out if you want to modify it yourself.

-g
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Old 02-15-07, 03:13 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S4gunn View Post
CRAFT FOAM!
I cannot believe you guys like taking it up the ass and spending $32/ea at the dealership vs THIRTY FIVE CENTS at Walmart! We're not talking about head gaskets here... its just foam

Tell you want:
Paypal me $32 and I'll mail you 4 gasket cutouts. 2 pre-cut (general shape) and 2 for you cut cut out if you want to modify it yourself.

-g


When I smoked my tails out, my gasket was trashed, but it didn't have any leaks or fog or condensation on the inside, so I just rubber cemented the breaks in it and slapped her back on.
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