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Text and Pics by Manoverboard987.
Some info on trunk panel removal paraphrased from Hestersu.

The recently introduced clear third brake light (officially the Center High-Mounted Stop Light, or CHMSL) does wonders for bringing together an overall clear-lens theme (clear corners, altezzas, etc.). The aftermarket piece is quality and fits perfectly in place of the stock light. Installation is simple, and much easier than a headlight or even a taillight install.

What you need:
- Clear Third Brake Light (I found mine on eBay. They're there all the time.)
- Phillips Head Screwdriver
- Slotted Head (Flathead) Screwdriver
- Electrical Tape
- Trim Prying Tool (optional)
- Whatever you need to tighten your brake light to the trunk (explained later)

Number of Hands:
Technically 2, but 4 wouldn't hurt.

1. Pop your trunk open and remove the 2 screws holding the back interior trim piece to the lid. These are up inside the two little hand-grabs in the middle of the black piece.

2. Remove the black trim panel from the lid by prying the clips on it away from their holes in the trunk lid. This can be accomplished using the Trim Prying Tool, if you're looking for an easy way to safely apply leverage, or, if you're like me, stick a few fingers under it and yank like the dickens. (Its easiest to pull the trim away from the bottom (nearest the latch) first, and then work your way around to the top.)

3. Locate the 3 Phillips head screws under the brake light. Loosen and remove these and set them aside in case you need them later.

Count 'Em:

4. Wrap the tip of your Flathead screwdriver in electrical tape to prevent scratching your paint.

5. Push up on the silver housing you can see thru the metal supports in the trunk lid, and pry around the face of the light with your screwdriver so that it dislodges from its hole.

6. Don't yank too hard, because theres a wire coming out the back.

7. Disconnect this wire connector from the light, and set the light aside. (The connector is pretty easy to retrieve should it fall into the brake light hole, so worry not about having to pull it out far or anything.)

***From here on in the How-to depends solely on how your new brake light is set up. My brake light had 2 posts coming down instead of the 3 on the stock light, had nuts to tighten instead of phillips screws, and had 2 wire leads coming out the back (no compatible connector attached). If your brake light is different, adjust accordingly.***

8. Next I inserted the 2 leads on the new light into the slits in the connector where the contact would normally have been made. The result is a firm contact that's pretty tough to yank out, so I called it secure and went on.

2 Wires into the Connector:

9. Test the connection by pressing the brake pedal and checking to see if the light illuminates. If it doesn't, reverse the wires in the connector and the problem should be solved. (If the problem still isn't solved, it's a pre-existing wiring problem, or a problem with the new brake light. [Sorry, you're on your own solving those])

My brake light works:

Now you may ask, How did I get the brakes to stay on without another person helping? Well...

That'd be my Roadside Emergency Kit, a Roll of Duct Tape and a Hammer wedged between the seat and pedal. I had to improvise.

10. After making sure it works, use the electrical tape to wrap up your connection to A. hold it in place and B. keep out any troublesome water should a leak occur.

11. Fit the new brake light in the hole, and push the new posts into the prexisting screw holes. If it lines up, the fitment should be just fine. If not, wiggle it around or take it back out and put it back in until it lines up perfectly.

12. At this point, the light may look like it's a little higher off the trunk than the old one. That's solved by tightening the nuts on the posts that came thru to the inside of the trunk lid. Make sure the rubber ring around the light is tight against the trunk so that water will not leak into the lid.

How it looks underneath with the new light installed:

13. Replace your black interior trim piece (start pushing in the clips at the bottom and work your way to the top), and screw in the 2 phillips screws.

14. Step back and enjoy your work!


Feel free to post any comments/questions in the discussion thread for this How-To.

Hopes this helps! Happy V-Dubbing! :cool:

Buggin Out
67 Posts
Did you get that from eBay? I am just wondering because I was thinking about getting this for my NB but after seeing how chinsy the light looks on the back side (raw circuit board chillin across the bulb backings) I might reconsider.

354 Posts
Same here. I want one of these :D

Great how-to, by the way. I'll have to refer to it when I get my hands on a set of these clear brake lights.
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