I decided to paint my tail lights over the weekend. I wanted to go with the "gtr" style but I dont like the tint overlays.
I don't think there is a complete DIY on this or removing the tail lights.
As with most DIYs, proceeding to use this DIY is done at your own risk and I am not responsible for the outcome.
Things you need:
(you dont have to use everything I chose to,or the same brand)
VHT night shades
masking tape or painters tape
MEGUIARS scratch x
3m swirl mark remover
3m high gloss finish
MEGUIARS gold class wax
Microfiber rags or buffing pads
1000 and 2000 grit sandpaper.
Electric 6'' buffer
8mm socket and extention
First thing you need to do is remove the plastic cover around the trunk release latch.
Put your finger underneath the lip and carefully pull up toward you.
Your trunk should look like this.
Look inside the trunk on the fenders and you will see these two bigger clips where you attatch the cargo net.
And 6 other smaller clips. along the trunk liner.
Use a flat head screwdriver to remove these to pull down the trunk lining.
Where the tail lights sit you will see three 8mm bolts. To remove the nut closest to the center of the trunk, you will need an extention. Remove these three nuts.
After the nuts are removed, the tail lights will come out. Just lightly pull on both sides of the light at the same time.Do not pull to hard, you do not want to rip any wiring.
Simply unscrew the bulbs from the light.
Even though its obvious where the bulbs go back in,I chose to number the bulbs just for peace of mind.
The three smaller bulbs twist out, the bigger one is a clip.
Once the light is completely removed from the car, Remove the black plastic piece that sits on the top.There are two phillips head screws holding this in place.
Next, tape a piece of wax paper on top of the tail light.Pull it tight so there are no wrinkles. Use a sharpie marker and roughly trace the pattern on the tail light.
For the reverse light I just used the lid to the VHT can.
Remove the paper from your light and place it on a flat surface and carefully make a cleaner line drawing of your stencil.
Use the masking tape and cover the stencil.
Layer the tape on top of one another for stability when peeling it from the wax paper.
Turn your taped paper over and use a rounded xacto blade and carefully cut your stencil out,by following the inside of the sharpie line.After you cut all four, You should have something like this.
(Leave a little lip on the end so its easier to peel)
Use the blow dryer and heat up the corner of the tape, then use the back end of your xacto blade ( i know mines rusty) and follow the edges around the entire stencil.
Then slowly peel the tape from the wax paper.
Make sure you do not peel the tape apart, you want remove the tape keeping the strips of tape in one piece
The tape will still be sticky, if it has dry spots from your fingers, use the blow dryer to heat up the adhesive.
This is your stencil.
Place your stencils on the lights.
Use 1000 grit sandpaper and lightly sand the clear coat off the lights.Do not sand too much or you will leave deep scratches. You just want to scuff the light.
Use rubbing alcohol to wipe off the light after your done sanding, this will remove any dust,or fingerprints.
Next, apply two light coats of VHT nightshades on your light.
Wait 15 minutes, apply two more coats.
Repeat this process until you reach your desired shade.
I chose to go completely black.
Let it dry for one hour, You may see some "orange peel" or overspray rough spots.
Dont worry about that, we will be clearcoating anyway.
After an hour,slowly remove the tape.
Then use your applicator pad and buffer to apply scratchX on the entire light,including the unpainted parts.
Followed by plastX, follwed by 3m swirl mark remover.
Your light at this moment should look like this.
You can now start the clear coat.
I chose rustoleum.
Apply 3 or 4 light coats in the same fashion as the VHT nightshades.
Use a blow dryer this time to quick dry it.(Heat helps prevent orange peel)
Let it stand for 30 minutes.
Now use 2000 grit sandpaper and a bowl of cold water to lightly wetsand the clear coat.
Use alot of water and sand until you see a gray like foam on the surface of the light.
Wipe off the light with hot water and a towel.
Dry completely with blow dryer.
Now you should have something like this.
Then, apply 3 heavy coats of clear.
Make sure you get close to the tail light and spray the light in one direction, slightly overlapping your previously sprayed area.
Start from the side with the reverse light.WORKING UP AND DOWN...Your not going to get a clean clear coat spraying the light from left to right trying to cover more than 6'' in one burst with a rattle can.
If you want to, you can also order a fatter cap, this helps get that super smooth clear coat.
You can find them online, and I would suggest getting a bunch of different styles, they will come in hand when painting any car part.
Work in one inch increments, to get a smooth,rich clear coat,With no overspray rough spots.
Again, use the blow dryer to dry the clear coat.
The heat will also help get rid of the "orange peel" look.
Repeat this clear coat process two times.
Now they look like this.
Let them settle overnight.
Put them back on your car.
Then use your 3m swirl mark remover,followed by 3m high gloss finish, and top it off with MEGUIARS gold class wax.
This will remove any "orange peel".
Sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
If you have any other questions or want me to do this for you on my free time, PM me.