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DIY Euro tail light "conversion"


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So I have been wanting to "smoke out" the taillights on my Dub, however the tail lights can be upwards of 200 dollars, and the electrical rig in the taillight sometimes has to be re-soldered in a certain way. Major pain in the ass for euro style tailights.

I was reading through a build thread on a Mk2 Jetta on another site, and I came across a simple DIY to do the conversion. This immediately inspired me. It turns out you can get this look with a lot less money and no use of a soldering gun whatsoever. So I am gonna chronicle my conversion and make a DIY thread meself, and share with yall! Mine is gonna be a little different as I am going with a two tone look.

This works for all taillights.

I recommend getting a second pair of tail lights for your car. Just in case you mess up and need more time, youre not driving around with screwed up taillights. Junk yards are your friend!

I got these for free for helping an old man who owns a VW specific junkyard, fix his computer.

The stuff you need:

This one is for Andy

You will also need some sandpaper. 320, 600, 2000 grit wet/dry.

The stuff I needed:

Mosquito's are ruttin terrible down here!

Remove any extra cladding that is not directly associated with the lenses. Keeping in mind that you shouldn't need tools to do it. I pulled the electrical part of my lens assembly and found this..

I will need to grind that melted bit back so I can stick the new bulb in.


Take your taillights now and clean em with a really strong cleaner.
I recommend

All clean

From this point forward you wanna wear some of these. Your oils rexorz your paint.
Two by two hands of blue

Tape off everything you do not want paint to get on. Take your time, use a sharp razor blade for your lines. The time you take now to prep it, will save you mountains of grief. For now I am just taping off the back up light (its already small enough as it is) and the surrounding edges.

Grab the 320 grit now and scuff up the surface. You do not want shiny anywhere. One good time over the surface is enough. Once youve done that, grab the red scratch pad and do it again. This will also get into the areas where there are raised portions in the plastic for branding or L R indications. Should look something like this...

Taping is a pain in the ass. So instead of pulling it all off to wash the particulate off the surface, and do it all over again, move away from the area you plan to paint, grab your mask, and a clean one of these...

Get that all dusted off, get in the cracks, and clear it of as much of the big stuff as you can. Grab your Simple Green and a few paper towels, spray the SG on the paper towel, not on the lens unit, and clean it some more. Make sure its dry than go over it with the tack cloth.

Youre almost ready to paint! Now since I am doing the two tone, I am taping off the orange...

Prepped my little spray booth...

Ready to paint! Hit it with the tack cloth lightly one more time!

First coat! I recommend starting your spray well off to the side of the surface, use a smooth stroke, and release the spray well past the surface. Also, before you start spraying on your purty lights, grab a piece of news paper and just see how the spray pattern looks at certain distances, figure out the distance you like the coverage and get tah paintin son!

Here is how they look now with all the black tint I am gonna put on them. I am gonna let em dry overnight, and then cover the portion I just did, so that I can work the same process with the indicator signal portion of the lens. After that dries it will be a bunch of coats of high gloss clear coat, than some polishing. Ill post my progress tomorrow!

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