Stuck trying to remove '89 tail light assembly

sinistar_xx

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So I just thought I'd get the old tail light gaskets swapped with some new ones and I did not realize how much of a project this would be, and right now I'm stuck and could use some advice on how to proceed, especially as I can't find the removal steps in the service manual.

I removed all the nuts from the bolts directly beneath the tail lights on each side, but there's one on top of each side right in the center that I can't access seemingly without having to remove the rear targa top storage mounts... and I can't get to the nuts on those because the whole rear interior piece is in the way, can I can't remove that because of the mounts! And the black trim around the tail light lens is also in the way, but I don't see how that could be removed at this stage.

Also, do I need to remove the nuts from the row of bolts lower down, for the trim pieces right beneath the tail lights? See arrows in the pics below.

Thanks in advance.

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debrucer

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Mine is an '88 and it's been years since I've done it.

Have you seen this video?


I tried to use the repair manual (TSRM) and could not find anything. Interesting exercise. Good luck!
 

sinistar_xx

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One other question: I have unscrewed the three bolts along the top of the center piece, and it will pull away except on the side with the lock. What's left to get the center piece removed? As I'm writing this it occurred to me that I would probably need to unclip the cable going to the lock, but I didn't try that yet. Is there anything else?
 

sinistar_xx

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Mine is an '88 and it's been years since I've done it.

Have you seen this video?


I tried to use the repair manual (TSRM) and could not find anything. Interesting exercise. Good luck!
Yeah I checked out that video, but the lighting is so dark and they're not really describing the process much, so it didn't really help me.
 

debrucer

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Here's a thread here someone doing on an '89.

 

sinistar_xx

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Here's a thread here someone doing on an '89.

Thanks. Unfortunately, no answers to my questions in that thread.
 

debrucer

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Sorry. I don't know the trick. I've done it, but mine is an 88 and not a targa, so it's different. I couldn't find it in the manual either.

Good luck. Give this a little time, someone here knows :)
 
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A70nut

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Need to unclip the cable going to the lock, there are clips holding in the centerpiece. Make sure you have all the nuts out as there is one in the center behind the latch assembly and a couple on the bottom. Sides obviously have to come out first, then you can get a better idea of what you're working with. They will probably be a bit stuck in there but if it seems that something is holding them in make sure there isnt anything. It's a lot easier to take a relook than it is to get a new taillight.
 
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sinistar_xx

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Need to unclip the cable going to the lock, there are clips holding in the centerpiece. Make sure you have all the nuts out as there is one in the center behind the latch assembly and a couple on the bottom. Sides obviously have to come out first, then you can get a better idea of what you're working with. They will probably be a bit stuck in there but if it seems that something is holding them in make sure there isnt anything. It's a lot easier to take a relook than it is to get a new taillight.
Thanks. I've also been re-reviewing the service manual and there is a step in there about the rear targa mounts. Should be able to remove the top plastic piece on each to reveal the bolts. With those gone, I should be able to get the rear interior panels removed, and then finally -- hopefully -- the tail light assembly.
 

sinistar_xx

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With the little bit of light left, I took another crack at the targa mounts and fortunately it was something stupidly simple. The tops of each easily pop off and just two easily accessed screws to remove and they're off. Initially, I thought you had to get underneath them because it felt like there's two nuts on the bottom end you'd have to remove.

Probably won't be able to resume the project until next weekend, but will update with any additional tips I come across.

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A70nut

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With the little bit of light left, I took another crack at the targa mounts and fortunately it was something stupidly simple. The tops of each easily pop off and just two easily accessed screws to remove and they're off. Initially, I though you had to get underneath them because it felt like there's two nuts on the bottom end you'd have to remove.

Probably won't be able to resume the project until next weekend, but will update with any additional tips I come across.

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Once you pull the trunk plastics back it'll be really simple to get to the top nuts, there's also once in the top where the taillight curves, might be easy to miss the first time looking for it.
 
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sinistar_xx

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Finished it up today -- mostly. Buttoned everything back up except the interior pieces. It's definitely a chore, but worth it as the old gaskets were in poor shape. The biggest takeaways are that you definitely need to remove the plastic interior pieces on each side, and that the center portion of the tail light assembly does not need to be removed completely, but loosed up enough to pull back a bit. Replaced all the bulbs while I was at it.

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