Modified the insides of my 2011 taillights. - North American Motoring


Modified the insides of my 2011 taillights.

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Old 07-26-2012, 11:25 PM
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Modified the insides of my 2011 taillights.

So I'm wrapping my car matte white and thought the chrome inside the taillights wasn't looking great so I set out to open them up, tint the red, and paint the chrome.

Start by removing the black circuitry panel from the back. It's just held on with some plastic snaps and is fairly obvious on how to remove. Just in case anyone is wondering how the angel eye type lights on the rear are wired here's a shot of the circuitry and the LEDs. I have LED bulbs installed so you'd have ugly halogen bulbs in place of my LEDs.



When you get the lights out, the only way I could see to open them was to dremel them open from the back right behind a foam weather strip. Start very slow and stop as soon as you can see the reflector plastic through your dremel hole. You don't want to cut through the reflector, just the plastic behind it.

Once you get the entire housing cut off, you need to remove the two screws found in the center of the rear. They are also very obvious and don't need pictures.

After the screws are taken out, pull out the reflector panel. It's pretty much just sitting in there. There are a few plastic tabs on the corners that hold it in place, so just make sure they're not covered with plastic and you should be able to just pull the whole panel out.

The turn signal assembly is made of 5 parts all held together with a few plastic tabs. You can see the tabs of a smaller piece from the inside of the adjoining bigger piece. Press the tabs in, and the smaller piece nests into the larger one by entering through the front. So press the tab in and push from the rear. The parts will come apart slowly.

Here's the disassembled light:


Here's all of my parts waiting for painting:


Here's the paint I used:
Plasti-dip - $5
Black spray paint - free (had it laying around)
VHT Nite Shades - $12
Rustoleum Matte clear coat - $4
Rustoleum Self-etching primer - $7
Rustoleum Matte white high-performance enamel - $6

These are the best paints I've found for most purposes. They aren't the cheapest but I've found they work the best.


Painted parts drying:



I ended up putting one too many coats of the tint on the red reflector. I was trying to even it out and it ended up too dark for me but it still looks pretty good to me.


Put everything back together in the reverse order of taking them apart. Make sure you put the turn signal through the reflector plate before attaching the plate to the clear lens. I'm not sure if you need to attach the reflector plate to the lens but I did just so it was sure not to fall or float around while driving. I used a cheap clear silicone that I had laying around to seal it up. I applied it with my finger in a very light coat, pretty much just enough to cover any gap, but not enough to push it through and make it visible from the front.


I waited overnight for the first silicone treatment to dry then sealed the housing back onto the lens with another bead of silicone. This time a little thicker and more thorough. I also painted the silver ring of my headlight matte white to match my car. Here they are together!



I think they look pretty snazzy. Actual work took around 8 hours and totally worth it. If I did it again it would probably be around 6 hours. I can't wait to see them on the car
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Old 07-26-2012, 11:30 PM
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I can't wait either. You are an artist.
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Old 07-26-2012, 11:41 PM
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Aww thanks, that means a lot. I'm super proud of being able to do things like this on my own and looking at the finished car and knowing that I did that. It makes you appreciate the car a whole lot more.

I'm very happy with the way these came out, they look professionally done and not like some 21 year old kid made them on his coffee table lol.
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Old 07-27-2012, 05:54 AM
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Looks great, I wanna see the pics of the car done!
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Old 07-27-2012, 06:09 AM
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Agreed, looks awesome. waiting for more pics
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Old 07-27-2012, 07:26 AM
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Well I should get the car back Monday or Tuesday I hope. So hold tight til then!
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Old 07-27-2012, 01:08 PM
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Wow that came out really nice and unique. The quality of your work looks fantastic.
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Old 07-27-2012, 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted by calforhelp View Post
Those 4 small white squares along the edge at the bottom... is that all there is to the "LED taillights" hyped by MINI?
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Old 07-28-2012, 08:18 AM
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Those 4 small white squares along the edge at the bottom... is that all there is to the "LED taillights" hyped by MINI?
Yep, well those and the few resistors.
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Old 07-28-2012, 09:16 AM
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Why no install photos?
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Old 07-28-2012, 01:36 PM
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Nice work! There didn't seem to be any easy way to open up my '11 taillights when I set out to de-chrome them, but it looks like the minimal dremeling is definitely doable.

Thanks for the write-up. I'm looking forward to seeing how they look installed. Also, I'd love to see a pic/vid of how well the leds and turn signals light up now that they're tinted w/o a chrome reflective ring.

Just noticed you're in LA...where about?
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Old 07-28-2012, 06:06 PM
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No install photos yet because I was waiting until the car was finished. I'm supposed to be able to come get it monday afternoon. But here's a sneak peak just for you guys.




Nate,
The lights are still pretty bright and daylight viewable. I don't think the chrome really helps reflect the turn signal very much. The shape is kind of a reverse cone pointed away from the lens. I think the white I put on there is actually more viewable than the chrome since the white actually lights up pretty well. I'll post up more pics with the lights on when I get the car back and put up another thread with all of the after pics.

I live in Glendale. You live up by Chatsworth right?
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Old 07-28-2012, 06:46 PM
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Lookin good

Not to side track the thread, but where are you getting your wrapping done?
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Old 07-28-2012, 06:52 PM
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Lookin good

Not to side track the thread, but where are you getting your wrapping done?
No worries. I'm having Extreme Autowerks do it. They're really cool, they gave me a great price and let me do any work I want myself. Such as pulling off chrome pieces and painting them myself, or doing engine work. I think it's owned by Alex and Edgar. They've been doing great work and are working very quickly on the car. Awesome company, awesome guys, I'd recommend them to anyone and everyone.
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Old 07-29-2012, 12:34 PM
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Nate,
The lights are still pretty bright and daylight viewable. I don't think the chrome really helps reflect the turn signal very much. The shape is kind of a reverse cone pointed away from the lens. I think the white I put on there is actually more viewable than the chrome since the white actually lights up pretty well. I'll post up more pics with the lights on when I get the car back and put up another thread with all of the after pics.

I live in Glendale. You live up by Chatsworth right?
Thanks for the feedback. I had the taillights out a few months back when I wired them to my rear fogs as add-a-brakes ( I'm actually glad I didn't get rear fogs so I could do this - I just hate the missing switch on the bank) and as I mentioned, I didn't see any good way to open them up. Thanks for leading the way.

I'm just over the hill from Chatsworth in Simi Valley. I work in Encino and lived in Burbank for years. It'd be nice to see your project in person one of these days.
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Old 07-29-2012, 01:01 PM
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Wow Fantastic job, can't wait to see the whole car after everything's done.
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Old 07-29-2012, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by AdrenaliNate View Post
Thanks for the feedback. I had the taillights out a few months back when I wired them to my rear fogs as add-a-brakes ( I'm actually glad I didn't get rear fogs so I could do this - I just hate the missing switch on the bank) and as I mentioned, I didn't see any good way to open them up. Thanks for leading the way.
I was thinking about doing this too. Was there a tutorial anywhere that you used?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AdrenaliNate View Post
I'm just over the hill from Chatsworth in Simi Valley. I work in Encino and lived in Burbank for years. It'd be nice to see your project in person one of these days.
Yeah man I'm all for that. There don't seem to be many MINI meet ups out here in SoCal for some reason. If you know of any let me know about it. I'm dying to go to one.
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Old 07-30-2012, 06:29 PM
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I was thinking about doing this too. Was there a tutorial anywhere that you used?


Yeah man I'm all for that. There don't seem to be many MINI meet ups out here in SoCal for some reason. If you know of any let me know about it. I'm dying to go to one.
There may be a tutorial, but at the time I couldn't find one so I went with the ol' trial and error method. The tail lights had so many wires in its harness I had to check each one. I have a photo on my home computer that I'll send you once I get home (out of town for the week) that shows which tail light wire I connected the fog wire to. Wires were easily routed through a body plug in the rear quarter panel.

SCMM often holds Thursday night get-togethers but they seem to be hit and miss. I attended one in Simi a while ago and had a good time chatting it up, but I'd like to find a day time event that included a run.
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Old 07-30-2012, 08:21 PM
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To complete the hijacking of this thread, I'd be down for an LA area meet up at some point too. I'm in Santa Monica, and am seriously considering Extreme Autowerks for wrapping my Roadster when it arrives in a few weeks, so I definitely want to see your car (I'm running a stock 09 MCS at the moment).
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Old 07-30-2012, 08:35 PM
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Let's do it. LA meetup and maybe a drive on the 2 or PCH! I've looked on SCMM before but only see their go-karting meet ups once a month. I went to MTTS when they got to the Rose Bowl but there weren't a ton of people there but it was still pretty fun.

I'm going to try out the brake light mods. I don't like the non-functional lights sitting down there and it can only help to keep someone from running into the back of me.



Deviousdev, you should hurry into them for your wrap. They're changing their pricing structure soon and the wrap I got will be more expensive and there will be an economy wrap which is less thorough and will be the same price as mine is now. Thy might let you put in a deposit and hold the cheaper price now. What color/finish are you going to go with? Remember, there's only room for one matte white MINI in Cali.


But seriously on the meet up.
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Old 08-01-2012, 04:08 PM
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this looks great.
I live in Valencia and work in Burbank...
I wanna see this car in person!.
Looks great!

Is there a MINI get to gether anytime soon you know of?
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Old 08-01-2012, 08:04 PM
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Here's the thread with all of the pics.

Hey Malcon, I don't know of any meetups anytime soon but I, and a few other people on this thread, are trying to find one. I'm totally down for one!


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Old 08-02-2012, 08:59 AM
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wow your car looks awesome, nice job!

regarding the SoCal meet up, there is another thread here

where some of us were talking about a meet up this weekend, but nothing has solidified
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Old 08-02-2012, 09:37 AM
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Awesome, thanks for sharing that. I've spread the word to a few other people so hopefully we can get some more people on board and make this thing actually happen.
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Old 08-02-2012, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by calforhelp View Post
Here's the thread with all of the pics.

Hey Malcon, I don't know of any meetups anytime soon but I, and a few other people on this thread, are trying to find one. I'm totally down for one!


Great work
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