Fitting tail lights over rear bumpers S1

Wow. I just got these back from the plater and trial fitting. It seems as though you can’t fit the light and gasket unit above the bumper without the light gasket sitting on top of the bumper sealing strip at the outside edge.

Before I remove the rear bumpers and try to shim them out 1/8 in…which is about all I will get IIRC…

What am I missing?

Given the widely-ranging variances in the bumper blades, the lights escutcheons, and the holes in the body, sometimes you just have to work back-and-forth between the two units.

It’s called fettling…:persevere:


And here all this time I was calling it frustrating! :grinning:

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At what angle is your bumper sealing strip sitting at? If it’s a steep incline then yes, you could benefit by shimming it out. It should ideally rise up just a bit so water still sheds off. You may not need to completely remove the bumper. You may just be able to loosen the bolts a bit and then cut slots in SS fender washers so they can slip in with some long needle nose pliers.

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It’s steep at the bumperette side but it lays kind of high at the underside, outer (pointy) edge of the light housing. I’ll try to get a pic when I figure out a way to get some light on it.

Does the light gasket on your car fit on the bodywork without overlapping the sealing strip at the pointy side of the housing ?

Yes mine fits, but it isn’t the best standard. My pods were shaved slightly on the back before platng to make them conform perfectly to the body contour. Thus the seals had to be kerfed inside to reduce their footprint. If your seals currently stick out very far beyond the edge of the pod you can do similarly. Ideally only the very edge of the seal should protrude.

Ultimately your best chances are to shim the bumpers out until the strip lies fairly flat without creating gaps.

The seal could use to be 1/8 longer in the horizontal direction, frankly :roll_eyes:
It’s a little short at the large end and a little “fat” at the pointy end.

here’s how bumper seal lays up

seal strip infringes on lamp area… housing lays on top of the seal strip

next posts will show gaskets

It appears to me that if you can lower the edge of the bumper seal where it meets the body, 1-2mm by shimming out the blade, that it will all barely fit.

The seals do tend to be frustratingly short, thus it reduces the frustration to wipe a tiny amount of super glue on the pod edge on one end. Let it set, then stretch it over the other end and repeat. Tape or hold it until that end sets.

unit with gasket that is overlapping sealstrip.

try again, think I sent the same pic 3 times.

I hate this Apple computer

This right here is a major contributor to the problem. The seal should not be hanging down that way. If stretching it while gluing it makes it go away, then that is fine. If it doesn’t then you create a dramatic kerf on the interior webbing of the seal so the pointy end of the seal can be pinched together easily. This also has the effect of making it a tad longer.


Hi Bill. Was there any body adjustment of the tail light area during your metal work phase? If not then the light is in the correct position and the fit between the lamp and the bumper would have been acceptable from the factory. The only variable is the position of the bumper blade. That can be done by sliding the blade forward, up, or out or a combination. You need to go back to the beginning and reinstall the light housing, modifying the gasket as needed to get a perfect fit. Then tape up the whole area very carefully to protect the paint and work at adjusting the blade. I believe your car came in boxes so you do not know how well that particular blade fit or if it indeed the original blade. It may require some modification of shape but that should only happen after attempts have been made to fit it by elongating mounting slots etc. From the pictures you have posted it looks to me like it needs to slide forward a quarter inch or so if there is room at the front end but any movement affects fit in other areas so it is a long trial and error operation.

yes. any dents were removed. Lights were trial fit several times to match body when in primer.

car didn’t arrive in boxes, I disassembled it into boxes…22 yrs ago.
those are the bumpers and lights that came with the car.

so, you are saying the blade and sealing strip should sit ON TOP of the lamp gasket?

I don’t think you can slide the bumper forward because the end of the bumper s located by that single bolt though the fender.

No. The gaskets should not overlap. If it is only dents removed and they were done properly there should be no variation in the lamp location. It has to be bumper blade location and if they are all original parts you just have to find the correct combination of shims on the 3 fixing locations. After reinstalling the lamp I would then proceed with the trial fitting of the blade without the gasket and attempt to get the most even blade to sheet metal distance possible that provides the maximum distance from the lamp housing. The body shop did not do any shaping with filler in the area, right?

regardless, we test fit the lights after it was in primer so, no filler added after that.

Ok. If there has been no body shaping done in the area, as far as I can see, you need to fiddle with the bumper blades till you find the magic spot. That part is always dangerous for me as I tend to get impatient and t.ha5 increases the chances of scratching the paint. I forgot one direction in my previous post. There are forward/back, up/down, in/out and the fourth dimension- rotated to increase or lessen droop. It really is quite complicated.

This is why I suggested using slotted washers for shims. This way the bolts can simply be loosened enough to poke the washer up and then snug the bolt back down so they don’t fall out. This was the method I used to adjust droopy front blades.

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