View Full Version : Tail Lights Out

06-05-2008, 11:43 PM
Had a little run-in with the law tonight. My ('72 TR6) tail lights were out, which I didn't know. One brake light works, and I think the other would work except the bulb is stuck in the socket, or jammed in somehow and not making contact and now I can't get it out. Turns and flashers still work. Any ideas on where I ought to start with the tail lights?

Also, is there a magic trick or some sort of special dance I can do to make the brake light bulb come out of the socket? I don't know if that's a common occurrence in TR6s or if I just buggered it up. I thought I stuck it in right and turned it but apparently not.

06-05-2008, 11:49 PM
Getting your lights working is just good, old fashioned clean up work. Clean up all the electrical connections between the light bulbs and the sockets, and from the ground connectors at the rear. If that doesn't light up the lights, look at the other ends of the wires, at your light switches.

If you can disconnect a socket, soaking it in white vinegar dissolves all the corrosion very nicely. For components you can't soak, take a wire brush to them. Some solvents work pretty well. I had a spray intended to clean radio tuners and volume switches for years that worked pretty well. Once all the connections are clean, spray them with silicon lubricant, which excludes water and air nicely.

Good luck,

06-05-2008, 11:53 PM
Did the dash lights work ? If not, I'd start by checking the fuse (even if you know why the dash lights don't work). Next I'd be checking with a meter or test lamp, right at the rear lamps, to see if the power is getting there, and to ground.

Those bulb holders are kind of cheesy, IMO. If you've got a bulb jammed in there so bad you can't get it out, probably the best course is to replace the bulb holder. The place where the pins engage is relatively soft plastic and likely it's damaged badly enough that it won't hold a bulb properly. Note that the replacement bulb holder may require that you add a ground wire; the ones I got from two different sources did.

But if you want to try to reuse the holder; break the bulb glass and use chain-nose pliers to grab the brass base. If you can't wiggle it out, twist it into a ball so it collapses.

06-06-2008, 07:44 AM
Randall is on point. Bust the bulb, remove the base with
needle nosed pliers and purchase a new bulb at pep Boys, etc.

REALLY clean the bulb holder inside with 000 steelwool, use a
screw driver to catch the grooves. Clean the base of the new
bulb as well. A dab of di-electric grease and insert, twist
the new bulb in place.

If the bulb does not light, try running a short piece of
ground wire from the bulb holder to any clean metal close by.
If the bulb lights, hard wire a new ground to your holder.

PS: I had to install a soldered wired ground wire to every
bulb/holder in my 69TR6 before the all the bulbs were 100%
functional. I also replaced every wire and switch in the car.

hope this hlps,


06-09-2008, 05:53 PM
Alright, I've got a new problem now. Got the bulb out, clean, etc. and the tail lights work, but the left brake light will come on and the right side brake/tail light goes out altogether. Another connection problem or is something wacky going on?

06-09-2008, 06:02 PM

The right brake light shares a power feed with the left light.
If the left light functions, the problem lies between the common
conector and the ground for the right bulb.

You are close to solving your issue.


06-09-2008, 06:27 PM
It's th' GROUND points!!! :thumbsup:

06-09-2008, 06:39 PM
:yesnod: :yesnod: :iagree: :iagree:

06-09-2008, 06:46 PM
As mentioned, bad ground on the right side. Note that the problem may actually be inside the bulb holder ! Here's a good article on the subject.

06-09-2008, 06:50 PM
There ya go again, Randall... ruinin' all th' FUN!

<while scrubbing old bulbholders with RED ScotchBrite>

Old hands at this are always lookin' to *learn* th' neophites "the hard way" y'know. :devilgrin: :jester:

...We ~GAVE~ away all th' GOOD hints! :smirk:

06-09-2008, 06:52 PM
I did the repair as posted by Randall. It took a couple of tries for 1 or 2 but it fixed them all.Bright too. Not that you can tell in a garage!

06-09-2008, 07:12 PM
Just one more argument for SOLDERING connections.

I'm gonna go a ~bit~ off-topic here (like THAT'S a change!):

This last Sunday I decided to investigate just why Diesela suddenly lost her "feature" of locking the trunk latch with the drivers' door lock/key. Removed all the various and over-complex German fitments for the inner door panel, got inside and started fishing out the wiring from the "bilge" of the door innards. Felt a "lump" in the harness going to the latch and peeled back some suspicious looking tape from the bundle to find ~CRIMP FASTENERS~ tieing three wires for the electric locking circuit together. Obviously an expensive (for the DPO) repair(!). One of these three leads had CORRODED horribly and broken at a crimp... the "cure" was simply to chop the three crimp fasteners out of the equation and replace them with SOLDERED joints, heat-shrink 'em and tape the area up. Tie-wraps now hold the harness up out of the bilge area and I expect the repair will outlast me.

"Casual" contact is prone to all sorts. Manufacturers were cheap. Do yerself a favor and go thru all the wiring and make it bulletproof.

06-11-2008, 05:55 PM
Thanks for the help. I'll have to check out that book as well. Front wiring harness is new, 'cause I put it in and it's un-tampered with so everything works, but the rear is old and probably could use to be replaced, along with all electrical components aft the driver's seat.