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Replacing Your Tail Light Bulbs and Assembly
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Replacing Your Tail Light Bulbs and Assembly

Steve Vernon

Time:

2hours

Tab:

$2 to $120

Talent:

**

Tools:

8mm, 10mm socket, T27 Torx, Philips head screwdriver

Applicable Models:

VW Golf (1999-05)

Parts Required:

Taillight assembly, taillight bulbs, taillight bulb sockets, taillight electrical connector pigtail

Hot Tip:

Clean the bulb holder contacts prior to installation of the bulb

Performance Gain:

Working tail lamps

Complementary Modification:

Install new center brake light

The taillight assembly on the Volkswagen GTI Mk4 is a modular unit that houses the running light, brake light, turn signal and reverse light (and rear fog light on Euro cars)all in the same housing. All of the bulbs can be replaced without removing the unit from the car by accessing and removing the bulb housing portion of the unit through the access panel in the trunk.

If you have a bulb that is out or are getting a bulb error message always inspect the electrical connector and the taillight bulb socket before just replacing the bulb. The sockets can get corroded over time which can lead to a bulb not working. Make sure you clean all the sockets with a small wire brush or some Emory paper before installing new bulbs.

The taillight assembly on the Volkswagen GTI Mk4 is a modular unit that houses the running light, brake light, turn signal and reverse light (and rear fog light on Euro cars)all in the same housing.
Figure 1

The taillight assembly on the Volkswagen GTI Mk4 is a modular unit that houses the running light, brake light, turn signal and reverse light (and rear fog light on Euro cars)all in the same housing. All of the bulbs can be replaced without removing the unit from the car by accessing and removing the bulb housing portion of the unit through the access panel in the trunk.

With the trunk open you will find an access panel on each side of the rear of the trunk behind the tail light assemblies.
Figure 2

With the trunk open you will find an access panel on each side of the rear of the trunk behind the tail light assemblies. The access panel on the right side has a single knob (red arrow) that you turn 90 degrees to open. The right light is serviced the same as the left. We are going to focus on the left assembly as there is a lot more stuff to be removed to remove the unit.

The access panel on the left side has two knobs (red arrows) that you turn 90 degrees to open.
Figure 3

The access panel on the left side has two knobs (red arrows) that you turn 90 degrees to open. The rear lock carrier trim piece has been removed as we are planning on removing the whole light assembly and also for photographic purposes. Please see our article on removing rear interior trim panels for help with this. If you are just changing bulbs you do not need to perform this work.

With the access panel open you can unplug the wiring harness (yellow arrow) from the bulb holder.
Figure 4

With the access panel open you can unplug the wiring harness (yellow arrow) from the bulb holder.

If you only want to change the bulbs, squeeze in the two clips (yellow arrows) on the bulb holder and remove it from the assembly.
Figure 5

If you only want to change the bulbs, squeeze in the two clips (yellow arrows) on the bulb holder and remove it from the assembly.

This photo illustrates the bulb holder out of the assembly.
Figure 6

This photo illustrates the bulb holder out of the assembly. The bulbs are; Brake Light (red arrow), Turn Signal (yellow arrow), Taillight (green arrow), Reverse light (blue arrow) and for Euro vehicles rear Fog Bulb (left side only, purple arrow).

Unlike the right side which has easy access to the three 8mm nuts, to remove the taillight assembly on the left side you must remove the stereo amp and bracket to get at one of the nuts.
Figure 7

Unlike the right side which has easy access to the three 8mm nuts, to remove the taillight assembly on the left side you must remove the stereo amp and bracket to get at one of the nuts. Begin by removing the two Philips head screws (red arrows) unplug the wiring connection and remove the amp.

Next remove the two T27 Torx screws (red arrows) and the two 10mm nuts (yellow arrows) holding the bracket.
Figure 8

Next remove the two T27 Torx screws (red arrows) and the two 10mm nuts (yellow arrows) holding the bracket.

Remove the bracket (red arrow).
Figure 9

Remove the bracket (red arrow).

There are three 8mm nuts holding the assembly in place.
Figure 10

There are three 8mm nuts holding the assembly in place. Two (green arrows, already removed) are easily accessible and one (yellow arrow) is only accessible through the hole behind the wiring harness.

This photo illustrates the taillight housing removed from the car.
Figure 11

This photo illustrates the taillight housing removed from the car. You can see the three studs (yellow arrows) that the 8mm nuts bolt to. Installation is the reverse of removal. Use caution reinstalling the hidden 8mm nut as it you drop it inside the panel of the car it is a pain to get out. The right side unit has a push clip on the lower forward part that needs to be pulled out from the body of the car when removing it. Installation is the reverse of removal.

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Comments and Suggestions:
kim Comments: What is the numbers to the brake light bulb to a 2001 Volkswagen golf 4 door 1.8t. Pretty Please.
December 24, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: All bulbs for that model are listed here:

http://www.pelicanparts.com/cgi-bin/supertech/catalog.cgi?action=frameset&return-url=/cgi-bin/supertech/catalog.cgi%3Faction%3Dframeback%26page%3D1962&catalog-url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.pelicanparts.com%2Fcatalog%2FSuperCat%2F2003%2FVAG_2003_ELLITE_pg1.htm %3Futm_source%3DSuperTech%23item4

- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Brett Comments: For my 2000 GTI GLX, it's a T25, not T27.

Brett
July 13, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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