Having been asked a few times for a write-up, I consolidated a few posts from another thread here. How I did my quad tail lights:
- Spare set of tail lights with harnesses
- JB Weld or similar
- 18 ga hookup wire, 3 colors
- Dremel with both plastic and metal cutting bits
- Soldering iron or wire crimper and butt connectors
- 7mm and 10mm sockets (if removing the rear bumper)
- Other basic hand tools, screwdriver, pliers, etc.
To start off, you need to make your new quad tail light panel. This was covered in another thread
, however for the sake of this write-up, I will add some details.
First, you will need to cut the reflector bowls out of the spare left and right tail lights assemblies. These will be used to make the new reflectors for your center panel. Use a dremel and a plastic-cutting bit. Likewise, cut out the "dummy lights" in the center panel, being careful not to go too far and damage the inside of the lens. Trim your new reflector bowls to fit, and JB weld them in place. Here I show the back of the stock center light vs the modified center light:
Next, on to the wiring! I used 2 packages of three-color stranded hookup wire, 15 feet each color.
Using a drill, I twisted the 3 wires into a single "strand" to make managing them easier.
Next, I tapped into the tail light wiring. Green to green/yellow, red to brown, and black to black.
Note: I re-did some of my wiring a few years after I first did this mod. I recommend removing the rear bumper cover to run your wiring. It will make the process much easier, and allow for a cleaner install.
Run the wiring down the hole into the bumper cover. There is a grommet on the passenger's side, but there is also a space for one on the driver's side, with a plastic insert. I used the one on the driver's side.
I cut out the center of the plastic plug, so that I could run my wires through. If you do this, you MUST fill the hole back in with silicone. Water will leak in to the trunk through this hole otherwise. If you're relocating your reverse lights, now is the time to run the wiring for that as well.
Run the wires through that rear panel, to the passenger's side, then up through both grommets to the trunk lid.
Finally, run the wires through the trunk lid and connect them to the harnesses off your spare tail lights. When I grabbed mine from the junkyard, I got both sides of the plug for the tail light harnesses in order to make them removable. No pictures of this, sorry.
Now, on to the fun part. We need to make some clearance in the trunk lid in order for our modified center tail light to fit.
You will need some metal cutting dremel bits or an air-powered cutoff wheel, along with a grinding bit to smooth out the edges.
First, you have to take these guys out of the trunk panel. They're a little tough to get out, but not that difficult. Some prying with a flathead, with persuasion from the back makes them pop right out.
By holding up the quad tail panel to the trunk lid, you'll be able to see where your clearance is needed. Mark these spots with a sharpie. Then, begin cutting with the metal cutting bit and the dremel. Check the fitment of the quad panel, and make adjustments as necessary. Be sure to wear safety goggles and work gloves for this part. Here's what my clearance holes ended up looking like: (note the pieces of cut metal on the bumper)
Once the panel fits, connect your new wiring harness to the back of the lights, attach your new panel to the trunk lid using the 5 remaining contact points, and test everything for proper operation.
Another popular mod to do in conjunction with the quad tail light mod is the reverse light relocation. I initially used a license plate frame that had white LEDs built in, but when I needed a new rear bumper I took the opportunity to upgrade to a set of C5 Corvette reverse lights. These require modification to the rear bumper cover and the foam absorber that sits behind the bumper.
Here is the back of the C5 panel. You need to cut out the rear bumper for the light housing to recess in. Additionally, the foam absorber needs to be cut away to make room for the lights. The panel attaches to the rear bumper cover with 4 screws, 1 in each corner.
Once you're happy with how the lights fit, you're well on your way!
Pictures of the trimmed absorber
Finish off the wiring (I traced the reverse light signal back inside the trunk and tapped into it there) and you're good to go!
Hope this was helpful for those of you wanting to take this project on!
*2001 Impala Ls - 141k
Precision 6262 Turbo, ZZP Z3, Tial wastegate and BOV, CXRacing intercooler, ZZP 3" turbo-back w/ muffler delete, Bosch 42.5# Injectors, Bosch fuel pump, CTS-V Brembos, Stainless lines, BC Racing coilovers, Dorman solid sway bar, BMR trailing arms, SPEC-D LED headlights, LED heads and fogs, Quad tails, C5 reverse lights, All LED interior, LED 6 gauge cluster retrofit, LED puddle lights, LED underglow, Debadged, Painted emblems, Color-matched trim, Wrapped dash & door trim, Kenwood DDX271, Polk Audio dxi6500 components, Polk Audio db690, Hifonics GLX100.4, 2x Polk Audio db1240 in custom box, Hifonics ZRX1800.1D, KMC District, Nitto NT555G2, SS tail covers, SS spoiler, SS Lip, 20% tint, Black mesh grille
*1999 Escalade - 150k
Winter daily on 22s
*2001 Dakota - 99k
Custom painted runaround
*2014 Impala LT Limited - 65k
*1992 Caprice Wagon - Sold @ 195k