Modifying the taillights

The original plan to use Corvette C-5 tail lights won’t work since I am going with the narrower original fenders. But I still wanted fender mounted tail lights, and I wanted to not spend another 30 hours like I did making the molds for the C-5 housings. But where to find housings that might work was a trick.

I spent a few hours combing through eBay car listings looking for something and found the old VW Beetle had taillights that might be close. Unfortunately, the fenders flare too much to cut them down to fit the more cylindrical Stalker fenders. So I started looking in a more obvious place, cruiser motorcycles.

What I really wanted were taillights from a Kawasaki Meanstreak, but the housings were $270 each from the dealer which was just not reasonable. So, back to eBay to look through motorcycle ads. I found that the 97-02 Honda Metric cruisers mostly shared a light housing that had the look I wanted, and could be found for a reasonable price. I found three of them on eBay for about $20 each.

Now on to the modification. I started by taping the unmodified housing to the fender in the orientation that I wanted it. Since the motorcycle fender has less curvature than the Stalker fender I needed to cut the new housing too add arch to the housing so it would fit.

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With the housing taped in place I used a wooden spacer with a Sharpie to scribe a line down the side of the housing that would serve as a cut line. It is important to keep the marker pointed perpendicular to the centerline of the car when you are making the mark.

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After about ten minutes with a Dremel cutoff wheel the housing has been re-arched to fit the fenders.

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With one housing completed you have to cut the next housing to match. You could repeat the same process but it would be very difficult to get the lights with exactly the same orientation which would be very noticeable once the lights were both fitted. So I thought of a method to transfer the cut line from the newly modified housing to the unmodified housing.

I set the two housings in the jaws of my Workmate so they could be kept aligned. I then bent up a piece of 1/16″ welding rod into a rectangular “U” shape. The bottom of the U was about 12″ with 5″ legs. The idea is to run one end of the U along the modified housing and transfer to the unmodified housing using a marker right next to the other end of the U.

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Here are the new taillights mounted on the fenders. Along with a view showing the relief in the fender to clear the actual light socket. I will have to make a cover to prevent stones from damaging the wiring and socket when on the road.

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