Knowledge Base - How To:- Fit a High Level Brake Light

Fitting a High Level Brake Light

I took some pics while fitting a high level brake light at the weekend so thought I'd share them with you and give a few details of how we did it..

Here is the before shot:

So, to start with removing the two side pieces next to the engine bay lid will make everything that little bit more accessible. They are easily removed by two bolts one at either end of its length. There are also some black clips on it's underside which you may need to toggle a little bit before it comes loose. These have earth wires connected to them, you can either leave these connected and just slide the panels over the engine, or disconnect them.
Once these are removed you will see two screws on each side holding the window surround panel in place at it's lowest point. remove these.

Now move to the interior of the car ( you may find it useful to remove the T-Tops if you have them ). On the inside of the rear window there is a plastic strip spanning the windows length between the window and the roof - this simply pulls off. It is held on with small plastic stoppers at various points.
Start at one end, lever it loose and then work your way along pulling it downward. This will reveal the harness which you will need to plug into your new brake light and the majority of the remaining bolts which are holding the rear panel on:

At this point I was hoping that would be all I would need to remove......WRONG!
There are two bolts remaining at the corner points, and to get to them you have to remove more interior panels.
You'll need to remove the panel which runs along the bottom of the window (behind the storage box). To do this, use a small screwdriver to pry off the caps which are behind the coat hooks. This will reveal two screws to be removed. You can then lift off the panel and put to one side.

Next you need to remove the Seat Belt loops on the door pillars. you can pry the top part of the seat belt loop away from the top back, the top part will then flip up revealing a bolt ( 14mm if I remember correctly) which will allow you to remove the belt loop. You can just let this hang down for now. Now that this is out if the way, you can now remove the pillar panel.

At the top of the door pillar (where the T-bar rod inserts if you have them) you need to pry the panel outward, this will loosen it so that you can work it over the pillar and off (this bit is a bit awkward and tricky).
You should then be able to lever the lower rear speaker panels outward. You do not need to remove the panels which house the rear speakers, just pull them out a bit at the top. This will then reveal two screws which are holding the rear quarter window panel in place - unscrew these and you can then pull the rear quarter panels out:

At last you will be able to see the two remaining bolts which are holding the exterior rear window panel in place! These are located in the far corners behind the panels you have just removed. Unscrew these and the rear panel should come away pretty easily (may need a bit of persuasion if this is the first time it has been removed):

Now you can slot the new panel into place with high level brake light. there is a small grommet next to the wiring harness which will allow you to pass it through the body work and connect it. This is where the surprise came for us...
When connected the LED brake light wouldn't light even though it was connected. So what you need to do at this point is find yourself an electrician to trace the wiring backward:

What Jimi (pictured) found, was that although the harness which runs along the roof, has been included ....when you follow the wiring downward things go a bit wrong.
Further down (beneath the rear speaker panel and behind the rear wall carpeting), the harness has another connector, which has 2 wires for high level brake light ( white/black & green/white ) and a 3rd wire ( black ) which is for the heated rear screen.

The opposite end of the connector from the roof - the high level brake light connector

Unfortunately the other side of the connector only has 1 wire ( black )

The internal connector behind the passengers seat which the connector above hooks into - notice the single black wire

To get the light to work you will have to splice into the existing rear brake light wiring which is in the wiring loom behind the passenger seat rear wall carpeting.
You will need to cut a piece of the harness wrapping off to give some slack cable to work with, strip back about 2" down towards the floor, it will help to remove the clip securing the harness, you can put it back when your finished. What your looking for is a green/white wire, there are 2, it's the thicker of the two you want. carefully strip a bit of insulation of and check you have the correct wire by using a voltmeter ( or test lamp ) to see if there is 12V there when the brake pedal is pressed.

I wouldn't suggest cutting it as there is very little slack, much better to strip the insulation off (about 1/2" ) get about 8" of suitable wire ( preferable green/white but any colour will do ) strip one end and wrap it round the bit you have bared, then solder it and insulate with tape.
At the connector cut the white/black and green/white wires off ( tight to the connector ) join the green/white to the wire you have just spliced in (I used male and female spade crimps, male on the light side )
Remember to plug the connector back in or your rear screen heater won't work !
The white/black need to be extended and earthed to the chassis. ( I used a ring terminal and utilised the securing bolt for the t-bar strap bracket as an earth point )

And that's that! Follow the instructions in reverse to put everything back together ensuring that you firmly tighten the seat belt holders when you reapply them and Et Voilà , you now have a high level brake light:

Acknowledgements:
Jaffa: For allowing use of the farm/tools/coffee during the mini meet
Millentubby: For assisting with panel removal
Jimi: For helping (doing) the electrical side of things
Everyone else: For the banter

Portgordon

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Created : 2011-10-05 17:50:03, Last Modified : 2011-10-05 17:50:03

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