Author Topic: How To: Replace GTI High Level Brake Light WITHOUT REMOVING SPOILER  (Read 128047 times)

Offline ub7rm

  • I live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,458
Like many my High Level Brakelight was fecked.  It started with the LED's flickering then they all failed one by one until they were all goosed.

A visit to VW revealed the cost of replacing it was just shy of £400 (out of warranty  :sad:) and would involve removing the old spoiler (and in the process breaking it) spraying a new spoiler and remounting etc as the light was stupidly designed to be retained by a couple of screws INSIDE the spoiler.

With nothing to loose I decided to buy the lamp and have a go at removing the old one and refitting.

Thanks to Daywoo for giving me the confidence to have a bash at this, but I think his was a little easier to get out than mine as he had written in a different thread that his fell out of it own accord...

First step was to buy the replacement:
Part No. 1K6 945 097F - £35 ish

Image showing the back of the new light, flying lead and rubber grommit.

Next was the daunting bit - breaking out the old light.  For this I used some plastic trim removal tools I got of Ebay.  A good investment as it means the spoiler isn't butchered as you pry and lever the old one out.  That said there was a tiny amount of collateral damage to the housing but not too much.  But hey - you're saving £360  :smiley:

I started at the rear edge of the light and broke the light lens out.  No real technique - its pretty fragile and just a case of brute force and nasty noises.  Watch out for flying splinters!

Poor quality but there is a small gap just big enough to get a wedge in and start breaking the lens out.

Camera pointing up - photo of the bottom of the lens being broken out

Trim tool being used to break the lens out

Gunged up bit of lens - water has clearly been sitting there for a long time.
(Note I took my drill out as a way of breaking into the lens if needs be - I didn't actually have to use it.)

Lens all broken out - LED strip exposed. 

Use a wedge / trim removal tool to pop the LED strip out.  I didn't take a photo of this but the wiring where it connects to the PCB at the back was corroded as expected.

With the LED strip pulled out its really just a matter of getting hold of the black housing and ripping it out.  I used a trim tool to lever the housing down in the middle and then grabbed hold of it and pulled.

Note the metal bit to the left, thats where the retaining screw goes into.  One on each side.  The plastic housing is quite weak and flexible so it will rip around the retaining bolts and come out as shown.

Once free of the light housing, the retaining screws will lift out of those slots and be discarded.

Again sorry for the quality but this shows where the plastic housing has ripped around the bolt.

Follow the cable up and you will be able to feel the rubber grommit in place.  I suspect it helps if you do this on a warm day like I did but its relatively easy to grab hold of this with your fingers and then use needle nosed pliers to pull it out.  Also helps if you have girly fingers!

Once you pull this out, the connector comes with it and it connects to another connector.  There will be just enough slack to be able to pull this out to just beyond the spoiler.  It looks pretty fragile so be carefull with this.  Undo the retaining clip and replace with the new one.  (Sorry got a bit carried away and didn't take a picture of the 'car side' connector.)

Picture of the 'light side' connector.

Push the wiring back in and push the grommit back into the hole.  This is a bit fiddly and is probably the hardest part as you cant see what you are doing.  You have go by feel alone.

Push the cable into the spoiler and snap the new light into place.  JOB DONE.

I didn't use anything other than the clips to hold the new light in place and it seems pretty solid.  If you wanted you could use some adhesive on the top to hold it in place.

Picture of the mangled old light unit.

Took me no more than 40 minutes.  Could probably do it again in about 20.

I did disturb the paint ever so slightly around the lip where the light unit sits but this is pretty much invisible unless you go looking for it and I will smooth it down with some wet and dry.

Just remembered I need to go out and re-aim my washer nozzle to 2 O'Clock so this never happen again....

Pretty chuffed with the result, and if I can do it, anyone can (but at your own risk  :wink:).  :cool:

2020 BMW 128ti
2017 Golf GTD Estate

Offline TagnuT

  • I live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,372
  • Edition 30
Nice bit of work there. Good job it went ok!  :wink: Knowing my luck something would Feck up half way through  :sick:
Bye Bye Edition 30

Offline ub7rm

  • I live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,458
To be honest although it looks pretty brutal there isn't that much that can go wrong.  The fiddly bit is pulling the grommet out and putting the new one in.  The biggest risk I'd say is that you try and pull the old cable out too far and the fragile looking wiring on the 'car side' is damaged.  Having the rubber grommits warm for pulling out / pushing back in place is a big help I reckon.

Thinking about it, if I were to do it again I would use the drill to start breaking into the lens rather than risk damaging the paintwork trying to get a lever in / crack started.
2020 BMW 128ti
2017 Golf GTD Estate

Offline andytran

  • Not said much yet
  • **
  • Posts: 80
I was looking at the houses in the background of your piccies!!

Thought I recognised the granite city!!

I drive a private plate (T15...) Mk5 GTI with red splitter and newly installed RNS510!!

I live in Peterhead (although Im a Guff, originally from Hull).


Offline ub7rm

  • I live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,458
Indeed the silver city  :grin:

Do you work in Aberdeen?  Hardly ever up that way but I'm back and forth to Westhill all the time.  If you ever need a hand for changing your high level brake light give me a shout  :grin:
2020 BMW 128ti
2017 Golf GTD Estate

Offline bacillus

  • I live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,231
A big thumbs up on that DIY.   :smiley:
Without traction power is nothing!

Offline Gene Hunt.

  • I live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,426
Nice guide.Touch wood the light on my 05 is fine. :smiley:
Candy White ED35.


  • Guest
Thats excellent and worthy of a sticky!

Call me cynical but it wouldnt suprise me if this was all VW did (but used the story of having to cheesewire off the spoiler etc.. as an excuse for the £400 labour charge!) :shocked:

Offline celica

  • GTI forum regular
  • ***
  • Posts: 213
nice write up and pics

sticky this

Offline VWjon

  • GTI forum regular
  • ***
  • Posts: 175
Nice job, glad it went well. As you know mine was done the same was under warranty by my dealer.
MKV Black GTi ¦ 3 Door ¦ Manual ¦ Leather ¦ Monza II ¦ Armrest ¦ iPod ¦
Mods:- Smoked Wing Mirror Indicators
Future Mods:- RNS510 Stereo