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98 Outback rear door light assembly


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#1 garlopa

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Posted 05 June 2008 - 09:31 AM

I am new to the forum so first things first; greetings to all!

I have a 98 Subaru Outback wagon. After a small backing-up misshap, I need to replace the rear gate's light assembly. I searched the forum and found an old post claiming that only the four visible bolts and the sealant hold the assembly in. I wanted to double check this because I have the new (used) tail-light assembly and there are 5 mounted screws that run its lenghth... what are these attached to? Because I am very new to DYI car repair, and because, I don't want to do any major damage ripping the assembly out, I have three questions:

1. In order to pull out the rear gate light assembly, do I just need to remove the four visible bolts and then pry the assembly out?

2. Do I have to remove the inside panel at all to install the assembly? if so, is there a trick to removing the panels?

3. What kind of sealant should I use when I put the new light assembly and where can I get it?

A preemptive thank you for your help!

#2 johnceggleston

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Posted 05 June 2008 - 12:25 PM

1. In order to pull out the rear gate light assembly, do I just need to remove the four visible bolts and then pry the assembly out?


i'm not sure exactly what you mean. the large light assembly that streches all the way across the hatch is one thing, the light assembly that lights up the license plate is another. which one are you talking about.


2. Do I have to remove the inside panel at all to install the assembly? if so, is there a trick to removing the panels?


you have to remove the inside panel on the hatch to remove the 'hatch wide' light on the outback wagon. the panel is held on with round plugin clips. usr a putty knife or screwdriver to pop them out. try not to lose them and / or brake them.

once the panel is off you will find several (4,5,or6 more ?) bolts coming thru the outer skin of the hatch. most of these are easy to remove, one i think, maybe 2 need a deep well socket. remove the nuts, and then gently start at one end and slowly work your way across easing the light fixture off the hatch. the good news is that you are replacing this so if you break it no big deal. if it does not want to come, you probably missed a bolt or 2. (i think there 1 on each side on the outer edge of the hatch, IIRC).

i used WD40 on the upper edge to lube it so it would come out and in easier. the lenght of the bolts can be challenging because the angle has to be right to get them to clear the mounting holes both coming off and going on. reinstall the same way, again using wd40, and GO SLOW. don't force it.


3. What kind of sealant should I use when I put the new light assembly and where can I get it?


i didn't use any sealant on mine, the rubber? seal around the rear glas sealed to it preety well and i have seen no evidence of leaks.

welcome to the party, and good luck.

#3 garlopa

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Posted 05 June 2008 - 01:46 PM

Thank you! That is exactly what I needed to know. As you guessed correctly, I meant the long hatch-wide assembly. I will follow your instructions.




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