Restoring my 1968 Convertible-Voodoo II – Page 19 – Pontiac GTO Forum

The tail light housings for 1968 are a little unique since they appear to be fiberglass construction instead of stamped or cast metal. I am very curious why Pontiac made them this way since it doesn’t appear to be a simple or easier method. The lamp sockets are formed into the housing which makes them very difficult to remove or replace which is a bummer since mine had a fair amount of corrosion where the lamp fits in. Additionally, the spring loaded terminals inside the sockets were rusted/corroded and needed to be replaced. I am not aware of any good quality reproduction housings and/or a wire harness/socket kit so I will try and repair my original set.

The lamps were corroded into the sockets so I had to break the globes and use needle nose pliers with curved jaws to pry out the metal lamp bases.

The contacts inside the sockets were very crusty so I needed to find some way to clean them so they would make a good path to ground which is necessary for the lamps to operate. Replacing the sockets isn’t the best solution since they are press formed into the fiberglass housings and they also have grounding straps bonded to them….so not something that I am likely to find as a replacement part. Scott (forum member) had a great suggestion on how to rebuild the sockets so I figured I would give it a try. Thank you Scott for the help! So with a little searching, I did find replacement sockets online that appeared to have internal parts that I might be able to use to restore my sockets to usable condition (see pic for vendor info…).

There are three lamp sockets in each housing. The center socket is for a backup lamp so it only has one wire. The two outer sockets are for dual filament (parking/stop) lamps so they each have two wires. All sockets have a rubber boot where the wires enter the socket base. The rubber boots can be carefully rotated back and forth until they ‘walk off’ the end of the sockets. This exposes the insulated plastic base that organizes the spring loaded wire terminals. . It was fairly brittle so I squeezed them with a pair of pliers and they crumbled into small pieces. I made note of which wire went where so I could put it back together the same way. I worked on one lamp socket at a time to minimize the chance of mixing up the wires. Next step is to remove the internal parts from the replacement sockets so they can be used to rebuild the original housings.

The factory blacked out the interior portion of the windshield frame since it’s partially visible even after the glass is set and the interior and exterior trim is installed. I test fit the glass one more time to check for any issues. Happily, the fit was very good so I started to prepare the other associated parts so I can install the windshield. The top header bar of the windshield frame gets wrapped in vinyl fabric so I will need to install that first along with new upper trim clips. There are 6 pieces of stainless trim that need to be polished and ready for the glass installation. I want to test fit these pieces prior to setting the glass so I can check the fit and then I also want these items to be polished and ready so I can get them on the car immediately after the glass is set in place. This allows me some time for a slight bit of final adjustment to the stainless trim before the adhesive cures.

For the most part, the trim pieces were in pretty good shape…only a few small dings here and there that needed to be corrected. There was one pretty deep ding that was going to take some work. I spent quite a bit of time working it out….probably 3-4 hours or so. Eventually I was able to tap, nudge, form it back to shape enough to file smooth.