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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Well, this has been done before, so I can take no credit for new design (except for the addition of superbright LEDs), but I thought I'd do a "how to" writeup since no-one has bothered to do that.

So that said, this is how you can convert your Solstice's weird-looking, half-moon, reversing lamps to the much nicer-looking Cobalt/HHR ones (heretoafter referred-to as simply 'HHR').

First you need to but the HHR lights. I got mine from Rock Auto (TYC ones, ~$47/pair shipped - cheaper than when I got mine) but you can also try a scrap yard, or eBay/used, and possibly get them cheaper than that. RockAuto link: RockAuto Parts Catalog. Note that they are asymmetric, so you want BOTH left and right.

You may also want to get spare OEM Solstice ones, rather than butcher your originals. RockAuto again, ~$35 shipped (cheaper if you combine shipping with the HHR ones above). These are the same for both sides (not asymmetric).

OK, so you bought your lamps and unpacked them. This is what you'll find. The HHR lamps are designed to fit on an angled plane, so the reflector and lens prisms are angled too. No way will they mount in a Solstice bumper (at least, without really mangling the inside mounting points of your factory bumper). So what I decided to do (not sure if this is what 'previous practitioners' did or not) is cut the base off the original Solstice lights, and the front/lenses off the HHR ones, and simply glue them together...



I used a Dremel with a rotary saw blade and carefully cut the Solstice lens off the base. As you can see, there's a double wall, so you have to cut at least a 1/4" to 3/8" deep. You'll be cutting acrylic so do this in an open space (the fumes are not pleasant) and keep the saw moving so the plastic doesn't just melt and re-seal:



Then I did a similar thing with the HHR ones, except I just cut the base part off:



A few moments with a bench sander (or similar) to neaten up the edges and you'll get what's shown below. The cutting and sanding raises a lot of plastic dust that works it's way in behind the outer red ring of the HHR lens. Be prepared to spend some time with a can of compressed air - or similar - to get that dust out and avoid it looking grungy from the outside.

Note, I converted mine to LEDs at the same time, using a super-bright, 500 (real) lumen, Phillips MR16 LED Floodlight. This picture also shows the bulb glued into the base (using epoxy putty). You can do something similar, or simply reuse the original bulb and socket.



Note that the HHR lens has the black foam sealing strip all the way around. This may be already be positioned so it fits inside the Solstice base, but I would recommend (now) that you just remove the foam and clean up the sticky, before proceeding further.

OK, now the difficult part! The HHR lens is too large to fit in the Solstice bumper 'hole' and requires trimming all the way round to fit. You'll need to carefully sand/cut about 1/4", or so, off all the way round the red lens edge. To do mine, I just sat at the back of the car with the empty base in place in the bumper, a bench disc sander on the ground, and sanded-tested-sanded-tested until the lens fit just right in the bumper and could rest tight against the base (and repeat for the other side). Took me a while.

Once that's done, just mix some fast-setting clear epoxy up, dab it all the way around the inner wall edge of the face of the Solstice base, and glue the base to the HHR lens. Position carefully according to how you sanded the lens edges, so that it will fit in the bumper, then spot-tape it together with masking tape and leave to set. (Mix only enough epoxy to do one assembly, then when one is done, glue the other.) This shows one glued, and the other ready to go.



Then, once set, you're ready to install and go! Here's mine done, and a closeup of one side. Note that I didn't cut/sand the base down too much, so mine protrude a little more (maybe just 1/8") than they should. That meant the outside sanded edge was visible, so I had to wet-sand it those visible edges down and polish them with plastic polish. Looks good now. To avoid this issue, cut or sand the Solstice bases about 1/8" back from the point where the lens meets the base.




Finally a comparison of old and new when lit. You can see the LED conversion is, err, "significantly" brighter than the original. If you reuse the Solstice bulbs, you won't have this "problem".



Good Luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Oh, forgot to add...

To remove/install the reversing lights, first remove the turn/brake cluster on each side: Open the trunk, undo and remove two 7mm hex-head screws each side, yank the cluster up and out. Note if your cluster has never be taken out before, the clips will be very tight and you'll have to pull (or lever) HARD to get it off the fender. (Off course, don't yank TOO hard or it'll shoot out and you'll damage the wiring/connectors!)

When the brake/turn light is off, it will expose a hole in the fender. Reach down into the hole and undo the two 10mm nuts (each side) that hold the reversing lights in.

Assembly is reverse of dis-assembly!
 

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Thanks for the how-to. Something I've been wanting to do!
 

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This is such a cleaner look for the solstice reverse lights. (Thumbs up)
 

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very nice! I missed this thread and was actually just doing a random google search on this mod, and low and behold. So I know why YOU went this route, as opposed to cutting the opening up( I tried to find your post from a while back when you purchased these lights, but no luck, ok I gave up) very clever, as always. anyway,my only question is are you happy with the LED's?

Bert
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
very nice! I missed this thread and was actually just doing a random google search on this mod, and low and behold. So I know why YOU went this route, as opposed to cutting the opening up( I tried to find your post from a while back when you purchased these lights, but no luck, ok I gave up) very clever, as always. anyway,my only question is are you happy with the LED's?

Bert
This?: What did you do to your Kappa today - Part 2

I haven't had a chance to test the LEDs yet in earnest since it's rained continuously since I finished, but certainly the LEDs are searchlight bright, so I should be happy :)

I'm only worried about blinding people behind when I reverse. If that's a problem I can put in a voltage dropper to dim them, though.
 

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Another fascinating TS mod. Well done.

I am ordering a pair of those LEDs for my backup lights. Of course mine are painted so configuration of the lens does not matter.

I do like the look.:thumbs::thumbs:
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·

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No, I remember a posting of yours of you explaining that you were not crazy about cutting the existing hole to suit the HHR light, in case you wanted to revert back to stock, which you obviously found a way around, and that I am going to try as well. First though, being the cheap MF that I am,(and shipping might be a deal breaker)I am going to search the auto wreckers for these lights.

Bert
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
No, I remember a posting of yours of you explaining that you were not crazy about cutting the existing hole to suit the HHR light, in case you wanted to revert back to stock, which you obviously found a way around, and that I am going to try as well. First though, being the cheap MF that I am,(and shipping might be a deal breaker)I am going to search the auto wreckers for these lights.

Bert
Ohh... that was a few posts down in the same thread: What did you do to your Kappa today - Part 2
 

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Another awesome mod TS!!!

Questions, the last mr16's for my taillights did not have a good connector to mate with the existing wiring. What did you use here and can you show a pic?

In your opinion, would the led Halo's fit in there too?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Questions, the last mr16's for my taillights did not have a good connector to mate with the existing wiring. What did you use here and can you show a pic?

In your opinion, would the led Halo's fit in there too?
Simple :). Took the old bulbs and smashed them (inside a thick bag to hold the glass) leaving just the connector base and the (outer) pair of posts/wires. Then I soldered extension wires to those and sealed it all back up with heat shrink. Then I just soldered those wires to the pins at the back of the bulb.

You can just see the base and extension wires at the top, here:



However, when I did my taillights, I cut the bulb holder itself down and soldered wires to it. There's pictures of that here: My Rear Taillight LED Conversion - a Show'n'Tell
 

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The lazy mans way to change backup lights

I'm pretty impressed by all the intricate work that was done to modify these lights to fit perfectly in the backup light recess. I don't know if the convertible is different from the coupe, but I just installed the same lights in my coupe today but I did not modify the lights or the car, except to replace the light socket by cutting off the original Solstice socket and attaching the HHR socket that came with the lights.

I had my rear fascia off as I was swapping it for a GXP Fascia, this made it easy to reach up under the bumper. You can also get access through the wheel wells by peeling back the lower section of wheel liners.

I took the old units out, easy, held in by two bolts each. Popped the new units in letting them position themselves such that the mounting studs pointed toward the sides of the car. Pushed them in until they were snug but at a slight angle, didn't force or mangle anything. Used a common three inch angle bracket slipped over one of the mounting studs that was easiest to access, snugged the bolts down and they fit firmly. They look natural and enhanced the rear, got to love a good butt! Seriously on a scale of 1 to 10 the old lights were a 2 and the new ones are a 10!!

The lazy man's way took 1/2 hour. Here is the after picture.

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Here is an additional picture showing the backup light angle as installed.


uploading pictures
 

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Just did my backup-lights this weekend. These were from a Cobalt. Not an exact fit, but unless you look close, you would never know.

Cobalt Lights - Used a hacksaw to cut them so the depth is almost even (they are angled and oblong. Once cut, taking out the remaining glued in back is easy. Used a sander to even things up and clean up the edges. Don't try and separate the lens from the back first, it almost impossible without destroying the lens.

Solstice Lights - Hacksaw again. Cut around the edge where the back meets the lens and remove lens. Clean up the edges with sander. Reinstall backing on the car.

Test fit the lens on the car, lines on clear lens vertical, GM imprint on the top (hint: Use left lens on right side, right on left). Once comfortable "carefully" apply clear sealant to the base (not the lens, it will get everywhere you don't want it).

Gently place the lens in the opening, stand back, admire the new look, adjust if needed, then press firmly in place. It is tight and will wedge itself in, use a little force if needed.

Done:
 

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It would never have occurred to me that there was anything less than satisfactory about the stock Solstice lights - they look just fine to me.....in fact I am so used to them that the converted ones look odd.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Pretty sure it would be allot easier and faster just to modify the mounting inside the rear bumper to adapt the Cobalt lights and then just splice the new wires together for the new type of bulbs.
That's largely what "Blueberry Coupe" did. But again, the HHR lights are larger and will only fit in the bumper hole at an angle.

You should try it first, and report back. You might not be so "pretty sure".
 
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