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Old 01-12-2013, 01:26 AM   #1
wdninja
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DIY Tail Light Gasket

After having tail light condensation issues with both the stock tail lights and the Colin smoked aftermarket tail lights, I closely inspected the stock gasket. It's a thin, flimsy piece of crap. So, I decided to make my own (better in theory) gaskets and try them out. Here's what I did.

Required Items:
  • Cardboard to cut on.
  • (1) 12"x12" (30.5cmx30.5cm) sheet of 1/4" (~6mm) thick neoprene foam. That's enough for 2 gaskets. I happened to order a whole roll of the stuff.
  • Cutting tools. Kitchen shears, good scissors, utility knife, samurai sword - anything that you can cut cleanly and accurately with will do.
  • Skewer/toothpick/pick tool. Something to puncture the foam with for the housing mounting posts to go through.
  • Sharpie
  • Some kind of gasket maker or Weatherstrip Adhesive. I'm using "3M Auto Black Superstrength Weatherstrip Adhesive." A 1oz (29,5mL) tube will do.
  • Refreshing beverage. Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout was my beverage of choice.




Step 1:
Print out my handy dandy FR-S/GT-86/BRZ tail light gasket template file and cut it out.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bz3...y03Tng5eG9aUXM

Bizarro Step 1:
Remove your tail lights (plenty of tutorials floating around for this, such as http://www.ft86club.com/forums/showt...ve+tail+lights from DarrenDriven ... though he says 10mm nuts when he means 8mm nuts) and remove the POS gaskets. Trace them yourself, feeling accomplished while simultaneously guilty for wasting the time I put into tracing the templates already. I'm not bitter - moving on.

Step 2:
Trace the gasket onto your foam sheet using your Sharpie.



Step 3:
Cut the traced shape out of the foam using your favorite cutting tool. I preferred the heavy duty kitchen shears. (Disclaimer: Attempting to use the aforementioned samurai sword could result in 10-15 minutes of wasted time cutting through random cardboard boxes, etc. instead of finishing this DIY.)



Step 4:
Puncture the foam with your pick to let the tail light housing mounting posts through.



Step 5:
Remove tail lights (refer to Bizarro Step 1 for a link to a tutorial).

Step 6:
Fit your gasket onto your tail light housing, trim any spots that need it, then remove it to apply the adhesive.



Step 7:
Apply weatherstrip adhesive around the lip of the tail light housing where the gasket makes the seal. If you look at your stock gaskets you'll see the line. Then, put the gasket on the housings, pushing them down onto the mounting posts and against the newly adhesive'd lip. Press the gasket against the housing all the way around to make sure the seal is made with the adhesive. Double check that there are no gaps before re-installing the tail lights.



Step 8:
Re-install tail lights. Don't over-tighten the 8mm nuts.

Resources:
I ordered my neoprene foam from Foam Factory http://www.foambymail.com/. Shipping took 3-5 days. I got my 3M Black Superstrength Weatherstrip Adhesive from Advance Auto Parts.

Update:
After using these custom gaskets on both my OEM tail lights and my aftermarket Colin Smoked tail lights, I'm happy to report that no further condensation/fogging/leaking has occurred whatsoever. Success!

Thanks!
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Old 01-12-2013, 01:52 PM   #2
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I re-installed the stock tail lights with the new gaskets. I ran a bead of adhesive along the lip, then pushed the gasket down on top of it. It formed a nice seal all along the edge. It feels much more substantial than the stock gasket.

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Last edited by wdninja; 01-02-2017 at 05:23 PM. Reason: Updating image path
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Old 01-12-2013, 02:03 PM   #3
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how does it look from outside, thats a significant gasket
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Old 01-12-2013, 02:08 PM   #4
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It's the biggest gasket I have seen in a while
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Old 01-12-2013, 03:16 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmookher View Post
how does it look from outside, thats a significant gasket
It looks no different than stock. The macro shots may be deceiving. The stock gasket is 3/16" (4.76mm) thick. The new gasket is 1/4" (6.35mm) thick. The big change is in the compression of the material and the seal. The stock material gets really compressed once the seal is formed and it doesn't recover. The new neoprene material doesn't get compressed as easily, so it provides a better seal.

Stock gasket on top of the new gasket material:

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Old 01-14-2013, 07:55 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wdninja View Post
Trace them yourself, feeling accomplished while simultaneously guilty for wasting the time I put into tracing the templates already. I'm not bitter - moving on.


Nice DIY
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Old 01-14-2013, 08:33 PM   #7
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Nice work!
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Old 01-15-2013, 07:45 PM   #8
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I'm happy to report that after a car wash and 3 solid days of hard rain, the stock tail lights have zero internal fogging or condensation with these DIY gaskets.

With the stock gaskets, the same set of tail lights would have fogging/condensation after every rain or car wash.

I have a ton of this foam left over, so if anyone wants a set of these gaskets with which to experiment and provide feedback, PM me.
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Old 01-16-2013, 02:24 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wdninja View Post
I'm happy to report that after a car wash and 3 solid days of hard rain, the stock tail lights have zero internal fogging or condensation with these DIY gaskets.

With the stock gaskets, the same set of tail lights would have fogging/condensation after every rain or car wash.

I have a ton of this foam left over, so if anyone wants a set of these gaskets with which to experiment and provide feedback, PM me.
Can you cut me a set and toss it in the mail box to me? I'll PayPal you the $2 shipping. Haha heck does it fit in a $0.45 letter envelop?
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Old 01-25-2013, 06:57 PM   #10
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Hey, out of curiosity how did you get the water/ condensation out without cutting the lights back open?? I am getting water in mine because the water goes under the vanity guard. I cut the lights open to paint them and thought siliconing around the gasket would fix it, it didn't, so i ordered the foam. I just don't want to have to recut and close the lights.......
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Old 01-26-2013, 02:55 AM   #11
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Hey, out of curiosity how did you get the water/ condensation out without cutting the lights back open?? I am getting water in mine because the water goes under the vanity guard. I cut the lights open to paint them and thought siliconing around the gasket would fix it, it didn't, so i ordered the foam. I just don't want to have to recut and close the lights.......
I never opened my tail light housings up. I had the luxury of having 2 sets of tails to swap back and forth, so the stock ones had plenty of time to evaporate and dry out before I reinstalled them with the new gaskets.
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Old 01-26-2013, 10:14 AM   #12
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Hey, out of curiosity how did you get the water/ condensation out without cutting the lights back open?? I am getting water in mine because the water goes under the vanity guard. I cut the lights open to paint them and thought siliconing around the gasket would fix it, it didn't, so i ordered the foam. I just don't want to have to recut and close the lights.......
For another car I have that had this issue, I did the following to dry out the housing. We have an upright clothes dryer that has a shoe rack. I put this in, put the housing on the rack and ran the dryer on low heat for as long as it took for the moisture to evaporate. YMMV
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Old 01-27-2013, 10:15 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wdninja View Post
I never opened my tail light housings up. I had the luxury of having 2 sets of tails to swap back and forth, so the stock ones had plenty of time to evaporate and dry out before I reinstalled them with the new gaskets.
Wait, so this is doable with just removing the taillights? No need to open them up? That is good news!
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Old 01-27-2013, 10:26 AM   #14
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Does it solve condensate problem ?
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