The rear passenger side brake/turn signal bulb has burned out in my wife's
1997 Buick LeSabre Custom (3.8 V6). The manual says to pull the carpet away
from the area of the tail lamp assembly, then turn the bulb holder assembly
to remove it. However, it seems that the design is different from that
described in the manual. If I pull back the carpet it looks as iff the only
way to get at the bulb holder is to remove two nuts and pull the whole lamp
assembly off the rear of the vehicle. Is this the way to change a simple
bulb? Am I missing something here?
What do you mean "give me a break", Al? My only point was that the
assemblies today *are* better than what they used to use and it's not a huge
job to replace a bulb. Sure - they could have put a cut out in there so you
could just reach in and twist out or pull out the offending bulb, but come
on - it's not that big of a deal to take off a nut. 15 minutes would be
quite on the long side of that job. I supposed if you stopped for a
cigaretter or maybe a little... well, we won't go there.
Just the next step on the greed driven throwaway world path of big
Next, someone somewhere will raise a stink about the crazing/fogging
of the interior, and before we know it we'll be fixing a burned out
bulb by replacing a 300 dollar headlamp "module".
It goes without saying that replacing this module will require
special tools :)
Which raises a good point Ken. The other day I had to change a parking
light in my 98 Regal. I didn't know the bulb was gone until I was driving
down the road and the flasher was running at double speed. So - I pulled
into the local Advance Auto and picked up an 1147.
In the old days I would either have had to get down on my knees in the
parking lot to reach up under the fender (never a clean job), or grab a
phillips or a torex driver to take the lens off. Neither approach are
terribly difficult but one is dirty and the other requires that I have the
right tool with me. Instead, now all I had to do was slide two plastic
retainer slides down about 1/2 inch and pull out the headlamp module which
gave me clear and easy access to replace the bulb. Put it back in place,
slide the plastic slides back in that lock it down and head down the
highway. Every bulb for the front end of the car is contained within the
headlamp module, and access could not be easier.
To the OP's point, if the rear module was secured in a similar manner to
what the headlamp module is, then it too could be a completely tool-less
maintenance point. It does require a socket to remove the nut that secures
it. I just don't consider that to be such a big deal. For those to whom
the use of a socket is a major affront, I would suggest getting a wingnut
and replacing the factory nut with the wing nut. That'll take care of that
socket wrench issue. My daughter's old '94 Sunbird used finger nuts to
secure the tail lamp modules. One could get ahold of a couple of those and
use them in place of the Buick factory hex nut too.
The 2000 LeSabre is definitely different than either my earlier Park Ave
(92) or my Regal (98) then. Though - a 1.5 inch stud should have posed no
problem for your deep socket. That's not much of a stud length. On my
Regal, most of the fasteners are finger nuts with one hex nut for each tail
light module. I admit to wondering why they didn't just use finger nuts all
the way. Maybe they ran out...
The job was quite easy, but my point was that the actual procedure used to
change the bulb differed greatly from the procedure outlined in the original
owner's manual. Nothing in the owner's manual indicated that three nuts had
to be removed and the whole assembly removed before accessing the bulb
holder. The manual just said to pull back the carpet and turn the bulb
holder a 1/4 turn.
Thank you all for your responses.
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