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55 400 Taillight removal
Just can't stay away
Joined:
2010/3/3 12:50
From Pasco, WA, USA
Posts: 53
What's the trick to removing the taillight on the 55 400? I already have the bumper off so getting the taillight off the car is a piece of cake, however, the backup light wire and socket are not removable and the wire runs through a non-removable grommet assembly on the car. I don't want to have to cut the wire just to free the taillight.

Posted on: 7/4 12:20:43
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1942 Clipper Club Sedan
1948 Custom Touring Sedan (22nd Series)
1955 Patrician Sedan
1955 400 Sedan
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Re: 55 400 Taillight removal
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Joined:
2009/1/7 19:30
From Fort Worth, Texas
Posts: 1879
I donít have picture to show you, but in the electrical section page 53 of the service manual shows a connector to look for. Follow the backup light wire in the trunk to find it.

http://www.packardinfo.com/xoops/html ... 556/Sect08_Electrical.pdf

Posted on: 7/4 18:34:04
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Re: 55 400 Taillight removal
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Joined:
2007/4/20 17:54
From Fresno CA
Posts: 15197
As LTRD said, there is an inline connector a few inches away. The connector can be either black or white plastic. Disconnect the wire and stuff it and the terminal thru the grommet and then pull the housing and wire off. Depending on how petrified the rubber grommet has become it may take some work and maybe a bit of dish soap to get the terminal to slide thru the narrow hole on the end.

Attach file:



jpg  IMG_2312.jpg (137.06 KB)
209_5d1eae4279607.jpg 1280X960 px

Posted on: 7/4 18:56:46
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Re: 55 400 Taillight removal
Just can't stay away
Joined:
2010/3/3 12:50
From Pasco, WA, USA
Posts: 53
The connector is inside the car. The wire from the taillight assembly backup light passes through a special bakelite style weathertite grommet where it passes through the body. The wire does not move in or out through the grommet -- it's held fast with a crimped cap -- and the grommet (if damaged in the process) can only be pulled inside the car, leaving the taillight assembly still captive.

I notice on taillight assemblies for sale that the wire has been cut.

Posted on: 7/4 21:40:48
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1942 Clipper Club Sedan
1948 Custom Touring Sedan (22nd Series)
1955 Patrician Sedan
1955 400 Sedan
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Re: 55 400 Taillight removal
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Joined:
2008/11/28 17:50
From Calgary, AB Canada
Posts: 830
The grommet is actually rubber, not bakelite so yours must be really petrified .
The electrical connector for 1955 is a spade type and not easily pulled through the grommet in addition to the wire being secured by the crimped fitting.
Best bet would be to chisel around the edges of the grommet from the inside to allow removal towards the rear and then use a sealant when it is replaced.

Posted on: 7/4 23:16:42
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Re: 55 400 Taillight removal
Just can't stay away
Joined:
2010/3/3 12:50
From Pasco, WA, USA
Posts: 53
The external part of the seal under the taillight is a large flat rubber grommet, which could be extracted internally with some damage but the inside portion is a hard bakelite with a swaged metal cap. There is no way to pull the seal through the body opening to extract the wire or to pull the wire through it. The wire won't move at all as it appears to be crimped into place in the seal.

So the only way to remove the taillight is to cut the wire or completely destroy the weathertite seal? The wire has a nice bellows-like seal on the socket which is still flexible and intact.

Posted on: 7/5 7:28:04
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1942 Clipper Club Sedan
1948 Custom Touring Sedan (22nd Series)
1955 Patrician Sedan
1955 400 Sedan
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Re: 55 400 Taillight removal
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Joined:
2007/4/20 17:54
From Fresno CA
Posts: 15197
I honestly never paid attention to know if the 55 and 56 grommets and terminals differed but this is what my 56 assy looks like. The small rounded end of the grommet pushes thru the hole in the plate and the groove is captured by the sheetmetal. The connector terminal looks to be similar to a standard GM type 56 item which is still available.

One option might be to cut the wire next to the terminal and pull it thru the grommet then replace or reuse the terminal. Another might be to pull the housing out as far as possible and cut the wire on that side of the sheetmetal plate. Buy a standard male and female Bullet connector or a standard .250 tab quick disconnect and reterminate the wire ends so you can plug and unplug from the housing side. If necessary add a length of wire for easier access and solder and heatshrink the joint. If doing that I would even go so far as to slide a length of larger diameter heatshrink over the wire so you could slide it over the terminals when they are mated for a bit of added protection in case there is any bare terminal exposed when connected. You can then plug the new connector in and tuck the wire behind the housing so as to leave the grommet assy alone if the housing needs to come off again.

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jpg  IMG_2311.jpg (130.43 KB)
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jpg  GM type 56.jpg (37.21 KB)
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jpg  bullet connector.jpg (17.47 KB)
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Posted on: 7/5 7:55:05
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Howard
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Re: 55 400 Taillight removal
Just can't stay away
Joined:
2010/3/3 12:50
From Pasco, WA, USA
Posts: 53
What you have on the '56 is a little different but suffers the same problem of in effect being installed backwards, i.e., on the wrong side of the hole. If it were reversed it could all be pulled out with the taillight assembly.

Posted on: 7/5 13:38:58
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1942 Clipper Club Sedan
1948 Custom Touring Sedan (22nd Series)
1955 Patrician Sedan
1955 400 Sedan
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Re: 55 400 Taillight removal
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Joined:
2007/4/20 17:54
From Fresno CA
Posts: 15197
Interesting idea. Is there enough room between the tail light housing and the metal plate for the grommet to bend flat so the housing can slide in?

I am rather thinking the grommet is positioned with the flex part in the trunk so as to give some protection to the wiring from things that might be in the trunk and get shoved up against the wire. I know that has been an issue with tail light wires on other model cars that are positioned low like the reverse light wire. Things have been known to slide around and hit those wires as they extend out of the socket and crush the wires against the shell causing a short.

Posted on: 7/5 14:19:38
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Howard
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Re: 55 400 Taillight removal
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Joined:
2008/11/28 17:50
From Calgary, AB Canada
Posts: 830
Here is a photo of a 1955 tail light showing the grommet that goes through the hole in the body with the larger shoulder on the outer side
Installation at the factory would have been done by feeding the wire through the hole in the body from the rear and pulling the then soft rubber grommet in place from inside the trunk

Attach file:



jpg  P7050001.JPG (505.48 KB)
1137_5d1fd78f73928.jpg 1600X1200 px

Posted on: 7/5 16:05:01
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