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Discussion Starter #1
There's been a lot of threads on this, discussing lamps, but I had not seen any discussing the procedure... so I figured I'd create one.

First off - I HATE removing interior panels. I'm the guy that always breaks a tab. Even if I don't I always seem to end up with a rattle in my panel after replacement... this cross I bear for you... lol

High level, you need to remove the tailgate interior panel to access the lamps.

I would subjectively rate this a 2/5 in terms of difficulty, only because I fear interior panels. I even have the right tools... speaking of which...

I swapped my stock lamps out with the JDM ASTAR 1000 lumen 921's. YOu need a total of 4 lamps - they are sold in sets of 2, so whatever you get, be sure you get 2 sets / 4 total!




Step one: start with the right tools:
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Next use your widest plastic panel pry tool and pry out the two "closing handles". These handles almost act as pins locking the back panel into the metal frame. They need to come out before you can have any success.
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That was pretty easy! Ok, now this is where I run into troubles - those darn panel pop-ins. I felt around with my pry tool and felt the most give in the middle, so I started there, gently increasing pressure until I got a pin to pop. At that point I had enough room to pry the edge down and get my pop-pin tool in there to pry the individual pins out.
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Dagnabbit! As expected, I broke a tab on the panel... It was a clean break and a little 5 minute epoxy will resolve that issue... moving on...
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...continued on post #2 due to attachment limit...
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Before you pop the last 1 or 2 pop-ins out have a small flat screw driver ready - you will need it to pop the plugs out of the interior tailgate lights out - the whole panel will be dangling from those two small leads. Have your screw driver ready so you aren't fumbling around! (like I was)
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Here's a shot of the whole panel removed, so you can see where all of the pop-in points are. There are cyan and yellow pins (and one broken tab on mine).
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Here's a shot of the pop-tab that connects the bottom panel we are removing to the top trim...
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Here's a shot of the door sans panel. The four lamps we are interested in are highlighted. One on each side is tucked back inside of the door frame. If you have large hands like me, it's slightly annoying to reach into, but not impossible.
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The lamps simply rotate 90 degrees and pull out. Yank the lamp out, and put the new one in... Usually LEDs are sensitive to polarity. I'm not sure if these are or not, but I tried it one way and it worked, so I kept the relationship of the board chips to the black wire (neg) on each lamp the same as I replaced them.
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Stock lamps
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LED lamps
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Left is stock, right is LED. Positively the LEDs are much brighter, but the picture doesn't really show it, and it's daytime...
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Discussion Starter #3
Last picture of both sides replaced...
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Now you just have to reverse the process.

- Plug the interior lamp lines back in.
- Pop the panel pop-ins back in
- Shove handles back in...

I have to wait for my epoxy to set before I can do that... I hope I never have to do it again, I hate those silly panel pop-ins!

Good luck!
 

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Nice write up, what a pain in the butt that is to change a couple bulbs.... I've always been hesitant to mess with mine because its not real clear how to get into it, and I've heard of others having trouble finding bulbs that fit in the housing.

I'd be interested to know how you like the light output at night on those bulbs as well.
 

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I have a 2013 and just did a complete led swap in the back. I have 4 red 194 bulbs that go into the TG panel. Didn't have to change them, did by choice. What a pain that was. I broke one of the tabs too and gorilla glued it back into place.
 

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Good job, I showed this process in my audio build because I had to deaden the door, and I ended up breaking a darn handle. When the dealer replaced my center race track tail light, they broke then other handle, lol! They are really fragile, brittle plastic.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Mirage85;469113 I'd be interested to know how you like the light output at night on those bulbs as well.[/QUOTE said:
The output seems pretty impressive. Especially viewed through the backup camera. It seems 50ish % brighter and cleaner. The whiter light really shows up well on the backup cam!

Garage light only:


Backup lights with no brake lights (e brake):


Through camera:


From behind:



2016 Dodge Durango RT - Whipple SC - Corsa Exhaust - 505AWHP
 

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You would have thought they would have put access panels in the trim cover to get at those bulbs, rather than having to tear it completely apart.

Wow, those LED bulbs are very bright! Maybe I missed it, but what is wattage or lumens ratings for those LED bulbs?
 

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The good news is that LEDs are supposed to last for ever... so in theory you replace them once and wont ever have to do it again.
 

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Just replaced these same LEDs broke 3 clips in the process. JB Quick weld for now and a panel replacement if the weld doesn't hold.


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Discussion Starter #13
The panel pop studs seem good for one use. Putting them back in can have mixed results. I bought a 100-Pack (lol) off of eBay for $6. I only needed 4. The panel went back on in seconds (wayyyyy easier than removal). With a couple of slaps and new fasteners it snugged right up.

If anyone needs some of the interior clips PM me. Pay for postage and I can send you a set. I have more than I could ever use.


2016 Dodge Durango RT - Whipple SC - Corsa Exhaust - 505AWHP
 

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Great write up. Thanks for contributing to the forum!
 

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Nice write up! Thanks for sharing! I'm getting ready to swap mine out. I saw this link from one of the comments here and I just want to confirm does anyone know if these pins are identical to the original ones and can be used if I break any of the original pins?

PartsSquare 30pcs Fender Liner Fastener Rivet Push Clips Retainer Fastener for Dodge Jeep https://www.amazon.com/dp/B012SUGLUM/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_FA7PzbMX7980Y

Thanks in advance!


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Discussion Starter #16
Nice write up! Thanks for sharing! I'm getting ready to swap mine out. I saw this link from one of the comments here and I just want to confirm does anyone know if these pins are identical to the original ones and can be used if I break any of the original pins?

PartsSquare 30pcs Fender Liner Fastener Rivet Push Clips Retainer Fastener for Dodge Jeep https://www.amazon.com/dp/B012SUGLUM/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_FA7PzbMX7980Y

Thanks in advance!


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Confirmed, they are the same, I ordered them too. Even if you DON'T break them the used pins are ratty and bent and I suspect there is a chance they might cause a loose panel rattle if reused. I replaced them all when I put my panel back on and haven't had any noises. Rattles fill me with rage.


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Nice thanks for confirming that. I feel you, rattles can be the most annoying thing. And none of my passengers ever hear them, just me.
One more thing, some people here mentioned breaking tabs or clips. Are those the same as the pins? Just want to make sure if there are other things to watch out for. Thanks again!


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Great guide and awesome pics.


I was able to replace the factory bulbs with LEDs bulbs. One thing that was difficult for me was the outer bulbs had a hard time twisting 90° and pulling out easily and putting them back in was equally difficult. It took me an hour to get all four in.

The end result was well worth it.
 
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