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Old 03-16-2021, 10:24 PM   #1
atbwrx
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Default F1 Tail Light Mod for GR Hatch

I've been seeing a lot of the later model WRX/STI's with the the F1 tail light and decided to mod one for my 2014 WRX Hatch.

The 2015 and newer models, and I believe even the 2012-2104 Impreza Hatchback have a blocking plate from the factory to allow the F1 light to bolt right in. The GR WRX Hatchback's have a different rear bumper , with a smaller, triangular shaped protusion if you want a center mounted F1 light.

Here's one way to do this mod.



Long Post, will be posting in chunks.
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Last edited by atbwrx; 03-16-2021 at 10:46 PM.
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Old 03-16-2021, 10:57 PM   #2
atbwrx
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I'm going to be showing the mods to make the light fit, and won't be going into how to remove panels, etc. lots of other posts / videos on how to handle that stuff. If you can't find it, post here and I'll put it up later.

I went with the SubieBros V2 version. I still have the stock clear rear tail light lenses, so I bought the same version of their F1 light (clear lens}.



I went with this version as it seems to get the best reviews, and it came with a prefab plug and play wire tap. It turns out that the wire tap does not work with the GR WRX harness ( I found this out later) so it may not be worth the premium price you are paying for the Subie Bros version if you are looking for plug and play. The F1 lens comes in a rectangular shape that's 4.5"wide and 3" tall. Way too wide for the center area on the WRX Hatch rear bumper.

Started by measuring for the rear bumper cut out.
Its not a large area to work with, measured out its about 4" wide across the top and 2.5" wide across the bottom.




Last edited by atbwrx; 03-17-2021 at 02:23 AM.
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Old 03-17-2021, 02:24 AM   #3
atbwrx
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I wanted a 1/2" of bumper trim around the light, so I measured off 3" across the top of the lens and 1.5" across the bottom. I put painters tape across the lens so it wouldn't get scratched during measuring and later, cutting.





I then measured out the new triangular shape of the F1 light on the rear bumper, then cut it out with a Dremel.



I went back to the light, and using the Dremel cut the lens casing to shape. I knew I wanted the lens to protrude through the bumper, so I cut the casing back about half an inch. This retains the functionality of all the LEDs even though some will be blocked from the lens.




Last edited by atbwrx; 03-17-2021 at 02:34 AM.
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Old 03-17-2021, 02:35 AM   #4
atbwrx
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I went to the store and purchased a prepackaged sheet of Tin Coated Steel Sheet (.008 x 6" x12" / K&S Stock #16254). Very easy to work with, cuts easy with tin snips and can be bent by hand. I measured out the shape of the openings I had cut into the F1 light housing, made a pattern and then cut out blocking plates for the light housing.



I applied a bead of Black RTV on the rim of the housing. Careful not to drop any onto the LED's or the lens.



Then installed the blocking plates.

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Old 03-17-2021, 02:47 AM   #5
atbwrx
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I did a test fit into the bumper, and even though I had cut the lens housing back, it was still too wide along the bottom for the narrow triangular contour of the bumper. You can see the bottom of the lens isn"t protruding though the bumper opening.



I didn't want to cut the housing back any more because I'd be cutting into the LEDs, so I marked the contact points on the inside of the bumper.



And then used a 2 x 4 to press down on the area I had marked while applying heat with a heat gun to gently reform the bumper for clearance.



That worked, and the lens now fit flush. You don't really see the clearanced part of the bumper unless there's light directly on the area.


Last edited by atbwrx; 03-17-2021 at 09:32 AM.
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Old 03-17-2021, 03:05 AM   #6
atbwrx
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For the mount, I used 2 sheets of prepackaged aluminum sheets ( .032 x 6" x 12" Alum Sheet K&S Stock # 16256)

One of the sheets was kept intact, and I just bent a lip (I think 1.5" deep) across the top to form an "L" shape. I drilled three holes through the lip portion. (On the left below)
The second sheet I tapered to fit inside of the bumper recess, and left a tab bent at 90 degree opposite the direction of the lip on the other sheet. (Second to the left below) On the bottom of the bumper, there is a tab already there, I matched the one on the mount to the one already on the bumper. You will later drill through both and use a bolt to secure into place.



Next, I bolted the top of the mount to the bumper with sheet metal screws.



Then fit the rear bumper cover back on. I put the F1 light in the hole and held the lower mount in place so I could eyeball where to drill the mounting holes in the mount, and then took it all back apart to drill the mounting holes for the light.

You can see in the pic above that I drilled long slots for adjustment in the top mount (my aim was off the first time so I had go back and make them an inch longer than what is in the picture LOL) but just drilled the holes for the bottom mount. I bought the stock mount for the light, and used it as a template to mark where to drill the holes in the aluminum mounts.

Here's what everything looks like when assembled.





Heres' what it looks like mounted in place without the bumper cover.


Last edited by atbwrx; 03-17-2021 at 03:11 AM.
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Old 03-17-2021, 03:22 AM   #7
atbwrx
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2014 WRX
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An important function of using the aluminum sheet for the mount is that it can be bowed to push and hold the light fixture into the opening. So use the slotted holes in the top mount to make the whole assembly a little bit taller than it needs to be, then bend the mount to bow toward the opening in the bumper to push and hold the light in the opening. That together with the friction of a precision cut opening for the light will be sure to hold it in place. Drill through the tab on 90 degree bend at the bottom of the mount and the tab on the rear bumper cover and use a bolt with a lock nut to anchor it in place.



Finished


For some reason the YouTube Video appears to show the F1 light just flashing, I think that is due to uploading from my camera phone. When filming it, it functioned correctly - flashing three times and then solid red. Double checked after watching the video and its working as it should, not sure what's going on with the video.

Last edited by atbwrx; 03-17-2021 at 10:02 AM.
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Old 03-17-2021, 03:50 AM   #8
atbwrx
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WIRING IT UP:

Sorry no pics of wiring. Basically you remove the hatch floor covering to expose the spare tire, then remove the trim piece that covers the bottom of the hatch opening (two plastic plugs). This exposes a quarter sized rubber plug to the left. Push it through and it will drop to the ground. Use a razor, or fold in half and use scissors, and cut a hole in the center rubber plug. Feed the F1 light wire through the hole, and reinstall the plug. The wire is now going from the F1 light into the hatch area. I wired mine into the driver side tail light harness. I unbolted a portion of the driver side rear hatch trim to get access to where the tail light harness feeds through the body to the tail light assembly. There's a plastic hook clip on the interior hatch liner on the bottom rear of the hatch area and another identical one near the rear seat back (fold it forward). Use a flat tip from the side to pop them open and it will expose a 10mm bolt that needs to be removed. There a round metal hook about half way up on the rear corner that has a phillips inside, and another exposed phillips head higher up in the C panel in the upper trim panel, both have to be removed. This will allow you to pull the panel (you won't be able to remove it) away from the hatch wall. With the tail light assemble removed, use a razor blade or scissors to cut a hole through the grommet that the tail light wiring harness comes through. Then from inside the hatch, feed the F1 wire through the hole in the grommet into the tail light lens recess. Since you can't use the plug and play wire, cut off the terminal on the end of the F1 wire. Strip away the electrical tape/plastic casing on the stock taillight harness. It will expose four wires going to the tail light plug. Use vamp clamps or solder as follows:

Harness..............--..................F-1 LIght
Brown w/ Grey dots.......--......Red
Black ...............................--......Black
Black w/White stripe......--......Blue
White w/Red stripe.........--.....Not used

Last edited by atbwrx; 03-17-2021 at 09:58 AM.
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