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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, here's my first post asking for a little help. Let me start my first saying I'm new, but I know how the search tool works and I've spent quite some time but haven't really found what I'm looking for.

I was in the process of swapping out stock bulbs for LEDs last night, and went to do the license plate lights. Lo and behold, they're completely rusted into place. Two were so far corroded, the philips slots were essentially gone (corroded to the point of being square instead of an X). Of the other two, I was able to get one to back partially out, and the last one snapped before I got any turn out of it whatsoever. So, I have one screw I can get out no problem, and at least one that will need to be drilled out I'm guessing, because I'm pretty sure an easy out probably wont work at this point.

I know I'm going to need to replace the bulbs someday anyway, and the longer I ignore this, the more corroded everything will be. I'm just wondering if anybody has encountered this, and what did you do? I haven't ripped my trunk lid apart yet, but I'm assuming I can't get at anything from behind. I'm sure I need to drill them out from the outside, but then I'm not really sure what to do. Do these go into a plastic block that can be replaced somehow? Or can I just re-tap the threads? Any direction would be helpful. Thanks!
 

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This question should land on Nick's Desk . He is the Resident Expert of Design .
 

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Best thing to do in this case is use a punch to create a small dimple, drill into the screw maybe a 1/4 inch with a bit that is around an 1/8th thickness. Use a tap and die with reverse threads and back that puppy out. This might be expensive if you don't have the tools, or you can try your luck with those special drill heads with reverse threads on them. Good luck my friend and thanks for using the search bar !
 

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Those screws are going into the chrome plated horizontal trim piece.
I cannot recommend trying to drill them out while it is installed on the car.....you will likely hit metal once the drill gets through the screw.

So, remove the trim panel attached to the decklid and disconnect the wire harness (this is for trunk release button and license lamps) and reach in the access ports to get to the four nuts holding the trim panel on.
Caution on removal, there are four or more very thin rubber washers that act as spacers so the trim doesn't cut unto the paint....they like to bail.

Now, if you want, you can find a suitable way to secure it without scratching it and drill as required.

The screws are junky metal as you found out......I spotted the corrosion when I first took new delivery.
I took one screw out and matched it up with four stainless steel screws from the hardware store.....so far, so good.

I might add, if someone else is trying to remove these, use a #2 phillips with a shaft length of about 15 inches.
This way, with the lid open, you can get a straight shot at the screws.....anything shorter and the handle clearance required forces you to try to unscrew those lens screws slightly off center which, of course, makes you strip the heads.

Good luck.....if it was me I'd buy a new trim and trunk switch (comes with the harness and bulb holders)......Im willing to spend money to minimize brain damage.

Rob
 

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Oh I thought it worked even on broken bolt heads. At least they claim it does.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the response, guys. Ger8mm's idea was my initial thought, but I'm leery of using an Easy Out on this (snapped one off inside a head once.. worst fiasco of my entire life). Probably worth a shot though. Otherwise, thanks Rob for informing on how to get the entire assembly out. Sounds like that's probably the best way to go about things. I don't think I'll be able to get to it this week, but hopefully next weekend I'll give it a shot and report back. Thanks again!
 

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Same problem. Screws won't come out.

I noticed that one of my license plate lights had gone out. So, I ordered a pair of LED replacement bulbs. When I went to remove the screws yesterday, only the screws on the right-hand side of each plate would come out. The screws on the left-hand side were slightly more rusted and would not budge at all. The heads have not been stripped...yet. I applied some Liquid Wrench, to no effect. Since then I have spritzed some WD-40 around the screw heads a couple of times, and will likely do it a couple of times more before attempting to remove the screws again.

What crappy engineering, Chevy!

I'm tempted to call my Chevy dealer and ask how much to remove just two screws from "their" car. I'd want a guaranteed fixed price for that job.
 
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