How To Change The Connector for Rear Side Markers in 98-02 F-Bodies

Alright, so here’s a How-To on how to change out the connector for the Rear Side Markers on the 98-02 Firebird. I’m pretty sure it’d be very similar if not the same for any 4th Gen Fbody front and rear. It’s also the same if you need to change out the connector to your license plate. Anyway here we go.

  • You’ll need 2 brand new connectors(pt#:85814),
  • and 2 new bulbs(194),
  • along with a torx screw driver or bit,
  • some heat shrink or electrical tape,
  • a lighter,
  • some needle nose pliers
  • and a knife.

Autozone has what you need for fairly cheap. Each item was around $4.

First step is to remove the side marker. To do this, you’ll need a Torx screw driver, or bit. Pop out lens and take out/unhook the existing connector if it’s still there. After this I went ahead and cut the excess wire from the new connectors.
I left myself about 2in from the plug to work with. This is more than enough, but it’s just easier to work with longer pieces of wire. Don’t worry, it all gets tucked away nicely.
If the old burnt out connector is still attached, let’s go ahead and cut it off now. Mine had a plastic hose to protect the skinny wires.
Expose the wires and snip as close to the old connector as you like.
Again, the more wire you have to play with, the easier this will be.
Strip the plastic tubing away from the wires from both the new connector and the car’s and expose some of that copper. The more to play with rule is in effect here too.
Cut about an inch-inch and a half piece of heat shrink and slide it on both wires. This is an important step. Don’t do anything else without doing that first! I forgot to do it on one wire, and had to unwind them so I could put it on.
How you do the next part is up to you. Please take note of the color of wires. Mine were black and brown. These should match up perfectly with the new connector. I kind of intertwined the two pieces of wire and then twisted it pretty tight with the pliers. I then folded it onto itself.
It will look like this.

Now put the heat shrink over the exposed wires and you can either use a heat gun, or equivalent or just use a lighter like I did.
Now just keep the flame close to heat shrink so you get a nice snug fit. I kinda ‘over-cooked’ it a bit to the point where it’s about to melt, that way the heat shrink tubing and the plastic from the wires kind fuse for a better seal.
That ends the easy part. Here’s where a little ‘modding’ is necessary. If you took notice to the old connector (if you had it) you’d see it’s shape differs from that of the new connector. That shape plays a key role. The new connector wont fit correctly back into the space. So during my first attempt at this, I started cutting small pieces trying to make a hole just big enough to allow for the connector to slide through. This was a waste of time. This is what I did for the other side. This is 10x easier, and looks better.
I drew a rectangle to show where you’ll be using your knife (drill, or other cutting tool) to cut out. At this point you can tuck the wires back into the protective hose. You might consider taping it down off to the side, because if it falls down, it’s a pain to get out.
This is after I cut the rectangle out. This is going to allow for the back end of the connector to slide nicely into place so you can put the lamp back in.
Once you put the new bulb in the connector, hook it to the lamp. Mine fit but came undone kind of easily, so I just put a little tape to keep it in place. You shouldn’t have any issues reinstalling the lamp. If you do, and it feels like it wont go back, you might’ve not cut a big enough rectangle. Try cutting a little bit more around. Play with it a little.
Once installed:
Stand back and marvel at your work. If you’ve got all your supplies and take your time at this it should run you ~20 minutes more or less. First time took me forever, second time took me like 10min to do.

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