Finally we are in our last days of bringing our old 67 Jaguar Mk II back into service. We are putting on the tail lights this month, which would not normally be a big deal, but the MK IIs tail lights are pretty complex units. Because of the curvature of the rear fenders forming a compound curve, this creates the need for leftand righttail lights to be curved inward toward the trunk. This makes them look straight when mounted on the fenders. So when disassembling them, I could see that all the parts including the gaskets are Left and Right. The brake and tail light bulbs are Lucas and the bulb numbers are LLB 381 (tail/turn) and 1156 parallel (brakes). They both have parallel (straight across) alignment tabs instead of offset as on the #1156 & 1157 bulbs used on modern cars. When the tail light bases were rechromed, the sockets were removed. The originals are hard to find and when I did find them, they were back-ordered. It would be easy to put in 1156 & 1157 sockets that are available at any parts store (I found some Dormans) but they werent originals and I have worked to keep this car as it came from Coventry, England. So I found three old tail light bases that were complete and bought them on eBay. They would supply the missing parts from my tail lights. My electrical system is still the 12 volt positive ground. The tail lights work off of a switch on the dash that operates the headlights and tail lights, and the brake pedal operates the brake light.
HOW THE UNITS ARE ASSEMBLED: (Basically, 1. Lights, 2. Lenses, 3. Lens Mounting Plate, 4. Sockets, 5. Mounting Hardware, 6. Reflector, 7. Rubber Gaskets.
There is a top light (Single contact brake light) and a bottom light (dual contact tail and turn signal). My car is right hand drive and spent its first 15 years in England. This is important because if the car is in Europe, the top lens is amber and the bottom lens is red. For USA cars, both top and bottom lenses are red. These lenses are plastic and are still available from Jag vendors and online. They dont come with screws, but I used #6 Phillips fine thread mounting screws. The lenses mount to a metal plate, two screws at the top of the top lens, and two screws at the the bottom of the bottom lens. To connect the two lenses, they slide into a track in each lens with a thin 1/64aluminum plate that slides in the center of the lens assembly, locking the two lenses in place. A center trim piece snaps into place on the lens front side. The lenses are now ready to mount on the tail light base. This plate attaches to the chrome tail light base unit with a tab on the top of the metal plate that fits into the tail light base and a screw at the bottom of the lens assembly that holds it to the tail light assembly. This allows the one screw to be removed and the lens assembly lifted up and pulled out of the slot to replace the tail light bulbs.
When I installed the old lens sockets from my used part bases into the newly chromed tail light bases,, I disassembled them to see how they worked. There are two sockets top and bottom that push into 3/4holes in the tail light base. Each socket has two fiber disks with one or two contacts, depending on which light it is forone contact for brake light, two for tail and turn signal lights, with wire(s) connected to the bottom of the contact disks that run out of the bottom of the sockets and run to the wiring harness. There is a spring in the sockets under the disks that, when the bulb is inserted, is pushed down to keep tension on the bulb when it is locked down. On the original Lucas, the sockets have left and right grooves 180 degrees apart and a notch at the end of each groove that the Lucas bulb locks into. The bulbs have parallel tabs on them in contrast with #1156 and 1157s that have offset tabs, and require sockets to match.
Another difference in the 1156/1157 socket is that their contacts have their own small spring instead of the one larger spring as used on the Lucas, and these little springs sit on a plastic disk instead of the fiber Lucas one (both are non-conductors) with the Lucas sockets in, I moved on to the tail light base reflector at the bottom of the tail light base. It mounts with a vbracket on the back side of the reflector that attaches with a nut and lock washer. The left and right arms of the vscrew down to the tail light base with two Phillips #6 sheet metal screws. With the lens plate, reflector, top mounting plate on, I mounted the tail light base to the car. a pre-cut rubber mounting gasket goes down first (there is a left and right gasket) then the tail light base is positioned on the fender. The top stud fits right into the top fender hole and a 2 1/2screw goes through the tail light base (next to the bottom bulb) into a nut welded on the fender. The wires pull through the fender holes and are hooked into the wiring harness.
Wanna do this again??? It is easy to change the light bulb, though, and if you use the old Lucas sockets its best to keep some extra bulbs in the cubby locker (glove box) because they are hard to find. Remember, to get the bulbs out, just remove the bottom slot head screw on the bottom lens and fold the lens plate up and out, exposing the bulbs. Still a few more chrome pieces to mount. Keep safe! And keep em driving!