Your New Tail Light PDF Print E-mail
Written by BMWVMCA NEWS   
Friday, 26 June 2009

If you have purchased a reproduction Eber tail light for your 1952-’55 single or twin with amber brake light, you more than likely received one with the rear plate as shown in the photo.

I believe the reasoning behind the small opening and the silvered on one side red glass lens is to cause light to be reflected off the silver rearward. It doesn’t work. Very little light actually gets beyond the bulb to be visible by anyone within twenty meters of the bike.

Having an original shell for study, it seemed a simple matter to hog out the center of the area covered by the reflector.

Note that the reflector and amber lens are made of glass, not plastic. They break very easily and should be treated with the same care as an eggshell you want to preserve. If you do happen to break one, replacements are available.

Begin by carefully removing  both pieces of glass, amber first. The red lens will be held in place with the aluminum ring, having four tabs bent over inside the shell.  Lift these tabs up and away from the shell carefully until the aluminum ring can be slipped away and free the red lens.  Lay both pieces of glass aside in a safe place.

Lenses removed, showing the small hole:

Next, find a disc that is smaller than the red lens, center it over the back of the shell and scribe a line around it in the black finish of the shell. It will be your guide. I did not do this with this shell, because after having done a number of them one learns where to drill.

Get out your drill (can be electric hand, drill press, or as seen in the photo, pneumatic. Use what works for you) and drill a series of holes closely spaced together in a circle inside the diameter of the scribed circle.

Using a medium weight pair of side cuts (wire cutters, dikes, etc.) clip the metal between each hole and remove the coupon in the center and save it in you scrap reclaim bucket (yes, this stuff adds up over a year or two. I collected $36.00 from the last pile I carted over to the scrap dealer).

A Dremel tool, or similar high speed hand sander or grinder is required to clean up the irregular edge of the hole.

Once you are satisfied that the finished job meets your quality standards, either coat the freshly exposed steel with black paint, or wet sand the entire shell and repaint with an automotive finish.

Be sure to mask off the clear lens at the bottom of the shell.

Off the shelf household spray can paint would not be the ideal finish, rather use an auto touch up paint, or have your local body shop toss it in with the next black (or whatever color you like) repair job. Sometimes you can work directly with a painter in a large shop where employees are permitted to handle small jobs on the side.

Show above:  how to cut the bridges left between the freshly drilled holes.  The coupon is still attached.  In the photo below is shown how to clean up the sharp, irregular hole left after removing the coupon.  The use of protective eye wear is a good idea.

Work and article by R Sheckler
Photos by Bob Zronek

Last Updated ( Friday, 26 June 2009 )
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