How to Put Cadillac Tails in Your S-10

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The Chevrolet S-10 pickup is huge in the minitruck customizing world, and there are lots of modifications that people can do to them. One popular alteration involves installing Cadillac taillights on the S-10, mostly because of the taillights' slim, sleek look and chrome trim. The installation isn't easy, but the payoff is huge: You can make it appear as if the original Chevy taillights were never even there. Cadillac tails provide a unique look that will easily stand out in a crowd.

Things You'll Need

  • Phillips-head screwdriver
  • Angle grinder with 80-grit sanding disc
  • MIG welder
  • Welding helmet and gloves
  • S-10 taillight fillers
  • 89-93 Cadillac taillight buckets
  • 89-93 Cadillac taillights
  • Permanent marker
  • Angle grinder with metal cut-off wheel
  • Air compressor
  • Air saw
  • Plastic body filler
  • 80-grit sandpaper with sanding block
  • Automotive cleaner/degreaser
  • Paper towels
  • Automotive primer
  • HVLP spray gun
  • Unbolt the stock taillights from the Chevy, using the Phillips-head screwdriver. The screws are in the seam between the tailgate and the bedsides, so if you open the tailgate you can access the screws there. Place the taillights to the side.

  • Grind the paint off the metal surrounding the stock taillight bucket, using the angle grinder and 80-grit sandpaper. Place the taillight filler into the bucket.

  • Tack weld the taillight filler into the bedside using the MIG welder, helmet and gloves. A tack weld is a short, quick weld where you hold the trigger on the welder for just a second, producing a weld that's secure but doesn't build up a lot of heat. If you build up too much heat, you'll warp the surrounding sheet metal and have to do more bodywork.

  • Work the welds around the panel as you continue tack welding the bucket into the bedsides. Allow the welds to cool in the process; you should be able to put your bare hand flat on the panel before you continue to weld in that area.

  • Place the Cadillac taillight bucket onto the rear of the bedsides, on the side where the tailgate is located. Trace the perimeter of the bucket onto the bedside using the permanent marker.

  • Cut out the marks using the cut-off wheel. Then slide the bucket into the hole you just made. You can choose any depth to mount these taillights, so place the bucket where you want it in the pocket, then tack weld on the top and bottom of the bucket to keep it in place. Cut off any excess metal sticking out of the bedside using the cut-off wheel and air saw.

  • Tack weld the perimeter of the bucket in the same manner as in Step 4. Then grind down all the welds flush with the body using the 80-grit disc on the angle grinder. Do not to build up too much heat on the panel with the grinder.

  • Place a skim coat of the plastic body filler over any welded areas, and sand it down using the 80-grit sandpaper on the sanding block. Shape the filler so that it contours to the body of the truck; it should make the rear end appear like a stock S-10 but with different taillights. Do not apply more than 1/4 inch of body filler in any one spot, as it would be more likely to crack later.

  • Clean off the body filler and surrounding paint using the automotive cleaner/degreaser and the paper towels.

  • Apply the primer through the HVLP spray gun onto the panel, laying down first a thin coat, then progressively thicker coats until you have about four total coats of primer.

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