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Picture of Ford Explorer 3rd Brake Light Fix
WARNING! There is a risk of electrical shock associated with this instructable. The manufacturer recommends only authorized service personnel make this repair.

The high mount brake light on my 1996 Ford Explorer went out. There were several years where Ford installed neon lights instead of standard bulbs. There are 2 primary components to these light assemblies, (1) Ballast (2) Neon bulb. Most of my research suggests that the ballast is the component that fails and that's exactly what happened in my case. This instructable is limited to changing of the ballast.

***Don't forget to disconnect the battery before starting this instructable***
 
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Step 1: DISCONNECT THE BATTERY!!!

Picture of DISCONNECT THE BATTERY!!!

DISCONNECT THE BATTERY!!! 
The voltage gets stepped up to run the neon bulb. You don't want to get shocked.

Step 2: Accessing the ballast

Picture of Accessing the ballast
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Raise the lift gate.
Pull the trim back to access the ballast.
You may need a screw driver to get under the trim.

Step 3: Disconnecting the Baslast

Picture of Disconnecting the Baslast
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Unscrew the 2 screws holding the ballast in place.
Partially remove the ballast.
There are 3 plugs you need to disconnect.
On the left side of the assembly there is a 12v connector. Disconnect that one.
On the right side of the assembly there are 2 individual connectors. Disconnect both. They are colored coded. One is white and one is green.

Step 4: Installing the Ballast

Picture of Installing the Ballast
Get your new ballast (i bought my from Ebay).
Install the new ballast by reversing the steps. The process is simple enough I didn't feel you would need the instructions.

Don't forget to reconnect the battery and test out the light.
If this doesn't fix the issue then its likely the bulb. That's an instructable I hope I don't get a chance to write. That involves drilling out rivets and more.

Good luck.
bbqbrisket3 years ago
I found it a waste of time replacing parts for this light.
Found a kit from real bright leds online for about $50 that worked out perfect.
zazenergy3 years ago
Sounds like a nice hack! I don't know much about car repair, so I would love to see more photos of the of the repair. Any chance you have more to share?