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Discussion Starter #1
2003 Focus ZTW (wagon) - 2.0L engine

Need your help, Fanatics!
If someone with a 2003 Wagon could look at their tail-light assembly for me, I would be very appreciative. Phillips screwdriver is all you need.

Here's the deal... I bought the car used, and I know it had been repaired after an accident. Front-end, mainly.

The other day, another driver politely informed me that my rear, LH brake/turn lamp was out. (This is a common, dual-filament 3157 bulb-- dimmer filament for the tail light, and brighter filament for brake/turn.)

Normally this would be a very EASY bulb replacement, taking only minutes.

Of course not...
Previous owner did something to force the bulb socket into the tail-lamp assembly. The socket should just turn 90-degres (lining up the flanges on the socket with the cut-out hole on the assembly) and EASILY come right out. It doesn't.

I checked my RH to compare, and I can see there they chipped away at the housing to fit a 3-flanged socket into a 2-flanged hole on the assembly!!!!

With significant force, I can get the RH socket out. No such luck on the LH-- the one where I need to replace the bulb. Any more force and I think I will break the socket or the assembly. (Not beyond doing that, but not before I have the CORRECT replacement part in hand.)

So... here's my question-- what did the previous owner replace with the incorrect part-- the SOCKETS or the TAIL-LAMP ASSEMBLIES?

The lower (white) Reverse lamp is a socket with just TWO "flanges".

Should the upper Tail/Brake/Turn socket be the same (two flanges)?
Or should the upper Tail/Brake/Turn socket be a 3-flange socket?? (Is that part number #13411)

I see some notes online (namely FordParts.com) specifying a difference in 2003 before and after 2/1/2003... maybe this is a mid-year change? I don't know whether my vehicle was before or after that. I can provide VIN if needed.

Thanks for any information!!!
 

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Funny. I have a similar problem and do not know the answer.

Both left and right sides (bottom socket) is two tabs and I have no problems opening them.

Top socket:
Wagons sometimes have that bulb socket Melt-Down & Warp on the side of the light housing. Lots of permanent damage.

My right side had a meltdown and required Dremel tool work to get the old bulb out & new bulb in. Rework resulted in it being a Frankenstein socket with zero retention tabs. I forgot if it WAS a 2 or 3 tab socket.

The other side (left) socket has NOT had a meltdown, but is plain-ol' stuck on there, and I hope that bulb never ever blows. I'm gunna have to break the socket or housing to get inside.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, Marde!
Maybe I do have the melting thing going on. Still would like to know how many retention tabs/flanges each bulb is supposed to have. Clearly the Reverse light has two. Maybe the upper is supposed to have 3, but I'm melted to the point they now won't come out.

Funny thing is, FordParts.com lists BOTH right next to each other, as taking part "13411", but separate listings for Reverse light vs. Stop/Tail/Turn (with "13411" on BOTH) and with different prices, so there must be a difference .
Maybe the portion of the number BEFORE "13411" is the difference. (And why not show us the whole number, FordParts.com??)
 

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Maybe I do have the melting thing going on.
The type of meltdown I am talking about is visually very obvious; once you see it you will say something vulgar out loud even if no one is around to hear you.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I see some possible melting, not bad. But , also some places where it looks like they chipped away to get the retaining tabs in. Maybe they had too because of previous melting.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Found my answer

Finally found a good, clear picture of the back side of one of these units, with no bulb sockets inserted. Indeed, the upper light (stop/tail/turn) takes a 3-flanged socket, while the lower one (white reverse light) is only 2. (I guess this is so idiots can't mount the wrong light into the wrong hole.)

So, I'll assume I do have melting damage preventing removal of my one socket. Ordering some after-market replacement assemblies (pair for under $85 with free shipping, seems like a decent price.) Then I won't worry so much about cracking the existing ones open to get the sockets out.
 

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So, I'll assume I do have melting damage preventing removal of my one socket.
Maybe.

Prior to a major meltdown (like I had on the right side) maybe there is some mild warping going on inside the housing -and- is causing this difficulty of getting the socket off of the housing.

The tabs of the socket (on the lower socket) looks like some kind of ceramic material and is likely not warping. So I assume the same "ceramic-like" tabs exist on the top socket.

The socket tabs on the light housing are just molded plastic, so these will likely melt or warp first. Either way, poor design by Ford. This failure has been reported here many times. Our job is to compensate, redesign it, modify it, or just deal with it however we want.
 
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