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Hey guys,

The brake light on my wife's 2004 RAV4 went out. So I bought a new one, popped the plastic access panel off, and reached inside and twisted the lamp assembly about 1/4 turn to pop it out.

But the damned thing simply will not come out. I can feel the little bit of plastic tab that locks it in place disengage when turning it, and I can actually pull it straight out about 1/4", but then the back of the lamp assembly (where the wires go in) seems to hang up on something inside the cavity before I am able to get it all the way out. It's like a piece of metal panel inside the cavity is slightly in the way and preventing it from coming all the way out. :wall I've spent about 30 minutes fighting with it.

I called my brother over, who is a whiz with cars, to take a look at it because I figured I was just doing something dumb, but he came to the same conclusion that I did (after fiddling with it for about 20 minutes in disbelief, exactly as I had done).

Sooo... any suggestions? I'm thinking I'll have to remove the entire glass brakelight assembly from the *outside* of the car so I can get to the bulb to replace it, since I can't get to it the normal way. How involved is this?

For what it's worth, I can remove the brakelight on the OTHER side in about 10 seconds flat. But that's not the one that went out!

Here's an image of a similar Camry brakelight to jog the memory.

 

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Rear passenger brake light

I am having the same problem and do not mean to open this up again. But, my wife's car is the same. I am able to turn it and as I back out the socket, the back of it bumps against the door frame structure. Am I doing something wrong?
 

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You need to align the bulb holder notch with the hole otherwise it will not go through the hole. It appears you are not aligning it when pulling the bulb out.
 

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Same problem

You need to align the bulb holder notch with the hole otherwise it will not go through the hole. It appears you are not aligning it when pulling the bulb out.
I don't think this is the problem.

I'm having the same trouble as these other folks.

Once the bulb socket is twisted and free, I can back it out a bit, but there doesn't seem to be enough clearance to get the bulb completely out so I can get the socket out and change the bulb.

Same... same! 2004 RAV4, passenger side brake light. The top one. The other ones on that same assembly look like they'll be easy to get out when needed.
 

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I broke down and drove into the dealer's service shop today. The agent there had a look and said, yeah, there's not enough space in there, but he jiggled it around for a bit and finally got it out. I told him that when I was doing it, I didn't want to "jiggle it" too much, for fear of breaking the bulb off. He told me he could understand that

Replaced the bulb after that, quick and easy, and he didn't charge me for it. Love Toyota dealers!

It appears to me that there's plenty of room to easily remove the other bulbs in that cluster, and the driver's side looks to have a lot more space to work with. It's just that top brake light on the passenger side which is a little tight. My guess is that there's some extra sheet metal in there to hold the rear gate hinges, restricting access. So I guess, be patient and "jiggle it" a bit, and it should come free.
 
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