How to separate tail light wiring harness plugs on 2006 Toyota Tundra

So what's the key to unplugging the wiring harness sockets? Kind of funny. All the posted instructions say to open the tailgate and back out the bolts and remove the taillight assembly and then discount the wiring harness. I guess I thought that much was fairly obvious. But for the life of me I have no clue whether I'm supposed to poke, pry, push, pull or what to separate those plugs without breaking something. It's an '02 Tundra tail light assembly and I can't figure out how to disconnect the wiring harness.

by in Merrimack, NH on November 13, 2010
2 answers
ANSWER by on November 14, 2010
Connectors often are really tough to separate after a few years, often due to the silicone weather seals in the connectors sticking. You have to look really closely at the connector to see how to unlock it. This is difficult for pro's too so be careful and don't feel too bad..
ANSWER by on June 06, 2015
Superbob - Thank you for your post it gave me the courage to just do it! 3thumbs - I too am frustrated about all of the posts without information on disconnecting the wiring harness. I am not a mechanic, so follow directions at your owe risk. :) I changed out my 2006 Toyota Tundra Tail Light Assembly by the following. Opened the tailgate and used a 10 mm nut-driver to unscrew the two screws holding the tail light fixture in place. Gently pulled tail light fixture away from the truck to disengage the two guide pins that go into the truck bed body. Then twisted the plastic light bulb retainers counter-clockwise and pulled the light bulb and retainer out from the light fixture, for all three. I couldn't just install the replacement Tail Light Fixture with the currently installed wiring harness because the top (reverse light) light bulb retainer diameter was too large to go into the new fixture. Therefore, I needed to then remove the wiring harness also. The difficult part for me was disconnecting the wiring harness connector that is located underneath the truck. I couldn't get the top tab to depress and be able to pull the connector apart. I finally got fed up and pinched (and pretty much destroyed) the retaining pin that attaches to the truck body panel. I was then able to pull the connector away from the truck body panel. Then it was easier to get both hands on the connector. I was still unable to depress the tab and pull the connector apart. I noticed that dust and sand fell from the connector. Therefore, I then tapped the connector against the truck frame to knock the dirt lose. I tapped all four sides of the connector against the frame and dirt fell out. I was then able to depress the tab on top of the connector and then wiggle and pull the connector apart. Yeah! Free at last! The replacement wiring harness I had didn't have the midsection cable retainer. So from the tail light fixture cavity I cut away the electrical tape and was then able to leave the retainer in place but remove the wire harness. Reinstalling new wire harness I fed the wire harness connector end thru the tail light fixture cavity and left the end with the bulbs hanging out. Underneath the truck bed I connected the wiring harness back together. (It is up to you if you want to use dielectric grease.) Then I pressed the connector retainer into the truck bed body panel to secure the wiring harness to the truck. I then performed a fit check of the bulb wire harness to the tail light fixture so I could see were to attached the midsection of the wire harness to the tail light fixture cavity cable retainer. I used a zip tie to secure the cable to the retainer. Then installed the tail light fixture into the tail light fixture cavity. Lined up the guide pins to the truck bed and then pressed the fixture into the cavity. Reinstalled the screws with the 10mm nut driver.

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