The Nissan 350z starting in 2006 came standard with really cool LED tail lights, so if you were “lucky” enough to get an older model (2003-2005) you’re stuck with the boring reflector/halogen style tail lights. In this writeup I’m going to show you how easy it is to convert your 2003-2005 Nissan 350z to use 2006-2009 style OEM tail lights.
First off I’ll tell you that I am NOT A FAN of using aftermarket tail light housings when something this good and easy to install exists. There are some cheap ~$150 tail lights out there for the early year cars that resemble the OEM LED tails, but they don’t fit as nice as OEM housings, they’re not as bright, and they surely won’t last as long! So, my first suggestion is to get your hands on some stock 2006 and up LED tail lights. Just make sure they have the wire harness coming out of them. I’ll explain more on this later.
1. You can see here a 2005 Nissan 350z with the stock tail lights, these lights are actually being lit up by LED bulbs, but I want to show you how to change the whole housing:
Here are the original 2005 tail lights that use an incandescent light bulb.
2. The first step is to take the tail lights off the car, and remove the bulbs and wiring from the tail light. To do this remove the three 10mm bolts on each tail light that hold it to the car and carefully pull the tail light off and away, then twist and pull the bulbs out of the housing:
There are 2 wire harnesses going into the housing. Twist and pull each one off and set it aside.
3. Here are the LED bulbs we were using before doing the upgrade. If all you want are LED bulbs for your 350z, then these are a great option! We used the Reflex series 7443 LED bulb in red and the smaller bulb is the 5-LED T10/194 from GTR Lighting in red.
The larger one is the Reflex Series 7443 in red, and the smaller one is the 5-LED 194 in red, both from GTRLighting.com
These are the best LED bulb replacements you can get to fit the old style housing.
4. The wiring to go from the old style (2005) to the new style (2006+) is plug and play. However, you will not need the smaller 2-wire connector that was holding the 194 bulb in place. Tape that up into the harness so it doesn’t short out or get wet:
Remove the 194 bulb from the smaller connector, and use electrical tape to hide it and keep it safe. It’s not required on the new headlights.
5. Next, don’t just remove the 7443 bulb, but remove the adapter plug that connects it to the wire harness. This is the one that will plug into the new 2006+ LED tail lights. This is what through me for a loop at first. I thought we were supposed to use the connector lower on the car and make that work somehow but that is definitely not what you want to do. This 3-wire connector uses an adapter: With the adapter it can use a 7443 bulb and fit the older style tail lights. Without the adapter it plugs directly into the new style LED tail light housings:
Here you can see the wire harness on the back side of the new tail light matches up perfectly to the disconnected 2005 wire harness. Make sure if you are getting a set of new style tail lights for your car that it comes with this little harness!
The bulb adapter comes off easily by pressing the plastic clip in the middle.
Here you can see that the 7443 bulb adapter and the LED tail lights use the same connection.
If you are trying to source a set of 2006+ LED tail lights for your Z car, make sure it has that round plastic cap on the back side of the housing, along with the 3 wire harness/connector that comes out of it. Without these parts built into the housing it is not a plug and play install!
6. Plug the one remaining harness in and mount it to the car just like the old tail lights! There’s really nothing else to it: The new style LED tail lights will fit perfectly and just the same as the old style housings with no modifications required.
Plug and Play Wiring
Here you can see the OEM 2006+ LED tail lights on the left (driver’s side) and the original older style 2005 tail lights on the right (passenger side).
The new tail lights are beautiful, bright and very high quality!
If you want to do other LED bulb upgrades to your car like LED rear blinkers, LED reverse lights, LED License Plate Lights or interior lighting on your 350z, check out Black Top Racing for all kinds of vehicle specific LED packages for your Z!
We only recommend GTR Lighting for high power LED bulb replacements because we only recommend the best!