Good thing I caught it before a cop did!
Normally, a ’95 Sierra would have two license plate lamps, but I had removed the lamp on one side and reamed out the mounting hole to make room for a trailer plug. A recent investigation into my state’s requirements for snow removal made me look closer at vehicle lighting and inspired me to check and see if running one lamp was really sufficient to light the plate after all. If not, perhaps I could try a LED bulb and see if that’s bright enough...
But before I could see if the plate was still readable at night from 50 ft away, I needed to to address the fact that the light wasn’t working at all!
I pulled the bulb out, which had developed a bit of a dark spot on the glass, but still appeared to have an intact filament. So I tested the plug, and it had power. But what it didn’t have was a good ground. A quick peek underneath revealed a broken wire, no longer connected to its... wire nut. (Seriously? Thanks, previous owner; thanks a lot.)
I peeled back the wire loom to find some crappy splices too, and decided to disconnect the entire (short, about 2 feet long) harness and rewire it myself from the connector to the one remaining lamp. Shouldn’t take long.
I grabbed my box of wiring tools/supplies and started splicing and heat-shrinking new wires from the bulb socket to the connector. Alas, once I got to the connector, one of the wires pulled out with little effort.
So I ran to the parts store in search of new pins to install in the connector, but they didn’t have the right ones. I looked online, and found whole new connectors... ranging from about $30-$50, shipped.
Well, screw that. I’d rather splice in some cheapo non-OE-style connector. Heck, I’d even be tempted to skip the connector altogether and splice it directly into the main harness.
But you know what, that’s overthinking it. It is a GMT400 after all... so I ran to the local salvage yard, and pulled the license plate harness off of another truck. Boom. Easy as that. Wham bam thank ya ma’am, $10 for a used but intact plug-n-play OE harness, complete with bulbs.
I probably could have talked it down to $5, but I don’t care. Thankfully the ground was frozen, so that I could slide under my truck and pop it in in just a matter of seconds, right there in the parking lot of the yard.