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Headlight housing change out

 
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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 07 Nov 2010, 10:28 am
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Indiana
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Default Headlight housing change out

Hello
I have a 2001 that came with a busted up headlight inside housing. So I had no choice but to change it. So I changed both so they would match. They both were cloudy and were pealing.
The change out took three hours for my brother (his power tools) and me (assistant).
I have asked my brother to login as me and put a write up on the process since I have not been able to find anything from anyone that has done the change.
I hope it will help the next person that needs to do this.

I need to change the lower control arms and found a thread that applied. I ordered the arms but they haven't arrived yet. Thanks to the thread I know what all needs to be done to get it done.

I am so glad this forum is here. It's been a big help.


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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 07 Nov 2010, 10:52 am
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Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 27,744
Default Re: Headlight housing change out

I'll take a look at the write-up for the headlight housing and if it's easy to read and understand, I'll add it to the "how to's" section of the Tech and Performance section. Thanks.
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Old 07 Nov 2010, 02:32 pm
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Travel between Belgium and USA
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Default Re: Headlight housing change out

I've noted, the PT Cruiser's headlight houses are made of plastic.
It makes that the lights go dim over a while (especially if you often visit car washes with brushes).

That's probably why so many complain about the PT's bad lights (I think).
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Old 09 Nov 2010, 07:58 am
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Halifax Nova Scotia
Posts: 67
Default Re: Headlight housing change out

Quote:
Originally Posted by ProDigit View Post
I've noted, the PT Cruiser's headlight houses are made of plastic.
It makes that the lights go dim over a while (especially if you often visit car washes with brushes).

That's probably why so many complain about the PT's bad lights (I think).
Mmm the PT and a bezillion other cars. The Governments should ban plastics in headlight lenses as a safety hazard.
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Old 09 Nov 2010, 09:45 am
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Smile Re: Headlight housing change out

Hey their 01Cranberry,

First off, welcome to the Forum.

As for fixing cloudy Headlights, Here is a write up I did a while back on Headlight Restoration. It sounds way more complicated of a process than it really is. It's actually a fairly easy process, one one that anyone could easily do in a few hours. Anyway, just click the Link below to go straight to my Headlight Restoration Write Up..

How to: Fully Restore your Headlights.

I hope to see you around the Forum.
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  #6 (permalink)  
Old 10 Nov 2010, 04:28 pm
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Indiana
Posts: 6
Default Re: Headlight housing change out

Candyman, I did try the headlight cleaning. But as I stated in the original post, the right headlight housing was busted up on the inside. The headlights inside the housing were not secure, they were hanging inside. When the housing was taken out I saw that not only the inside housing was broken, the outside housing was cracked and split. That is why I changed them out.
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Old 28 Nov 2010, 11:24 am
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Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 18
Default Re: Headlight housing change out

Did that How To replace the headlight assembly ever get posted anywhere? I'm not interested in Cranberry's restore How To, I want the remove and replace the whole assembly How To.
Thanks!
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  #8 (permalink)  
Old 03 Dec 2010, 11:38 pm
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Indiana
Posts: 6
Default Re: Headlight housing change out

Sorry, got busy changing the lower control arms.

Just sent an e-mail to my brother so hopefully he will get it posted soon.
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Old 04 Dec 2010, 08:18 pm
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Location: Indiana
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Default Headlight housing change out - How To

How to change light buckets on an '01 PT Cruiser. Other years may be the same. I've only done an '01, so I don't really know.

This is a two person job, for the most part. I suppose one person could do it, but it'll take even more creative language than with two people. Of course, with two people you'll get your fingers pinched a couple of times as your helper shoves at the wrong time.

All of this was done out in the driveway with hand tools. While I do not have a garage, I do have air, an impact, and an air ratchet to make things go much more easily. Then there's the floor jack and jack stands...

I didn't take notes about the bolt sizes, but there aren't many. 7mm, 10mm and I think. A small took kit will do, though I personally recommend having a few thousand dollars worth of tools, a couple of standup tool boxes, plus a couple of smaller kits you can carry around, but that's because I do all sorts of mechanical stuff both on and off the job. You just can't have enough tools.

1. Remove the hub cap. The bolts you see are plastic bolts that hold the hubcap on. They screw onto the real lug nuts. Take 'em off a few turns each until all are off and you have the hubcap off. Make plans to buy decent alloy wheels.

2. Jack up the car, put it on a jack stand, remove the tire. Of course, you don't have to use jack stands. You can use the scissor jack and take a chance that the whole thing will drop down and crush your legs and break your neck while you're inside the wheel well fighting with the headlight assembly. Your call. If you have one you can use an impact wrench and simply take the nuts off in what ever order pleases you. Of course, if you have an impact wrench you should probably know this already. If not, use your lug wrench or a socket with a breaker bar. If you can't handle this part, you should probably be taking it to a mechanic rather than doing it yourself.

3. Remove the inner plastic wheel well lining. Small hex head screws, front and rear, and plastic push pins all over the center. There are more on the driver's side than on the passenger's side. You'll mess 'em up some taking them out, but they'll still work. I used a screwdriver to pry under the plastic to pull 'em out far enough to get a needle nose plier behind the heads, then used the screwdriver under the plier as a fulcrum to help lever them out the rest of the way. There's really no need to remove the access panel at the front of the wheel well lining, but you can if you want.

4. If possible, remove the two nuts that hold the lower bumper cover to the fender. These will probably be rusted/crapped up and won't come undone. The tops are very shallow nuts in a molded plastic piece. When you try to take the nuts off they'll rotate and break the plastic piece on the top. You'll try to grip the heads with a Vise-Grip but they're too short. You'll try to use a wrench, but they're too short. In the end you can cut them off with something like a die grinder with a cut off wheel and get new ones, but it'll be the weekend, nobody will be open, so that won't really work out either. In the end you'll say disparaging things about the moron who designed those bolts and just give up on this step.

5. We removed the grille, but I'm not sure it mattered in the least, since the bumper cover is held on by those rotten little plastic break-apart bolts at the outer sides, and some push/expand pins toward the center that will break if you try to pull them out.

6. If you plan far enough ahead, go to the dealer and buy a new set of bolts for each side between the fender and the plastic bumper cover, and some new push/expand pins for the center between the body and the plastic fender cover, then just break/cut the things out and use new ones. That should allow you to remove, or at least significantly loosen the plastic bumper cover, making this whole job worlds easier to accomplish.

7. Remove the lights from their sockets and let 'em dangle. About a third of a turn and out. If your headlight assemblies come with bulbs already in them, carefully use a screwdriver to pry the tabs away from the pin and pull the bulbs off of the sockets. You will break at least one, but it'll probably still work. With luck you'll be able to get the parts to replace the cheap-o plastic pieces that will break. The turn signal bulbs do not need removed from the sockets, since they'll be re-used in the new assemblies.

8. The driver's side has a box in the way below the headlight assembly. Remove the rear-most bolt, which will allow the thing to flex enough to clear when you put that headlight back in. Do not remove the bolts that go into the aluminum as they won't help. You want to do the one(s) that hold the thing to the body. You only need about a half inch of clearance.

9. Remove the four nuts that hold the headlight assemblies into the fender. They stick straight back from the headlight assembly and go through the fender's headlight mounting bracket. A deep well socket will come in handy here.

10. If you've managed to take the plastic bumper cover off, just take the headlight out and put the new one in. If you didn't buy all the extra bolts and stuff, you'll have to wrestle the old light out and the new one in. Out's fairly easy. In, not so much. The pointy end goes in first. The bottom of the headlight assembly sticks down below the hole. Shove down hard on the plastic bumper cover to make the clearance to get the headlight out/in. One of the mounting bolts (upper/inner on both) will jam against the metal it all bolts to, so be patient. You'll have to jockey it around a lot when you put it in. Colorful language will help, though really all it does is relieve personal internal pressure. Be sure to say a few choice words about the designers and their parents. They deserve it.

11. Once you get the headlight in put the four nuts on the back and snug them up, but not too much, they only go into plastic.

12. Plug the sockets onto the lights in the headlight housings. If your new housings don't have lights in them re-use the originals. The socket and the bulbs are keyed. You can't put 'em on the wrong ones. Well, without a hammer, anyway. There will be a piece of stick-em paper over the turn signal hole. Remove it and plug the turn signal bulb back in, third of a turn and all that.

13. Check to make sure the lights work. If you overlook this step one will be loose and you'll have to take out that plastic access panel (Pry with a screwdriver from the outside it has plastic clips on the inside.) and fiddle with the sockets. Better to do this now.

14. Bolt that driver's side bracket back on properly.

15. If you managed to disconnect the bumper cover, put it back.

16. Replace the inner wheel well plastic, screws front and back (don't forget the one at the bottom of the rear) and put those plugs back in. Now take it back off and put back that silly clip with the threaded hole that fell out. (You can leave out that part if none of the clips fell off.)

17. While you're on the driver's side fix the ground wire that broke off at the strut. You can try to find a new lug, but just stripping some wire and wrapping it around the bolt will do. The car was working with it broken off anyway.

18. Look at the brakes while you're in there. Make plans to replace the brake pads.

19. Put the wheel back on and tighten the lugs. Now is a good time to use a star pattern to tighten the lugs so they'll be even. Use your lug wrench if you can, so that you'll be able to take 'em off again if you have a flat. This is not the time to be using an impact wrench.

20. Put the wheel cover back in place and screw the fake bolts onto the lug nuts a couple of turns each, round and round until you have 'em all reasonably tight.

21. Take the car off of the jack stand and remove the jack.

22. Stand back and admire your handiwork. Purty, eh?

If you have any questions, ask 'em. I'll do my best to answer.
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  #10 (permalink)  
Old 04 Dec 2010, 08:34 pm
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Posts: 27,744
Default Re: Headlight housing change out

Thanks. Added it to the HOW TO section of the Tech & Performance part of the forum.
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