HEAD­LIGHT RE­BUILD

Classics Monthly - - Our Cars -

1 On the X-Type each head­light is held in place with four bolts, but the lower pair are hid­den be­hind the plas­tic bumper cover which will need to be re­moved. It’s mainly held in place by the clips under the front wings and by a 10mm bolt on each side but you’ll also need to free it from the plas­tic un­der­tray and arch liner.

2 You’ll have to work by feel here but in­side the whee­larch you’ll find a 10mm bolt (cir­cled) and with this re­moved, the bumper cover will be free. A cer­tain amount of brute force is needed so if you’re work­ing by your­self, you might want to use some mask­ing tape along the lower edge of the wing to pro­tect the paint as the bumper can come away sud­denly and is a bit un­wieldy.

3 With the bumper cover off the car, you can re­move the lower pair of bolts and the head­lights can now be slid for­wards suf­fi­ciently to ac­cess the wiring plug.

4 The con­nec­tor is a sealed plug with a re­tain­ing clip which must be re­leased be­fore the plug can be re­moved.

5 Here’s proof that the in­ter­nal ad­juster link­ages had failed. See the ex­tent of move­ment here...

6 ... and here, in the other di­rec­tion. The only thing hold­ing the bulb car­rier in place is the sin­gle at­tach­ment to the ad­juster mo­tor at one cor­ner.

7 Here’s where the prob­lem is. The ad­juster link at the top of the photo should be con­nected to the bulb car­rier but the frail, brit­tle plas­tic has sim­ply bro­ken away.

8 In or­der to re­place it, you’ll need to dis­as­sem­ble the lamp unit. First stage is to un­clip the rub­ber gas­ket around the edge and pull it off.

9 Us­ing a hot air gun, care­fully heat up the area where plas­tic lens mounts to the rear hous­ing. Be care­ful not to melt the plas­tic and if in doubt ex­er­cise cau­tion – it only needs to be hot enough to soften the sealant and we used a 350° heat gun on its low set­ting. In a pinch, a pow­er­ful hair dryer would prob­a­bly work just as well.

10 As you heat up the unit, re­lease the clips se­cur­ing the lens to the hous­ing.

11 Grad­u­ally ease the lens for­ward as you work rather than goug­ing the plas­tic by lev­er­ing it with a screw­driver.

12 It takes a few min­utes but once it starts to re­lease you’ll be able to pull the unit apart by hand.

13 While the sealant is still soft, pull the re­flec­tor out. It’s held at three places by tabs sit­ting in the joint. Avoid get­ting it dirty or cov­ered in fin­ger­prints.

14 Re­move the three Torx screws hold­ing the in­di­ca­tor in place then dis­con­nect the in­di­ca­tor unit and put it to one side. Don’t for­get it when you’re re­assem­bling the lamp! 15 We bought these re­place­ment ad­justers on­line and the set cost £20 for enough parts to re­build two head­lights. 16 Com­par­ing the new ad­justers with the bro­ken old parts it’s easy to see they’re much higher qual­ity. The orig­i­nals are made of plas­tic which can’t han­dle the heat of the lights and be­comes brit­tle over time. 17 Only two sets of ex­ter­nal ad­juster gears were in­cluded and to be fair it’s un­usual for all four to fail but more can be bought sep­a­rately if re­quired. Re­plac­ing the ex­ter­nal ad­juster gears is prob­a­bly the hard­est part of the task. The old ones can eas­ily be prised off with a screw­driver or even by hand but get­ting the new ones in place is harder since they’re a much tighter fit on the knurled ad­juster shaft. We heated the new parts up in boil­ing wa­ter to ex­pand them be­fore slid­ing them on and you can also use a small wood­work­ing G-clamp to drive them on to the shaft. 18 Each light uses one short and one long ad­juster so they need to be fit­ted the right way round. 19 The socket for the ad­just­ment mo­tor is also of­ten bro­ken and the kit in­cludes a re­place­ment for this. It’s held in place with a Torx screw. 20 There’s a shaped key on the rear of the part which en­sures it can only fit in the cor­rect ori­en­ta­tion. 21 With all the bro­ken ad­justers re­placed, the lights can be re­assem­bled. In a pinch you could just heat up the sealant again and clip the lamps back to­gether but we used this black mas­tic sealant which is sold at Screw­fix for £4.04. It’s messy stuff but sticks hard and can still be re­leased with the heat gun if we need to dis­man­tle the lamps again for any rea­son. 22 With both lamps re­built and the bumper bolted up, the lights needed to be ad­justed. An MoT sta­tion can do it but it’s pos­si­ble to do a pretty good job at home. We mea­sured the phys­i­cal cen­tre of the beams and then marked that on a garage door and then with the car backed up 25 feet away, turned the ad­justers through the ac­cess hole in the slam panel so that the hor­i­zon­tal part of the dipped beam is aligned with the mark. In this im­age our left-hand light still needs to move up a touch.

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