1997 Headlamp Assembly Puzzle - TCCoA Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-09-2017, 08:02 PM Thread Starter
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1997 Headlamp Assembly Puzzle

Today my brother noticed the passenger headlamp was way out of adjustment. Further inspection reveals the adjuster may not even be properly assembled. In the picture you see the ball on the end of the adjuster. That ball on the driver side, looks as if it is actually inside the device being held onto the back of the assembly with two screws.

Question: do I need to completely remove the headlamp assembly, remove the device with the two screws, remove the adjuster, and thread it through the device, and replace the device? On the driver side, from what I can tell without removal, it appears the end of the adjuster is inside of the device in the picture

In the second picture you see the clip which there are two of for each headlamp lens. I'm missing one. How important are those? Must I go to Ford to get them? When those are removed do you simply pry the lens from the housing for cleaning the inside, and painting reflectors?
Attached Images
File Type: jpg headlamp adjuster.jpg (930.8 KB, 4 views)
File Type: jpg headlamp assembly lens clip.jpg (1.07 MB, 2 views)

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-09-2017, 09:20 PM
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I'm not sure exactly how the headlight adjuster works, but I'll take some pics of mine and post them up (they haven't been messed with).

As for the clips, I'd guess they aren't totally necessary since the headlight lens is already held on with glue. I don't think you can just pry them apart, heat would be needed.

This tutorial elaborates a little on the painting process. Looks like a cool idea.

THNDRN_1 How To: Headlights
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-10-2017, 08:14 AM
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If you Google it, I think you can buy those long adjuster bolts, possibly in a HELP package. It would be the bolt with socket, inside that plastic flange.

To actually adjust the headlights, you just turn the hex head on the long bolt.

Al

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-10-2017, 09:17 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T6Rocket View Post
If you Google it, I think you can buy those long adjuster bolts, possibly in a HELP package. It would be the bolt with socket, inside that plastic flange.

To actually adjust the headlights, you just turn the hex head on the long bolt.

Al
The adjuster isn't missing. It just isn't properly assembled, and I don't see how it goes together. Guess I'll remove the driver side to see what it should look like.

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-10-2017, 10:03 AM
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Long bolt with a square end, at least on my 93. I bought one of those adjuster wrenches designed to only adjust Ford headlights.


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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-10-2017, 02:49 PM
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The adjuster isn't missing. It just isn't properly assembled, and I don't see how it goes together. Guess I'll remove the driver side to see what it should look like.
That's what I'm saying, that socket end of the bolt is supposed to swivel in the plastic piece, which sounds like it's broken and it just poked thru.

To remove the headlight from the car, you need a 9mm deep well 1/4" drive socket (not common). I ended up buying it from Northern Tool IIRC. If you use the wrong size and it slips, you're done. It is a plastic hex head nut.

The nut turns 90 deg, then the headlight pops out (there are two of them IIRC). It is a crappy setup overall because they get worn, and sometimes the headlight is a little loose.

Al

97 T-Bird LX 4.6 - 80k miles
94 Supra TT Auto - street/strip car
04 CVPI- Brenda's car - 76k miles
Previous Fords:
95 T-Bird LX 4.6 - fully optioned, owned 15 years, 220k miles
96 Cougar XR-7 4.6- Brenda's car, owned 11 years, 187k miles
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-10-2017, 03:28 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T6Rocket View Post
That's what I'm saying, that socket end of the bolt is supposed to swivel in the plastic piece, which sounds like it's broken and it just poked thru.

To remove the headlight from the car, you need a 9mm deep well 1/4" drive socket (not common). I ended up buying it from Northern Tool IIRC. If you use the wrong size and it slips, you're done. It is a plastic hex head nut.

The nut turns 90 deg, then the headlight pops out (there are two of them IIRC). It is a crappy setup overall because they get worn, and sometimes the headlight is a little loose.

Al
Now I may have screwed the pooch; while trying to force the adjuster into the holder, I popped the reflector from its holder.

I got the 9mm deep socket, and managed to turn the top nut into place for release. The assembly came out about an inch, but now it seems to be stuck to the bottom adjuster. I've yet to locate the second nut, although I do believe there should be one. It seems I may need to thread the adjuster all the way out of the header panel, toward the lamp assembly.

If I don't pull off this repair, I'll be driving my Ford courier for awhile. I hope once it's out I'll be able to separate the lens from the holder. I hope the reflector simply slides back into position.

A new assembly from Ford is obsolete, but they have outside sources for replacement. Such a deal, $286.50 plus shipping.

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-10-2017, 07:20 PM Thread Starter
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Thank the good Lord, and the input from a great group of fellows at TCCOA.

The hunch I had yesterday about the adjuster head not being in its socket was the problem. Who ever messed with it previously had to have taken the adjuster assembly apart. Or maybe it was done so at the factory.

The problem I was having with removal of the headlamp assembly was, I was looking for three individual 9mm hex head bolts. There is only one. However, there is also one on each adjuster assembly. Those also take a 90 degree counter clockwise turn to remove.

As for the reflector I knocked off; once I had the assembly out of the car, I was able to reach in the bulb socket with a pair of hemostats to maneuver it into place, Whew!

I'm gonna sleep extra well tonight.

P.S. Credit also goes the producer of this video: https://youtu.be/NPK3cY1TV7w 1996 Ford Thunderbird Aftermarket Headlight Headlamp replacement

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Last edited by Tbird Bob; 11-10-2017 at 07:28 PM.
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