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I recently overhauled my slantnose headlights to deal with various bits of brittle, failing 30-year old plastic, and I figured others might benefit from a quick DIY of the procedure. (I have a few photos I intended to go along with this, but there doesn't seem to be a way for me to embed them.)


Parts required:

Bearing Clamp Sleeve (eEuroparts #32000475) x6
Headlight Clamp Sleeve (eEuroparts #9557158) x6
Murry101’s 3D-printed adjusters

Tools required:

T25 Torx and/or #2 Phillips screwdriver
Various pliers (I used lineman’s pliers and channel locks)
Ball peen hammer
Small punch
Bench vice
Dremel tool with various grinding burrs and polishing tools (I used a flapper wheel)
Wire brush
Synthetic grease
Anti-seize compound
Epoxy

Procedure:

Disassembly of the headlight unit is necessary. This is bound to be a destructive process, especially given how brittle the plastic is likely to be.

First thing is to separate the black rear portion from the lamp, hereafter referred to as the adjuster housing (since it houses the adjusters). If the black plastic posts (the “headlight clamp sleeves”) are already crumbling, just finish the process with pliers; if not, they’re easy enough to crush. Note that the back of the lamp housing is plastic, so don’t be too aggressive with the pliers. Once the two portions are separate, use the T25 Torx or #2 Phillips to remove the mounting screws (on mine one assembly had Torx and the other Phillips). Remove any stray bits of plastic from the ball ends of the threaded posts as well.

Now pull off the adjuster knobs. If these will not pull off easily, place the knob snugly in a bench vice (not too tight – you don’t want to crack these if you can avoid it) and tap the metal post out of the center. Because you want to preserve these knobs, this is one of the more difficult parts of the process – they are quite snug.

You can now use the #2 Phillips to unscrew the threaded posts out of the plastic adjusters (assuming these are intact). Get them out, then remove the adjuster inserts – you’ll be replacing these, so you can be destructive if necessary. On the uppers you may need to grind down the upper (locking) pin in order to get it out without damaging the black plastic housing – if needed use the Dremel with burr grinders for this.

At this point everything should be apart. Time to clean up the parts you’re reusing. The metal threaded posts should be cleaned with a wire brush (you can’t get a die over either end, so you have to do the best you can with a brush), and the ball ends should be polished with the Dremel and flapper wheel. You don’t want to remove material, just get them smooth and clean. Be sure to polish the non-adjusting locating ball as well.

Time to start reassembling. Start with the lamp housing. Mount the new clamp sleeves with the mounting screws. Remember, the housing is plastic, so the threads are not terribly strong – get the posts snug and stable, but no more.

Now move to the black adjuster housing. Slide in the new adjusters. The lower one (the one with three protrusions around the outside) just pops in and is retained by the C-clip. I found that these only wanted to go in one way, so if they don’t seem to fit try them the other way around.

The upper trapezoidal one requires more persuasion – I used channel locks to push it into place. Make sure that the tapered locking pin is on top, with the low end of the taper going in first; the locating post is not tapered and goes on the bottom. When fully seated the locking pin will be past the tabs in the housing and the adjuster will move freely side to side. I covered both adjusters with a thin layer of synthetic grease to make things easier and facilitate easy movement when adjusting the headlights.

Take the cleaned up threaded posts and insert them into the adjusters. Use the Phillips to screw them through the adjusters; they may be tight the first time through. I applied a thin coat of anti-seize to the threads. Once these are in place, about halfway through the adjusters, mount the white “bearing clamp sleeves” to the ball ends by just popping them on. Use a little synthetic grease on the ball ends.

At this point you have two assemblies and the four plastic knobs. Time to join the assemblies. Place the lamp glass side down on a non-marring but solid surface, and position the black plastic adjuster housing on top, with the white bearing clamp sleeves resting in the black headlight clamp sleeves. To join these you will tap the threaded posts, then the housing above the locating ball, with the ball peen hammer. A sharp tap or two will seat the two pieces together. You’re working with plastic parts here, so be reasonable.

All that’s left to do now is reinstall the knobs. Put a little epoxy on the knurled portion of the metal threaded post, then press (or if necessary tap on with the hammer) the knob into position. Once the epoxy has set you are good to go. Simply reinstall the assemblies in the car and adjust.

Murry101’s adjusters are really nicely made and fit well. The material seems robust compared to the original parts. They fill a real need, as the original plastic has clearly gone beyond its useful life, and many of these headlight assemblies are rendered useless by the failure of the adjusters. Murry101 was kind enough to send me a free set of these for testing, and I’m happy to report that they seem to be just the ticket for putting these old headlights right.
 
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