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» Z32 Headlight Disassembly - Page 1 of 2
Headlight Disassembly and Cleaning
Article Date: 01-27-05
Author: Turtleboy
Mod Class: Z32 - All Models
Mod Type: Maintainence
Article Origin: http://www.skylinedesigns.net/
Difficulty Level: 5 (Scale of 1 to 10. 1 being extremely easy, 10 being extremely difficult.)
Estimated Time to Complete: 4+ hours + dry time

Tools Required:
Various Phillips Head Screwdrivers
Large and Small Flat Head Screwdrivers
Heat gun, or large oven
Glass Cleaner
Clean Cloth (surgical rag or camera lens wipe works well)
RTV Clear Silicone Sealant (optional)
Thin light weather stripping (optional)
Fine Paint Brush (optional)
Your choice of spray paint (only if you wish to paint the housing)

Taking apart your Headlamps: The main reason for doing this would be to clean a fogged/dirty projector lens or to paint the inside of your headlight housing. This guide assumes you already have you headlight removed from the car, if you need information on how to remove the headlight from the car, click here.

Headlamp Disassembly

1. First, there are 8 screws (2 per side) holding 4 metal brackets (1 per side) that hold the rubber outter lining of the headlight assembly on. The first step is to unscrew all eight screws. (the side brackets are similar hence the reason for only one side picture)

2a. After all of the screws have been removed, pull off the rubber w/ the brackets. There is some foam padding and padded tape in between the rubber so the brackets may just stick to the rubber and come out in one piece. I found that most of the padding deteriorated, but that will be addressed later. The point this step is, if you want to take the brackets from the rubber you can, but it is not necessary. I did, to clean everything and replace the foam, which I will explain in the re-assembly.
2b. Do not worry about getting the brackets mixed up, all the ones for the right headlight have an "R" on them and all the left ones have an "L" on them and since they will only fit in the place they are meant go, you will not get them mixed up. Also, there are two bent rubber hoses on each headlamp (one on the side, one on the back), be sure to remove those before heating, and to put back in place before reinstalling the headlamp on your car.

3. There are 5 metal brackets holding the glass to the plastic housing on each headlight. They all need to be removed, but be careful when doing so; there is a small lip on the glass holding them in place, it is easy to chip or crack the glass at that point while pulling these off. (The second pictures already has them removed)

4. Remove the light bulbs (twist and pull out carefully), careful not to touch the glass with your hands. The oil from your hands will create "hot spots" on the glass and that can cause them to burn out prematurely. If you do happen to touch them clean them with a clean rag and rubbing alcohol.

5. Now is the part where you have to soften the glue holding the glass to the housing via heat. You basically have two options:
a) Use a heat gun if you have that available. Turn on the gun and go around the edges of the housing where the glue is several times until the glue becomes soft. Becareful not to heat up the housing too much in one spot, as you do not want to melt any of the plastic.
b) Heat your oven up to 200 degree F. Put the healight into the oven making sure it is not touching any of the sides or the top of them oven (you do not have to worry about the bottom since it is mounted to a metal plate, but if you like, you can put it on a cookie sheet). Once it is in the oven turn up the heat to 250 degrees F and leave it for 10-15 minutes, checking it regularly; do not just leave it in for 15 minutes and come back, you do not want your entire housing to melt. If the glue is still not soft enough you can leave it in for longer, but remember to watch it closely.

6. Once the glue is soft you can take the glass from the housing. To make the job easier you can use a small to medium size flat head screw driver to pry the two apart. Do not pry too hard as you are pushing against glass, just enough so you can get some grip on glass with your hands. I found using a razor blade to "cut" some of the glue helps as well. If the glass just will not come off, the glue probably just is not hot enough, so you will need to reheat it.

7. Once you get the glass off, you need to make a decision, whether the glue is in good enough shape to just re-heat and put the glass back on when reassembling OR if you have (or want) to chip/peel the old glue off to replace with RTV Silicone. If you decide to chip off any of the old glue, now is the time to do it. Other than that, Now you need to take the black part (the part visible behind the glass when they are mounted on ther car) of the housing. It is attached by two screws on the front, similar to the ones that held the brackets on in step 1. Once those screws are undone you can take off the black part, there is a bit of padding on one side of the headlight in between black housing and the rest of the housing which may be pretty disenegrated, if it is you can replace it with a small strip of weather stripping in its place, if not, just put it back in place when you reassemble. (in the photo the housing has already been disassembled, but the red arrows and dots point to where the screws would be)

8. Now if you only wish to paint the housing your disassembly will end here, paint the housing and go on to reassembly. If you want to clean the projector (which is suprisingly dirty after 14 years) then you have a little more to go. When cleaning the lens you have two choices. You can remove the projector housing which makes the lens easier to clean; downside is you may have to readjust the projector beam afterwards which can be a real pain. Or you can clean the lens while it is still in the housing, meaning you dont have to readjust, but it is a little harder to get it clean. If you opt for the latter, clean the lens and begin reassembly.

9. The projector lens is held in by a metal bracket. The bracket is held in by four screws and one adjustment screw. If you look at the projector from the front you can see the four screws at each corner of the bracket; (I did not have a direct photo, but in the first picture, circled in orange is the bracket that holds the lens [the lens is not present], the red arrow is pointing to the adjusment screw, and the blue arrow is pointing to one of the four holes for the other screws) unscrew those 4 screws first and take them out, but do not pull the bracket out yet.

10. You now need to unscrew the adjustment screw while slightly pulling the housing/lens out. You may find that the adjustment screw is covered by a glue substance (such as the screw pointed to by the blue arrow). I used a screw driver and razor blade to chip at the glue until I could seat the screw driver into the screw to turn it (the red arrow shows the screw uncovered from the glue). Now unscrew the adjustment screw while slightly pulling the housing/lens out. The adjustment screw may be hard to turn, so be careful not to strip it. You may also notice that the adjustment screw, screws into a peice of plastic on the lens bracket, also be careful not to strip that plastic piece. Try to keep an eye on where the adjustment screw is in relation to the bracket, and try to screw it back in the same amount when reassembling, so there will be less chance you need to adjust the projector later.

11. Now once you get it out, the lens housing will come out of the bracket. It may not look to dirty but below are before and after pictures, you can see the difference. I recommend cleaning it with glass cleaner and a lintless cloth, such as a surgical rag or camera lens cloth. If you want, you can also clean the chrome-painted reflectors on the housing, but do not use a cloth or rag for this, as you may scratch the surface, or chip the chrome paint, use a soft paint brush to brush off the dust instead.

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