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5mithy

What's going on with my headlights?

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Am I right in thinking that I have facelift lights on a pre-facelift car? 

It's 1998 and has angel eyes. 

 

The low beam seems to point too low down. They appear to be self-levelling (they go up and down when turned on); and it also has an adjuster wheel on the dash, which works (the lights move when I move the wheel) 

I've been reading a lot about broken adjusters, but I want to check what's been done to my lights previously. 

If I've got retro fitted self levelling lights, might it be the case that they won't work properly because they need the associated gubbins to go with them? 

 

 

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Yes; they're facelift headlights, so they've probably been retrofitted

 

However, check your VIN on one of the decoder websites and see what headlights it mentions

 

If they're pointing downwards; do they lift when you move the adjuster wheel? If not, or only a bit, I'd say the adjusters have gone, very common

 

All the facelift headlights have motors in them for alignment; the self levelling comes via the mechs on the suspension and the necessary modules, IIRC, but I'm sure someone will be along to correct me soon enough :lol: 

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This may be only related to factory xenons.

 

Dan is correct - there is a pivoting arm for both front and rear suspension arms - which adjust the light angle depending on how the car is pointing. Or if you have a full load in the car and boot - it will drop them down slightly so you dont drive around with big bat signs pointing to the sky.

 

May be different for non-xenon though.

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Halogen ones have the manual adjustment 'thumbwheel' by the light switch and xenon ones have the automatic system as they can cause more dazzle when pointing too high. As d_a_n1979 said, all break equally well as the plastic parts that hold the reflector/lens parts are similar and drop to pieces with age.

 

If you can lift the headlight internals up and down easily by gently moving the bulb connectors on the back then those plastic parts have collapsed. You can buy plastic or metal replacements online for very little money. Early facelift lights are bonded together with a sealant that softens with a little time in the oven(!) so that they can be opened to fix them. Later ones have a sealant that doesn't soften so those have to be fixed using small tools through the various bulb holder openings.

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7 minutes ago, THe39M5 said:

Halogen ones have the manual adjustment 'thumbwheel' by the light switch and xenon ones have the automatic system as they can cause more dazzle when pointing too high. As d_a_n1979 said, all break equally well as the plastic parts that hold the reflector/lens parts are similar and drop to pieces with age.

 

If you can lift the headlight internals up and down easily by gently moving the bulb connectors on the back then those plastic parts have collapsed. You can buy plastic or metal replacements online for very little money. Early facelift lights are bonded together with a sealant that softens with a little time in the oven(!) so that they can be opened to fix them. Later ones have a sealant that doesn't soften so those have to be fixed using small tools through the various bulb holder openings.

Tell me about it.

 

Just recently replaced my adjusters in facelift xenons - what an absolute PITA!!!

 

Never again.

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Yes they do move quite freely if I give them a wiggle. So broken adjusters it is then, boooo!

 

How do I know if they're self-levelling or not? Bearing in mind they're not original to the car. Does the dance at start up give a clue? If anything I'd rather they weren't...

 

VIN code states it has headlight intensive wash, but doesn't mention anything about the lights themselves.

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As I said; all facelift halogen Hella headlights have motors in them, so they do that small check when you first start the car up and have the headlights on

 

You can either try and find a set that has had their adjusters replaced and lenses refurbed (best for fresh lights on eBay does these, well, used to, worth looking into); buy a set of OEM pre-facelift headlights that aren't damaged and reinstall the original lights, or buy brand new facelift Hella headlights from the likes of Eurocarparts, beware, they're c£250 EACH!

 

I did the latter as I am no way inclined to try and faff about with tools and small holes to replace adjusters that are in pieces!

 

New ones, 4 bolts, swap em over, plug n play ;) 

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44 minutes ago, 5mithy said:

Yes they do move quite freely if I give them a wiggle. So broken adjusters it is then, boooo!

 

How do I know if they're self-levelling or not? Bearing in mind they're not original to the car. Does the dance at start up give a clue? If anything I'd rather they weren't...

 

VIN code states it has headlight intensive wash, but doesn't mention anything about the lights themselves.

I have done this job before.

 

Your headlight have manual adjusters at the back plus a leveling motor which you can adjust from the dash.

 

You can replace those adjusters without baking or separating the headlight assembly.

 

Took me 3 hours to do the first one, subsequent ones took less that 1 hr each as i did 4 of them.

 

You need small thin hands , long torx screwdrivers , tape , pickup  magnet tool....and a lots of swearing , you gain access to the adjusters from the back of the bulb holes after removing the rubber boots.

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17 hours ago, d_a_n1979 said:

As I said; all facelift halogen Hella headlights have motors in them, so they do that small check when you first start the car up and have the headlights on

 

You can either try and find a set that has had their adjusters replaced and lenses refurbed (best for fresh lights on eBay does these, well, used to, worth looking into); buy a set of OEM pre-facelift headlights that aren't damaged and reinstall the original lights, or buy brand new facelift Hella headlights from the likes of Eurocarparts, beware, they're c£250 EACH!

 

I did the latter as I am no way inclined to try and faff about with tools and small holes to replace adjusters that are in pieces!

 

New ones, 4 bolts, swap em over, plug n play ;) 

 

Ah, so are the facelift headlights all the same regardless of if they're self levelling? They've all got the same motors in?

The self-check thing was making me think that they were self levelling.

 

And do pre-facelift headlights not have the adjuster issue?

 

Ouch, for £500 I might have a go at fixing them myself first! 

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All the facelift headlights will face the adjuster issues; it's all down to their age

 

As far as I'm aware; the pre-facelift headlights aren't as bad, but they're also much easier to fix (the lenses clip on/off IIRC and you can buy new lenses also...

 

However, the facelift headlights make the car look better IMO

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4 hours ago, 5mithy said:

 

Ah, so are the facelift headlights all the same regardless of if they're self levelling? They've all got the same motors in?

The self-check thing was making me think that they were self levelling.

 

And do pre-facelift headlights not have the adjuster issue?

 

Ouch, for £500 I might have a go at fixing them myself first! 

Cheap fix  only need patience and determination.

 

Adjusters cost few quid on ebay.... Few hours swearing and u ll be good to go

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34 minutes ago, amazighman said:

Cheap fix  only need patience and determination.

 

Adjusters cost few quid on ebay.... Few hours swearing and u ll be good to go

 

Which I severely lack :lol: and have hands the size of shovels...

 

Plus replacing them with new ones gives you warranty, peace of mind and ultra clean headlights ;) 

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4 hours ago, d_a_n1979 said:

 

Which I severely lack :lol: and have hands the size of shovels...

 

Plus replacing them with new ones gives you warranty, peace of mind and ultra clean headlights ;) 

Worth spending the money if the car is like yours mint.

Mine probably the new headlights will be worth more than the car itself

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Made the most of the bank holiday and fixed the lights. 

Got the metal set from ebay for £15. Pig of a job and took six hours, but I've saved myself £500 so I'm happy (lights are otherwise in too good condition to replace). 

Went down the "small tool" route as I wanted to use the least intrusive method.

However, I think I've broken the mechanism that turns the lights for when driving on the right. Bummer.

 

And a tip for anyone attempting this job using the metal replacements- you need some copper grease on the threads or they won't screw in at all

 

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Now all I need to do is line them up.

Thanks a lot for all your help!

Edited by 5mithy

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