I have a '97 coupe. The left headlight refused to open one day, with no prior warning that I could detect. I got out my service manuals and took it apart far enough to see that a pin that hold the actuator to the headlight door had come out. I replaced it with an appropriately sized bolt (the chevy dealer could not get me the part that I wanted). A couple of weeks later, the headlight failed again. The headlight closes, but the motor does not shut off for about 10-15 seconds. It sounds like gears grinding. I was told that I need a $400 headlight repair. Anybody else had C5 headlight trouble?
signed, droopy eye
hmm, ive replaced 2 or 3 this week... ;-)
Its a very common problem, It seems to almost always happen on the left side rather than the right. Its not terribly difficult to fix yourself if you have a basic socket set. If you like, I can post some directions on how to replace it yourself.
I have some skills with tools, so if it is not too hard, I would like to try it. Could you send me the instructions? Thanks much.
signed, I Have Seen the Light!
1. Open the headlamp door by turning the headlamps on, disconnect the grey electical connector leading to the lights, this allows you to turn the lights off while you work and it leaves the linkage extended. Open the hood.
2. remove the black filler trim cover, 3 philliips screws
3. facing the front of the car, look underneath the headlamp and you will see that the whole assemby bolts to the frame of the vehicle on your left and the wheel well area in front of you.
4. remove the 3 13mm head bolts holding the headlamp frame to the car frame. (to the left, in the direction of the radiator)
5. remove 3 10mm head nuts from their mounting studs ( directly in front of you, toward the wheel)
6. the headlamp frame should now slide forward enough to clear the studs that the 10mm nuts came off, slide the frame forward about 1 inch then lift it up out of the car, being carefull not to scratch your paint on the way out.
7. unplug the motor harness from the headlamp bulbs, grey connector goes to the grey bulb socket, black to black.
8. remove the 10mm nut that holds the motor shaft to the linkage, make note of how the linkage sets in relation to the white plastic bumpers.
9. remove the 3 bolts that hold the motor to the frame by holding the bolt head with a 10mm wrench and turning the nut with a 10mm socket.
10. compare the old motor to the new one, making sure the bolt holes are in the same place, Left is different from right, and there are different designs for different years.
11. bolt the new motor to the frame.
12. reattach the motor shaft to the linkage, you will likely have to turn the plastic adjusting knob on the new motor to get things to line up, install it with the linkage fully extended, maybe 1mm short of contacting the white bump stop.
13 reinstall the frame and plug the harness back in.
14 turn the headlamps on and off several times to test it
15 stand back and admire your handywork..
It is possible to do this with the headlamp frame still in the car, but i find it difficult.
Thanks for the information. I appreciate that you took the time to type that out. I will have a weekend project to do now.
man dealer tech you really know your stuff!!!!
Would you mind if I added the information you provided into our Knowledgebase linked above?
Its a little rough, maybe if i clarified some stuff?
I cant have EVERYBODY fixing their own vettes, how would I get to play with them
Turbojoe- Gee, thanks, maybe its because I taught you everything you know about 'vettes?
dealertech, i'll remind you of that next time you ask for help at work
LOL, ok....what dealership do you guys work at??? If you don't want to publicize it, send me a private message or email.
Keep it up TurboJoe- ill detune your Grand National to the point that you start to lose to C5's
On the '97, I don't believe that you must replace the entire motor/actuator capsule assembly such as is the case on the later C5s. I believe that once you have removed the actuator assembly from the car, you can open the capsule and replace the stripped gear.
I just did this repair on my car last week and I had to replace the whole thing because mine is a 2000 (first year they sealed the units). I replaced mine wihtout taking the headlamp unit clear out of the car, but if I was doing it again I wouldn't do it that way. The way I did it required about two hours to accomplish.
My car is out of warranty and the dealer wanted over $500.00 to do the job. The motor/actuator unit lists for $237.00 from GM. I was able to get a new one for $100.00 and just put it in myself.
I just thought that I would update anybody who is interested about the headlight repair. I took the headlight assembly out without too much trouble. The nuts are a bit difficult to get to, as my arms are large. I did get it out, however. I decided to have my mechanic complete the repair, as I had no replacement motor. He convinced me to have him get me a motor and finish the repair myself. It turned out to be no big deal; some minor skin loss on one knuckle, but I saved quite a bit doing it myself.
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