October 18, 2016

Headlight Replacement on a C3 Corvette

Filed under: Stella, auto — Benjamin Vulpes @ 7:22 p.m.

The girl's sick, and I'm studiously avoiding doing any sort of "work" that's not related to La Serenissima. So I changed the headlights on my car! One of my favorite things about rattly old American cars is a) the low cost of entry and b) the ease of maintenance on the mostly-mechanical and easily inspected systems. Onwards!

First: Erect the headlamps.

Kiddo was asleep when I did this, so I cranked 'em up by hand. If you have a proper shop in which to perform this operation, turn the machine over so that the vacuum pump is running, turn the lights on, turn the car off and disconnect the battery. You might not, but I installed a battery disconnect switch. This means I can let the beast sit for a few weeks without murdering the battery. Anyways, with the headlamps up and electrical system disconnected, proceed to...

Step Two: Debezzling:

Start like this:


End like this:


There's another screw on the far side of the headlight assembly that needs removing, and two going through the bezel into the top of the assembly. Super interestingly, the drivers-side top bezel screws are machine screws and the passenger side uses self-tapping sheet metal screws. Exciting!

Ye Thirde Steppe: Debulbing. Three screws hold the bulb retention ring in. Unscrew them. Don't touch the bolts next those that secure the housing, they handle beam calibration and fucking with that is far over your pay grade. Before proceeding on from Ye Thirde Steppe, take a moment to clean out the bulb housing and the bezel exterior. This is what can accumulate in the years between bulb changes:


Gross! Get that shit out of there.

Fourf: reassemble, rinse, repeat.

Put it all back together! Try not to touch the bulb too much, as it gets hot and oil's not great for it (use gloves if you're a real neat freak). Keep the screws in a plastic bag like we learned to do in kindergarten so they're readily accessible when you need them. Repeat the process on the other side; the only thing worse than driving with mismatched beams in the rainy dark is being seen driving with mismatched beams.

The Corvette's already a ratchet enough car, don't make it look goofy in an effort to save 10 dollars and 10 minutes.

et voila