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Old 11-24-2013, 01:00 PM   #1
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Can't reinstall driver's side headlight assembly

First off, hello to everyone! This is my first post here on the 986 Forum and Iím excited to be a part of the Porsche community!

I recently had my driverís side headlight (MY03 Base) go out on me so I used the Porsche tool to pop out the headlight assembly, insert a new bulb, and am now having trouble having it lock in properly. After looking online, I was told that I wasnít using enough force to properly lock the assembly into place. Well, I tried using ďenough forceĒ and managed to snap the clamping rod at the hexagonal part (in my defense the rod seemed quite worn). I finally got another one shipped to me but I checked the bottom of the headlight assembly and it seems the clamping rod wasnít hitting the groove where it locks the assembly in, but instead it was hitting quite behind that point (I could tell by the way the plastic was slightly indented in this spot). This means that the headlight assembly is not being inserted all the way back into the car.

Even though this seems to be the case, the headlight assembly is still inserting into the blue and orange socket, so I am getting the headlight and all other functions to work. I tried removing the socket from its holder to see if maybe it was pushing the headlight out too much, but even with the socket out of the way the headlight still doesnít go all the way back. Next, I removed the entire mounting tray from the car and with this part and the headlight assembly outside of the vehicle, the headlight assembly slides into the tray perfectly and everyting lines up. This confirms my suspicion that something in or on the car around the headlight area is preventing it from going all the way in and seating properly. Finally, compared to the passenger side headlight, the problematic one does stick out by about 5mm to 1 cm, enough of an issue that I can understand why the clamping rod is missing the groove and hitting a little father back.

At this point, I have three options. One is to dremel the area where the clamping rod is hitting the headlight assembly and make a new groove (this has been done by some people around the forum for an aftermarket headlight that didnít fit properly). Two is to buy a whole new headlight assembly, but this is both expensive and if the new OEM one doesnít fit, Iím out an expensive part I donít need. Three is really the best solution: maybe some of you around here have had such a problem and so any information or guidance is invaluable to me!

For Reference:
Clamping rod: #10
Headlight Assembly: The entire part #1
Socket: #19 and 20, see how it fits into the mounting tray and how I removed it for one of the tests
Mounting Tray: The entire #9

Within the ******************************************** website there is a parts diagram under boxster electrical for the headlight parts but I can't post the website link here; the forum doesn't like that hahah!

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Old 11-24-2013, 01:03 PM   #2
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Maybe this time the parts diagram link will work:

For Reference:
Clamping rod: #10
Headlight Assembly: The entire part #1
Socket: #19 and 20, see how it fits into the mounting tray and how I removed it for one of the tests
Mounting Tray: The entire #9

Headlamp Direction Indicator Light
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Old 11-24-2013, 04:24 PM   #3
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I recently took out both headlight assemblies while troubleshooting an issue with the bodywork.

Anyway....per instructions from an independent, I lubricated (WD40) all the rails/parts that come into contact with each other when sliding the headlights back into the body.

For kicks....I tried with w/o the WD40 and it simply would not work. WITH WD40, the assemblies slid in very easily and locked down equally easily. I did not have to use 'hard' force. Firm....yes....hard....no.

Once the assemblies were mostly in....I wiggled the release key back and forth while pushing on the lights until they fully clicked in place and I locked them in with the key.

Good luck.
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Old 11-24-2013, 04:37 PM   #4
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I'd say you're going to have to look for 'witness' marks- that is, points of contact that shouldn't exist. Or, you could spray one surface with paint and after fitting the two together, see where the paint rubbed off. Then use some laquer thinner to quickly wipe off the paint that you've sprayed ( obviously not on the lens!).
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Old 11-24-2013, 06:22 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tucker2 View Post
I recently took out both headlight assemblies while troubleshooting an issue with the bodywork.

Anyway....per instructions from an independent, I lubricated (WD40) all the rails/parts that come into contact with each other when sliding the headlights back into the body.

For kicks....I tried with w/o the WD40 and it simply would not work. WITH WD40, the assemblies slid in very easily and locked down equally easily. I did not have to use 'hard' force. Firm....yes....hard....no.

Once the assemblies were mostly in....I wiggled the release key back and forth while pushing on the lights until they fully clicked in place and I locked them in with the key.

Good luck.
This is a fantastic idea! I'll give it a try first thing in the morning. Did you simply spray it on the contacts and rails or did you apply it in some other way? Thanks for the advice!
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Old 11-24-2013, 06:24 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodsman View Post
I'd say you're going to have to look for 'witness' marks- that is, points of contact that shouldn't exist. Or, you could spray one surface with paint and after fitting the two together, see where the paint rubbed off. Then use some laquer thinner to quickly wipe off the paint that you've sprayed ( obviously
not on the lens!).
This is basically how I checked where the clamping rod was hitting on the assembly. I didn't think about doing it on the slide contacts and rails! If the WD40 idea doesn't work, this is going to be step 2 of the offending thingamajig that's blocking the assembly. I appreciate the response!
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Old 11-25-2013, 03:09 PM   #7
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Same problem, easy to remove, a nasty little tart to get back in. Took me 30 minutes. It has to line up with those grooves. Once it seemed in, I hand held or pushed in while using the tool. Personally, I think the Chineese designed this item.
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Old 11-25-2013, 09:11 PM   #8
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I just sprayed it on the contacts and rails. Liberally.

I did wipe off the obvious excess.....for what it was worth.

I hope you have as good of results as I did.
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Old 11-25-2013, 11:52 PM   #9
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OP, you can take off the wheel, then two little plastic clips inside the wheel well, and bend that plastic wheel well lining just enough so you can see the connector on the back of the headlight.

You want to ensure this is aligned properly before forcing anything.

The female connector often (slightly) moves out of place and can become unaligned with the headlight's male connector. If its the case the thing won't lock in place

Luck
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Old 11-26-2013, 04:44 AM   #10
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The main reason most people have problems re-installing head lights is the lousy Porsche tool. I had major trouble the first time I took them out using that thing. Since then I have used a normal socket on a screwdriver handle (think it's 5mm) and never had any problem since.
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Old 11-26-2013, 09:06 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nine8Six View Post
OP, you can take off the wheel, then two little plastic clips inside the wheel well, and bend that plastic wheel well lining just enough so you can see the connector on the back of the headlight.

You want to ensure this is aligned properly before forcing anything.

The female connector often (slightly) moves out of place and can become unaligned with the headlight's male connector. If its the case the thing won't lock in place

Luck
Hi, I'm oconfident the connector isn't causing the problem because of two little experiments I did:

1) I completely removed the female connector out of the way and the assembly wouldn't go all the way back

2) I left the connector properly attached and when I put the assembly back in, it goes the exact (Within 1mm, I measured) depth as if there was no connector but the lights work just fine, meaning that the assembly is properly connecting to the female socket.

I've worked with 308 headlights and they were easier than this hahaha!

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