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Old 06-11-2016, 04:08 PM   #1
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Notes on Headlight Switch Replacement

For those of you who have successfully completed this little project without difficulty, this is posted for your entertainment. For those of you who haven't, I sincerely hope this helps.

I noticed my headlights were coming on intermittently. I had to fiddle around with the switch a few times to get them to fire. Obviously, this was most likely a switch problem. It also seems to be a fairly common issue.

So, I checked my 101 Projects book and Wayne says it's an easy 1-hour job. I order a new switch. It arrives by Big Brown Truck and off we go...

Issue #1. I removed the three torx screws and assumed, based on the instructions from both the Bentley Manual and 101 Projects, that the entire corner section of the dash that houses the switch assembly would gently fall into my warm, welcoming hands. Not so much. After much grunting, prying, and puzzlement, I discovered that there's a clip at the top of the assembly that requires considerable force to disengage. You'll need a plastic pry bar. Be careful, because when the whole thing finally snaps out...

Issue #2...you can expect the little pink plastic torx screw clips that serve as the "threads" for the torx screws to catapult themselves backwards through their mounts and disappear into the deep bowels of the dash forever. As I pulled the assembly free, I had enough time to see the little pink clips and ask myself "I wonder what those are for?" before they went "plink!" and vanished. I managed to find one of them. I need to find a part number to replace the other one. I'm sure the missing clip will rattle around in the dash forever to torture me. Without these little pink bastards, you won't be able to reattach the torx screws. They slide over the top of a hole in the dash frame and provide the "bite" for you to thread the screws.

Issue #3. The instructions in both the Bentley Manual and 101 projects tell you to simply "remove the electrical plug to the headlight switch". Good luck with that. You'd better have one motherf_cker of a Kung-fu grip. I finally gave up and used an electrician's plastic screwdriver to pry off the connector. This was probably overly-cautious, but there are about 27 electrical nubbies in the switch, and I had this vision of shorting something out and detonating the car battery.

Issue#4. Okay, so you have the new switch hooked up, and it's time to put the whole assembly back into the dash. This is like returning a newborn to the womb. It's out, and it's not going back in without a fight. Oh yeah, and you'll have to be careful not to knock one of those stupid little pink clips deep into the dash in the process. The key here is to get the body of the headlight switch aligned with the opening in the dash housing. I also swore a lot. It seemed to help.

Issue #5. So you managed to get the whole assembly back into the dash. Everything looks good. Big sigh of relief. And then...one of the torx screws just falls into the hole and won't take a bite. You guessed it. One of those stupid little pink clips was pushed out of position. Pull it all out and start over.

In the end, I got everything back together and now I have a perfectly functioning headlight switch. Gosh that was fun. I love working on my car.

I imagine the ignition switch will go out next. THAT sure looks like fun....
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Old 06-11-2016, 04:37 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Need_for_speed View Post
I noticed my headlights were coming on intermittently. I had to fiddle around with the switch a few times to get them to fire. Obviously, this was most likely a switch problem. It also seems to be a fairly common issue.
Can you describe the symptoms? Just Thursday, my headlights no longer turned on. I just got the HID trying to fire.

I have a thread here.

http://986forum.com/forums/general-discussions/61962-issues-retrofit-projector-hid-lights.html

Thanks, John
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Old 06-11-2016, 04:51 PM   #3
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Need, you've just described how most DIY jobs go for me. I'm no wrench, but I've turned one or two in my 59 years - and nearly every job turns out to be twice as hard and twice as long as the manuals say. Oh, I eventually get there, or muddle through, but as a wise man once said "it's never easy." Sure, it will be easier the second time, but the second time hopefully will not be needed. Anyway, it's posts like your that help people and make me feel I'm not the only one who struggles. Oh, and BTW, when I did my headlight switch and went to reinstall the vent assembly I somehow disengaged the vent on/off mechanism. It's permanently on now, which is OK as I would hardly ever turn the airflow off. I too am dreading the ignition switch job, as I think the mechanical lock is starting to fail.


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Old 06-11-2016, 06:17 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpc763 View Post
Can you describe the symptoms? Just Thursday, my headlights no longer turned on. I just got the HID trying to fire.

I have a thread here.

http://986forum.com/forums/general-discussions/61962-issues-retrofit-projector-hid-lights.html

Thanks, John
Based on what I see in your thread, your headlight switch is bad.
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Old 06-11-2016, 08:07 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Need_for_speed View Post
Based on what I see in your thread, your headlight switch is bad.
Thanks. I wonder if there is anyway to test it. $160 for a switch is a bit high without being sure.
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Old 06-17-2016, 02:11 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grc0456 View Post
Need, you've just described how most DIY jobs go for me. I'm no wrench, but I've turned one or two in my 59 years - and nearly every job turns out to be twice as hard and twice as long as the manuals say. Oh, I eventually get there, or muddle through, but as a wise man once said "it's never easy." Sure, it will be easier the second time, but the second time hopefully will not be needed. Anyway, it's posts like your that help people and make me feel I'm not the only one who struggles. Oh, and BTW, when I did my headlight switch and went to reinstall the vent assembly I somehow disengaged the vent on/off mechanism. It's permanently on now, which is OK as I would hardly ever turn the airflow off. I too am dreading the ignition switch job, as I think the mechanical lock is starting to fail.


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Regarding the ignition switch, I replaced mine yesterday (after first having ordered the incorrect model of it, so thereby practised once) The task is actually quite easy (honestly) but the crap part is the human position that you need to put yourself into. I put som old towels over the doorstep and into the doorwell and lay down with my legs outside the car and my head resting towards the pedals. Bring a good flashlight, preferably mounted to the forehead

Regarding the OP, made me really laugh. This is most likely the reality for most of us. At least I know it is for me!
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Old 06-17-2016, 03:56 AM   #7
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Smile Headlight Switch

Lol. Great write up. Downright....what's the word...inspirational!
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Old 08-09-2016, 10:49 AM   #8
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Tip to find dropped hardware. Shop vac or any vac with a clean bin/ bag whatever. You should hear it rattle in the hose.You may have to Mac Giver a hose but it works.
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