How To: Change Headlamp / Headlight bulb

Discussion in 'Knowledge Base Articles Discussion' started by usbseawolf2000, Oct 20, 2007.

  1. txtabby

    txtabby 2011 Prius 4

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    The videos I ran across of people changing out their headlight bulbs in 6-3 min. is amazing! It took me 4 HOURS to take off the bumper cover....blah-blah-blah. What a pain! Now It shouldn't take me more than 20 min. Thanks guys!!! :)
     
  2. krg03

    krg03 Not expert, just experienced

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    The first time it took me a while because I was careful. Now its quick on My other cars. Takes maybe 30min off/on. I change the fogs as well to 6k LED and HID to 6k AND I upgrade the horn.
     
  3. FlyboyTR

    FlyboyTR Member

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    Thanks to all the contributors to this thread and to usbseawolf2000 for starting it (Great info!). The information was very beneficial for me in getting an understanding of the assembly (mainly the boot!). Most H4 bulbs install the same way…the tricky part is the boot. …as was the case with my project. The boot on the Prius is a bit of a pain.:eek:

    The driver side low beam died a couple of days ago on our 06. It has the standard halogen headlamps. I have ordered a HID kit from DDM Tuning, 35 watt, 4500 Kelvin, bi-xenon. So…in the meantime I replaced the dead lamp with a spare I had in the shop.

    Even though over the many pages of this thread all the details have been covered…I wanted to sort of combine all the primary basics for this simple yet daunting job.

    1, The boot has to be unscrewed for removal/installation. The rotation is counter-clockwise for removal (the top turns towards the driver’s side).

    2, If it’s the first time for a bulb change and the boot will probably be stuck to the bulb housing. The older the vehicle the more “stuck†it will be. Be careful not to try to pull the boot off without holding the bulb in place…so you don’t bend the retaining wire/clip. Just push in on the 3 spade (electrical) connectors on the bulb while pulling on the boot.

    3, The bulb will have three tabs. The two that are close together go towards the bottom.

    4, Do not touch the bulb with your fingers and ensure that it stays CLEAN during the installation.

    5, Apply a thin layer of dielectric compound (electrical grease) to the boot where it slides over the bulb housing.

    6, The boot is marked “TOP.†From that position, insert your finger through the boot hole (from the backside), put your finger against the three electrical connectors on the bulb and use your finger as a guide to slip the boot over the bulb housing. From there, find the correct position for the boot and turn it clockwise to lock it into place.

    7, Apply fresh dielectric compound to the electrical connector and reconnect it to the bulb.

    8, Give thanks to all the folks here on PriusChat for making this info available… THANKS!

    I will try to give a detailed report (in a new thread) on the installation and performance of the new HID kit when it comes in.

    FlyboyTR:)
     
  4. tofudog

    tofudog New Member

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    Well my driver's side low beam bulb went out this week. Replaced it per USB Seawolf's instructions. A few notes from my 2nd experience replacing these crappy OEM bulbs:

    1) Both bulbs only lasted about two years in the New England climate.

    2) When you remove the large, black plastic skirt in front of the engine compartment, don't waste time trying to unscrew the phillips head fasteners. The screws will merely rotate without any effect. Instead, reach behind the skirt and use your finger to push up on the bottom of the fasteners. They are cheap plastic and will pop right out.

    2.5) After the bulb has been locked into place with the clip, connect the wiring harness to the three contact prongs on the back of the bulb and power on the lights to confirm the new bulb works. If the bulb is good, remove the wiring harness and put the boot back on.

    3) As others have noted, the rubber boot is the biggest pain, at least for me. Once you have rotated the boot unlocked (clockwise as you face the car), do not expect it to just fall off. Use a pair of pliers to gently grab the tabs to gently pull off the boot. Oddly, my driver's side boot was already in the open position when I replaced that particular bulb.

    4) As noted by others, use grease to lube the circumferential surface areas of the boot to aid in locking it back into place. Once the boot has been rotated into the locked position, there will often not be enough clearance for the wiring harness connector to slip onto the three contact prongs of the bulb. You can use your fingers to "massage" the rubber excess around the prongs to make clearance for the harness connector.

    5) Lights and mirrors are your friends.

    I'll try to load some pics in a few days
     
  5. txtabby

    txtabby 2011 Prius 4

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    The dealer said I had to remove the bumper cover and go that route, that I'd never get the lights aimed right replacing them any other way. uuh-huh... ; / I didn't notice any difference.
     
  6. zenMachine

    zenMachine Just another Onionhead

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    Had to replace the driver's side headlamp yesterday, for a second time in three months. Not sure why the bulb burned out so fast. I find that removing the top of the relay fuse box gives my hands a little more room. But all in all it still was a major PITA. Terrible design, IMO.
     
  7. windstrings

    windstrings Certified Prius Breeder

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    I've done several replacements and never had to adjust levels. Not sure why this would need to be done.

    As long as you properly "seat" the new bulb in its holder same as the old one was it should be perfect!.

    You can peek in the front of the reflector by shining a flashlight from the bumper side and usually see if you have seated well.
    Also it will have a firm solid feel... no slippage and relatively firm turning while holding the back of the bulb should not move it when its in its proper place.....
    Once you have that, only then flip the wire keeper over the back of the bulb to hold it in place.

    If your having to readjust the levels each time, it makes me wonder if you have the bulb seated correctly... a bump going down the hiway might dislodge the bulb or reposition it if not.
     
  8. windstrings

    windstrings Certified Prius Breeder

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    Yes, the whole HID thing is stupid... I really like my Halogens better on my GenIII than the HID's on my Gen II's.

    At any rate, It sounds like you did yours without the benifit of the instructions I wrote some time back....

    Drivers side replacement is indeed much easier if you
    1. Remove the Fuse cover
    2. Remove the two large Fuses that get in the way of your hands... (you will get a brake error if you turn power on.. but thats ok, that will go away once replaced).... not a good idea to turn power on anyway as it charges the ballast and makes the job more hazardous....
    But once you think you have the bulb seated and installed, I like to turn on the headlights to check the work before putting everything back together...... when you turn your power switch on.. you will see that brake error... just ignore it till your done.
    3. Put thin gloves of some sort on will give you more power to turn the rear hub and get it removed.
     
  9. zenMachine

    zenMachine Just another Onionhead

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    Right, I didn't see this thread before I changed the bulb. It would have saved me some time and reduced the number of expletives that were uttered.

    Silly me, I consulted the manual instead! Lesson learned. :)
     
  10. tostrand

    tostrand Junior Member

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    MAJOR THANKS for all the great advice and instructions posted on changing the headlight bulbs! My driver side bulb died 2 years ago, at 83000mi. After vain attempts to replace it myself, I finally went to dealer A, who wanted $450(!!!) for the job, and incorrectly told me that my car has HID lights. Dealer B did the job for $20 labor + $55 for the OEM bulb. Seemed like a bargain then, despite the outrageous bulb price :)

    The passenger side went last week at 110,000, and after reading through this entire thread, I decided to try again. Success! Took me about 1 hour, working slowly and carefully. The instructions are great. Total cost: $11 bulb (standard Halogen) + .99 for packet of dielectric grease.

    One minor suggestion: After removing the old bulb, practice hooking the wire retainer back in position without the bulb present. There's almost no resistance, and your fingers will "learn" the proper direction to push the retainer when the bulb is in place. There's much more resistance when the bulb is in.

    One more note: My original dealer bulbs lasted 83K and 110K miles, so they can't be all that bad.
     
  11. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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  12. zenMachine

    zenMachine Just another Onionhead

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    The driver side headlight I just replaced last month is out! That's two bulbs in a few months! What could be wrong???
     
  13. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    If I was going through that mes I would just ditch the factory system and install a plug & play kit. They are as little as $35 to $150 for something decent like the Morimotos.
     
  14. zenMachine

    zenMachine Just another Onionhead

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    Exactly what I'm thinking. Is there a quick how to link? Thx!
     
  15. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    I'm sure there is somewhere around here. If you are slick you could do the upgrade without removing the headlight as long as you stick with the same kind of bulb. If I can find something I'll link you to it. :)
     
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  16. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

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    After my experience with the short lived Philips halogen bulbs, I installed a HID kit in July 2009. Then upgraded to bi-xenon blubs in Aug 2009. That step up has been working for almost 2 years now.

    I am planning to install projectors to have a sharp cut-off. To prepare for the before and after pics, I took pics of the current setup. This is how it looks.

    [​IMG]
     

    Attached Files:

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  17. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    Thanks for posting that. I was going to find a nice wall tonight for a comparison. Now I'll definitely do it. :)
     
  18. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

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    Finally got a chance to take a picture of the projector output with the same camera (iPhone 4).

    This new picture was NOT taken at the same exact location. I went forward one garage (see the white box on the ground for reference) because the ground was not level.

    [​IMG]

     

    Attached Files:

  19. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    The cuttoff is much sharper! No more squirrel hunting. :) It also appears you've decreased your foreground lighting which will enhance your distance vision because your pupils will remain dialated without such bright light close to the car.
     
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  20. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

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    For those interested in retrofitting HID projector into the Halogen reflector, see my post. If you have the factory HID option with reflectors and wishes to upgrade them to projectors like F8L, see the first post.

    Ok, I think we have derailed enough into the HID topic. Back to the halogen bulb replacement.
     
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