Headlamp Replacement DIY Nightmare
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Cadillac DTS Forum - 2006 through 2012 Discussion, Headlamp Replacement DIY Nightmare in Past Cadillac Vehicle Discussion; Many thanks to the Member that posted the proceedure. I Tackled it today and I got my fill of rolling ...
  1. #1
    billdaman is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Headlight / Headlamp Replacement DIY Nightmare

    Many thanks to the Member that posted the proceedure. I Tackled it today and I got my fill of rolling around on the floor and pulling and pushing in push pins. I have some additional tips that I pulled together.

    Caution: The high intensity discharge system produces high voltage and current. In order to reduce the risk of severe shocks and burns, the battery negative cable must be disconnected any time service work is being performed on or around the high intensity discharge system.

    The BRUTAL FACTS...you loosen the lug nuts on both front wheels, you will Jack up the vehicle , place two Jack stands under the frame rails, you will remove both front wheels, you will remove 10 or so push pins from each Wheelhouse liner and pull it back over the brake rotor.

    You will then Remove the radiator Cover push pins, , remove the grill push pins.

    You will then take a 10 mm socket, 10 mm stubby indexing wrench and a baby cresent wrench and remove the fore / aft nut at the rear of the heaplamp, then the other three 10 mm fasteners from each side that hold the Fascia Up/Down on Fore / Aft slots.

    Front Fascia Retainer (Qty: 6)
    Front Fascia Retainer (Qty: 6)
    Front Fascia Bolt (Qty: 2)

    Once you have done this on both sides you can slide the fascia forward to access the Headlamp.
    BreakdownHeadlampreplace1.png

    You will then remove 3 fasteners holding each headlamp in place, you will then finese each headlamp forward. The Ballast will catch on the bumper, you need to up down finese to remove.
    lamppicture2.png

    Then you will have this mess: Tip you do not have to remove the front bumper fascia to perform this procedure as I did. Just remove enough fasteners and retainers in order to lower one corner of the bumper fascia to access the Headlamp housing.

    headlampbefore.jpg

    You will then remove each headlamp connector and take the headlamp assembly to your kitchen table. (NOTE: Be careful when you handle the assemblies. I was extremely careful, but somehow I put a cross car scratch across the lens, dont know how!)

    lamppicture3.png

    You will then need either a Tamperproof Torx set or a Jewlers screwdriver. I used the screwdriver on this lil bastarb:
    TamperproofTorx.jpg

    Headlamp Bulb Cover Screw (Qty: 3) Remove all three with care. Then you will have your replacement bulbs. I choose not to take chances and replaced them all, and used lamp lube to give me life of the vehicle moisture protection:
    lights.jpg

    Headlamp Bulb Retention Spring (Qty: 2/per) Release the springs in order to access the high intensity discharge (HID) bulb. Pull the bulb rearward and release the electrical connector from the bulb. Pull the headlamp bulb from the headlamp assembly.


    Reassembly: Tighten 3 N•m (27 lb in) When all bulbs have been installed, take both Headlamp housings to the vehicle and test them by hooking the connectors to them PRIOR to installing everything.

    Once this is completed you will need to put it all back ...UGHHHHH

    NOTE: If you have issues with the stud at the rear of the lamp housing, I feel given the assembly line sequence used at the assembly plant that the 10mm nut that holds the lamp assembly to the can is unnecessary. It is only there to hold the lamp housing in place while the vehicle is suspended on a "Clamshell" conveyor and elevated a few feet off the floor and until such time as the vehicle is returned to floor level (Flat track conveyor) on its tires and the operator can run down the 3 fasteners under the hood that secure the lamp housing in place, after the fascia has been installed. In my opinion its an assembly aid only , not needed.

    NOTE: Mandatory Sequence on dwg above (Center fastener first, rear second, front fastener third for attaching the lamp housing to the vehicle . Important to maintain up/down and cross car gaps and fits to fender and fascia.


    Tighten
    10 N•m (89 lb in)
    Front Fascia Nut (Qty: 2)
    Tighten
    10 N•m (89 lb in)
    Front Fascia Cover

    AfterHeadlampreplace.jpg

    Enjoy, have fun its a blast!

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  3. #2
    CaddyMAK is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Headlamp Replacement DIY Nightmare

    Thanks for the write-up!
    Do you have any opinions yet on the Sylvania bulbs and their color?
    How long did this all take you?

  4. #3
    billdaman is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Headlamp Replacement DIY Nightmare

    Quote Originally Posted by CaddyMAK View Post
    Thanks for the write-up!
    Do you have any opinions yet on the Sylvania bulbs and their color?
    How long did this all take you?
    The Sylvanias look Factory perfect, I guess because they are direct replacements. BTW I paid $86 set for the D1 Lamps at Amazon and about $15 total at Autozone for the Amber, Clear, and Parking light sets.

    Its a 2.5 hour job if you are fully prepared and work straight through. I could do it now in that time
    Its about 4.5 hours if you are moving around looking for stuff and first time messing with those studs on the fascia is a real pain.

    I could do it in 1.5 hours with a hoist, now.... but not earlier today!

  5. #4
    CaddyMAK is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Headlamp Replacement DIY Nightmare

    Thanks for the info. I am very intimidated by this procedure, but there is no way I am giving a shop 1000$ to change light bulbs. I will have to figure out if the ballasts are a problem. I will be doing it some time soon before the Holidays. I will start early in the morning. I have done quite a few things by myself but I usually end up spending anywhere from 1.5 to 2 times the amount of time a regular DIY-er would. It will probably take me 6+ hours I am so mechanically backwards.

  6. #5
    billdaman is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Headlamp Replacement DIY Nightmare

    Quote Originally Posted by CaddyMAK View Post
    Thanks for the info. I am very intimidated by this procedure, but there is no way I am giving a shop 1000$ to change light bulbs. I will have to figure out if the ballasts are a problem. I will be doing it some time soon before the Holidays. I will start early in the morning. I have done quite a few things by myself but I usually end up spending anywhere from 1.5 to 2 times the amount of time a regular DIY-er would. It will probably take me 6+ hours I am so mechanically backwards.
    Its not really bad if you have the key tools, Jack, stands, 10 mm stubby ratcheting wrench, 4" baby cresent wrench (Believe me you will need it).

    babycresentwrench.jpg

    and of course all the parts in advance. It would also be helpful to have a few spare push pins in the 3 - 4 types and sizes used. You will lose a couple pins and some just get damaged. Once the vehicle is on the stands you are well on your way!
    CaddyMAK and CaddyMAK like this.

  7. #6
    RicktheRealtor is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Headlamp Replacement DIY Nightmare

    I can see the engineers who designed this system rolling on the ground laughing themselves silly. This is obscene.
    I commend you for your hard work and persistance in getting the job done and not paying four digit repair bills. But really? Is this any way to design cars?

  8. #7
    billdaman is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Headlamp Replacement DIY Nightmare

    Quote Originally Posted by RicktheRealtor View Post
    I can see the engineers who designed this system rolling on the ground laughing themselves silly. This is obscene.
    I commend you for your hard work and persistance in getting the job done and not paying four digit repair bills. But really? Is this any way to design cars?
    The boys in Flint or Lux car Division were not the brightest bulbs in the lot in the 2003 - 2005 time frame. Most of the real engineers who started their careers with GM in the 60's and early 70's had taken early outs by the time this Serviceability nightmare was created.

    I was at GM Truck at the time and didnt pay much attention to the "Mid Cycle Enhancement" that carried the Deville into the DTS. However I am sure it went like this:
    1. The bottom rung engineers at Flint were the ones assigned to Exteriors. I am sure A guy had the fascia, and a gal had the lighting
    2. The studio wanted world class fits, gaps to fender and grille and flushness to hood.
    3. They all got together and and put the Clay scrapers to work on what would satisify the Studio Chief
    4. The Criteria guys laid down the law as to what could be changed in the sheet metal in and around the tail light can area, with a serious focus on using existing body shop tooling and not tearing up the weld sequence.
    5. Costs were fought over and Purchasing won all battles
    6. Then someone woke up the drunk contract serviceability engineer and informed him that ..."we gis a lil problem here"...
    7. He muddled his way through the mess and they all agreed that 1.5 labor hours at the dealer to replace a headlamp and a horrible design did not trump dissatisifing the studio chief, the Vehicle line executive or ones boss who would be wondering just what you were doing with your time.
    8. Then ergonomics wizzed all over the attachment strategy for the Fascia and captive studs were made part of the Design for manufacturing strategy
    9. They determined that the design was no problem for the assembly plant as the lamp housings go on before the fascia so great!
    10. Then they launched the thing and the workers figured out how to finese the lamp assemblys and fascias together.

    The customer? No one had his voice in the "Mid Cycle Enhancement" design

    A typical GM Fiasco, we did this type of thing better than anyone. Root cause: Giving the Design chief what he wanted, numbskulls handling the designs, non GM Contract employees monitoring servicability, and cost being the deciding factor in all decisions.

    Questions?
    Got2gofaster and Got2gofaster like this.

  9. #8
    markopolo50 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Headlamp Replacement DIY Nightmare

    Quote Originally Posted by billdaman View Post
    The boys in Flint or Lux car Division were not the brightest bulbs in the lot in the 2003 - 2005 time frame. Most of the real engineers who started their careers with GM in the 60's and early 70's had taken early outs by the time this Serviceability nightmare was created.

    I was at GM Truck at the time and didnt pay much attention to the "Mid Cycle Enhancement" that carried the Deville into the DTS. However I am sure it went like this:
    1. The bottom rung engineers at Flint were the ones assigned to Exteriors. I am sure A guy had the fascia, and a gal had the lighting
    2. The studio wanted world class fits, gaps to fender and grille and flushness to hood.
    3. They all got together and and put the Clay scrapers to work on what would satisify the Studio Chief
    4. The Criteria guys laid down the law as to what could be changed in the sheet metal in and around the tail light can area, with a serious focus on using existing body shop tooling and not tearing up the weld sequence.
    5. Costs were fought over and Purchasing won all battles
    6. Then someone woke up the drunk contract serviceability engineer and informed him that ..."we gis a lil problem here"...
    7. He muddled his way through the mess and they all agreed that 1.5 labor hours at the dealer to replace a headlamp and a horrible design did not trump dissatisifing the studio chief, the Vehicle line executive or ones boss who would be wondering just what you were doing with your time.
    8. Then ergonomics wizzed all over the attachment strategy for the Fascia and captive studs were made part of the Design for manufacturing strategy
    9. They determined that the design was no problem for the assembly plant as the lamp housings go on before the fascia so great!
    10. Then they launched the thing and the workers figured out how to finese the lamp assemblys and fascias together.

    The customer? No one had his voice in the "Mid Cycle Enhancement" design

    A typical GM Fiasco, we did this type of thing better than anyone. Root cause: Giving the Design chief what he wanted, numbskulls handling the designs, non GM Contract employees monitoring servicability, and cost being the deciding factor in all decisions.

    Questions?
    You must have worked salary too?? Sometimes I wonder how we made a car at all. Glad I am out of there.

  10. #9
    larryP03 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Headlamp Replacement DIY Nightmare

    Looks like I cannot send private messages, so quick question....where exactly do I need to jack the car up from? I also have a 2007 DTS. I am going to be replacing the passenger side headlight since its hazing over pretty good.

    Would you happen to have a picture handy? Or can you point me to a post with a picture of where the car can be properly jacked up from?

  11. #10
    Superjim's Avatar
    Superjim is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Headlamp Replacement DIY Nightmare

    Quote Originally Posted by larryP03 View Post
    Looks like I cannot send private messages, so quick question....where exactly do I need to jack the car up from? I also have a 2007 DTS. I am going to be replacing the passenger side headlight since its hazing over pretty good.

    Would you happen to have a picture handy? Or can you point me to a post with a picture of where the car can be properly jacked up from?
    If it is just a hazing problem... sometimes you can use ultrafine automobile "POLISH" (not wax) to clean off the hazing.

  12. #11
    MoistCabbage's Avatar
    MoistCabbage is offline Cadillac Owners 10000+ Posts
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    And if that doesn't work, a good headlight restoration kit should take care of it (if you take your time and do it correctly).

    And if THAT doesn't work (if the headlight/s are extremely yellow and "crusty"), you can wet sand them, working from 400 grit, up to 1000/1500, and buff them with a rotary buffer. Even that, done at a body shop, is usually cheaper than replacing the housings.

  13. #12
    billdaman is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Headlamp Replacement DIY Nightmare

    Quote Originally Posted by larryP03 View Post
    Looks like I cannot send private messages, so quick question....where exactly do I need to jack the car up from? I also have a 2007 DTS. I am going to be replacing the passenger side headlight since its hazing over pretty good.

    Would you happen to have a picture handy? Or can you point me to a post with a picture of where the car can be properly jacked up from?
    Larry, I dont have a picture, however the jack point is a black metal plate just under or slightly rearward the oil pan I believe. Its on the center line of the vehicle. Fit your jack into position and rise the jack until the lift point is centered on the plate and lift the front end until the wheels leave the ground. Then place your jsck staunds on the frame rails both sides and lower onto th estands. Thats all there is to it. If you still need pictures I will try to get some posted tomorrow

    ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by MoistCabbage View Post
    And if that doesn't work, a good headlight restoration kit should take care of it (if you take your time and do it correctly).

    And if THAT doesn't work (if the headlight/s are extremely yellow and "crusty"), you can wet sand them, working from 400 grit, up to 1000/1500, and buff them with a rotary buffer. Even that, done at a body shop, is usually cheaper than replacing the housings.
    agree its cheaper than a replacement, and the results look great. However you will be doing it again and again due to the removal of the UV coating on the polycarbonite lens so its a toss up if you intend to keep the vehicle long term. If I were keeping the vehicle 1 - 3 years its a no brainer. Longer than that I would replace the headlamp housing.

  14. #13
    larryP03 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Headlamp Replacement DIY Nightmare

    I will check out the restoration kits, but in the end I might just replace the housing.

    I will get under there today and see if I can find the jack point.

    Thanks for the help!

  15. #14
    brucehammond is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    I just completed both bulb replacement. It only took 1.5 hrs total with the help of this write up. Not really a big deal! You can do it!

  16. #15
    Jesda's Avatar
    Jesda is offline Super Moderator
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    Re: Headlamp Replacement DIY Nightmare

    Huge thanks for posting this!! Added to FAQ.

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