: DIY removal of front bumper to access lights



bwclemons
02-03-11, 03:17 PM
This is a DIY for removing the front bumper cover. In my opinion, this option is the best method for anyone wishing to do anything with the front headlights or fog lights. This includes just replacing bulbs in general. I have tried the approved method in the owner’s manual for replacing bulbs in the headlights and I can assure you it cannot be done by the average person. The passenger side can be accessed using the owner’s manual method but it is not nearly as easy as it appears. The driver’s side is nearly impossible for anyone. It requires removing the negative and positive cables from the battery and then removing the fuse box next to the battery. (photo) Removing the fuse box is very difficult without removing the headlight itself first. That’s where we wanted to be in the first place.
So on to removing the bumper. It will only take about 30 min. to do the first time. The next time you can remove it in less than 15 min.
The only tools you will need are two small flat bladed screw drivers for removing the small plastic clips. A ¼” metric socket set with the 7mm and 10mm sockets, a small extension, and if you have one, a ¼” driver. The last item is a standard #2 phillips screwdriver.
Start by starting the car and turning the wheel as far to one side as possible. On the side that the wheel is turned in on, remove as many of the Phillips screws as you can reach along the front of the wheel well. Move to the opposite side of the car and remove as many of the screws as you can on the inside front of the wheel well. Go back to the other side and remove the 7mm bolt under the wheel well cover where the bumper and the wheel arch come together. (photo) Start the car again and move the wheel in the opposite direction. Go back and remove the remaining screws from the forward wheel well area that you were not able to access before. There are six total to remove on the driver’s side and seven on the passenger side. Now remove the other 7mm bolt on the other side of car under the wheel well cover. Open the hood and remove the rubber seal along the front and sides of the plastic cover that surround the compartment. There are small hooks that the seal slides onto. Starting from the front middle the hooks are open to the outside side and toward the back of the car. (photo) Next use the small screwdrivers and pry up the plastic fasteners and remove them. (photo) Now remove the front top plastic cover. Along the back part of the cover are two hidden plastic snaps. Pull up from the back of the cover about one foot in from the outside edges. You will hear them release and the cover will come off. Now make sure the small covers on either side along the sides of the engine compartment are free enough to get under them. You may have to remove an additional plastic clip. Next up are six silver bolts that were under the cover. Use the 10mm socket. (photo) Last you will need to lay on the floor and remove three silver bolts under the front pan area. (photo) The whole front of the car is now ready to be removed. Take your hand and and pull straight out along the wheel arch and bumper cover (where you removed the small bolt under the wheel well cover. (photo) Pull out only until the clips release up to the headlight. Do both sides. Move to the front of the car and stand right in the middle of the car and lift up on the cover with one hand and simultaneously pull straight out at the area of the headlight, there will be a pop as the remaining two clips release along the headlight. Do both sides. Now lift up and out and the top of the bumper will be free. There is a small black pin, on either side and on the top of the cover, that actually holds the top of the cover in place so you can work. Let the cover drop slightly and the bottom will come free. If the cover does not want to come off there is probably a screw in the wheel well that you missed. Set the cover on the ground in front of the car and unplug the park assist plug. (photo) It may be easier to slide the whole plug off of the frame before removing the plug. The bumper is now off. Move it to the side and that’s it. Make sure you don’t let the bumper fall down. It will want to stand on it’s own though.
The head light is held on by three 10mm bolts one on top under that side cover, one on the outside bottom of the light and one on the front bottom inside. Be carefull ! The light assembly has two small tits on them. (photo) The first, and the most easily broken, is on the top back. Press on the front of the light and pull up slightly and the tit will come up from a small hole in the fender. The light will be free and you can maneuver it out to remove the plug. Press in on the tab to remove the plug.
That’s it, enjoy.

Willo
02-04-11, 11:45 AM
The difficulty in reaching the headlights and parking lights by having to do major body work to access them appears to be common among all new GM body styles. In a world where practical access to replacement parts seems to be a trend, why does GM make it this difficult for the average person/non GM mechanic to replace a simple bulb across their model lines?

On the surface, it appears to be a built in revenue generator for the dealers, yet I wonder how many of you will enjoy paying upwards of $100 to $200 in labor to replace a $15 bulb when it burns out? Your warranty period will likely be over. Think aboout it, GM people who read this forum...is this the way to keep your foreign-brand loyal converts happy who are shopping domestic for the first time in a generation?

My recommendation to a dealer would be not to charge to replace a bulb to customers who frequent your service department, irrespective of the mileage. I would not want to be the service manager who has to explain to any customer the justification of this horrendous expense that shouldn't be there due to incosiderate design policy.

tc2010
02-04-11, 10:56 PM
bwclemons,
Excellent, well documentated post.......:worship::worship:

GMJim
02-05-11, 04:05 PM
BWC, nice post
Willos, move out of the 60's. The days of a small block, radiator, washer bottle, and battery in the
engine compartment are loooong gone. Computers, safety, and Federal Government regulations
have taken up, any and all space. Engine packaging is one of the toughest jobs in design.
A small area, and everybody wants a piece. Why do you think the battery ended up under the
rear seat in the CTS? We do not put 6014 headlamps in cars anymore. Bulbs that are in there are supposed
to last forever. I have not seen a warrenty claim for a bulb replacement yet.
I will try to get you a job, if you think you can package the compartment better.

bwclemons
11-27-11, 07:26 PM
Here are some pictures
http://s1082.photobucket.com/albums/j372/bwclemons/2011%20SRX%20picturesw/

scurling
02-17-12, 12:56 PM
BWC: Yes, a very nice writeup. Can you estimate the total time you spent on the bulk of the installation.
thanks

inspectorudy
02-18-12, 03:28 PM
I guess they looked into having screws on the outside of the headlight frame that could be removed and the entire headlight assembly removed for work/bulb changing? Using the new cap head or Torx screws in chrome would have looked cool as well as making a just a little bit of sense. I have replaced two lifetime filters on my wife's Dyson vacuum cleaner so I don't buy that moniker any longer. A friend of mine bought a Jaguar sedan with no greasing Zerk fittings because they were lifetime, no grease bearings. A month later from a factory recall they drilled and installed Zerk fittings all over the car. It would appear that if the headlights could be removed from the outside that the room behind them could have been packed even tighter.

bwclemons
02-19-12, 08:28 AM
It takes about 1/2 hour to remove the front bumper the first time. It takes me about 15min to do it now. I can say that of all the ways to access the lights, headlights or fogs, this way gives you full access to everything you could ever want with little hassle. It sounds daunting, and people think opening a new car this way could ruin their new car, but remember what service persons do when your car is in for service. By the time your wife goes to the grocery store and returns you could have changed bulbs and have the car back together and she would never know.

inspectorudy
02-19-12, 10:48 AM
I agree with you that YOU can do it in 15 minutes but you also have to take off the entire front clip in the process risking scratching it or damaging it in some way. It is also unwieldy and for some people, like you say, doing this to a brand new car is stomach turning. You are an example of a "Get'er done" kinda guy and I admire that. I am a "Start from a clean sheet of paper" kind of guy and many times I do not see why things were done the way they were. Have you ever owned one brand of tool or appliance and thought it was great and then seen another brand that does the same thing but does it much more efficiently or simpler? All you have to do is read "Motor Trend" or "Car and Driver" to see how the different companies do the same things but in different ways. BMW came out with their "I" drive device that was supposed to be the be all of infotainment controls but it turned out to be a mess and their owners hated it. Ford has a disaster on their hands with their new info control system. From that I can tell there are a lot of changes to come from all auto makers and if I worked for GM I would be trying out every other make of auto and appliance on the market to stay a head. I still think that the old school way of allowing the owner to take out the front head light assembly is the simpler solution to a simple problem and usually you do not need to change all of the bulbs in all of the lights at one time so taking the entire front off to change one bulb still seems to me to be excessive.

300:29:1
04-28-13, 07:04 PM
The difficulty in reaching the headlights and parking lights by having to do major body work to access them appears to be common among all new GM body styles. In a world where practical access to replacement parts seems to be a trend, why does GM make it this difficult for the average person/non GM mechanic to replace a simple bulb across their model lines?

On the surface, it appears to be a built in revenue generator for the dealers, yet I wonder how many of you will enjoy paying upwards of $100 to $200 in labor to replace a $15 bulb when it burns out? Your warranty period will likely be over. Think aboout it, GM people who read this forum...is this the way to keep your foreign-brand loyal converts happy who are shopping domestic for the first time in a generation?

My recommendation to a dealer would be not to charge to replace a bulb to customers who frequent your service department, irrespective of the mileage. I would not want to be the service manager who has to explain to any customer the justification of this horrendous expense that shouldn't be there due to incosiderate design policy.

While I agree with this, I would like to state that my 2010 Honda Fit Sport needed to have a fog light replaced (bulb burned out). This job required the removal of the front bumper at a total cost of just under $150. Covered under the new vehicle warranty, it's still outrageous.

srmig77
03-03-14, 02:26 PM
I am not a DYI person unfortunately, and am being quoted in the $300ish for labor and another $300ish for parts to get the bulb replaced on my SRX. Does that sound like excessive or is that really the going rate to get something like this done?

Thanks for any help.

300:29:1
03-03-14, 04:59 PM
I am not a DYI person unfortunately, and am being quoted in the $300ish for labor and another $300ish for parts to get the bulb replaced on my SRX. Does that sound like excessive or is that really the going rate to get something like this done? Thanks for any help.
I went to a car stereo installer and they quoted me around $150 to remove the bumper, install the bulbs, and replace the bumper. The standard bulbs should be around $30 or so. These are available at auto parts store and are pretty standard. Something doesn't sound right in your quote.

2011SRXUser
03-18-14, 11:57 AM
great write up... i bet its gonna be a big pain in the ass

adamjeeps
03-18-14, 04:57 PM
Also try body shops. They can take bumpers off in no time and their labor rates are competitive. They will also have fasteners on hand in case any break.

pissedoffwookiee
03-18-14, 10:41 PM
BWC, nice post
Willos, move out of the 60's. The days of a small block, radiator, washer bottle, and battery in the
engine compartment are loooong gone. Computers, safety, and Federal Government regulations
have taken up, any and all space. Engine packaging is one of the toughest jobs in design.
A small area, and everybody wants a piece. Why do you think the battery ended up under the
rear seat in the CTS? We do not put 6014 headlamps in cars anymore. Bulbs that are in there are supposed
to last forever. I have not seen a warrenty claim for a bulb replacement yet.
I will try to get you a job, if you think you can package the compartment better.

the battery ended up in the back because:

A) it promotes better weight distribution, for better handling BMW was the big name doing this alot for this reason
B) by moving the battery inside an insulated sealed environment adds life to the battery vs, being exposed to the elements under the hood, almost one and half to twice as long before replacement
C) by putting the battery inside the safety cage and crumple zones increases the likelihood that should you survive an accident, so will the battery so that onstar stays powered and can call for help and guide help to you by sending GPS coordinates...it is also safer for all involved by being protected there is less fire and chemical hazard during said wreck.