Technical A Good, Funny Read...

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Technical A Good, Funny Read...


New member
Oct 28, 2005
I thought I might brighten up everyone's day with a good chuckle... This is, essentially, one of the dreaded Headlight Bulb Changing sagas, but with a new (to my eyes) twist...

So, everyone knows it's a nightmare (in most cases) job of changing out a Stilo headlight bulb yourself, especially if you're unlucky enough to lose a bulb located anywhere near the battery compartment. However, as the numerous threads already posted will show you, it's somewhat of an initiation rite amongst Stilo owners who want to show they're committed to their car.

Well, I love my Stilo, but the honeymoon very nearly came to an abrupt end about two hours ago - luckily, I can blame the previous owner, not the car, so there's a chance of saving the relationship (explained later - keep reading)!!!

My passenger side dipped headlight went yesterday (and I know it was yesterday because it was fine when I checked it on Monday). Being the conscientious type, I'm very anxious about getting this fixed as soon as possible. Buoyed on by the excellent detail and support available here (thank you FF), and a €60 price-tag at my local FIAT dealer, I'd resolved to tackle the task myself.

Oh :eek: My :eek: God :eek:

What follows is a chronological litany of disasters, cataloguing my attempts!!!

1 - Tuesday Evening (circa 17.15, approx 30 minutes after identifying blown bulb) - pull into multistory carpark to suss situation - what lights are gone? (check all, only one blown) - can I fix it here? (have manual? check; have read procedure on FF? check: have tools? no - cr4p; have spare bulb? hmmm - carry Halfords Spare Bulb kit for Stilo, but closer, CLOSER inspection shows H1, NOT H7 bulb - cr4p - thank you Halfords)!!! Nuts - nothing more going to happen on Tuesday Evening!!!

2 - Tuesday Night (circa 18.30, after collecting girlfriend and parking at her place) - decide to take a walk, calling into any petrol stations in the location to see if H7's are available - realising that this is highly futile, but still needing to feel like I'm doing something!!! Of course, not a one to be found! Itching to drive to Halfords to buy replacement to have at the ready (and to inform them of inaccuracies in their bulb section) but Northside Dublin traffic is a wonder to behold, so ultimately decide against it - wait till tomorrow!!!

3 - Wednesday (today) Morning (circa 06.45, getting ready to leave for work) - discover, to my delight, that I have a brand new H7 at home, unopened, that was bought for girlfriends car many moons ago - steal this!!!

4 - Wednesday (today) Morning (circa 10.30 to 12.30, in between other really important things at work) - review as many threads/posts/directions/hints/tips for bulb changing on FF - feeling well up to the task (at least the first part - i.e. investigating just how difficult it will be) - decide to forgo lunch and have a crack at it...

5 - Wednesday (today) Afternoon (circa 13.10, during lunchbreak) - armed with all the confidence in the world, a sense of pride in having the balls to do it myself, and a colleague to observe/help as needed, I set out to the sunny carpark to conquer the headlight... I remove the battery cover (easy-peasy). I locate the light-housing cover (feeling good). I open the clip, and loosen the cover (things going well - remember, I'm still "only looking"). Unable to pull the cover up & out, I figure I'll let it drop - I can see exactly how it fits, and I'm confident about being able to put it back - besides, if I want a proper look, I'll need it out of the way, right? (at this point, I'm vaguely aware of crossing the line from "only looking", but still confident)!!! I remove the back cover, let it drop, and face the exposed rear of the dipped beam bulb - I can see the power connector and the bulb I want. Having come this far with only mild discomfort (my hands are fairly well wedged between the battery casing and the body of the car), I decide "to hell with it, I've this much done, I may as well change the flippin' thing while I'm at it"...

:shakehead :nono: :shakehead :nono: :shakehead :nono: :shakehead :nono:​
Oh, if only I'd known!!! My first clue was that the assembly at the back of the bulb didn't quite match the picture in the manual... But, sure, how much of a biggy is that? Maybe it's just a generic diagram, whatever - let's keep going!!!
My second clue was that there was no movement what so ever to the bulb, no matter how much gentle jiggling... Hmmmmmm... Tell you what, let's take off the connector, and get a proper look (all the time wedged into my engine bay, remember). With that off, and a good view of the back of the bulb, where the heck was the bulb retaining clip/spring? And what the heck is that black, rubbery stuff around the bulb case? Why won't the bulb move? Is that glue...? Has somebody GLUED my bulb in...!!! HAS SOME COWBOY LOST THE CLIP AND BONDED MY BULB INTO ITS BAY?!?!?!?!? I kid you not, folks - if I can get pictures, I'll show you... So, fuming, I reattached the power connector (fun), replaced the backing cover (OH so much fun), screwed on the battery cover (pretty boring, really) and checked to see if the rest of the lights still worked (they do, so far)!!!

6 - Wednesday (today) Afternoon (circa 15.00, back at my computer with a sore left arm) - utterly dejected, I decide to post a thread, hoping some good may come of my exploits!!!


I STILL don't know what other damage I may have done during my fiddling - is the connection sound? is the backing cover on properly? am I going to melt anything? I'm quite annoyed at the situation, but glad I can't really blame the car for the inconvenience? I guess I'll have to bring it into the dealer, pay big bucks to get it fixed, hope like mad it's not been done to any of the other bulbs, and lament the fact that I ALMOST had it...

Maybe I'm just not destined to be one of the club...!

Hope you enjoyed - will keep you posted...!!!
Jesus, what kind of idot does that kind of thing, I bet there was a big black cloud over your head when you went back to work. As for paying FIAT €60, isn't there a local guy that could do it for less?
To be perfectly honest, I'd consider dropping the bumper and removing the light-housing myself - based on some of the "how-to's" here, it seems very well laid out and explained... I'm guessing the €60 is just down to the fact that it's a time consuming endeavour...!!! (Localman would probably charge in and around the same, and there's no guarantee he'd've done it before...)
My concern is that I'd do that, and find it was all for nothing:- the fact that the bulb is glued in has possibly scrapped the whole cluster, meaning I'll probably need a new one, and I think I'd rather a FIAT dealer sort that for me...

Still, I'm expecting it to cost €60 just to get this confirmed!!!!!!!!!

Oh, the pain... The pain of it all.....!!!
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The thing is if you being it to a FIAT garage they may see this as a way of making some cash, FIAT sales in Ireland have been very poor over recent years, they are all hoping that the new Punto will turn things around. In honesty would you pay €28k for a Croma or €18+ for a new Stilo given FIAT's poor reliability record? Don't get me wrong, I have had two Marea's, my wife a punto, my brother a punto, brava & marea and my neighbour a marea estate and none of us ever had what you would call a serious problem (I personally had no problems what so ever, and the punto the wife had, which we got second-hand for €1250 two years ago and got €1500 back on when she traded in for the 03 Stilo, had a small problem with the engine temp sensor and was fixed for €18, i.e. the price of a replacement sensor) so I'm not knocking FIAT, I guess what I'm trying to say (in my long winded way) is give it a go yourself, if the cluster is bust then let FIAT do it, what's the worst that can happen, you can't get the bumper back on and will have to pay FIAT to do it, still less than paying them to take it off AND put it back on (phew!!).

Keep us posted.
Thanks for this excellant and honest post, i've just came back in from trying to do EXACTLY the same thing but thankfully stopped at the 'just looking' phase of your endevour. Same Halfords BS same Halfords BS bulbs (H7 not H1) Same place (Girlfriends flat) and almost the same result. I am not paying someone to change what should be a user replaceable component, what idiot came up with this stupid stupid design.:bang:
Quick update for you - had the car in for a tracking check over the weekend, so had a discussion about the headlight...

As suspected, the bulb has indeed been glued in by a previous owner / servicer... (I believe "mastick" was the term used...)!!!


So, as a good will gesture, they offered to rip it out for me there and then (my words, not theirs!) & insert a replacement as a quick fix until I got it back to them for a proper repair (this was at 16.25 on Friday - they close at 16.30)... Fifteen minutes later they accepted defeat and said they couldn't do it (not really that surprised)...

End result - I drove away 90 minutes after getting there with still only one headlight, an appointment to drop it into them next Thursday (tomorrow), and a likely bill of €200 (new headlight and ~ 1 hours labour)...


Still, on the bright side, they only charged me for 30 minutes check and adjust tracking, and (I checked) at least the new headlight comes with fresh bulbs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D

Ive just removed the battery cover.

Im struggling to remove the light bulb cover.

I will update u all in 30 minutes time when hopefully ill be sipping a cup of tea in the throes of victory over one more episode of the DREAD passenger dipped light saga. smoke me a kipper, ill be home for tea!
21 hours and 2 torn up arms later.....

A roller coast of emotion...

the highs (look what I have done, I have removed my battery cover, I have taken something out of the engine bay... I am a MAN!)

the lows (please just drop, please please please light cluster back cover, just drop through the engine bay onto the ground... please oh please oh please)

the very lows ("peeeoooong" F**K, B***S, SH**E, A**E, ETC there goes the little spring clip that holds the bulb into the back of the light cluster)

the lowest of the very lows ("muffled roars from under the car along the lines of "I CANT TAKE IT ANY MORE, IM GOING TO ITALY TO TOP THE F****R WHO CAME UP WITH THIS W****R OF AN ENGINE BAY DESIGN!!!")

the cup final penalty shootout sudden death like moments spent hanging over the engine bay with a tiny mirror on a pliers as i attempted to tease the light bulb clip back onto its holder with shouts of YES YES YEESSSSSSSSs followed by more expletives as it unclipped itself just as i was finished.

the final crucial 20 minutes of trying to reattach the back of the light cluster after everything else was in place and after I had actually touched the light bulb glass (a big no no). I finally managed to reattach it from UNDER the car while looking UP through the grills in the wheel arch and using the sense of touch alone. Not an easy feat (feet?).

If you happened to walk past my house at 2 pm yesterday, it wouldve seemed like some eejit in a tracksuit and homer simpson slippers had lost the plot as I jumped around the garden like Geoff Hurst in 1966.

Job Done,

Advice?? Maybe the €60 is cheaper than the cost of the stress and emotion, nevertheless I hold my head up high as I walk in the footsteps of bygone heroes who have replaced a passenger side dip bulb and lived to tell the tale.

My method?

Removed the battery cover only, couldnt figure out (was too scared to) remove the rest of the battery and fuse boxes. I didnt remove the wheel arch bit either.

I worked from under the car and above it, dont just use your car jack to jack the car, its unsafe, use a proper jack and put your handbrake on and leave the car in gear.

PS next time I think ill lube up my arms with grease :D
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That is class, what kind of muppet uses mastic on a light.

I have a driver side fog light and a near side dipped headlight out, luckily enough I have all the spare H1 and H7 bulbs I need. Going to give it a go Friday, so at least I have the weekend to recover, thinking I'll give going in through the wheel arch a go for the near side.

I was just looking on t’internet and found white LED H1 and H7 bulbs, no idea if they work or not but they look fairly cool.

Sorry but had to have a laugh on this one. Try actone (nail paint remover) next time to disolve the glue. Try not to get in the way of the fumes, otherwise you tend to lose interrest in what you're doing.
I've seen similar trials changing headlights - here's the tail from one of the Surf owners :D I've been down his route a few times in 4 odd years of ownership, it's amazing how fast you can move a battery out of the way !!!

GTDOG said:
What a Kerfuffle! I have just changed both headlight bulbs, and both brake light bulbs, in the words of Little Brittain "What a kerfuffle!" those headlight bulbs are to do!

Remove both batterys
(Hah! if only I had a socket set this would be easy!)
Skin both knuckles on the valance un-doing the retaining bar nuts, and gently cook right hand when poz terminal and spanner arc to ground!

Remove Washer fluid bottle, and radiator expansion tank
Umm wires too short to remove per- say, but can move to the battery area, oh damnnn, emptied both in the process, now grass is swampy, and the antifreeze is stinging the grazed knuckles.

Remove air intake shield on nearside to access back of headlamp,
Ok, one bolt in view, one hidden, and found just before suicide occours.
Now have nice slice to right hand, due to spanner greasy from battery terminals slipping off the in-acessable nut and gashing hand on god only knows what.

Ignore laughter from builders doing loft conversion

Unscrew plastic ring, to access the rubber bulb bellow type cover thingy
Yeah right, its getting dark now, and the Maglight is chipping my front teeth!
The drivers side bonnet release cable is getting in the way, the grease from the battery terminals helps aid the gashing of left hand on something else, the builders are splitting their sides now!

Remove rubber bellows thingy that covers the bulb access.
In future I shall un-plug the bulb wires first, then the burns to fingers whils re-soldering the plug on would not have occoured!

Release spring clip that retains the bulb.
Like I said its now dark, the Maglight has tooth prints in it, my jaw hurts, the gag reflex is cutting in, and the frikking clip is a sod when fingers are too greasy.

Remove and replace bulb
Ta blinking Dah!

Un-do steps one to nine above!
Ah now the air intake filter thingy is plain refusing to go back, I have no more screen wash, I drop the bolt that holds the washer bottle, it lands with a plop into the mud I have created, hands and knee in mud with torch in teeth, batterys die, builders now in hysterics, I knock the bonnet stay whilst groping in mud, bonnet catch had been re-positioned whilst I re-assembled the Battery restraint on passenger side, now I think I may have broken some fingers here! Builder one falls from ladder, and does not mind one bit, they have as many tears as me running down faces, but their smiles are real.

Last bolt back, batteries re-connected, engine starts, right hand headlight fails to come on.
Builders start howling, clutching at sides, unable to make verbal communication.
I howl clutch at fingers, and likewise am unable to make verbal communication.

Kicking the bullbars brings right hand headlight to life, poss breaks right big toe, No way am I giving the builders the satisfaction of showing pain.

Change brake light bulbs within 50 sec of starting.

Job done!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!

Now where can I find the address of the nice person that designed the headlight bulb access

Thank you Tony (aka the good Dr Anglegrinder) for your advice, If I find that removing the grille and headlights would have been easier, I may not but you that pint.

Didn't 5th gear have a go at changing the bulb in a megane, it took the best of the AA nearly an hour !!!!!!
did a full set (both sides) on a 1.4 stilo last week in about 45 mins

fogs, headlight and main beam all changed.....

just had to slacken the washer bottle top bolt to swing it enough to get the back cover off

jack and stand the car and get your arm up from the bottom..

biggest problem was refitting the cover....
did a full set (both sides) on a 1.4 stilo last week in about 45 mins

fogs, headlight and main beam all changed.....

just had to slacken the washer bottle top bolt to swing it enough to get the back cover off

jack and stand the car and get your arm up from the bottom..

biggest problem was refitting the cover....

your welcome to come give my JTD a try if you want :p
Unbelievably it's easier shifting batteries and fluid containers out of the way than removing the front grill.

That was just 1 little design 'feature', like the sodding clock you couldn't see through the steering wheel :bang: :bang:
donow what all the fuss is about :eek: had a dipped and a fog go on pas side so far (not easy to change.. but not THAT difficult either.. takes about 2 hours TBH) this was one good read though :ROFLMAO: