Technical Near side Headlamp Unit replacement

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Technical Near side Headlamp Unit replacement


Jun 23, 2009
Milton Keynes

I've had a look through the guides but cannot find one for replacing the near side headlamp unit on my 2004 Stilo Dynamic JTD (115). Does anyone know how to do this or possibly a garage that can do the work for a reasonable fee? I think I can pick a unit up for around £50 - £70. my local garage wants a total fee of £457.57!
Can anyone help?

many thanks
You need to remove the bumper, then it's just a few bolts holding the headlamp unit in and unplugging it. Nothing too hard.

I've had a look through the guides but cannot find one for replacing the near side headlamp unit on my 2004 Stilo Dynamic JTD (115). Does anyone know how to do this or possibly a garage that can do the work for a reasonable fee? I think I can pick a unit up for around £50 - £70. my local garage wants a total fee of £457.57!
Can anyone help?

many thanks
The bumper has to come off but it's not tooo severe.

It's held on by two screws inside each wing (behind the headlamp... where the bumper touches the wing) then two or three underneath the radiator support... and the four on top of the radiatore/slam panel. The only nasty ones are the ones under the radiator since they might be seized up... but otherwise it's a simple job for one person.

You need to not try to save time... removed the wheel arch liners to get access to the screws inside the wings, ane don't forget to detach the undertray if you have one.

To remove the headlamps you will also need to remove the bumper mounts. They're just "L" profile pieces of polypropylene (?) like "eyebrows" but underneath the headlamps... held in with a couple of bolts. The lamps foul on them if you don't remove them, so you can't really miss them.

Before you remove the headlamps themselves, point the car at your garage door or house wall and mark the positions of the dipped beam, so you can check the beam angle when you fit the new lamp. Do both sides, since you're going to remove/replace the other lamp too in a minute..

The headlamps are held in by three nuts, attached to a dual-way adjustable stud type screw (#46800136 if yours are rotten) which lets you vary how close the headlamp tabs get to the car body. Don't disturb these if you can help it, or your headlamp aim will change.

The headlamp comes out once you have removed the big round electrical connector on the back.

While you have the bumper off, I would suggest changing ALL the bulbs in both headlamps... otherwise you just know one will blow a week after you do this job and you'll have to wrestle changing the bulb with the headlamp in place... Ahhhh

If it was me/knowing what I do now, I would also change the headlamp adjuster motor in the other headlamp, especially if yours doesn't work, as it's an MOT failure now. If your new headlamp doesn't have one... then order a pair and stick a new one in there too.

I might have a pair of new motors, if you can dig out the number on the yellow label on your motors.

Refit the lamps....check everything works and check that the new headlamp in particular is aimed correctly. You can adjust it up and down by using the outer one of the two white "rod" screws on the back of the lamp. Also check your levellers work...

Then refit everything else, the opposite of dismantling... it'll only take you a couple of hours.

Ralf S.
Hi Ralph,

Thanks for such a comprehensive answer. Very much appreciated. I’m thinking of now having a garage do the work as I’m a bit short on tools now - I don’t do any major jobs myself now. I think this might be a bit more than I’m prepared to do.

Thanks also for your offer of a motor. I thought the motor came as part of the headlamp cluster?

I was wondering whether to have some LED DRL while im at it!

Thanks again. I will speak to the garage to check whether I need the motor(s)
Hi Ralph,

I’ve just had a thought re this headlamp unit. The garage said it needs replacing because the plastic threaded adjuster for the levelling is broken. The headlamp still works! Is it possible to save myself some money and just get this part or is it integral to the headlamp cluster do you know?
It sounds like the garage didn't really investigate how to fix it...

But to answer your earlier question first.. whether a headlamp comes with a new motor, the answer is "it depends".

If you can source a genooine Fiat headlamp it will have the motor and the bulbs supplied with it, which kind of makes up for the arm and leg that it will cost... but a friend of mine bought an aftermarket lamp for his Punto, after his had an argument with a bollard... and it had no motor or bulbs in it (we had to take those out of his smashed lamp and fit them).

So.. when you buy your new lamp, read the description and if possible check with the seller. The cheaper it is (apart from it could be for LHD cars) the more likely it is not to have a motor or bulbs.

The motor itself is about £8 for a cheap one on t'internet so it's no big deal to not have one... a Bosch one is slightly more expensive (probably £20) and it will obviously be better quality... but my theory is that the levellers only get used twice a year (one of those times being the MOT) so even a cheap one should last long enough until the car is in Boot Hill.

Anyway... the leveller is a black plastic doodah with a white nylon shaft sticking out of it (see picture). Inside there's a mini electric motor like a Scalextric car has, that turns a white nylon wheel, that rotates a bigger "screw" wheel that moves the shaft in and out. The shaft itself doesn't rotate.

When the shaft moves in or out in/out it pushes/pulls the reflector via the ball joint. That fits into a "T-slot" kind of groove in the back of the reflector.

If the electric motor is dead.. nothing will move.

If the nylon wheel gets damaged through some resistance or stiffness somewhere in the mechanism, then the motor will operate (whine) but the nyon wheel won't turn and the shaft won't move.

If the ball end of the shaft falls out of the T-slot / groove on the back of the reflector (if Desperate Dan tried to remove it and snapped it) then the reflector ought to still move.. it can be "pushed" but the "pull" has nothing to pull against.. so the reflector may return to normal position through vibration/gravity but nothing is actively moving it in the reverse direction.

My money is on the nylon wheel inside the motor being stripped of its teeth.. since any stiffness will put pressure on what is just a tiny gear wheel made of plastic. In this case the motor will turn but the wheel (and hence the adjusting shaft) won't move.

A new leveller will fix it since it contains all the moving parts (apart from the reflector, which must be free to pivot). If your reflector can pivot and the groove where the ball of the leveller shaft fits is undamaged) then you don't need a new headlight.

Fitting a new headlight takes slightly less time than replacing the motor.. but it's also way more expensive in parts.

When they remove/fit the new leveller, the ball of the shaft has to be removed/fitted by being hooked into the slot on the reflector. Random Neanderthals might be tempted to just pull it out of, or push it into the slot.. but that will crack the edges of the slot and possibly also the reflector pivots.

Just stick a pinky into the lamp, press the top of the reflector until the groove is closest in its rotation to the back of the lamp and then just hook the ball into the end and rotate the leveller into position (held fixed by two screws).

Ralf S.


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