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Make Your C4 See Well

Five Bucks Can Cure Your C4’s Lazy Eye

Andrew Bolig Sep 1, 2000

Step By Step

First, disconnect the wiring that goes to the headlight motor. It’s much easier with both hands free, and there’s less chance of breaking the wire mounting on the connector.

Start removing the headlight assembly by removing the mounting screws. You can change the bushings by simply removing the motor, but it’s much easier to remove the whole assembly, and you won’t have to reroute the wires around the bracing.

You’ll need a 10mm and a 13mm socket to remove the bolts.

There are two screws on the bottom of the headlight assembly. Don’t forget to remove them.

If you notice that the push-in nuts’ threads are messed up, Chris says they can be replaced with a license-plate push-in nut.

Once you remove the headlight assembly, put it on a workbench and push the cotter pin out with a punch and a hammer. You don’t need to hit the punch hard, just enough to move the pin.

Loosen the two screws on the side of the headlight assembly.

You don’t need to remove them, but loosen them enough so you can get to the bolts that hold on the motor.

Remove the three bolts that retain the motor.

There is one on one side, and two on the other. Make sure you get all three. The motor will rotate freely when they’re all out.

Remove the motor by gently prying it away from the bracket.

Be careful not to lose the little spacers that go on the shaft of the motor.

You can open up the gearbox by removing three screws.

Do not remove the screws that keep the motor housing to the gearbox. While the motor can be reassembled, it isn’t a fun job and should be avoided at all costs.

By placing a small screwdriver in the hole where the cotter pin resided, you can pull up on the gear assembly and remove it from the housing. It will be tight because of the worm gear, but it will come out.

Typically, this is what you see when you separate the plastic gear and the metal shaft.

The nylon bushings have all but disintegrated

You’ll have to clean all of this powder off the gear and housing before you reassemble them with the new bushings.

These three little pieces are what all that white powder originally looked like. The new bushings are made from a different material, so they’ll last longer.

Remember how hard it was to pull the gear out? Chris takes a file and cuts a groove in the back of the gear so it will slide in place easily.

Just remember to mark on the other side where the grooves are so you can find them should you ever have reason to pull the gear again.

Put some grease on the gear for lubrication and install the gear with the grooves mating with the worm gear. Install the three screws that hold the cover plate over the gears, and you’re ready to install the motor back on the headlight assembly.

When you install the motor back onto the headlight assembly, make sure that the spacers are in the proper places and that the motor shaft aligns properly.

Once you have everything installed, tap the cotter pin back in place.

When you reinstall the headlight assembly, make certain there will be sufficient clearance for the headlight to rotate. Make sure that the gaps are the same all the way around the headlight before you try turning the lights on. Once you’re sure you have sufficient clearance, plug the connectors together and see how great your new headlight works.

One recurring problem with the lighting systems on late-model Corvettes is the mechanism that operates the headlight’s rotation. They are operated by an electric motor and have a worm gear, which rides on a plastic gear to turn the headlights up when in use. As a precaution, GM used small plastic bushings inside the gears to act as a buffer for vibration and to smooth the operation of the lights. The problem arises when time begins to wear down the bushings, and they eventually disintegrate into a white powder. These somewhat consumable bushings don’t cost much, and changing them can be done in a day with time to spare. With this in mind, there should be no reason for a lazy eye on your Corvette. Follow along as Chris Petris shows us how easy it is to bring your C4’s vision back to 20/20.

With the day not even half over, and the fact that the new headlight probably works much better now than the other one, why not take the extra time and do the other side? You’ll notice slight differences from one side to the next because GM used the same motor assembly for each side, but they changed the way the motor drive exits the housing. If you start on the driver side, you’ll notice the difference right away, but the procedure will be the same. The bushings that we used were supplied by Eckler’s and are also available through some of the other major Corvette supply houses that advertise in Corvette Fever. For the cost of the parts, it would be wise to buy two sets and do both headlights.

The part number for ’88-’96 bushings is 37701; for ’84-’87, replacement gears are PN 26670 (small gear) and A3526 (large gear).


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