Headlight Headache…

02/02/2020: Why can’t I leave things alone! The car has it’s MOT in a few months and I’d finally got it to the point where I was comfortable it would pass… but then I can’t resist working on something else. What’s this got to do with the headlights? Well they are a mess. They’ve has loads of stone chips and have a lot of surface rust. You can see this below that they really let the car down:

It should have be a relatively simple job to remove the headlight bowl, disconnect the internal wiring and then the plan was to take them home, clean them up and give them a paint.

Driver’s side went to plan and everything was simple:

Unfortunately, less so on the other side. First the bolt securing the rim to the bowl was already rounded. I had to cut a slot into it to get it loose. Then, as I was taking out the headlamp from the bulb it became clear that the connector has been subject to quite a bit of heat at some point and melted. The connector was fused to the pin! You can see this, showing the yellow circles, below:

This means I now how a headlight bulb plastic welded to my wiring loom! In the attempt to wiggle this free I think I broke something else as well. There is an assembly/circuit board poking through where the sidelight would be. I guessed it was an LED arrangement. Well it’s broken now, in fairness it might already have been:

Ho hum! I think a broken side light is an MOT fail. Looks like I’ll have get a replace part or maybe a full unit before April.

Not to be deterred, I cracked on with the sprucing up of the exterior. I started with one of the rims as this is my first attempt at doing this type of work and I only have a small makeshift spray tent in the dining room. Using a wire brush attachment for my drill and a Dremmel it was simply enough to removed the existing paint and rust. I cleaned the surface thoroughly with white spirit and then applied two coats of primer. This was followed by three coats of a matt black auto paint.

If you are doing a similar job then don’t forget your PPE. Glasses and certainly a mask are a must if you don’t want to be seeing funny colours in the hankie when you blow your nose! I wore earplugs as well as the wire brushing and Dremmel are quite noisy.

Once I’d done that I moved on to the bowl. My plan is to fully restore each one at a time. I didn’t get many photos of the process when I was doing the rim (too busy concentrating!) but here are some of the bowl:

You can see on the left that the wire brush is a little aggressive. Great at getting the paint off but does leave behind some scoring. I used a Dremmel with a sandpaper attachment to work these scratches out. On the right you see the bowl after one coat or primer. I did get a run on the second coat (frustrating) but nothing that I shouldn’t be able to sand out with some fine sandpaper.

I did grab a few shots of the rim including the all important finished picture:

I’m really pleased! I’ll do a proper before and after picture but they look almost brand new. I hope that the finish is hardwearing enough. Cant wait to see how the rest of it turns out.

Tiger are selling the below headlamp inserts for £130 for the pair. Expensive but much cheaper that direct from the supplier:

I won’t fill the post with process pictures but will update the page once I have completed one of the headlights.

04/02/2020: It’s going well! More pictures to follow when I have the rest back together…

05/02/2020: One complete unit.

09/02/2020: So the headlights have been finished up and I’m pretty pleased with them:

I was meeting a potential fellow Tiger owner yesterday to show him the car and take him out for a spin. I was expecting to just pop the headlights back on and deal with the wiring later but I had time to get them on and wired back up:

Just realised why the car looks strange in this picture the nose cone and hood are both loose and at funny angles :). At least it shows the lights are working! The good news is the sidelights illuminate on both sides too. The damage part (see above) is an LED cluster. The little white squares are the LEDS. Whilst four have broken off there are still four working. I suspect this will be enough to get it through the MOT and I never use the sidelights. The car is so low there is no problem using the headlights all the time. Good news all round. All that’s left to do is align them. They are a little crooked at the moment hence why one looks brighter than the other.

That aside, this job is now done!

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