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Headlamp Assembly Removal

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It was the darnest task guys. I had the take the top 3 screws out from the top and a screw on each side of the bumper cover. And I still cannot slide the bumper cover off. There were 2 screws on the top of the housing, one screw on the bottom, and one side bolt holding the housing. As I took the signal/side marker light off, the side bolt can be reached with a 10mm wrench. The PROBLEM is I cannot put the side bolt back on without taking the bumper cover off. So I left the bolt off of the installation. The housing seem to be tight and secure without the side bolts.

As for the adjustment, there's a vertical and horizontal screws according to the pic below:


However, for the adjustment, I found the horizontal screws for the housing but not for the vertical direction. I would think the vertical is important as you don't want your lights to be too high as they can blind other drivers or if they are too low, the lights won't be effective. From the pic, the screw to adjust vertically is on the bottom of the house which will be blocked by bumper cover. I cannot adjust the lights well until night time but I don't want having to fool around with the bumper cover at night.

I can see the philip head screw for the horizontal adjustment, but the vertical adjustment screw can not be reached nor turn. I wonder if the pic is incorrect or something and there's only horizontal adjustment.

Any one has any better experience with this?

As it turns out, the adjustments are made by the round plastic wheels with teeth in them. As I turn this plastic wheel, the light can be adjust vertically and horizontally. The screws you see are just for holding the light and not for adjustments. You will need long flat head screwdriver to turn the while plastic wheels. Lucky, I did not have to adjust the lights at all. They were pretty much right on. I used the floor to measure the lights adjustments. I used my 1990 Honda Accord to compare the light shining distance. My Honda has glass lense so never gets dull and easier to clean.


I have the 1999 Corolla VE model.

Edited by Bad_dude

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Guest DC Corolla
Hi, everyone. 

Thank you for this helpful information!
Like fishexpo101, I, too, have an '02 Corolla. Mine is an S.
I think your wife is very lucky that she has you to keep her car running.

I know the problem with my headlight is due to the pigtail connector.

First, my regular mechanic said fixing my broken headlight requires replacing the entire headlight assembly. He also said that, since replacing the headlight assembly involves taking off the bumper, I should order both headlight assemblies online – because I could get a better price than he could get for me – and he would replace both headlight assemblies at one time. I think it was possibly about an hour and a half labor, and slightly more because he was going to have to fiddle with the connector.

But then another mechanic at a service station managed just to clean out the corrosion in the pigtail connector on my one bad headlight, and it worked again. For a little while. (Great while it lasted, but for other reasons I don't really want to go back to that guy.)

This car is unfortunately kind of beat, great car as it should and could be, to last a long time.

I'm confused that my regular mechanic, historically so reliable, would say I need what seems like a relatively big job -- replacing the headlight assembly (does that in fact require taking off the bumper on this car?) -- if it's possible to just change out the pigtail. I don't need better headlights. The headlights are fine, even if they're a little cloudy -- fits with all the other things less than perfect on this poor old set of wheels.

Probably I should just talk to my regular mechanic, but I haven't been able to get over there (and maybe he's tired of me calling, which I did kind of a lot asking advice about buying tires, which he doesn't sell).

What you guys managed to do and to describe so well in this thread, from what I can make out, looks a little complicated.

Maybe my regular guy figured it was enough labor to change out the pigtail, so that, for that same amount of labor, he might as well replace the headlights altogether, and then, for the price of the parts, I would have better headlights?

Would welcome your thoughts!
Thank you so much.

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I replaced both of my front headlight assemblies on my 03 Corolla, with ones I bought online from eBay. They ended up being a brand called Spyder and look great. It is not too difficult to remove the front bumper cover. A lot of people call it the bumper, but it is in fact a bumper cover. There are probably videos on YouTube to guide you. I didn't need any special tools, just a flat-type screwdriver to pop out the plastic clips. For the other items there were a few bolts (10mm) that could also be removed with a Philips-head screw driver instead of wrench/socket set.

This is also a good time to replace all bulbs with new ones, as once the headlight assembly is out, it is so much easier to do so. You can also do some good cleaning where dust and dirt collect. I would suggest doing this if you can. It really isn't that hard.


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