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How do i change headlight on 1997 Dodge Intrepid?

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Answered 2010-09-03 06:40:54

Two mounting screws need to come out in order to remove the headlight. They are the two, one on the right and one on the left of each headlight nearest the lens. The heads face upward, and require a torx screwdriver to turn them.

HOWEVER: The screw anchor, the metal piece the screw goes into, imbedded into the plastic at the bottom, may be stuck so tightly to the screw that turning the screw breaks the anchor free of the plastic, and you end up turning the screws all day to no avail.

I found no easy fix. Using an angle grinder, I had to grind the heads off the screws very carefully so as not to grind adjacent parts, pausing and blowing on them to cool them to keep the heat from melting the plastic, then pushing them down into the hole, and removing them from the bottom. To get access to the screw nearest the side of the car, you will have to remove the signal light. This is done by pulling it out toward the front of the vehicle. The signal light retaining tab (extending back from the light on the side nearest the headlight) needs to be pushed slightly toward the side of the car in order to free the signal light for removal).

The process of grinding etc. and the breaking out of the screw anchors did some damage to the mounting holes on the headlight reflector/lens assembly. I repaired it as follows:

For the bottom mounting holes, I used small cable ties to wrap around the plastic where the metal screw anchors had broken out. To get the cable tie to surround it I had to drill a hole through the plastic reinforcement. Then I could put the cable tie through that hole and could wrap it around the screw anchor support.

For the top holes where the plastic had broken so it would no longer surround the screw, I used some thin copper wire (such as from telephone wiring) to span the gap and complete the hole. I drilled two small holes through the plastic, about a half inch away from the mounting hole toward the lens, one toward the right and one toward the left of the hole. Before threading the wire through the holes I inserted a 10D Common Nail where the screw used to be, into the top hole and extending down to the bottom hole where it could be held in place by the cable tie. Then I threaded the wire through one of the small holes I had just drilled, around the nail, and back through the other drilled hole, then back through and around the nail a second time for added strength, pulled the wires as snugly as possible, and twisted them together. Now I could pull the nails out, put the headlight in place on the vehicle and reinsert the nails where the screws had been.

If you find the nails are a little loose the easy fix is to hold them in place with Duct Tape. For a better fix I did as follows: I cut off a short piece (1/2 to 3/4 inch) of an electrical cord, such as for a computer, removed the wires from inside it so it essentially became a short tube, and put it where the screw anchor had been, tightening it in place with the cable tie. The nail now had to be pushed firmly down into the tube which held it very firmly. This fix also prevents the headlights from having a wobble after remounting to the vehicle.

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