View Full Version : 80 headlight repair

05-20-2010, 09:20 PM
I finally got around to repairing the damage to my truck from Cruise Moab.

A headlight lense was chipped by an errant rock and had a pinhole through the glass allowing a surprising amount of water into the assembly.

I had a spare headlight from a previous encounter with a snow bank. That incident had broken all of the mouting tabs off the box but the glass was intact. My plan was to swap the good glass with the chipped glass. The glass lens has seven metal clips holding it to the reflector box. After removing the clips it became obvious that the two pieces were also bonded together with adhesive.

After a quick search on MUD, I found a description of softening the glue by heating it. The oven was preheated to 350F and the headlamp assembly was popped into the oven while beer was consumed. After about 10 minutes of baking, it was easy to pry the lense off of the box. I baked the second lamp and separated it as well. When the black reflector box is hot, the plastic softens a bit so I was careful not to distort it.

Lenses were swapped and reassembled. I put the clips back on and reheated the unit to get the glue to flow a bit hoping to seal any potential leaks. The glue appears to be the same stuff that bonds the plastic dust sheets to the doors.

The lamp is back in the truck and looks good a new. Hopefully that's the end of a water contaminated lamp.

05-21-2010, 07:29 AM
Bruce...I may be doing this same thing this weekend!!! I FINALLY found a left headlight for which I've been searching over a year. But the glass on it may not be as good of shape as the one I currently have...I bought it because all of the tabs are in tact! Can you post up the link to the MUD thread? I remember reading about putting them in the oven, but I forgot where the post was.

Are there any other tricks we should know?!!


05-21-2010, 10:31 AM
So just curious, how much does a new OEM headlight assembly for an 80 go for? I can get a Napa replacement for my 40 and 60 for $7 bucks a piece and they are all interchangeable. :hill:

05-21-2010, 12:46 PM
I baked the headlights on my Tacoma around 3 years ago to get the yellow lenses out of them. I remember fondly my wife's reaction to me putting a headlight assembly into the oven - I guess it could be a lot worse...

Is this the same light that has the air intake mod?

05-21-2010, 02:14 PM
I remember fondly my wife's reaction to me putting a headlight assembly into the oven - I guess it could be a lot worse...
Like forgetting that you washed a bunch of engine parts in the dishwasher and having her open it thinking it was full of clean dishes. :doh:

05-22-2010, 08:09 AM
Well...I've been looking for a headlight for well over a year and finally found one for $50! From CDan, I believe they are $300 or more! Mine arrived last night and the tabs are perfect! I just have to decide if the lens is in good enough shape to not go through all this oven baking effort!

Since the glass will probably get broken at some point, I may just install it now and worry about the switch later!

05-22-2010, 08:30 AM
Here is the MUD thread I ref'd:


There are some other threads that discuss the same technique. I think 350F is a good temp - hot enough to really soften the glue but not so hot as to trash the rest of the assembly. I'd stay away from anything resembling a heat gun. Uneven heating will crack the lense for sure.

If I hadn't had the spare headlamp, I would have just patched the pinhole with some epoxy to keep the water out.

Yea, these things are stupid expensive but compared to a 7" halogen sealed beam, they really do work better even with an aftermarket wiring harness to boost the voltage.