Saturday, January 9, 2010

Toyota Camry ACV30 Headlamp Replacement

There seems to be a trend for these headlamps to deteriorate. This is how it looks like after 4/5 years of usage. Looking at the deterioration, it appears to be heat related on the areas immediate to the main beam. As the exact cause of the deterioration is not the subject of this short discussion, I leave it to the readers to speculate.

This was the photo on the same side, after the headlamp assy. was replaced. Looks good, like new, at least for the next 4 years.

This is a close-up shot of the model of the headlamp, made in Thailand. I got an exact replacement unit, also from the same source. Since this is not a car for the average Malaysian, I guess RM500/= for each headlamp every 4 years is not too much for someone with a deep pocket.

I took a photo to record the alignment of the bumper to the fender prior to dis-assembly to ensure a quality finish which I will explain later.

This is how it looks like after the headlamp has been removed. Noticed the bumper is still on. As with most experienced mechanic advice : "If it is not necessary to remove, don't remove. " Sounds good to me, and I like that approach.

Notice the newspapers at the bottom. That is to protect the insertion of the new headlamp from sharp points on the chasis.

This is the critical point to watch for, as the sides will determine the quality of finish. The reason is due to small margin of error on this joint. The ACV30 comes with a "smiley" headlamp, and that must be preserved at all cost. Lose that smile, and we're in trouble. Good to note that I have taken a photo prior to dis-assembly, to note the original alignment (slide 4).

The sides may be lowered and spread gently when all the bolts have been released. Looks easier than done .... and it is. Some experience is required, or the smile will be lost.

This is the finish, with the gaps between the headlamp to bumper and to fender at a constant. If the bumper or fender has been damaged and repaired, such a gap is not possible. The headlamp comes with a rubber seal at the edges to form a flush finish with the bodywork.

Good point to note, when shopping for a used Camry. Check all the body gaps. If they are not consistent, most likely it is a lemon. This is a very sturdy car with a strong chasis. Given it is a Toyota, it is very unlikely that any inconsistent body gapping is a factory defect.