1994 3000GT Headlight Cleaning

      The Intro - The headlight assemblies on the 1994 3000GTs have covers made of glass instead of the 1995 and newer plastic encased versions. While this is better for warding off things like yellowing of the plastic and surface scrathes from abrasives, the glass has it's own share of problems. The most notable problem being the fogging of the glass thanks to trapped moisture in the assembly. The headlights have two drain points on the back that are supposed to help keep this from happening, but popular belief is they are the number one source of the problem, as they are the only opening in what is otherwise an air tight assembly. Regardless of why it happens, it does. It looks bad, but it is surprisingly easy for the do it yourself minded person to take care of in a short amount of time. Follow the steps below and you will have clean headlight assemblies in just an hour or two, and that is with taking your time and doing it right!

      Also note that the removal stage of this FAQ will not be the same if you have a 1994 Dodge Stealth. Unfortunately I have never taken the headlight assembly from one of those cars, but I cannot imagine it being be too removed from the steps I list here. Once the headlight assembly is out, the rest of the FAQ can be followed word for word until time to re-install.

      The Tools - The tools needed for this operation are just common place items most households will have. Nothing fancy like a torque wrench is needed. This is a true entry level do it yourself project. The tools you will need are as follows:
  • Rachet, medium extension, 10 mm socket
  • Two or three flat head screw drivers
  • Phillips head screw driver
  • Conventional oven
  • Lint free work surface cover
  • Hairdryer or heat gun
  • Cloth gloves
  • Black electrical tape
  • Awl (optional, I just like having it around)
      In the picture below you can see the tools I used. The odd plastic thing next to the hairdryer is part of a utility knife case. I used it my first time around on this project, but I didn't use it on this go around. You can click on any picture to get a larger, more detailed view if need be.

      Step One : Removal - Taking the headlight out is a really easy task on a 1994 and newer 3000GT. Just remove 4 bolts, take out the actual lights, and the assembly is ready to go. The picture below shows the top 3 bolts (10 mm):

      There is one more bolt you need to get to. It is under the side marker light. You will need the phillips head screw driver to get the marker light free. Just loosen the screw out and then pull the marker light out from the front (where the screw is) until it clears the body. There are two clips on the back that help keep the marker in place, so don't pivot it back too far. Just pull it towards the front of the car GENTLY until the clips come free. Once they are free, you can just let it hang by the light cable:

      In the picture I have already taken the one bolt (10 mm) out that you need to remove. Below you can see the headlight assembly bucket with the lights resting on the bottom. To get the lights out of the assembly you simpy have to rotate them towards the driver's side of the car and then pull back. It's easier to get them all the way out as you take the assembly out:

      The pics above do not give any indication of how bad the light actually was. The car had found time to dry out a little after the rains. Trust me, it was BAD.

      Step Two : Clips and Brackets - First we need to take the little metal clips off. They come off with a simple twist of a flat head screw driver. There are six of the clips to remove. Once you have them out of the way it is time to move on to the mounting hardware:

Then we need get the mounting brackets out of the way. There are two of them. One on the side, and one on the rear. To remove them all it takes is a phillips head screw driver. Each bracket is held on by 3 phillips head screws:

      Step Three : Bring the Heat - The first time I did this procedure I used nothing but the hairdryer and it took forever to get the sealant pliable around the casing.

      I had read several instances of people saying that you can heat them in an oven for a while and they would come right apart... but no one could decide on the proper temperature to use. I decided to give it a shot. I used 225 degrees:

      Once the oven reaches the desired temp just put it in like you would any other soon to be culinary masterpiece.

      I let mine "cook" for 5 minutes. Put on your cloth gloves and take the assembly from the oven and place it on your work area. The assemby will be HOT, so be sure you are wearing the gloves. Unfortunately I got very excited at how easy the headlight came apart at this point, and forgot to take pictures of sliding the flat head screw driver(s) in to open up the seal. I start at one of the back corners, then loosen the back up first. You need to insert the screw driver(s) down first, then pry up VERY GENTLY. The assmebly is glass, and too much pressure can cause it to chip and / or crack. BE CAREFUL. These assemblies are not cheap if you have to buy a new one! the plastic lip that the glass rests in may bend out a little as you pry upward. Don't bend it too much and you will be able to shape it back up later when you go to reseal it. Pull the glass up slowly being sure to cut the sealant "strings" as they stretch up. If you don't they will snap on their own sooner or later, and 9 times out of 10 they end up sticking to the interior painted surface and are a pain to clean. I used a flat head screw driver to cut them, but you can use anything you have available. Just make sure not to scratch the painted surface. Below are a few pictures of the assembly as I pivot the glass towards the front and then a few of it apart:

      Step Four : Cleaning - Now that we have the assembly apart it's time to take care of the fog. This time my glass was very, very easy to clean, but the first time I did it there was a layer of film on the glass that was quite tough to remove. If your headlights have never been apart and they are foggy you will more than likely have the same condition. Popular belief is the film is a build up of calcium deposits. I used window cleaner in a generous amount and let it soak for a while to get the glass clean. I then took a cloth rag and scrubbed the heck out of it. It took two or three good cleanings to get all of the film out:

      I had a few spots on the painted surface that needed attention, so I took some multi-purpose surface cleaner and a cloth rag to clean it off. Be sure to not use anything abrasive on the painted surface, as you will scratch it:

      Step Five : Preventative Measures - I read somewhere a while back that to help keep the headlights fog free longer you can place silica gel packets inside the assembly. I dug around the house and found one medium sized packet and two rather tiny packets:

      Initially I just dropped the medium sized silica pack down by the headlight adjustment level, but decided this was not a good idea. As I moved the assembly around the packet would slide, and depending on where it stopped it was visible from the out side.

      I then decided to use some electrical tape to affix it in a non-visible location. Below you can see the placement I chose for the three silica packets I used. I also included a picture of where I put the tape on the small packets as to leave ample surface area free for it to soak in moisture:

      Step Six : Closing Shop - We're getting dangerously close to being done here. It's time to start closing it back up. What I did was go around all the edges where the sealant is and roll it to up on the glass, so it would be more in the groove on the lower part of the assmebly when they are placed back together. The pics below actually suck, but if you look closely you can kind of make out what I am trying to convey. We're about to put the glass back on. Go ahead and get the oven pre-heating to 225 degrees while you do this:

      Now that the "bead" of sealant has been created carefully place the glass back on top of the body. Make sure you get it lined up before you let the sealant make contact, as it will start to bond instantly. Once the glass is in the groove on the body apply pressure to get it to start sealing. Once it's seated fairly well, place the assmebly in the oven and let it "cook" for another 5 minutes. Put your gloves back on as the assembly is going to be HOT again (Imagine that... ). Take it back to your work area and add pressure all the way around the assembly with your hands to make sure it's good and sealed, basically pinching it closed all the way around. If the lower case was bent any when you pried the glass off now is the time to apply pressure to it in the opposite way it was bent. It will conform back to shape as it is hot and pliable, as well. While the assmebly was cooling this time I went around the seal and spread out the beads of sealant to make a skin over where the glass meets the plastic. Hopefully that will keep it from leaking again. I also seized the chance to pop the six clips back on to the assembly to help keep pressure on it while it cooled.

      All that is left now that the assembly is closed and cooled off is to put the mounting brackets back on and put it back in the car. Once it's done it will be nice and clean... as good as new.

      Final Step : Re-Install - All that is left now is to proudly walk back to the car, sit the assmebly in the headlight bucket, put the lights back in (and lock them in to place by twisting), put the four bolts back in (10 mm), replace the side marker, and screw it back in place with the phillips head screw driver.

      Tips : Tricks - Here are some of the "learning curve" things that this procedure brought up as I did it.
  • Make sure you clean the glass well and check it for streaking before you put it back together. The streaks will show up if you are not careful.
  • Multipurpose cleaner is great for taking the sealant off the painted surface.
  • Don't use a towel like I did. If the sealant comes in contact with it there will be little white fibers in your black sealant, and they are a pain to get out. Use cardboard or some other fiber-free surface covering.
  • Make sure to clean both the glass and body with a lint free rag.
  • Take your time and have pride in doing this. It would be close to $500 if you just gave up and bought a new one!

This FAQ written by Travis Bayne. This FAQ may not be sold or used for profit without the permission of the author. You can contact me at ukyo1714@yahoo.com. Please let me know if this FAQ has been helpful or of any additions that you feel may be needed. Have fun, do it right, and enjoy the car!!!