I have been searching on this website for information about removing and exchanging the headlight units in my RX4. I have an RX4 that I bought in the UK and now need to put on French registration which means swapping the lights over to French versions so that the will pass the French equivalent of the MOT and can then be registered in France.
I had very little joy serching this forum for information about changing the headlight units over. Lots of people whinging about swapping headlight bulbs, but nothing about the units themselves, so I though I would make a post explaining what i discovered when doing the job myself.
I am by no means a technician or mechanic, and normally would just had the car over to my friendly "garagiste" but to be honest when I opened the bonnet and had a look I figured I would save some money and give it a go myself...
I picked up a tip from the garagiste the last time I had headlights swapped in a car. Drive the car up to a wall leaving space for you to work and turn on the headlights. Mark on the wall with some chalk or similar where the headlight beams light the wall, (look for the diagonal line and chalk there).
The headlight units are held in by 3 bolts per unit. 2 are easily accessible and you can remove them in a minute or so. The 3rd is down the bottom of the headlight and requires dismantling the front of the car to get to. You can not get a socket or extension between the bottom of the headlight unit and the bumper as the headlight unit actually sits lower behind the bumper and so creates a "lip" that is in the way.
I removed the top 2 bolts and all the wiring from the loom to various bulbs. Just unclip them. All done in about 2 minutes.
AT THIS POINT I DISCOVERED THAT THE PLASTIC TAB HOLDING THE 3RD BOLT AT THE BOTTOM IS MADE OUT OF MILK BOTTLE TOPS. YOU LOOK AT IT WRONG AND IT BREAKS OFF. IT REQUIRES NO FORCE AT ALL TO BREAK !!!!
This was not an issue for me as I was removing the RHD headlight units and replacing them with LHD ones. Once the tab broke I wiggled the headlight free and removed it, and then removed the broken tab and 3rd bolt. All done in about 5 minutes.
The replacement unit slotted into place after a couple of minutes wiggling. It helps to get the back of the bulbs in place under the bulkhead first, then using a flathead screwdriver gently ease the bumper down a little so that the bottom of the headlight unit slots in behind the bumper. Lastly you need to push the headlight unit up and to the outside of the car, imagine that you are pushing it towards the wing mirror, and using the flat head screwdriver again gently push the rubber seal in place where the headlight unit meets the front wing.
Once its lined up just put in the 2 bolts at the top and they hold the unit just fine. Adjust the headlights angle so that they match up to chalk marks that you put on the wall earlier, and repeat with the other headlight unit.
I did both lights in about 20 minutes.
OK so both my old headlights have broken the bottom tabs off, but to be honest the new replacements are held in just fine with the 2 other bolts, and also I am not going to be using them as the car is going to be French registered.
Personally I think that the 3rd bolt is there just so that Renault can charge fortunes for replacement headlight units when the bottom tab snaps off, and more labour for messing about to access a stupidly located 3 bolt. Its as if they designed it be difficult to get to, and made the headlight unit out of plastic that is designed to break off.
Anyhow I hope that this is of help to someone, and wish you all the best in changing your headlights....