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RANT - Changing Ford Focus Headlight bulbs

Discussion in 'Motoring Forum' started by Dr_Mike, Feb 11, 2006.

  1. Dr_Mike

    Dr_Mike Member

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    The other day I noticed one of the headlight bulbs was out on my Focus. No problem I thought, so I went to Halfords and bought a replacement and had a smug snigger at their £5 to fit it for you offer. Got home and tried to fit it, but it was dark and couldn't really see what I was doing so I left it until daylight.

    In every other car I've had, changing a bulb has been a 30sec job which anyone who could open the bonnet could do so didn't thik it would be too much of a problem. Managed to get the back cover off the headlamp unit and disconnect the power lead but couldn't see how to unclip the bulb so I consulted the user manual. The index said "Bulb replacement....156-164" yet my manual goes from p155 to p189 with nothing in between :confused:.

    Did a bit of googling and found out that to change a passenger side headlight you've got to either a) remove the battery (not recommended as disconnecting it can mess up the engine management) and a few other bits to get better access or b) remove the whole headlamp unit which would then need re-aligning. Apparently both of these are too complicated for Halfords to do for their £5 so the long and short of it was that I ended up taking it to the garage and paying just over £30 to have a bulb changed !

    This is taking the p***. Is this a cynical ploy to boost the ford agents service revenues or just bad design ? I appreciate that things have moved on in terms of packaging, aerodynamics and crash protection from the old days but surely they could do better than this ?
  2. sbowler

    sbowler Active Member

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    I think its designed in to gain revenue when your bulb needs changing, everyone this effects should plague ford with complaints and phone calls. Thats totally ridiculous......
  3. SeanT

    SeanT Active Member

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    Can't you either -

    remove the battery without actually disconnecting the power? (either by using a couple of bits of hookup wire, or just holding it out of the way)

    or

    draw around the headlamp securing bolts with a permanent marker, remove and replace in the same place?

    :)
  4. Dr_Mike

    Dr_Mike Member

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    Yeah I suppose I could have but I'd have had to invest in a Haynes manual to really know what I was doing and it might have taken ages. Alot of trouble to go to just for an effing bulb so £30 seemed like the least worst option. I'd have been just as annoyed if I'd done it myself and it had taken an hour or so.
  5. Mylo

    Mylo Active Member

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    It's not just Ford, lots of car makes have headlight changing problems.
    As for taking the battery off damaging the management system, I doubt it very much. I've worked on my mates Mondeo and we removed and refitted the battery without any problems. The only issue you would have is the security code would need putting into the stereo.
  6. Jon Boy

    Jon Boy Member

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    O.k first mistake , you went to halfords lolol , the clip would've been an easy removal , probably just involved squeezing it or pinching it together.
    IF Ford had designed it so you had to disconnect the battery or remove the headlamp unit then there wouldve been a recall IMO as everyone and his dog wouldve been complaining!

    Next time get the missus to have a look :rotfl:

    Jon
  7. lynx

    lynx Active Member

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    The job time for this is .30hrs (18minutes).
  8. Dr_Mike

    Dr_Mike Member

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    If it was that simple, that is what I would have done but without removing stuff it's not possible to see at all what is in there. Once you've done a few it might be possible to do it by feel but even then there's not enough room to really manipuolate things unless you've got tiny hands!
  9. Lord Lucan

    Lord Lucan Member

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    I have a Golf Mk4 and you have to remove the front bumper moulding to get at the bottom bolts that hold the headlights in place. A 3/4 hour job as long as you have the right "Torx" bits.

    What puzzles me is that on the continent by law you have to carry a spare set of bulbs and supposedly change them at the side of the road if they blow. I don't think so!

    Heaven only knows what the " VW main stealers" charge.
  10. Layne RIP

    Layne RIP Member

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    If done properley... removing the battery won't muck up the Engine's ECU... the only way that would happen is if you disconnected / reconnected the terminals in the wrong order... this can cause a surge!!
    As for the head lights very few cars especially nowadays use the alignment screws to fix the headlight assembly in place.. so you could've taken the unit out and put it back without affecting the beam pattern.
  11. mr jones

    mr jones Member

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    honest john touched on this in his telegraph page over the past few weekss, that it is an offense to drive a car without fullyworking lights and in many countries it is an offense to not carry a set of spare bulbs for your car, yet the majority of people have little or no chance of replacing the bulbs themselves anyway, let alone on the road side!


    its rediculous
  12. brian taylor

    brian taylor Member

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    Thanks for the info I have just tried for 20 min in the dark to change the pasenger side And I see What you mean " I have now left it till daylght "

    And let the garage sort it tomorow as its a lease car
  13. Ed Selley

    Ed Selley AVF Reviewer

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    Even the older Fiesta's require basically taking the front of the car off to gain access to the headlights. This contrasts with the rear lights that can be seen to in under a minute.
  14. SeanT

    SeanT Active Member

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    New one on me? (MK I Fiesta owner)
  15. Ed Selley

    Ed Selley AVF Reviewer

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    Sorry- meant MkIII and IV types. The MkI and II can be entirely serviced with a leatherman.
  16. Monty Burns

    Monty Burns Active Member

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    heh - some of you may remember this booty of an example:

    My chicks clio drivers side died - we live in Germany. She got a bulb and struggled for a few hours whilst I was at work to do it. She even had the initiative to take it to a local garage and ask them to change it for a small charge, there response:

    They muttered to themselves in German and then told her it was a big job and would have to take the engine out :rotfl: Maybe its coz it was a just a lightbulb, maybe its coz she "looks" like a blonde bimbo (she's far from it though) .... maybe its coz we are English .... either way ...


    so much for the "Great German Efficiency"!!!!:rotfl:


    We waited until the next day I was home with day light and we changed it in about 5 minutes, guess what, the engine stayed in the car! :D
  17. JagoUK

    JagoUK Active Member

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    so i take it germans cant be sarcastic then? :rolleyes:

    or maybe they wanted to rip it apart because it was a English person bringing a french car to a german garage..... so much for all getting on together eh? the french packs up on you and the german tries to fleece you :devil:

    oh and by the way, mk1 mondeo headlights are no fun either! took me and my bro all night fumbling in the dark with a torch to try and fit one, got it working but not fitted it in, took it to workmate and he did it in a minute!
  18. SeanT

    SeanT Active Member

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    Just did a focus headlight bulb for a mate btw - took about 20 minutes leaving headlight in the car as a bit fiddly, was told by a mechanic much much easier just to take the light out of the car - two bolts, and doesn't affect the alignment :)
  19. Bat-man

    Bat-man Member

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    Try changing a headlight bulb in a smart fortwo.
    The official way is to remove the front of the car to get to the bulb!:eek:
    Two hours labour.
  20. JagoUK

    JagoUK Active Member

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    well atleast all this hardship stops the local chavs from knicking your lightbulbs :devil:
  21. Monty Burns

    Monty Burns Active Member

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    Far from it, they wanted to book her in and arrange a time and everything. Fleecing? I think so.
  22. Bone Daddy

    Bone Daddy Member

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    Just upgraded my bulb`s in my Focus for some Philips Vision plus one`s - stunning bulbs by the way - really does what it says on the tin - so to say - the drivers side is easy enough but the passengers side is a pain - you don`t have to take the battery out - just remove the cover - the hard bit is getting the wire unhooked and swinging it out the way of the bulb - we managed it at work took just under 10 mins - most of that being me cursing the thing - I work as a driver in a Jag garage - and most of the techs have worked on most sort of cars - and yes the Focus is a pain - not as bad as my girlfriends Tigra - now that is the devils work - even our lads in the workshop said no way and 2 of them used to work at Vauxhall years ago - lol
  23. John Korkow

    John Korkow Guest

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    The left side of the American version of the Focus requires the following tools:
    (the right side would not require the removal of the cruise control unit, the rest of the procedure would apply though)

    1) Mirror
    2) Light
    3) 8mm socket and racket

    Remove the cruise control harness, then remove the 8mm bolts holding it in place and swing it up and out of the way. The cruise control is the box in front of your battery that prevents getting a hand to the bulb.

    Remove the rubber dust cover from the back of the headlight housing.

    Remove the wiring harness from the back of the bulb.

    Get your mirror, you will see the back of the bulb connectors AND more importantly, the plastic ring that locks the bulb in place. (Note: once you have accomplished the task on either side of the vehicle, you will not need the mirror again in order to determine how to do this) Rotate the ring and remove it, along with the bulb.

    Reverse this order, it eases the job to look directly into the headlamp holder from the top front of the car to line up the bulb and snap it into place. You will see three notches on the bulb holder, match these to the notches in the headlamp assembly.

    Put the plastic ring on and turn to lock. (Pull backward on it to be certain it is in place). Snap the headlamp wires back on. Place the dust cover on, seating about one inch of the cover on the top of the unit, then rotating the cover counterclockwise to get it between the car body and the headlamp assembly (there is no other way to do this, there is not enough clearance to seat it directly without rotation). Gently push the rest of the cap in place, checking for a firm seat all the way around.

    Replace cruise control assembly.

    The dealer charges about $30 to do this, you can do it in 15 minutes, just take your time and bite your tongue about the procedure taking more than the old 30 seconds.... Not a good design, but not horrible either.
  24. shandypants

    shandypants Member

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    You think that's ridiculous... when I wanted to change a bulb on my Clio, I found I couldn't get access to it so popped into my dealer and asked if they could spare someone for five minutes to do it.

    They then consulted the service bookings log and informed me that they couldn't possibly do it without a booking and the next slot available to do the job would be three or four days later! :eek:

    I was then further shocked to hear that it was a full hour's job, as they have to remove the entire front bumper assembly to access the lamp unit. Needless to say I left at this point, phoned another dealer and asked the same question. They told me that officially the other dealer was correct, but in their opinion it was such an affront to customers to charge that much they did it the unofficial way, which is to find the mechanic with the smallest hands, turn the steering to full lock and reach in through the wheel well that way!! £9 all in thanks very much.

    Unbelieveable :suicide:

    Shandy
  25. JagoUK

    JagoUK Active Member

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    quality :thumbsup::rotfl:
  26. gus607

    gus607 Member

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    The Ford KA is a real pain as well. Is this intentionally done by Ford to make life harder ?
  27. Mark-UK

    Mark-UK Guest

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    Won't be making any bonus on that job then...........:rolleyes:
  28. Friartrucker

    Friartrucker Guest

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    My Daughter has a ST 170 and was quote £44 to change one bulb which I thought was ludicrous, so armed with the bulb decided to do it myself, the easiest way I found to do the near side one was not to remove the battery but to undo the 3 bolts, 2 on top 1 underneath slide the headlight forward and change the bulb nice and simple straight forward, you don't have to touch the headlamp adjusters at all, the oof-side one can be done in situ, job done, total time for both sides 20 minutes, result one happy Daughter:thumbsup:
  29. bignev

    bignev Guest

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    Undo the battery retaining clamp - move the battery to the left hand side of the battery support tray - cut the corner off the battery report tray - now you can lift up the headlamp flap. Dead easy !
  30. Wild Weasel

    Wild Weasel Active Member

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    Must be a Ford thing. The Mk2 Mondeo is a PITA too. The drivers side is fiddly, but doable. I pray the passenger side one never goes though, as the battery would make it really bloody awkward.

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