DIY - Headlight Vertical Adjustment Rod Repair (Golden Rod Repair) - Corvette Forum : DigitalCorvettes.com Corvette Forums
 
 
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Old 09-11-2010, 12:42 PM   #1
Junkman2008
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DIY - Headlight Vertical Adjustment Rod Repair (Golden Rod Repair)

There are a lot of people who are in this boat.

You attempt to adjust your headlights and the first adjustment you attempt to make is the vertical adjustment. You get the right sized Torx bit, stick it into the adjusting rod and begin to turn. At first it's kinda stubborn, but then it gives and easily begins to turn. Then you realize what really happened: You just busted your golden rod.

Here's the bad news. You are probably going to have to buy another headlight. That rod is not a part that is normally sold separately. There are vendors who sell the entire assemble, just the lens, or just the headlight bracket. However, I have never seen just the "golden rod" for sell by itself...until now. Thus, you're probably looking at $700 for a new headlight, or anywhere from $250 and up for a used one..

Now here's the exception. There's a guy out of Florida named Art who did at one time sell these rods by themselves for $18. That's right, eighteen smackaroonies. I was doing endless searches through old threads and stumbled upon a post that gave a link directly to the item. I immediately got on the horn and gave him a call. Real nice guy who loves to talk! He explained to me that he use to frequent all of the Chevy dealers in his area and collected all of the broken Corvette headlights that they had tossed in the garbage. He would then disassemble them and sell the parts because you couldn't buy individual parts for the headlights. For the guys lucky enough to find him, it was a blessing. However, he no longer can do this.

Apparently, GM got upset and made him quit selling these rods as separate units. Because of this, he no longer can get them. I was lucky in that he had about 3 left. Once these are gone, that's it (I think that's what he said).

With that said, you may still be in luck if you can find a damaged headlight. I would do like Art did and check with your local Corvette dealer (mainly their garbage cans). You may just luck up and retrieve a headlight with the rod intact. If you do, this is the info you'll want to know.

Here's a shot of the assembly:



It is held on to the headlight assembly by 2 screws, which are not real easy to get to. I first had to remove the light housing (3 10mm bolts), and then I had to remove the bolts that held the adjusting bracket onto the assembly.



The other thing that was a major PITA was getting my old assembly out of that bracket. I must have fooled with it for hours before I just pulled it out of the assembly. I don't know if my wiggling it for hours caused the thing to come free or if I was just too scared to pull on it in the first place (probably the latter). Anyway, it finally came out and the new one went in rather easily.



If you are lucky enough to get a hold of just the adjusting rod, then installing it should make sense because this is not something a not so mechanically inclined person would try. Because I have had my headlights in and out of my ride so many times, I'm rather comfortable with working on them. If not for that, I probably would have just bought another headlight as I was planning to do anyway.

One thing that I did figure out that may benefit a lot of folks here is how the adjusting rod assembly is put together. Had I known this, I might have just replaced the rod only. That's right, you can replace just the golden rod! Look at these pictures below. They show how the assembly comes apart.

Removing the white headed screw will allow you to pry the assembly open.





This picture shows exactly where you should shoot some PB Blaster in order to free the assembly so that you don't bust it when attempting to make any adjustments.





As you can see by this picture, the shaft is removable! If you can get a shaft, then you can replace your broken one.



One thing I forgot to add to this post is the way I freed up my seized passenger side headlight. I tried shooting PB Blaster into the adjusting mechanism while the light was still in the car. I wiggled the adjusting rod back and forth for hours but that thing wouldn't break free for anything. I then went ahead and removed the entire assembly (which is what I should have done at first) and then tried to free it using the wiggle method. It still didn't work.

Well while looking at the assembly, I noticed something about the way it is designed. Instead of trying to free the adjustment assembly using the golden rod, I removed the bulb enclosure section of the headlight and used a Torx bit to free up the adjusting assembly. Look at the picture below:



So get your dumpster diving cloths on, it's time to go fishing. Don't bother with the dealerships in Louisville, I got them all covered. As a matter of fact, you just might open a dumpster lid and see me jump out looking like the cookie monster.

I now have a fully adjustable "golden rod" again. That was really rubbing my nerves the wrong way. Another fix that didn't include the Corvette tax.

That's all folks!

Last edited by Junkman2008; 10-11-2012 at 08:29 AM.
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