Ford Taurus/Sable 1996-1999 Repair Guide




See Figures 1, 2, 3 and 4

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Fig. Fig. 1: Remove the three headlight retaining bolts and loosen the pinch bolt. Carefully pull the headlight forward to access the bulbs

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Fig. Fig. 2: Detach the headlight electrical connector from the bulb

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Fig. Fig. 3: Remove the headlight bulb retainer and...

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Fig. Fig. 4: ... remove the headlight bulb from the lens assembly

  1. Disconnect the negative battery cable.
  3. Open the vehicle's hood and secure it in an upright position.
  5. Remove the headlight retaining bolts and carefully pull the headlamp forward to access the bulbs.
  7. Unplug the wiring connector from the bulb
  9. Rotate the bulb retainer counterclockwise approximately 1 / 8 of a turn and remove the bulb retainer.
  11. Remove the bulb from the vehicle by gently pulling the bulb straight out of the headlamp assembly.

Do not touch the glass bulb with your fingers. Oil from your fingers can severely shorten the life of the bulb. If necessary, wipe off any dirt or oil from the bulb with rubbing alcohol before completing installation.

To install:
  1. The installation is the reverse of the removal.
  3. To ensure that the replacement bulb functions properly, activate the applicable switch to illuminate the bulb which was just replaced. (If this is a combination low and high beam bulb, be sure to check both intensities.) If the replacement light bulb does not illuminate, either it too is faulty or there is a problem in the bulb circuit or switch. Correct if necessary.


See Figures 5 and 6

The headlights must be properly aimed to provide the best, safest road illumination. The lights should be checked for proper aim and adjusted as necessary. Certain state and local authorities have requirements for headlight aiming; these should be checked before adjustment is made.

About once a year, when the headlights are replaced or any time front end work is performed on your vehicle, the headlight should be accurately aimed by a reputable repair shop using the proper equipment. Headlights not properly aimed can make it virtually impossible to see and may blind other drivers on the road, possibly causing an accident. Note that the following procedure is a temporary fix, until you can take your vehicle to a repair shop for a proper adjustment.

Headlight adjustment may be temporarily made using a wall, as described below, or on the rear of another vehicle. When adjusted, the lights should not glare in oncoming car or truck windshields, nor should they illuminate the passenger compartment of vehicles driving in front of you. These adjustments are rough and should always be fine-tuned by a repair shop which is equipped with headlight aiming tools. Improper adjustments may be both dangerous and illegal.

For most of the vehicles covered by this guide, horizontal and vertical aiming of each sealed beam unit is provided by two adjusting screws which move the retaining ring and adjusting plate against the tension of a coil spring. There is no adjustment for focus; this is done during headlight manufacturing.

Because the composite headlight assembly is bolted into position, no adjustment should be necessary or possible. Some applications, however, may be bolted to an adjuster plate or may be retained by adjusting screws. If so, follow this procedure when adjusting the lights, BUT always have the adjustment checked by a reputable shop.

Before removing the headlight bulb or disturbing the headlamp in any way, note the current settings in order to ease headlight adjustment upon reassembly. If the high or low beam setting of the old lamp still works, this can be done using the wall of a garage or a building:

  1. Park the vehicle on a level surface, with the fuel tank about 1 / 2 full and with the vehicle empty of all extra cargo (unless normally carried). The vehicle should be facing a wall which is no less than 6 feet (1.8m) high and 12 feet (3.7m) wide. The front of the vehicle should be about 25 feet from the wall.
  3. If aiming is to be performed outdoors, it is advisable to wait until dusk in order to properly see the headlight beams on the wall. If done in a garage, darken the area around the wall as much as possible by closing shades or hanging cloth over the windows.
  5. Turn the headlights ON and mark the wall at the center of each light's low beam, then switch on the bright lights and mark the center of each light's high beam. A short length of masking tape which is visible from the front of the vehicle may be used. Although marking all four positions is advisable, marking one position from each light should be sufficient.

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Fig. Fig. 5: Low-beam headlight pattern alignment

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Fig. Fig. 6: High-beam headlight pattern alignment

  1. If neither beam on one side is working, and if another like-sized vehicle is available, park the second one in the exact spot where the vehicle was and mark the beams using the same-side light. Then switch the vehicles so the one to be aimed is back in the original spot. It must be parked no closer to or farther away from the wall than the second vehicle.
  3. Perform any necessary repairs, but make sure the vehicle is not moved, or is returned to the exact spot from which the lights were marked. Turn the headlights ON and adjust the beams to match the marks on the wall.
  5. Have the headlight adjustment checked as soon as possible by a reputable repair shop.