Toyota Corolla 1988-1997 Repair Guide

Headlights

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REMOVAL & INSTALLATION



See Figure 1

Sealed Beam Type

If vehicle is equipped with retractable headlights raise the headlights and turn the lights off with the headlights raised. Then pull out the "RTR 30 AMP'' fuse. Unless power is disconnected, headlights could suddenly retract causing injury.

  1. Open the hood.
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  3. On some models it may be necessary to remove the air cleaner duct.
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  5. Remove the headlight bezel (trim).
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  7. The sealed beam is held in place by a retainer and either 2 or 4 small screws. Identify these screws before applying any tools.
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DO NOT confuse the small retaining screws with the larger aiming screws! There will be two aiming screws or adjusters for each lamp. (One adjuster controls the up/down motion and the other controls the left/right motion.) Identify the adjusters and avoid them during removal. If they are not disturbed, the new headlamp will be in identical aim to the old one.

  1. Using a small screwdriver (preferably magnetic) and a pair of taper-nose pliers if necessary, remove the small screws in the headlamp retainer. DON'T drop the screws.
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  3. Remove the retainer and the headlamp may be gently pulled free from its mounts. Detach the connector (if the connector is tight wiggle it) from the back of the sealed beam unit and remove the unit from the car.
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  5. Place the new headlamp in position (single protrusion on the glass face upward) and connect the wiring harness. Remember to install the rubber boot on the back of the new lamp--its a water seal. Make sure the headlight is right-side up.
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  7. Turn on the headlights and check the new lamp for proper function, checking both high and low beams before final assembly.
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  9. Install the retainer and the small screws that hold it.
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  11. Reinstall the headlight bezel.
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Fig. Fig. 1: Headlight identification

Fixed Lens Type

See Figures 2 through 7

This type of light is replace from behind the unit. The lens is not removed or loosened.

  1. Open and support the hood.
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  3. Remove the air cleaner duct on the left side if necessary. The duct is retained with a clip that may break, be careful during removal and installation.
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Fig. Fig. 2: Some models require the air cleaner duct to be removed to access the headlamp bulb



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Fig. Fig. 3: Air cleaner duct clip removal and installation

  1. Remove the wiring connector from the back the lamp. Be careful to release the locking tab completely before removal. If the connector is tight, wiggle it to remove.
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Fig. Fig. 4: Unplug the connector while depressing the lock release



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Fig. Fig. 5: Inspect the connector for corrosion

  1. Grasp the base of the bulb holder and collar, twist it counterclockwise (as viewed from the engine compartment) and carefully remove the bulb holder and bulb from the housing.
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Fig. Fig. 6: Turn the bulb counterclockwise to remove it from the housing

  1. Using gloves or a rag, hold the bulb and release the clip on the holder. Remove the bulb.
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Fig. Fig. 7: Always handle the bulb from the plastic end

  1. Install the new bulb in the holder and make sure the clip engages firmly.
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Hold the new bulb with a clean cloth or a piece of paper. DO NOT touch or grasp the bulb with your fingers. The oils from your skin will produce a hot spot on the glass envelope, shortening bulb life. If the bulb is touched accidentally, clean it with alcohol and a clean rag before installation.

  1. Install the holder and bulb into the housing. Note that the holder has guides which must align with the housing. When the holder is correctly seated, turn the collar clockwise to lock the holder in place.
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  3. Connect the wiring harness. Turn on the headlights and check the function of the new bulb on both high and low beam.
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MANUAL OPERATION OF RETRACTABLE HEADLIGHTS



The retractable headlights can be manually operated if their electrical mechanism fails. To raise or lower the lights, Turn the ignition and headlight switches OFF and pull out the "RTR MTR 30A'' fuse. Unless the power is disconnected, there is a danger of the headlights suddenly retracting. Remove the rubber cover from the manual operation knob (under the hood next to the headlight unit) and turn the knob clockwise. Manual operation should only be used if the system has failed; be sure to check the electrical operation of the lights as soon as possible. When the headlights are retracted, they should match the silhouette of the vehicle body.

AIMING THE HEADLIGHTS



See Figures 8 through 12

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.


CAUTION
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.
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Fig. Fig. 8: Location of the aiming screws on most vehicles with sealed beam headlights



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Fig. Fig. 9: Dual headlight adjustment screw locations-one side shown here (other side should be mirror image)



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Fig. Fig. 10: Example of headlight adjustment screw location for composite headlamps

  1. 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.
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  3. Turn the headlights ON and mark the wall at the center of each light's low beam, then switch on the brights 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. 11: Low-beam headlight pattern alignment



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Fig. Fig. 12: 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.
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  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.
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  5. Have the headlight adjustment checked as soon as possible by a reputable repair shop.
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