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Time, heat and a few winters of road de-icer all combine to degrade the headlight components on your truck. While my truck's original headlight lenses and lighting elements still looked like new, the various components used in the adjuster mechanisms had deteriorated due to time, heat and spray from the road de-icer used on our Montana winter roads.
The above photo shows both a new and the original vertical headlight adjuster, and how the original had deteriorated. Not only was the threaded rod rusted to a point of failure, but the nylon plastic retainer on the right in this photo had become brittle and broken - no longer retaining the vertical adjuster rod. The import part is a pretty good copy in every way.
At the time the headlight assembly failed in my truck I could not locate a genuine GM headlight adjuster replacement by itself. If I wanted to remain with OEM headlight assemblies, I would have had to replace the entire headlight assembly at about $150 for each side. I simply needed a replacement adjuster, so I bought an import set of lights like those shown above from Amazon.com, which came with a full set of adjusters. Even though these are import parts, the adjusters fit great and I had a pile of replacement parts to keep the headlight, park light and driving light systems operating well into the future.
In preparation for this article some months later, I dug deeper and found that genuine GM headlight adjusters are now available from online sources like GMPartsdirect.com.
The headlight assemblies are removed from the truck by first rotating/unlocking the pins pointed to in the above photo.
Once the pins have been rotated, simply pull them straight up and out of the headlight assemblies.
The headlight assembly can now be slid forward just far enough to unplug the headlight and park light electrical connectors. The adjusters can be removed and then reinstalled easily. The nylon anchors twist-lock into the black plastic frame assemblies, and the main adjuster mechanisms are held in place using screws. It's a fairly simple operation to swap the components. If your truck's headlight adjusters haven't deteriorated quite as far as mine, an annual shot of WD-40 might not be a bad idea.
Let me know if you need any further instruction or tips on replacement.
The Diesel Page, December 2017
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