Sophia7

Replacing Headlights

29 posts in this topic

I'm trying to replace my headlights in my 2004 Monaco Diplomat.

Does anyone know how to remove the old ones so I can install the new assemblies?

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Sophia7,

Welcome to the Forum.

I believe your headlight units are secured from the back side of the unit. Look under your coach behind the headlight and you should find the studs that hold the units in place. At the same time if you are just looking at replacing the bulbs you should be able to twist the socket and remove it to change the bulb without removing the complete unit.

Herman

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Thanks for the response and welcome Herman.

One more question, do you know if the lens has to come off the assembly first before you take the unit out?

Thanks for the help, Sophia

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It should come out as one piece. The lens may be glued to the whole thing. It sound as if you are thinking of replacing the whole thing?? If it is broken that is one thing however if the lens is cloudy that can be buffed out. There are kits you can get to do yourself or there are shops that can do it for you.

Herman

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Thanks again Herman for the response. We tried the kits not too much luck. We were in a warehouse kind of a supply store recently(so much fun). He had brand new headlight assemblies for our coach for $40.00 so we bought them. We finally got them installed. We called an RV repairman and he installed them for us. Wasn't easy, he had a hard time getting them out too.

Thanks again for the help-- see you on the road!

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So how did he get them out? What problems did he have? I've got a pair that are going to be replaced soon. Where was your warehouse supply store?

I've seen the kits. I had ours professionally refinished at the FMCA Convention in Bowling Green, OH and they are much better but are clouding again. The person who did a wonderful job from what they were said that the do-it-yourself kits will make any further rehabilitation impossible. She worked for three hours using polishing rouge and a buffer to get them cleaned up. She said she wouldn't even attempt to do lenses which had been done with the DIY kits. I had my toad headlights done last year in Texas. The person who did that job also used the same technique as the woman who did the job in Bowling Green, OH. Either they all use the same line or the DIY kits are a fix that will prevent any further work on the lenses. In both cases, the job took a great deal of patience but made significant improvements. Our headlights are 10 years old on the toad and 8 years old on the coach.

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Sophia7 & Tom,

Just this morning I was trying out one of those kits to clear up your head light lenses. Don't waste your money. I did find out that the units were made by Hella. I knew they made off road light but did not know they made complete head light units. I and going to contact them to see if that know which model are in our coach and if I can purchase repalcements. Since I know both of you have Monacos I will let you what I find out.

Herman

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I have been in contact with Hella. They asked for pictures of my lights and after seeing the pictures they informed me that the lens can not be sold separately and that the head lights on my coach are made by BMW.

I went on Craigslist and found a 1993 BMW 325 that had the same head lights. I will go and look at them after I take some measurements. The cost $25.00 each.

Will let you know how they work out.

Herman

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While Herman says not to waste your time on kits to clean up headlight lens, assuming you have plastic lens that the kits are designed for, there are some kits that do an excellent job. I used a 3M kit on the lens of my former tow vehicle (2004 Chevy van) and it did an excellent job. You have to sand and sand and sand with progress grits of sand paper and then a polishing wheel and then rubbing compound so it takes over an hour per lens, but it does work very well. I still have the before and after pictures but I think they need to be hosted somewhere in order to post. If anyone is interested, let me know.

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Good to know Bill. The kit I got was just a small buffing wheel and some compound.

Can you step me through the process? What grit did you start with, wet or dry? What grit did you finish with and did you then use a polish of some sort?

As I said the kit I used wasn't worth the money and I should not have condimed all kits.

Herman

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Here's a link to their site and a video of how it's done. You start with something like 500 grit, 1000 grit, 3000 grit, 5000 grit polish and then rubbing compound. I watched the video and said it would never happen but that's exactly how it worked on my lens. They don't have that brand new crystal look but they are complete clear. The amount of light available was shocking the first night I drove after doing the restoration.

http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/3M/en_US/Car/Care/DIY_Projects/Appearance/Restoring_a_Headlight/

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I just got the information back from the supplier of the head lights for Hella that provided the lights for my Dynasty. www.ssterlingco.com. I sent Chris pictures of my head lights and he came back saying that they had the units in stock and could ship right away. $289.00 per side.

I think I will try the 3M kit Bill spoke of. Before and After pictures to follow.

Herman

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Herman,

If they don't restore, you might also wander through a couple of wrecking yards.

Particularly if they fit a BMW or other high-end car, you might find one that has been garage-kept and can buy them inexpensively.

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Brett, I have already found a set at a salvage yard for $25.00 each. They are on a 1993 BMW 325. They will be my second choice. Will keep you posted.

Herman

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Plastic is, well, just plastic and any plastic can be polished. I do think that the lens, as it comes from the factory, may have an anti-oxidant coating on it.

However, when you get the plastic back to mirror finish, it may need protecting again. While in a automotive paint supply shop, I found a small spray bottle of 'Let there be Light.' It is labeled as vehicle plastic lens protectant and it is sprayed onto the lens surface.

I have not used this product before since my polishing job on the MH has to be redone (fogged again) so I have no idea if it performs as claimed. ltbl.biz is their Web site. I have no relationship with this company other than as a hopeful user.

Your mileage may vary.

Mike Rehmus

1988 Holiday Rambler Alumalite 34'

454 GM, MorRide Tag

Roadmaster front springs and anti-roll bar, Koni shocks

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Here we go.

Coach Mfg. replacement head light assembly $820.13 each

Head light assembly mfg. $289.00 each.

Salvage yard 1993 BMW head light assembly $25.00 each (Condition may be as bad or worse then what I now have)

3M Head Light restoration Kit at Auto Zone $24.95 each.

I will try the kit first. If that doesn't do what I would like then I will chack out the Salvage Yard. (I will look at more yards also). Last resort S Sterling Co.

Will let you know.

Herman

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Crest Toothpaste will work-- price depends on if you have the original kind in stock or the size tube you buy.

Slightly abrasive like the lens polishing compounds. Try a little on a small spot to see how it works for you on a slightly moistened soft cloth or paper towel.

Should buff out just fine and take the oxidation and small pits out. Those nasty deeper ones are a different story.

Refinish video link, just one of many.

http://www.ehow.com/video_12246971_headlight-restoration.html

Rich.

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Rich,

Mine were very rough. I did get the 3M kit Bill mentioned. Now I don't want him to get the Big Head, but the kit worked well. It did take almost the full kit for one head light but it did work. I have heard that there is a spray to coat the lights after polishing. I believe it comes from an auto paint company.

Still working but am seeing good results.

Herman

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All current Monaco motorhomes use a headlight fixture from some domestic or foreign vehicle. The trick is to find what vehicle uses your motorhome headlight and then you can determine if TYC makes that headlight. I have a 2008 Monaco Diplomat which is used on a pickup. I went to www.rockauto.com and was able to buy the complete right headlight assembly (part number 20623300) for around $60 and it came with new bulb. Monaco wanted around $250+ for the same headlight assembly. Also the new headlight fixture has a limited lifetime warranty. I suspect most motorhome manufactures use headlight fixtures which are used in other production vehicles. Another way to possibly identify your headlight fixture is to remove it from the motorhome and look for part number on the back side. Generally these numbers are very small. Then you should be able to cross reference the number very easily.

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I found a Ford headlight replacement for my 2000 Monaco 38ft Windsor at Pep Boys . Part sku # 5701164. Part no. 20-1935-00 (mfg= Pilot Automotive)

Grand total = $54.23 and includes the bulb assy.

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Had our coach was washed in Perry. They shined the Aluminum Wheels and they looked great. They also, at no charge, buffed the head lights. They aren't the best yet but they look 100% better then they did. They used a buffer. with a lambs wool pad and liquid jewelers rouge.  

Herman

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