Does the Rubber Seal Around the Front Headlights Stretch?

Discussion in '1996 - 2004 SN95 Mustang -General/Talk-' started by RED2001GT, Nov 25, 2006.


  1. RED2001GT

    RED2001GT New Member

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    I had to bring back my 02 Mustang because when the body shop put back on the front headlights after they painted the front bumper, there was a "gap" between the top of the headlight unit and the top front part of the front fender near the tip of the fender. The gap was exactly between the rubber seal on the headlight and the fender. It looked as if the headlight was not put on correctly. The gap is wider on the passenger side than it is on the driver's side. I ended up taking my car back to the body shop for them to fix the problem and they were NOT able to correct the problem 100%.
    I just got my car back today and there is "still" a gap there between the top of the 2 front headlights and the top of the fender in the area near the tip of the fender. The body shop told me that they did the best they could to make the gap unoticeable and that there is nothing else that they can do.

    Could it be possible that the rubber seals on the lights stretched when the body shop took off both headlight units causing the gap to appear after headlight units were put back on the car? From looking at the headlight units, it doesn't appear that the rubber has stretched at all. And the headlight units are both intact.

    I would like to know WHAT is causing the top of both headlight units to have a gap between in the area on the top part of the fender near the tip of the fender. The passenger side has a bigger gap than the driver's side.
    Why does this problem exist?
  2. n0v8or

    n0v8or Member

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    What sort of work did they do? Just remove & replace the bumper cover to fill scuffs and repaint?
  3. RED2001GT

    RED2001GT New Member

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    They removed the front bumper and both headlights in order to fix a crease in the bumper and they also fixed some scrapes and small gouges that were in the bumper. Then they repainted the entire front bumper and put it back on the car. All the damage was done when someone hit my car while it was parked.
  4. Kilgore Trout

    Kilgore Trout Fried or Broiled ?

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    Just go out and look at your headlights. You will see that the entire headlight pod is very simply held in place by two flat metal retaining pins that go down behind the headlight pod and affix the headlight pod to the backer piece that goes across the entire front of the car behind the bumper cover.

    Go look at it...

    You can kinda see it in this pic:

    [​IMG]
  5. DaNd4Speed

    DaNd4Speed Founding Member

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    And then what is he supposed to do?........
  6. RED2001GT

    RED2001GT New Member

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    Okay,
    Do you see where the amber colored side of the headlight unit curves together with the top pointed part of the fender? Do you see where the black rubber gasket which is also part of the headlight unit is flush with the fender all along the top part of the fender and even on the top perimeter part of the fender where the fender becomes pointed? Well, on the passenger side of my car FROM about halfway the distance just after the amber colored lights end where the rubber gasket is located, there is a gap between the rubber gasket and the fender. The gap is big enough for small pebbles and road salt to get lodged into the gap's crevice.

    The body shop told me that he took off both headlight units and that the headlight units cannot be adjusted anymore and that they are both on correctly. The gap is still there though. The gap is much wider on the passenger side than it is on the driver's side.
    I looked at a few used Mustangs on the lot at my local Ford dealer today after I got my car back and the headlight units on them were flush and sealed up tight against the fender body panel.
    Why are mine not like that too towards the front pointed part of the fender?
  7. DaNd4Speed

    DaNd4Speed Founding Member

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    I know exactly where you're talking about. It's at the very front, top pointed portion of the fender. You mentioned this problem on another thread and I suggested you play around with those clips that Kilgore Trout has photographed. You may need to get creative and wedge something to the backs of the clips to artificially force the headlight up higher to fill in the gap with the fender.

    There really isn't much adjustment at all with these headlights. You can aim the beams, but thats internal with the headlights themselves. If you find a way like I said to wedge the headlights up a little you'll need to point the beams of the headlights back down to compensate.
  8. Kilgore Trout

    Kilgore Trout Fried or Broiled ?

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    Go and check the clips... I bet they forgot to put them in. I bet the pods are just sitting there, loose...
  9. RED2001GT

    RED2001GT New Member

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    When I opened the hood and looked directly down at the top of the headlight units with the hood open, I saw that there were 2 clips on each headlight unit. The clips are metal with a hole in each one of them like the ones in the picture above. And the clips looked like they were positioned exaclty just like the ones in the picture above.

    So, if the clips are put in correctly, WHAT is the cause of the problem? You are right about one thing. The headlight unit towards the front pointed end of the fender sits "lower" causing the gap. The driver's side has a bigger gap than the passenger side.
  10. Kilgore Trout

    Kilgore Trout Fried or Broiled ?

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    Sounds like the bumper cover is on crooked or is improperly installed. The headlight pod positions are not adjustable IMHO.

    Why don't you remove the headlights and see if you can discover anything further? They are very easy to remove.
  11. RED2001GT

    RED2001GT New Member

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    I ran my eyes across the bumper from side to side and the bumper looks like it was put on straight. It doesn't looked crooked and it is not uneven in the area where it meets between the bumper and front fenders.
  12. Kilgore Trout

    Kilgore Trout Fried or Broiled ?

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    Pull the pods :nice:
  13. RED2001GT

    RED2001GT New Member

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    And then what?
    The headlight units both look secure with the pods. Why do I need to pull the pods?

    Also, the body shop owner said that he took BOTH headlight units out and that he then put them back in and that they are on the car correctly. I am afraid to touch anything for the fear of the headlight unit getting loose and scratching the newly painted front bumper.
  14. n0v8or

    n0v8or Member

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    Did you notice if the gaps were closed after the damage to the bumper, but before you brought it to the shop? If they were, it suggests the gaps were created by something done during the repair.

    Can you compare your car to another to see if your headlights are lower where they meet the bumper cover? If yes, the light assemblies are mounted too low.

    Is the gap uniform from front-to-rear, or is it wider nearest the tip of the fender?

    I seem to recall another thread a few months ago with this same problem. It might be worth a search (both here and Modular Depot).
  15. Stang|ess

    Stang|ess seeking cyber partner(s)

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    [​IMG]

    is yours like that?
  16. RED2001GT

    RED2001GT New Member

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    Yes.

    It's EXACTLY just like that at the corner of the front fender on the passenger side just like in the picture above!
    The black rubber gasket seal on the headlight unit on the passenger side headlight is almost touching the tip if the front fender, but not quite and the size of the gap at that particular location is almost the same size opening like the one in the picture above.

    And the other gap on the driver's side is located in a small area on the fender just above where the amber colored lens on the headlight unit begins that's located next to the clear part of the headlight lens.

    I would like to know WHAT causes this and HOW the gap was created because it wasn't there before the repair was done to my car?
  17. RED2001GT

    RED2001GT New Member

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    The gaps were closed BEFORE and AFTER my car got hit. And they were also closed when I took my car into the body shop for repairs.
    The gaps happened AFTER the body shop did the repairs to my car.
    On the passenger side, the gap is located near the tip of the front fender. And on the driver's side, the gap is located just above the amber colored signal light.
  18. n0v8or

    n0v8or Member

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    OK, I can only think of 2 possible causes:
    (1) The headlight housings are not mounted straight, perhaps too low at the front.
    (2) The gasket/trim pieces are not mounted properly, and/or were damaged during dissasembly.

    Since the clearances were good just before the bumper cover was removed, I doubt there is any frame misalignment.

    I can slide a wooden yardstick (1/8" to 1/4" thick) into the gap between the top of my bumper cover and bottom of the headlight lens, holding it flat on the top of the bumper cover. Except for a location near the corner, I can slide it in 4-6 inches. That seems an easy test to determine if your entire headlight housings are mounted too low.
  19. RED2001GT

    RED2001GT New Member

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    I don't think that my headlight housings are mounted too low because they look straight when you look at them if you stand directly in front of the car. They do not look like they are tilted downwards or anything like that either.

    ALSO, from the picture above that Stangless posted, his headlight unit looks like it's on straight. The top part of the headlight unit does not look like it's tilted downwards. But it still has the same exact gap like my Mustang has between the top part of the headlight unit and the front pointed end of the front fender.

    It's a big mystery to me as to WHY the gap is still there if my headlight assembly units were mounted on correctly? Maybe someone in here who had or who currently has this same exact gap problem like I do, other than Stangless, can give me some clear answers as to what the causes the gap and how to make the gap disappear.
  20. Kilgore Trout

    Kilgore Trout Fried or Broiled ?

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    Are you talking about the gap under the leading edge of the hood? That is supposed to be there :shrug:

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