Monday, March 15, 2010

Bulb Replacement

Kristen teases me when I start projects on the Land Rover. She likes to make fun of the seemingly ridiculous level of complication that comes with even the most mundane service item. So when I lost a marker bulb a while back, I bought a replacement and intended to put the thing in straight away. I've had to do this already though, so I knew it would be laughably complicated for what it is, so I've just let the bulb bounce around on the console while I built up the fortitude to deal with it. Sunday, I got to it.
Here's the bulb. It is the tiniest thing you've ever seen...

With the key, for some scale and perspective. This bulb is truly dinky. How complicated could it possibly be to replace this thing?

Well, Land Rover likes complicated... So the first thing you have to do is remove the headlight assembly from the front of the car. That's right, you can't access the bulb from the engine compartment, like on most cars...oh no. That would be too easy!
So first up...locate the screw on the inside edge of the headlight assembly, shown here...

What? Don't see the screw? That's because the screw (one of three) is hidden behind this little vestigial hinged door! So, open the door and pull the screw.

Don't see the door to open to pull the screw? That's because first you have to remove the grill... to get to the get to the screw. Still with me?
Note that at this point, I start to drink beer. As per the Land Rover owners manual, I'm storing my pint of Blueberry Wheat in a frosted glass sitting on top of the primary fuse panel for the car. That's it there on the left. What could possibly go wrong!?
Note also, that while the headliner inside the car has begun to fail and droop, the black felt insulated 'headliner' on the under side of the hood is just fine. Note to Land Rover...put engine insulation panels inside car instead of headliners...

So, recap...grill off, door opened, screw out (along with the other two), proceed to pull the headlight assembly from the car, and locate the wire harness junction where it enters the assembly. Unplug the harness and remove the assembly. You now officially look like the perpetrator in a hit and run case! Oh the shame! The last time I saw a front end in this state was when I rear ended Nell Smiley and her Pontiac Bonneville with my Ford Escort back in 1986! I should pour old coolant underneath the car to simulate a busted radiator to complete the trip down memory lane...just for fun.

Ignore my yellow plate on the front of the car. You UK folks will call me out for that I'm sure. What can I say, I like yellow.
Back to the bulb. Locate the sealed twist off access panel on the back of the assembly that corresponds to the bulb that is out. Note that there are 4 access panels for the 5 (!) bulbs in each assembly. Twist and remove the panel. Do not damage the o-ring that seals the access panel. Replace bulb, reinstall access panel, and reinstall the entire front of the car.

Valet tip...when you have trim off your car, any car, for maintenance purposes, take the time to clean areas under where panels overlap, like the edge if the fender, where the headlight assembly would normally cover it up. Clean edge lines make for a clean car. Yes, I've also been known to dust my AC vents with Q-tips. I'm particular.

Sure the process in convoluted and unnecessarily complex. That's what makes Land Rover ownership fun! Hey, you could buy a Toyota, but then you wouldn't have brakes!
Here endeth the lesson. "Slew they the goats ye, and place they the bits, in little pots."


Steve said...

Or, you could take it to the dealer and pay $200 like everybody else.

I laughed at the line about you being particular: "Get your scratchin' feet off my dashboard!"

Neill said...

Buy a military Series III.....unscrew the 'jam jar' thread, poke bulb in, screw back on....go get a beer....all in less than two minutes ;-)