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Mustang Headlight Socket Repair (87-04)

Posted 12/22/2013 by Jeff Jimenez

Did you find broken headlight sockets when you went to replace your headlights on your Fox Body or SN95 Mustang? Repairing them is a simple task. Follow along in this tech article to see just how you can easily repair your sockets!

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Mustang headlights fade and cloud over – that is a fact. Most of the time you will have to take them off to either recondition them or replace them with new headlights. We recently wrote a article that showed you a comparison of some of the different headlights that are available for the your Mustang – 99-04 Mustang Headlight Install and Comparison. Because of the age of these cars and heat from the engine bay, the factory headlight bulb socket becomes brittle and weak. It is fairly common to have the tabs on the factory socket break when removing the socket from the headlight. Sometimes you may even have socket pigtails that get damaged in accidents. If you need to replace your headlight socket, rest assured that the fix is easy. Check out the install below.

Parts Used:

Tools & Material Needed:

  • Electrical Tape
  • Wire Crimper
  • Wire Stripper
  • Razor or knife

Optional Tools & Material:

  • Soldering Tool
  • Heat Shrink Tubing
  • Heat gun, lighter or heat source
  • Third Hand Soldering Station

Installation:

  1. Open Hood
  2. Locate retaining clips and pull up to remove the Mustang Headlight Retaining Clips

    Mustang Headlight Socket Repair (87-04) - Mustang Headlight Socket Repair (87-04)

  3. Gently pull the Mustang headlights away from header panel. Be careful not to pull too hard and break the headhlight and side marker bulb connections.
  4. Disconnect the headlight and side marker bulbs from the wiring harness.

    Mustang Headlight Socket Repair (87-04) - Mustang Headlight Socket Repair (87-04) Mustang Headlight Socket Repair (87-04) - Mustang Headlight Socket Repair (87-04)

  5. Place the headlight aside and you now have easy access to the headlight bulb socket. To get easier access to splice into the wire, cut back and pull away the wire loom.

    Mustang Headlight Socket Repair (87-04) - Mustang Headlight Socket Repair (87-04)

  6. You can now prep the new bulb socket for installation. Trim the leads to the desired length and use wire strippers to trim back about a half inch to inch on both the new bulb socket wire and wiring harness wire. We opted to do one wire at a time to avoid crossing or confusing wires.

    Mustang Headlight Socket Repair (87-04) - Mustang Headlight Socket Repair (87-04)

  7. With both the new socket pigtail wire ready and the wiring harness wire ready, you can now slide on the optional heat shrink tubing for an extra layer of protection. The next step can be done in two different ways – using electrical connectors or soldiering. We believe in the solder route but we understand not everyone has this equipment or the experience. If you want to soldier the wires and haven’t tried it before, this is a good job to learn. Try watching a few “how to” videos on YouTube first. If you decide to use butt connectors, you can now use your crimping tool to connect the two wire ends together. If you decide to go the soldering route, you can now tightly twist the exposed pigtail copper wire around the wiring harness expose wire. We used a “third hand” soldering station to assist in the process; these can be picked up at your local tool store (example: Harbor Freight). Heat the twisted connection with the soldering iron & allow the solder to flow in to the connection. Follow by pulling the heat shrink over the soldered area. Use a heating element (we used the soldering gun) to shrink down the heat shrink.

    Mustang Headlight Socket Repair (87-04) - Mustang Headlight Socket Repair (87-04) Mustang Headlight Socket Repair (87-04) - Mustang Headlight Socket Repair (87-04) Mustang Headlight Socket Repair (87-04) - Mustang Headlight Socket Repair (87-04)

  8. You can now use 3M Supper 33+ electrical tape to tape the heat shrink or electrical connection area. Be sure to take the take at least an inch past the end of the heat shrink or electrical connector. You can now repeat the process for the other two wires. Once done you can pull the wire loom back over the connections and taped it back up. You have now completed side one. Repeat on second side and then you are done.

Taping Tip – When coming to the end of your tape run, release the tension & cut the tape with a razor blade. Finish laying the tail of the tape. This will keep the finished end of the tape from pulling back over time!

Mustang Headlight Socket Repair (87-04) - Mustang Headlight Socket Repair (87-04)


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Mustang Headlight Socket Repair (87-04) Tech Info

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