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Old 01-19-2006, 09:33 PM
UCrewX5's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Hockeytown, USA
Posts: 9,738
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Front Turn Signal Replacement

Front Turn Signal Replacement
(for '04 +, see bottom of page)

Excerpted from posts by TripleX5, TommyX, jlzander and UCrewX5

Tools Needed:

1. 1/4 in drive regular and/or wobbly head.

2. 8mm socket (or 5/16 if you don't have a metrics set).

3 Drive Extensions, different sizes.

Here are some detailed instruction for removing and replacing the front turn signal bulbs. In my case I painted mine so that the bulbs blend in better with the "Sport" model turn signal lenses.

There are two bolts, 8mm, that are in plain sight on either headlight. Mark each plastic tab with half circles so you know where the bolts need to go. They are adjustable tabs and if the bolts don't go in place exactly, your beam pattern will be affected. Remove these.

The other 2 screws are located behind the head-light and are located on either side of the rear of the headlight.

Be careful here as to not to break the tongue located on the other end of the trim piece. (note: to remove the trim you need to gently pull on the piece from the side that is closest to the center grill. In other words if you are trying to remove the piece on the driver's side then pull from the left edge, and if you are trying to remove the piece on the passenger side then pull from the right edge. The piece should snap out, and then you need to slide it out of a track that is part of the fender.)

Start from the inner (high beam) and pull it out towards the outer (low beam) side. There is a tab under the low beam holding this, pull all the way forward and remove this plastic piece. See the following pics for what it looks like:

Removing the head light trim involved (1) pulling forward from the top corner, (2) sliding from outside to inside to remove the trim from the insert tab, and (3) pulling the 2 clips free.
Here's the removed trim so you can see what you shouldn't break:
Undo the two bolts in the rear of the headlight unit, one on each side. A socket extension and universal joint or a flexible extension will work.

Head light assembly pulled out. Replacement bulbs are 3457AK.

Now comes the really tricky up part. Plenty of people have attempted to remove these screws only to find themselves cursing because the screws dropped down the bumper. So here is the trick. In order to avoid this, get some gum or something tacky and rap it around the head of the socket. I personally use friction tape. It works very well. This is to get a good hold of the screw as you remove it. You can use an angled socket here, which helps but is not necessary.

Now carefully slide the headlight forward and unplug, that's it. You might want to place a clean towel over the bumper area before you slide the headlight unit out to prevent any accidental scratches on your paint.

There’s the signal bulb!!

I used Red-Devil heat resistant paint and lightly dust the bulbs to
give it that silver-ish look.

Once you have completed replacing or dusting or what have you, then
just simply follow the same steps backwards.
When all is well and done, step back and take another bow. Cause
there is still some people still trying to figure out how to open
the hood.

This project should take no more than an hour.

NOTE: If you plan to completely remove the headlight units you
do not have to remove the front bumper cover. However, if you slide
it out slightly then it will make doing so much easier if you have the front
headlamp washers. To do so you will need to follow the procedure on removing the front bumper cover.

Addendum for 2004 and newer X5's

On the 2004's there is no longer the plastic trim piece between the bumper and headlight that snaps out to reveal the two lower bolts. Rather, in addition to removing the two nuts on top you also need to remove two more nuts that are partially hidden on the inside.

For example, on the left headlight one of the nuts is located slightly on the right of the back of the high beam cover. The other one is located exactly at the back of the low beam cover. Once you remove all four nuts then you should be able to slide the entire headlight unit out far enough to change the bulbs.

If you want to remove the entire assembly and have the headlamp washers then you may need to follow the procedure on removing the front bumper cover.

Note that the two lower hidden nuts are not painted black like the two nuts at the top, so look for two nuts that are simply in the color of steel.

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