By Rod Godfrey
This document sets out how to remove the
reflector from a Saab 9000 headlight and replace it with a resilvered
reflector. If you drive at night, your old headlights are affecting
your ability to see and be seen. Resilvering is a cost-effective
technique to avoid inspection failures and drive more safely at night.
There are no new headlights to be bought at a reasonable cost.
Reflectors may be sent for resilvering but to avoid the wait with the
car off the road, resilvered reflectors are available here on an
the headlights from the car.
The most awkward part of this process may be separating the electrical
connectors; They do keep water out but many will have frozen together.
Be patient and keep easing them small amounts until they separate.
Take the two inspection / bulb change caps off. Take out all three
existing bulbs and note the wire colours / locations. Remove the wires
from the spade terminals on the reflectors.
One reason for repairing headlights is the failure of the pivot bush,
supporting one of the three mounting points of the reflector. Black
plastic debris in the base of the headlight is a tell tale sign - as is
the headlight flipping up and down when you go over bumps (an
Another sign of failure is if the rear of the pivot bush looks damaged
or is protruding from the headlight.
The next job is to separate the glass from the housing. Number all the
clips in a logical fashion and, using a large screwdriver, flip the
clips off. The wiper rest may as well come off too. Now separate the
glass, its rubber gasket (which may stick to the housing, the glass or
both) and the housing. The stickiness is only annoying and doesn’t stop
the gasket from being reused.
Using a long screwdriver, detach the white plastic clip from the
headlamp levelling motor arm. You can either rotate the levelling motor
out of the headlamp housing to withdraw the motor/arm/clip complete
from the reflector, or detach the clip from the motor arm.
Next, rotate the plastic collar on the next pivot so that it can be
withdrawn forward from the housing when the next step has been
completed. The plastic is normally so brittle that it disintegrates.
Even if you are lucky enough to have a complete pivot pin that works,
it’s worth replacing them while you are dismantling it. SAABits sells an effective replacement kit.
Finally, to get to the last pivot an 8mm hole must be drilled in the
X marks the spot.
The location is not too critical. After drilling the hole,
unscrew the crosshead screw and ease out the associated rubber bush.
Now withdraw the reflector forward out of the housing. Whichever
resilvering service you use, follow their instructions for removal of
bulb clips and the black bracing / support bar at the back of the
Reassembly is straightforward. The rubber bush in the pivot you had to
drill to get to needs to be fully relocated before the screw can be
reengaged. A little bit of rubber / nylon lubricant will aid the
refitting of the pivots. Consider using jewellers rouge on the
headlight glass to remove wiper crazing before reassembly. It won’t
remove stone chips but it will improve the performance of the glass.
In order to complete the job when the reflector comes back from the
resilverer, the access hole in the housing must be sealed. After
reassembly of the headlight but before putting
it back in the car,
tidy the hole in the housing up (remove swarf and debris), fit an 8mm
rubber blanking grommet, and seal with a weatherproof compound. I used
exterior frame sealant but most sealants for exterior use will do the
The reflector in the demonstration headlight looked like this. The
majority of the reflecting surface was not shiny any more and night
performance was truly rubbish.