2005: the few headaches (part 1)

It had to happen... too much motoring with too few glitches. Nonetheless, compared to my Ford product, the problems have been so few and far between that I hardly notice them. 2005 had its share of slightly bigger headaches.

What does a rainstorm have to do with this? Several days after Hurricane Katrina pounded the city of New Orleans into a soup, we got the remnants of that bad girl up here. While we suffered nothing close to the devastation that happened in the gulf coast, we got lots of standing water.

Visibility was not so great, and the winds made vehicle control a little more challenging than in other bad storms. On the few occasions where I had no choice but to drive through a large puddle of standing water, I could sometimes feel the car losing grip on the pavement ever so slightly, which is quite an achievement considering the good quality tires (low mileage) I have installed.

And indeed one of those puddles is what caused one of my problems: I immediately noticed the loss of a turn signal (my first burned bulb in this car in my entire 7 years of ownership. No big deal, I immediately went to the dealership that day and bought a replacement and was about to change it right there in the parking lot. However, when I pulled the bulb, this is what I found:

The bulb itself was completely blown out. Water had gotten into the turn signal housing.

You can see the water accumulation on the bottom left corner of the housing, and some traces of condensation on the inside of the lens. Nonetheless, after borrowing a set of pliers from the dealer, I got the new bulb installed.

There was some water inside the passenger's side housing as well, which I drained by removing the bulb and letting it all run out. However, the very next rainfall, I lost yet another driver's side bulb... the housing must have been either cracked or no longer watertight.

To remove the housings, I opted to open the headlamp doors and remove the plastic bezels around the units. The recommended method is to jack the car and access the bolts securing the housing through a removeable flap on the underside of the front bumper. However, in a garage with no lift and only minimal clearance, I had no choice but to use both arms at once on the driver's side... one from above and the other from below, due to all the stuff that makes it hard to access the housing.

To open the headlamp doors, besides the manual method, I usually flip open the lights and remove the door motor fuses. Then I turn off the lights to conserve battery power and this keeps the doors up so I can remove the bezels.

With the two bolts removed from the rear of the housing, the units can be raised from their cradles. Easy to see that the passenger's side has way more clearance to work with.

It was at this moment I noticed exactly how worn the original lenses were! Over the years one forgets how a new car looks...

So in one afternoon, the car went from this:

...to this:

Much MUCH better looking now!