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.
Locate retaining clips and pull up to remove the Mustang Headlight Retaining Clips
Disconnect the headlight and side marker bulbs from the wiring harness.
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.
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.
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.
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!