European Spec Headlights, aka E-Codes

If you're used to my normal How2's this one will be a little different. I snapped a bunch of photos almost 2 years ago. I posted the photos on the web site, but never did the write-up. I completely forgot that they were in the basement half finished.

About three weeks ago, I got an IM on VW Vortex asking me for help with Joey Modding some headlights. I wrote it all up in an IM and helped the guy out. I cut and pasted the text of that dialog into this web site. Please let me know if you've got questions.



Joey Mod Process

(7:05 AM 8-26-2005) PedroGringo: I'm assuming you've got your headlights out already. There are three metal clips that help secure the lenses to the black body of the lights. Those pop out pretty easily. I just used needle nosed pliers and grabbed them.

(7:06 AM 8-26-2005) PedroGringo: The lens is held on with an ahdesive that is kind-of like caulking. It is a special silicone that is specifically designed for headlights. It handles the heat and stays soft even after it has hardened. To remove the lens, you need to heat that up so it releases the glass. The best way to do this is with a heat gun.

(7:08 AM 8-26-2005) PedroGringo: Mechanicswear makes a glove that has rubber grippers on the fingers and palms. Though you can do this job without them, it is easier with them because it lets you grab the glass while it is really warm. For the left headlight I burnt my fingers quite a few times. I had the gloves for the second headlight.

(7:10 AM 8-26-2005) PedroGringo: Concentrate on warming up the glass. Keep an eye on the plastic around the outside. You don't want to melt the plastic. Just work your way around warming up the lens where it meets the plastic. I found that I had to heat the lens all the way around before it would really release. You'll feel it getting soft. Take your time and just keep working it. Resist the temptation to pry the lens out. Just work it with your fingers and you won't crack your glass.

(7:14 AM 8-26-2005) PedroGringo: When you finally get it off, you'll need to mask off the lens elements. There is a trim ring around the outside that you can paint seperately. You'll see what I'm talkinga bout when you get it apart. You can see the trim ring in this photo.

Make sure that you use ONLY 3m masking tape. it is the only stuff that I've found that never leaves adhesive when you peel it off. Mask everything off that you don't want painted.

I scuffed up the stuff I was painting with some really fine grit sandpaper (400 or something). I've been told that isn't necessary, but I wanted to be sure.

(7:16 AM 8-26-2005) PedroGringo: I then painted to my heart's content. I started with auto primer. Then I went to a flat black paint. You may not need to prime. I just did it for overkill. I've been entertaining the idea of color matching the trim ring. I have the paint to do it. I just haven't gotten around to it yet.

(7:16 AM 8-26-2005) PedroGringo: When you're done painting, take a few minutes to clean the lens REALLY well. I got done with one light, put it back together, then noticed a bit of dust on the inside of the lens. I had to take it all apart again.

(7:18 AM 8-26-2005) PedroGringo: Reassembly is easy. Go to a good auto parts store and ask for headlight sealant. It comes in a small tube. I'll try and take a photo of the stuff I've got. The guys at Autozone should know what you're talking about if you ask for it. I got mine a small local auto parts store that is always good to me.

(7:19 AM 8-26-2005) PedroGringo: I left the original adhesive in there. It was still in perfect shape, so I didn't feel like it had to be removed. I warmed it up with the heat gun again a little just to get it soft. I then added a thin bead of the new sealant I got and then pressed the lens back into the body of the light. I was done!

(7:19 AM 8-26-2005) PedroGringo: Like I said in the beginning, it isn't difficult to do. It just takes time and patience.

(7:20 AM 8-26-2005) PedroGringo: I guess I now have the write-up to go with my photos. I'll post that all up on the web site some time soon. Let me know if you've got questions. You can e-mail me at





Here's the final incarnation of the E-codes. I took the surround and color matched it to the body color of the car.




Installation Process

Installation is EASY. Start by removing the bumper. You can find info on how to do that by clicking HERE.

Next there are four screws that hold the headlight in. They are pictured below.





Remove these screws and the headlight will move forward.

Release the wiring harness from the back of the light shown below.

The harness is located in the center of the photo. It has a latch on it to prevent it from slipping out. Squeeze the latch and the harness pulls right out.

To install the new ones, do everything above in reverse order.

All that is left after that is alignment. Bentley said to have them professionally alligned. I eyeballed it against a brick wall. I may have it professionally done because I felt like I was guessing.

Finished Project

In some ways I'm happy with the lights. In others I'm not and I will redo them. They work great and they look pretty good. The one problem is the color matching. The Imola yellow is stupidly difficult to match. What makes it worse is that looking at the colors through the glass of the lens brings out the orange in that color. When I held up the light surround to the car without the glass, the color was SO DAMN CLOSE. After installing the lenses, it doesn't look anywhere near that close. It is too orange. It was a good first try. I'll get it right eventually. Here are some shots that I took right after installation.

The Headlight Lens and the Camera bring out the orange in the light. It doesn't look that different in person.

This shot is closest to what they look like in real life. The yellow is close, but not quite perfect.





I'm taking the lights apart again. :D Good is never good enough.


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