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Old 02-29-2012, 01:07 PM   #1
Aceman
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Default Removing bumper for lighting upgrades

Ok, here's my write up for front bumper removal to enable you to easily swap bulbs, do HIDs for your low beams, or your fogs, all sorts of stuff. One tip I can offer is if you're pulling off the bumper to do one thing (say, HID upgrade for the low beams) you'll never have an easier shot to swap your fogs out (maybe LED or a 6000k halogen bulb to match the HID look?), do the turn-signal mod I did, anything. . .I think technically you might be able to do an HID upgrade without taking out the headlights, but when the bumper is off it takes just a couple minutes to pull both headlights out, vs the alternative of shoving my monkey hands in behind the headlights to fish blindly for bulb bases and try to twist and pull them out - I never win that way!

I'm also posting some of the service manual diagrams just for your reference because they illustrate better how many body clips go where than my pictures do, however by their nature they make everything seem a little more difficult and intimidating than it actually is, so don't worry.

These are the new Rhino ramps I got at Autozone for $45. . .handy! The angle of this photo, and the moving blanket down below the bumper make it look like not as much of a rise as it actually is.
<picture removed to meet 25 photo limit! whoops!>

Make sure you have your nylon body panel tools (the one in the first row, all the way on the right is probably going to turn out to be the handiest) and either an actual body clip puller kit like mine below (around $50 for about an 8 piece kit), or just the "tack puller" like from Craftsman or my link in other topic post for the nice one from Amazon for $10ish.


First step, remove all the body panel clips top and bottom, as well as the two screws (one in each wheel well). I have put a red line through the service manual's suggestion to use a frigging flat head screwdriver because I don't think that's doing anyone any good unless you are a Picasso with it. Disregard part 3 for awhile, we'll come back to it.



Which in living color looks like this (notice conspicuously absent body clips from all those holes)


And you're going to want to pull the clips that hold the trim in the engine bay that starts mid-headlight and works its way back towards the firewall. . .very easy, should only take a couple minutes. Diagram below actually just about matches the angle of the picture above. . .my friend is pulling out that trim piece by the fender.


This is under the bumper, on the passenger side, looking up. . .you're going to want to pop all these out with your tack puller, and look carefully - it's not just the ones in the painted bumper area, you're going to take a bit of the first belly pan off with it. It's not rocket science, if you try to pull the bumper off and it doesnt lift right off, get back down there and see which ones you missed. Double check the service manual diagram and see how many clips they count.


This is underneath the middle of the bumper, up and to the left is the belly pan that is connected to (and stays with) the bumper, it has what are either liquid drain areas or formula one underbody venturi to minimize lift . Down and to the right is the next belly pan, this one stays attached to the vehicle. . .the oil drain bolt is just out of view down and to the right.


If you removed the two screws, and all the body clips, now the only thing that is holding the entire grill and bumper in are a handful of "snaps" on each side. This is the "hardest" part of the whole deal, because if you were to use a screwdriver or didn't have a diagram showing you where these snaps were, you could pop them right off and have a bumper that's not aligned or secured ideally. But, I'm going to give you all the tricks. . .

First we're going to pick back up at the "part 3" we skipped earlier in the service diagram that shows removal of all the bumper's body clips. You're going to need your nylon pry tool for this. Pick a side of the vehicle, it doesn't matter which one. If you pull the plastic panel, by the fenderwell, with your hand, give it a good hard stretch - and you should start to be able to see in the gap between the two panels (the bumper, and the fender above). What you're going to be looking for in that gap is 3 little clasps that I can best describe as looking like the flap on the top of a box of cereal after you open the box, then close it again, it's just a flap with a "tongue" held in by a catch. You're going to stick the nylon pry tool into the first snap, closest to the fenderwell, and gently either move that "tongue" up or down until it releases and those few inches of the bumper will free up. The pry tool gives you a lot of safe leverage, you're not going to hurt anything, and you certainly aren't forcing anything to a degree where it should ever feel like the breaking of plastic is imminent, you're just unhooking a flap from a catch. So go down the line until you get all 3 of the first set, as you move in towards the grill.

Here I am doing a "reenactment" of releasing those first three clips with the pry tool.

By my left hand you can see the "catch" end of the snaps on the bumper, you might be able to see metaphor of the cereal box top a little better now. . .


Now you're going to release the 4 (90% sure it's 4, it could be 5) snaps that hold the bottom of the headlight bracket to the bumper. Here's the service manual diagram:

You don't even have to understand what the first paragraph is saying, all you need to make sure is someone is holding the bumper from the grill area in the middle because it's about to be just hanging there.

Now would be a good time to say - prepare an area for the bumper to hang out for awhile. It's not particularly heavy, just bulky, and you probably don't want it in any weird place where the fog light lenses could get scratched or some plastic could snap or scratch. I have a cheap folding table from costco that I'll throw a painters tarp on for this kind of stuff.

The clips under the headlight brackets are a little different than the ones on the outside of the bumper, they are a little wider and I think they are easier to undo. Same deal with the pry tool, just stick it in there, give it some leverage up and/or down and you should get easy release of the snap.

Once you get all those snaps undone the bumper will be suspended precariously by hanging on some tabs on the headlights, this is where you definitely need another set of hands - one person to hold the bumper up from the middle (it's not heavy, don't worry) and as they lift it up and away you have to disconnect each fog light harness. They have the standard weather tight connectors you have to just pinch and detach.

Don't mind step 6 that I have a red line through on that page, you won't need to do that.

Here's my friend starting to pull the bumper up and off as I would immediately go in and detach the fog light harnesses.


Living in Chicago and it being the end of the winter season the whole underside of my CT and every nook and cranny of the bumper had salt dust in it, I could actually taste it as I was under the bumper. So having the bumper off I gave it a quick wipe down and I removed the 3 screws that hold each fog light in so I could clean them up.


Next part is super easy, you need a 10mm socket and you're going to remove the bolts from the top, and the bottom of the headlights. Here's the bottom bracket that comes off when you take the bottom bolts out.


So same deal with the bumper, as you loosen the bolts you're going to want an extra hand to hold the headlight assembly in place, then you can quickly pop off the 4 sets of weather tight connectors and take the headlight all the way out. Each connector can only go into one light, so don't feel like you have to label them or anything. . .the lengths of the wires makes it pretty obvious too.


Here's a shot after removing the headlights, the sun coming in through the garage window is what's casting the light in the photo. . .

You can now see why removing the headlight (it's only a few bolts and disconnecting some wires anyway) is pretty necessary to do for an HID upgrade, you have a whole lot of area back here you can mount the ballast in.

Other side of the CT with headlight removed.


Here's a ballast from a kit I used (long story, but didn't end up actually working for me, it wasn't made for H11 bulbs, doh!), this is a "slim" ballast, they are maybe 30% smaller than the regular ones, which is nice because you don't really have all that much flat area on which to mount it.


I like to use Scotch double sided VHB (very high bond) tape on the back of this kind of stuff because you usually won't be able to get all of the screws in that it could take (due to difficult angles to drive screws, sheet metal too thick in some places for screws, etc.).


This is where I placed the passenger side headlight ballast, though other locations may work for you. . .it had 3-4 places for screws but at least 2 of them were inaccessible, no big deal - with the VHB tape and 1-2 screws you'll be good. You'll want to drill a small pilot hole for the screws (a titanium/gold colored bit helps vs. HSS, Cobalt bits are ok too. .. ) and use sheet metal screws about 3/4" in length. Your HID kit may come with sheet metal screws, it may not. You can always get some at Home Depot or Lowes. Self drilling/tapping sheet metal screws are very distinctive looking. Here's a nice stainless (no rust!) one that would probably work for most kits from my favorite fastener place online.


And here is where I placed my drivers side ballast.


Here is the stock wiring harness for the headlight, sorry I didn't lay it out flat. . .but from right to left are the connectors: (white connector) inside parking/turn signal; (blue connector) high beam; (black connector) low beam; (black connector?) outside parking light. There are a couple blue wire loom cable stays that are connected to the headlight bracket, it just takes a needle nose pliers to get them out and two tiny flat heads to release them. If you're only doing an HID upgrade this is just extra info, you do NOT need to do anything with the wiring harnesses, the HID upgrades are plug and play.


But in case you were interested, for my making the outside parking light an additional turn-signal, here's what was involved. I'm not going to go into explicit detail because I will soon be taking Xaque's suggestion and adding a relay to it so it will function as both a parking light and a turn signal.

The existing looms had to be somewhat undone, just 10" or so in total length of that convoluted tubing needed to be opened up. Not hard, just time consuming to undo all the electrical tape they use.


Needed to undo the looms so I could get to the point where the inner parking light/turn signal and the outer parking light branch off from each other.

Was able to use a few scotch-lok taps and a crimped butt connector (covered with electrical tape) and re-fit everything back into the looms, and re-taped them to look totally stock.


Now would be a good time to test your HID upgrade, you can leave the bulbs dangling (wear latex/nitrle gloves if you can, and avoid touching the bulbs) but just connect them up to the ballast and make sure they both ignite properly.

Then put all the bulbs back into the headlight assembly, put its bolts back in, and test it again to make sure ALL bulbs function as they should. Do these bolts like you're mounting a wheel - do them in a zig-zag random pattern and don't over torque them. . .if you do them very tight, and in a linear order you could have a hard time getting the bumper to align nicely. You might want to even leave the top bolts loose a couple turns before you put the bumper on.


The rest of the installation is the opposite of removal, very easy. . .get someone to help you hang the bumper back on (hang on the top of the headlights where there are two pegs for it I believe) and get underneath the car and make sure the 1st belly pan is going into the 2nd belly pan at the right places (vs. buckling OVER it).

I start from the middle of the vehicle and start putting the body clips back in (put some in top and in the bottom), they should be able to go in with a press of your finger or worst case a gentle hit with a tack or ball peen hammer. When you're underneath make sure you have a strong light because the clip is protruding through several pieces of plastic, it helps to be able to see well and know they are aligned.

Then start moving outwards towards the fenders, I usually leave the most outboard 2 clips off until the last step.

Now you want to pop the bumper back in to the fender, it literally just snaps it - you can hit it like Fonzi hitting a juke box. Then do the other side of the car, then repeat with the snaps that hold bumper to the bottom headlight bracket on both sides.

Now go to each wheel well and make sure the wheel well liner is where it needs to be inside the lip of the bumper, go ahead and put those last two body clips in the bottom and then you have that one screw on each side to put in.

Put the top trim back in the engine bay, on both sides near the fenders, and that should be it.

Get in the car and test again. . .

Since you just put in headlights (or fog lights) that could potentially blind people, maybe now is a good time to consult the service manual for factory headlight aiming procedure, so here are those instructions (ps - fog light also has a little screw on its bracket to position up or down).






I tried to be extremely comprehensive in detail, it may be overkill for some people, but at the end of the day this is really pretty easy and I wanted anyone to feel like they could do it. I will edit it if I find any corrections that need to be made or errors, etc.

-Ace

Last edited by Aceman; 02-29-2012 at 04:13 PM. Reason: adding more info
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Old 03-01-2012, 01:06 PM   #2
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Awesome job on the walkthrough... and bonus pt's for the Happy Day's Reference!
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Old 03-02-2012, 12:22 AM   #3
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Awesome job on the walkthrough... and bonus pt's for the Happy Day's Reference!
Hey thanks - nice to be appreciated on my first "how-to."

I just wanted to make one special emphasis after I re-read that and did some HID kit shopping today. As the price of these kits comes down below $100 I wouldn't be surprised if they sort of cheesed out on the fasteners, just make sure that whatever screw you use to attach the ballast to the sheet metal has a hex head (see the link I put in amongst my ballast photos) and not a phillips head. If you try to drive a phillips sheet metal screw into the body of your car you will get it part way in and then strip the heck out of it leaving it half way in and helpless.

Hopefully you have an impact driver or ratchet (air or cordless), or a cordless screwdriver with good torque and a clutch so you won't burn its motor out.

I only mention this because the metal looks deceptively thin, like you should be able to carve it up with a dremel or something. . .but its totally not. You'll need a good healthy pilot hole, and a self-tapping/self drilling (identifiable by the non-threaded tip) screw, and something to drive it in that probably isn't made by black & decker. Good fasteners are always worth the money!
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Old 03-05-2012, 06:23 AM   #4
Peter M
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Aceman Great write up !!
This will help when I do my job..

Question ? On my 2012 CT the fogs will only lite with the LOW beams on. I wold like to have the Fogs lite with the running lights and low beams any suggestions ??


Thanks ,

Pete
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Old 03-05-2012, 10:01 AM   #5
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Question ? On my 2012 CT the fogs will only lite with the LOW beams on. I wold like to have the Fogs lite with the running lights and low beams any suggestions ??
I was actually just thinking about this over the weekend. . .I will do some reading in the next few days to get a definitive answer, but off the top of my head I want to speculate and say there is not an easy way to defeat that - guessing that it's either controlled in the lighting stalk or the MICU lighting control boxes in each footwell. . .

It wouldn't be hard to wire them to be on *all* the time, but I'd have to see what it might take to keep the switch functional and work around its current logic.
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Old 03-20-2012, 01:07 PM   #6
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Thanks for the great post! I think I'm going to try and install the front under spoiler myself... I had it painted and its just taking up space in my shed lol...
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Old 03-20-2012, 10:24 PM   #7
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Thanks for the great post! I think I'm going to try and install the front under spoiler myself... I had it painted and its just taking up space in my shed lol...
Hey share pics will ya? I've been wondering what that looks like installed.

Thx!

-ace
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Old 11-18-2012, 09:49 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aceman View Post
I was actually just thinking about this over the weekend. . .I will do some reading in the next few days to get a definitive answer, but off the top of my head I want to speculate and say there is not an easy way to defeat that - guessing that it's either controlled in the lighting stalk or the MICU lighting control boxes in each footwell. . .

It wouldn't be hard to wire them to be on *all* the time, but I'd have to see what it might take to keep the switch functional and work around its current logic.
Aceman... You are the man! Have you had a chance to look into the fog light mod?
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Old 11-18-2012, 09:05 PM   #9
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Very nice thread!! Thanks for all the useful information!!
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Old 11-18-2012, 09:29 PM   #10
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Nice write-up - much appreciated!

Been trying to decide whether or not to go HID's, and really can't imagine NOT
having these on my car.

Ok - the projectors aren't Perfectly matched...but I think they will suffice for the
task.

Would love to see some "lights" pics!

gr
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Old 12-02-2012, 06:38 PM   #11
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Question #1 - How do you adjust the high beams??? I put new bulbs in and the right side is way higher than the left. I adjusted the low beams to match at 25.6 ft, but the highbeams are still way off.
The bulb seems to be seated correctly in both sockets.

Question #2 - Is the highbeam supposed to be at the same height as the low beam, or just over it? My left highbeam is in line with my low beam, and my right highbeam is above my low beam.
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Old 12-02-2012, 09:22 PM   #12
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I fixed it... apparently, the driver's side bulb wasn't seated correctly.
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Old 12-08-2012, 05:52 PM   #13
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I just replaced the OE low beams and fog lights with DDM 35W 5000K Slim Ballast HID's and Sylvania ZXE Silverstars for the fogs.
I DID NOT REMOVE the bumper, and it was very straight forward and simple to do.
I used a Philips screwdriver for one screw on each side, and pulled 4 pins from the inner fender and under the front bumper. The inner fender peels back easily enough.
From there it was just a case of reaching in and replacing the bulbs.
I did both sides in about 2 hours.
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Old 12-25-2012, 08:22 AM   #14
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I took my car to 212 Motoring in Brooklyn. I watched them install an 8k HID kit, and they did not remove the bumper. Don't ask me how they did it, I just know it can be done.
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Old 12-25-2012, 04:18 PM   #15
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Has anyone noticed that the projectors headlights on the Crosstour aren't matched exactly for an HID setup. Reason being, after I upgraded to HID on my car, I noticed that some light leaks or scatters upwardly when I am driving down the highway. I particularly notice it when nearing green highways signs as they "light up"....and I know its me doing it because no one else was behind me. I have height adjusted the low beams (via screw adjusters), but no avail. A friend of mine drives a BMW 3-series, that does not have this problem

I have read on the http://www.theretrofitsource.com/ about glass vs plastic lens, so I suspect that this may be the problem. Any thoughts, guys?

-Merry Christmas
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