How to Install a new Headlight on your Voyager / Caravan

The other day, while installing some auto parts, it dawned on us that we could be sharing the thrill and excitement of installing car parts with the entire world!  Naturally, we considered using supermodels for these how-to videos, but after careful consideration, we decided that you would rather see us instead.  Your Welcome!   We may not be in bikinis (thank goodness), and we may drop a headlight from time to time (2.55 minutes in), but this is real life and things happen .  Take a look and let us know what you think.

This specific video is how to install a new headlight on a Chrysler Voyager, which in reality is the same as the Dodge Caravan and Chrysler Town and Country.

How to Install a New Headlight in your Dodge Ram

At 1AAuto we are always helping our customers in every way we can.  One of the things that we are trying out is installation videos for a variety of our parts.  It is really us, installing our own 1AAuto parts for our friends, family, and many of our own cars.  Let us know what you think.

This video is how to install a new set of headlights on a 1998-2002 Dodge Ram Truck.

Factory 5 VW Supercar? Yes Please.

Latest Beauty from Factory 5

Recently Mark Smith of Factory 5 (www.ffcobra.com) arrived on some VW discussion forums.  He quickly made it known that he had a VW kit car project in the works that looks conceptually outstanding.  Apparently you start with a Gen IV Golf or Jetta, and slice and dice it into a GTM-inspired (my words) supercar.  Overall, it looks like a massively epic win for Volkswagen enthusiasts, and the car world in general, because an economic supercar will soon be within the average DIY’ers budget!  There isn’t a descriptive enough word in the English language to describe the kind of automotive passion that comes out of the Factory 5 guys hands, so I have no doubt that this will be more of the same.  If you want to follow the progress there are two areas you may want to venture into.   Thecarlounge.net is the first, and there is also a slightly more in depth build thread going on within the TDIclub

How to Install New Headlights in your car.

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, so according to my math, a Youtube video must be worth at least a thousand pictures.  We know that replacing headlights can be a mystery to someone who hasn’t done it before, so we had one of our in-house automotive experts make a video explaining the in’s and out’s of it.   It takes place under the hood of a beautiful silver, supercharged, Pontiac Grand Prix.  Sure, being supercharged doesn’t make a difference as far as automotive headlights are concerned, but it sure does add some excitement to the paragraph.  So sit back, grab your favorite beverage, and let us show you how it’s done.

If you love it, hate it, or have a suggestion, let me know by leaving a comment or sending me your feedback via email at jnutt@1aauto.com

How to Install New Carpet into your Vehicle. Part 2

In yesterday’s 1A Auto Blog, we left off with a completely clean floor pan and interior.  The nasty old carpet is out of the car and out of our lives.  Thank goodness.  Today we are going to sort out the rest of it.

1)  Start off by laying the new carpet in the vehicle and wiggling it around until the driver’s foot pad is in the right spot.  Chances are good that it will just plop right into it’s happy new home.

2)  Now feel around for the different areas that you will need to cut out.  Holes for the shifter, seat belt bolts, high-beam headlight switches (old school, I know), some random brackets, seat bolts, console, etc.

3)  This is where things start getting tricky.  So we need to go over some very important rules.

  • Rule # 1 – Always make sure the drivers foot pad is where you want it.
  • Rule # 2 – Never ever use the old carpet for a template.  Ever. Never. Ever.
  • Rule # 3 – Never cut holes in the carpet, only cut straight slices. For obvious reasons, you can’t fix holes in the carpet once they are cut out in the wrong spot.  A slice on the other hand can be taped back together on the back side, and forgotten about.

4)  Now where were we?  Once you have the carpet right where you want it, you need to begin making very small slices (or X’s) with a utility knife for objects to poke through.  This will allow you the get the carpet nice and flat on the floor pan so you can be 100% sure that it is in the right spot.  If you accidentally make a slice in the wrong spot, no problem, just grab some tape and tape it back together on the back side.  It is a slow process, but you will be rewarded with a factory looking install when you’re done.

5)  Work your way around the entire carpet from the center outward, making slices for all the different components.  You may have to make a quite a few slices up under the dashboard because there is a lot going on up there. Remember, patience is key.

6)  Ok, so you finally have the carpet in its new home.  As long as you are 150% sure that every slice is properly located, then (and only then) are you allowed to trim those slices a bit for perfection.  Use the seat bolts & seat belt bolts to help hold everything in place while the carpet being trimmed.

7)  Now it’s time for the sides.  Some carpets will fit right in without any trimming of the sides, but if yours isn’t one of those, slowly but surely trim back the sides until the door sill trim sits flush and covers them. Remember that it is best to trim a little at a time. You can always take more away, but you can’t put it back.  Actually, Doc Brown from Back to the Future could bring it back, but I doubt he would considering he is a fictional character.

8)  You are probably thinking that the console, seats, trim, kick panels, and seat belts can go back in now, and you are right.  Go for it.

Well, you have done it, installed a brand new auto carpet all by yourself.  You can take all the credit, we won’t tell your friends that you had step by step instructions.

How to install a New Carpet into your vehicle. Part 1

Installing an auto carpet is not rocket science, brain surgery, or even rocket surgery for that matter. It may seem daunting at first, but once you get the ball rolling, it becomes very do-able for any motivated do it yourselfer.   In my case, the previous owner had removed the carpet long before I got the truck.  This made my life easier because I only had to do half of the dirty work.

Let’s get started shall we?

1) Begin by removing your carpet from the box that it was shipped in, and let it unroll back into its original shape.  If you can do this for a few hours in the sun, that is great.  If not, a warm and cozy basement will suffice.

2) Once the carpet is in its rightful shape again, hop in the car and begin removing the seats, the kick panels, and the door sill trim.  The seats usually have 4 decent sized bolts holding each one in.  In the case of bench seats, there are 4 bolts holding the entire seat in.  Don’t forget the seat belts.  They are often driven into the floor with Herculean strength at the factory, and have an electrical connector to guarantee the annoying “no seatbelt” beeping sound.

3) Once those parts are completely removed, you may have to remove the console, shifter, shifter boot, and possibly a few other odds and ends.  Do that, and keep track of all the screws and bolts.  Sandwich bags are great for this, and extremely cheap.  If you are really organized you may be so bold as to label the bolt & screw bags with a Sharpie marker.

4) Now that all of the important interior parts are scattered across your driveway & yard, it’s time to gather up the buried treasure.  This is always the most disgusting fun part of the job because you find all of those missing things that have eluded you for the past few months & years.  Action figures, $4.37 in US coins, some foreign currency, an entire bowl of cereal, a pair of sunglasses, and a heaping mound of disturbingly new looking French-fries are just a few things that you may come across.

5) On second thought, just vacuum that stuff up.

6) It is officially time to pull the carpet out!

Go On To Part Two Here

Replacing a Side View Mirror

Recently we replaced the passenger side power mirror on a 1997 S-10 Blazer.  The owner of this Blazer got a bit too close to a support column in a parking garage, and broke the mirror at the hinge.  (Note the custom duct tape repair.)

The tools we used for this installation:

  • A 7mm nut driver
  • A 10mm socket & ratchet
  • A flat head screwdriver
  • A Phillips head screwdriver
  • A door panel removal tool

First match your new part to the one you are replacing to be sure it’s the right one. It’s better to find out now that after you have your whole door torn apart.

On some vehicles there is a small access panel that needs to be removed to expose the mounting bolts or nuts.  The small access panel allows easier mirror replacement, and is usually attached with only 2 or 3 plastic door panel clips.  Our 1997 S-10 Blazer unfortunately did not have this access panel, so we had to remove the whole interior door panel for replacement.

Most door panels are held on by a few bolts and screws, plastic door panel clips, and the lower lip of the window opening.

We first removed two 7mm bolts inside the door pull handle.  There was also a trim screw on the door handle bezel.  The window and lock switch panel can also be removed for easier access to the plastic door panel clips inside.  Once the hardware is removed, take your door panel clip removal tool and wedge it between the door and the door panel itself, slide the tool along until the tool runs into a clip.  Position the tool so the clip is in the middle of the fork, and pry the clip out.  Use of a door panel clip removal tool lessens the chances of damaging the door panel, and in most cases you can also reuse the clips.

Once all the hardware is off, and the clips are released from the back of the door panel, carefully lift the door panel up and over the lip of the window opening.

Now the door panel is only held by the inside door panel bezel and handle, but you can turn it to access the mirror mounting holes.

Next you need to reach into the door and disconnect the mirror power cord.  Then remove the 3 foam rubber covers over the access holes, and remove the 3 10mm nuts that hold the mirror to the door.

A tip to prevent dropping the nuts into the door panel and completely ruining your day:  Apply a bit of grease to the end of your socket to help hold the nuts.

The first step to the installation is to plug the new mirror in, and make sure it works properly.

Next reattach the mirror with 10mm nuts (remember the grease trick).  Then reinstall the door panel. Inspect the plastic clips to be sure none are broken. If they are, you will need to replace them.  Reinstall the 2 7mm bolts in the pull handle and the trim screw in the door handle bezel.

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