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headlight bulb replacement (front bumper removal)

26439 Views 8 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Bags
I just had my driver-side low-beam bulb go out, and have been reading all of the posts about how big a pain it is to go through the fender liner to replace the bulb, especially with big hands. Several have said that it is actually easier to remove the front bumper, and then remove the whole headlamp assembly. (I have the official method from the service manual, which goes through the fender liner, but nothing that describes bumper removal.)

Is it reasonably obvious how to do this (the bumper removal, and then the headlamp assembly removal)?

Any special tips or tricks involved?

Even though the passenger-side low-beam bulb replacement is supposed to be easier than the driver's side (by removing the air-intake "funnel"), I'm tempted to replace the passenger side at the same time (if I have the bumper off, that is), on the theory that it will probably also die fairly soon.

As an aside, I'm thinking about using Sylvania/Osram Xtravision bulbs, which are supposedly somewhat brighter than OEM, or perhaps upgrading slightly to Sylvania Silverstar bulbs (both of which are still halogen).
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Yes it is easier to remove the bumper and you need not take the headlight buckets out to replace the bulb. take the push-pull pins out from the wheel well on the fender side the first three, take all the ones under the bumper to include 3 under the bumper in the middle that are up high (use a flashlight to see then) and the ones on the top. If you don't have fogs you are good to go, if you do unplug the fogs and you can pull it forward to get it off. Honestly takes me 15 minutes tops to take it off. Use a small flat blade screw driver. You have 19 push-pull pins so if your count is less you still have some attached.
There is it no write up needed because the pins are obvious except for the 3 in the middle of the bumper you remove from the bottom.
One last note it is much easier to do this when temps are above 55F since the plastic and pins are more manageable...
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I tried to remove the front bumper as others said it was easier, I even download intructions but no pics it, I must have missed some of the pins never came off it took me over 4 hrs ended up oping thru the wheelwell. the worse part is trying to get the plastic cover back over the light assembly, Going thru the wheelwell isn't bad just very tight
Very poor design by Subaru
I just replaced the low-beam on the drivers side...after several cuts and scrapes to my hand and arm...good to go. Sure miss the earlier days when you removed two screws and replaced the whole assembly.
Just a heads up to everybody. On a car that is this hard to replace a headlight bulb, do not use Silverstar or similar high output bulbs. They are very short lived and you'll be replacing them again very soon. The gains in night vision are minimal and not worth the trouble and expense.
My Dealer charges $19.99 in labor and about $22 each for the OEM bulbs. The labor was to install BOTH bulbs, at a total cost of $66.91 out the door. He said the labor was the same for 1 or 2 bulbs, and I usually replace both anyway. Might be worth checking out before pulling your bumper...
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That is a killer price. I would jump at that had I not put HIDs in place which I love by the way. Long life and better lighting for me because where I live there are few outside sources of light so more is better.
Still 66 bucks for both lights is well worth how big a PITA this is...
Has anybody run into drivers side headlight in op I replaced the bulb still nothing :( any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Just bought the 2000 Outback Limited
I just contacted my dealership about this. $10/side for labor to replace headlight bulbs!!
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