Sunday, February 19, 2012

Light Bar Removal

I received a headlight bar removal kit from Gary Walker the other day.  The old adage of "if it isn't broke, don't fix it" is definitely relevant to the Pantera's headlight-raising steel tube and gearbox system.  However, I needed a solution that required a little more adjustability and the stock headlight-raising system was not going to work without serious modifications.  A little background:

The Pantera has pop-up headlights, which were probably a little novel for the day but not anything new.  The stock round headlights reside in stamped steel pie-shaped buckets, which are raised in an arc using a round steel tube and brackets.  The round tube runs from one side to the other and has brackets welded to the assembly to which the buckets are mounted.  On the left (driver's) side, there is a cam gear welded to the tube.  A gearbox and stamped steel plate then aligns with the gear and drives it using the same motor that is used for power windows.  Limit switches keep the assembly from overrunning and damaging fenders.  The tube and brackets are non-removable without cutting, but the gearbox and motor are serviceable.  The motors are garbage, but the system works fine.  A common upgrade is to replace the nylon gear in the gearbox with a brass gear.

The challenge with #1998 is that the previous owner used a fender from #6650 and fit it to #1998.  While this doesn't sound that bad and they are a good match, there is a fundamental difference.  Early fenders, like that on the right (passenger) side of #1998, have smaller headlight openings.  I don't know when the change happened, but probably around the transition to the L-models, the opening was made slightly larger, and was pushed about 1/4" toward the cabin.  I understand that the change was included with spacers in the front springs in an effort to raise the headlights to meet updated federal standards.  So, #1998 has both style fenders, and not that they are "wrong", but mismatched.  I've decided to fix the apparent issues and leave the opening where it is.  However, in doing so, the headlight bar doesn't work correctly and both sides have issues.

The correct fix would be to remove one fender and match it with a fender of the same vintage.  I don't have several thousand dollars nor the desire.  If I was desperate, I think I'd rather change the opening position.  When I remembered Gary's conversion to eliminate the bar and make room for ducting thru the front trunk, I investigated it a little more.  Well, both sides are adjustable separately and work great with Gary's kit.  See it here:

Gary Walker's Light Bar Removal

I will post pictures of his latest version, intended for 4-light lowered headlight conversions.

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