hello all, I took my '26 touring out for a spin to a local shopping plaza and didn't notice till the next morning that both of my headlight rings and glass lenses were gone! I am not sure if they were stolen or fell off during the 10 mile trip. I retraced my route but could not find any sign of broken glass or the rings but was thinking that maybe I didn't have them locked on all the way after replacing the bulbs a few weeks ago although I do remember checking them to make sure they were tight! replacements have arrived and I was wondering if there is any way that I can be assured if they are on all the way and if there is a way to lock them on without having the tool that I have seen in the catalogues till i can order one? thank's
Dennis, if the replacements are repos, I hope they fit OK. I think there have been problems in the past with the repos.
You should be able to feel them snap into the detents at the end of the slots. Check the slots on the buckets to make sure they aren't broken or rusted away.
Try one of those strap wrenches that sears sells fairly cheaply. Or find Steve Jelfs post on his homemade one, he's good at making stuff like that. I'm not. If it doesn't stay on real tight, maybe a very small set-screw on the bottom where no one will see it may be in order.
Dennis, the vendors do state that you may need to shorten the clip rivets to make the new rims fit. As a check, once you have them in place, try to remove them without pushing them back on the bucket. The slots should prevent them from coming off until you push back on the rim to get the rivets out of their notches in the bucket.
Hope this helps.
Allan from down under.
And be sure your buckets have the spring placed with the 'fingers' toward the reflector. That puts forward pressure on the reflector and its cotton cord gasket against the glass lens retained in the rim.
With good spring, you have to push in on the rim and twist to lock it in the slots on the edge of the headlamp bucket.
Be sure that you have that 2nd item (from left to right) in Dan's post above....that is vitally important, as Dan states.
OK, Thank's much for the ideas, I am hoping that I can mess with them tomorrow, I'll post what happens, I have been afraid to drive it anywhere in case they are not on all the way! It looks to me like the top rivet is just slightly not dead center and I can't seem to get them to move that extra 3/8's of an inch by using my hands because I can't get a grip!!!
I had to shorten the rivets on the headlight replacement ring I purchased from one of the vendors.
I also purchased the ring installation tool https://www.modeltford.com/item/1243.aspx
and found it very helpful. I no longer dread working with headlight rings.
When you wrote rings, did you mean the rims?
I meant the nickel plated trim rings that hold the lens in place! These ideas are exactly what I needed to check it out, can't afford to lose another 80 bucks!
I bought a set of repros that would not fit. Later this month, I will send my originals out to be replated.
I couldn't keep them on my TT wrecker. Wrapped furnace tape around them. I haven't lost one since.
The ones that I lost were repros, so it makes sense that they may have not fit right! I tried to attach one without the lens and could not get it to lock in all the way, but maybe with a tool I would be able to force it because I cannot seem to get a good enough grip! I put a small pink dot on the headlight bucket where the end of the stop is, and I cannot get the ring anywhere close to where it should be (judging by how the rivet lines up!)
I don't see any retainer ring/ spring though but there is a gasket that is flattened ,and I can see that the ring is being pushed in far enough that it cannot go any more towards the rear of the car, maybe if I pry the retaining clips for the lens apart a little?
it doesn't look like the rivets are too long because the slot looks like it goes all the way through to the inside of the bucket.
I had the same issue with a new set of repro rings. When compared to the original the rivets are set to close to the edge. I could not get them all the way on to lock in place.
Dennis, be careful about trying to get the rings (rims) on all the way. I installed repos and cannot get one of them off, even with a clamping tool made to the Ford Service Bulletin specs. It's going to be a real bear of a job the day I finally decide to remove it!
I know this is probably Model T blasphemy but this is what I did so I would never worry about that problem again.
Parts for our T's are getting old and repo parts are not always to spec. My lenses and rims fit reasonably well but with enough looseness that I felt uneasy about having the problem you described.
I drilled a very small hole on the underside of the rim all the way thru the rim and headlight shell. Can't remember the exact size, but probably around 1/16". The smallest ss pan head screw I could find was screwed in.
Essentially invisible unless you bend over far enough to look under the headlight, it secures the rim so I never have to worry about the rims loosening.
Biggest problem is remembering the screw is there when I want to remove the rim.
My Speedster has 15 Headlights with brass rims on them and they were a little loose as well. They have small brass screws on the bottom just like yours. As far as I know no one has ever noticed them.
Have never used repro rims, so can't comment on the dimensions, but maybe you should check the rivet ends that are the means of securing the rim to the bucket.
Ford nickel plated rim, the rivet end measures .165" diameter, and the rivet end sticks up from the inside of the rim .160". If the rivet end is too big, I can see where it wouldn't fit the notched groove in the bucket.
And, when you have the spring behind the reflector, that should protrude into the notched groove, but don't let the rim be bent, as that can cause contact to prevent the rivet from entering the groove as you push in and twist.
Good spring behind the reflector, but note the open gap so the rivet can pass by.
Check all 4 grooves to be sure they are even too. The rivet when you press in on the reflector, will displace the reflector edge back, so it can slide by.
Its the reflector and its cotton cord gasket ( with the tension behind by the spring) that places the tension needed to keep the rim tight.
With good parts, matched and verified, its a simple mechanical/dimensional thing, but when things don't mate/match, troubles are found.
Excellent tutorial !
Thanks Dan !
Dan, you have me thinking! Whenever I put headlights together I assumed that the flat spots on the rim of the reflector were there so the reflector could be installed past the ramps for the rivets to engage on. I then push the reflector back against the spring and rotate it a bit so it can't spring forward again past the ramps. I have never had the clearance problems you mention. With the reflector rotated a bit, the rim rivets have more to engage on when I am pushing the rim back before rotating it into place.
I guess it's a matter of what works goes.
allan from down under.
Thank's guys, I will try and absorb some of these suggestions while i am waiting for the tool that I ordered to get here! (not cheap!) do you have to remove the reflector to see the spring/retainer ring?
Dennis the second item in Dan's photo above is the wire spring that goes all the way around the headlight bucket and pushes the reflector forward against the glass and holds the rim in place. Without this spring the rim will not lock and can rotate and eventually it will fall off. Make sure this piece is in good shape.
how do i get at the wire ring? can't seem to turn the reflector as it is on tight! it does seem to have some spring to it if i push it in! Upon further checking, there is no way that i can get the trim ring to turn the extra inch needed to lock it on the stop, for some reason the ring will only go about half way if even that far with or without the lens in place! How would I have to grind the rivets?
Dennis, as far as I know the rivets on some repro rims were a little too long. They would foul on the indented start in slots in the bucket as you try to push the rim on.
If you can't even get them really started without the lens or reflector, perhaps it is time to compare them with a known original rim to be sure the rivets are set the correct distance in from the back edge of the rim.
Hope this helps.
Allan from down under.
Allan, I cannot seem to figure out how to get the reflector and the wire out? I was going to take them all apart and start from scratch, the headlight tool that I ordered arrived today so I can try and lock the ring on but I am pretty sure it will not make a difference because I can get them started and turn them about a half inch, but they won't budge any further than that, I need to be able to turn them a good inch or so track them!
Dennis there is 4 notches in the reflector that need to be lined up to clear the tabs on the bucket. I have had some reflectors that still needed a small screw driver to help them past the bumps inside the bucket. Also if the bulb holder is stuck in the reflector it doesn't hurt to try wiggeling the lamp socket from behind as you work out the reflector.
ok thank's fred, i'll give it a shot tomorrow (today)
Dennis: If you want to remove a reflector there should be a small hole in the reflector. Stick an ice pick in the hole and turn the reflector so the FLAT SPOT is lined up with the catch on the rim of the buckets. The reflectors usually turn very easy if you use the ice pick. If you don't have a hole in the reflectors drill them. they go on the flat edge and are out of sight when the rim are installed.
Dennis: ALSO, Tim Wrenn is correct about the strap wrench. They are a GOOD TOOL and can be used for other work as well. I bought mine from Sears but Harbor Freight sells them also. In fact Harbor freight advertises a pair of them that are two sizes.
Make sure that the slots on the buckets are not closed a little. If even one slot is closed SOME, then you rivets can not move.
Dennis, yesterday I bought an original complete headlight assembly, mainly to get the excellent reflector for my next project.
Getting the rim off this old light involved pushing the rim back on the light bucket, at each rivet in turn, to make sure the rim was freed up. I had to repeat this a number of times to get it to move somewhat freely. Once I could get it rotated just a little on the rivets, I used a light hammer on the rivet heads in turn to jar the rim around on the bucket. Then I could get the rim and glass off.
The cut-outs on the reflector were rotated around from the rim ramps for about the width of the cut-out. By pushing back on the reflector hard against the wire spring, I could just move the reflector. It took a small pin punch and light hammer to gently drive the reflector around until the cut-outs lined up with the rim ramps. Then the reflector could be prised out without any damage. It polished up like a dream.
Fitting should be the reverse procedure. Wire in first, then put in the reflector, with the cord gasket in place, and rotate it so the notches no longer line up with the ramps. You can go either way. With the lens fitted to the rim, you should be able to push on the rim and feel the tension the wire is exerting on the reflector. When you rotate the rim in the slots, the reflector should push the rim/lens forward into the rounded relief in the slots. If the rivets do engage in this relief, the only way the rim/lens can come off is by applying force to push them back and rotating the rim again.
Hope this helps.
Allan from down under.
Thank's, I will try these ideas out as soon as I can get to it!
hello again, well I got the reflectors off by using 2 awls in the little holes just outside the rope gasket,(they were on pretty tight and a little corroded with residue so i sprayed a small amount of wd40 on them and they came off. I cleaned everything up a bit (the springs were there and in good shape so i didn't remove them) but when I tried to put the trim ring on without the lens or reflector just to see if i could lock in, I could not get it to turn far enough to get the rivet into the lock/stop, I could only get it about 3/8's of an inch from the stop even using the new tool that I bought (which almost slipped off and damaged the ring). I am not sure what to try next but I am pretty sure you guys are correct about the repop's being screwed up! What a PITA!!!!!!!! Seems like I have been burned more than once with poor quality parts that either don't fit right or turn to crap in a short time!!! really frustrating!
Dennis. If you continue to have problems with your trim, I think I have two of them laying around I'd part with. I know I have at least one. Both originals. sounds like your problem might now be in the trim piece though, so much as maybe the headlight itself. Look for bends in the little locking slot that could be throwing it off.
The lens retainer clips look like they're bent back towards the outer diameter too far. This might interfere with the ring going back far enough on the bucket. Take a photo from the backside with lens in the ring.
The clips should hold the lens in the ring so that they can be installed and removed as one piece.
Ken, I thought it was strange that there were no clips to hold the lens in place as I have seen on other pictures but I don't think that is the main problem because the ring goes back as far as it can until it meets the groove at the seam of the bucket, but i cannot get it to turn any further even without the reflector and lens as seen in the following pics. I will take the bucket off tomorrow to get a look at all 4 slots better to see what could be holding it back from turning that extra 1/2 inch to lock. Does anyone know what size the large nut on the bottom of the bucket is?
boy what a PITA to keep typing the user name and password at every post!This is the pic where the trim meets the seam, it can't go back any further than this but it still won't turn to lock.
quixk question. I stumbled across a set of rings that are aluminum. Does any one else have a set of these?
Dennis - I don't see the glass. The lens clips are somewhat springy and the small nibs at the top should be bent toward the center of the ring. These nibs are what hold the lens in place.
I agree with Ken that the unbent tabs ( inside yellow circle in Kens picture) ,that hold the glass in are still straight. I bet this is why the new rims will not fit right because they are hitting the headlight bucket. I bet the rims will fit right after the tabs on the rim are bent inward to hold the lens in it. I think we need a picture of what the tabs look like after bending.
ok, now I get it,duh?!!!! I thought the repros for some reason were missing the tabs, I will bend them and see what happens then post the results! Thank's!
well, I bent the tabs, and was able to turn it a little further toward the lock stop but no matter how hard I try I cannot get it to lock, I took the spring out and it was not in properly as someone stated before, I put it back in matching the left side but it still will not go on. I then tried to put the ring on the left side without the reflector or gasket and it went on and locked pretty easily, but then I had a heck of a time trying to get it back off with the lens in it, the tool kept slipping off of the rivets but I finally got it off by using a block of wood and tapping it with a small hammer. I think I am going to try have to get the right side bucket off to give it a thorough going over to see what the problem is once i figure out how to get that bottom nut off!
Just so you know I have the same exact problem but only with one headlight. Looking forward to a fix. I also did not know the tabs need to be bent to hold the lens, but I don't want to risk breaking my original lens by bending them down to them.
Don't bend them with the lens in place.
"Angled" is probably a better term. They don't need a 90° bend. The lens retaining clips should have some spring pressure against the edge of the lens. The lens should not rattle or move when installed in the ring.
Travis, if you have some radiator fin pliers, they can be used to bend the tabs down with the lens in place, but it is safer to remove the lens before bending.
Allan from down under.
If the tabs are bent, the lens won't go in...I have the same problem. Have filed the rivets, still no go. The new rings seem a tad tight on the old buckets.
Dave, if you have the little tabs well bent over on two adjacent clips, the other two need not de bent so severely. When you push the lens against the two well bent clips they will give enough to spring back against the other two. Fin pliers can also be used to add a little tension to the clip by holding the clip between the tabs with the pliers ar right angles to the lens, and bending towards the lens.
Hope this helps.
Allan from down under.
Ground down & filed the rivets. If that was the problem, it is no longer, and the repop rings still do not attach properly (seat in the end of the slot).
My take on the problem...the repop lens clips are too large & too stout. The repop clips protrude quite a way above the lens when the lens is put into position whereas with the original Ford ring only the small tabs protrude above the lens, and are easily bent over the lens to hold it in position.
My particular problem ('26) is that the extra length of the lens clip (not counting the bendable tab) sticks too far above the lens, interfering with the ability of the ring to be pressed far enough into the bucket to engage the end of the slot. It will go in far enough to start, but the extra "meat" on the lens clip prevents the ring from rotating far enough to snap into the locked position.
Soooo I spent a fair amount of time grinding down the clip...but after a few hours with the Dremel tool (yes, I'm slow), I gave up, admitted defeat, and will re-install the old, cracked original rings, and "fix" them with a screw or two as described in previous posts.
I don't blame the vendor - this is another example of a "Made in China" part that is "close" to specs, but far enough off target to be unusable.
Nickel plated - one "modified" one unmolested - not needed anymore, but I hesitate to offer them for sale anyplace because they do not work as intended.
My fault for not unpacking and fitting these two items to my vehicle earlier...too late to send them back as I rec'd them in March.
Lesson learned...another faulty China product.
You could add one or two sheet metal screws.
I don't blame the Chinese manufacture. At least not entirely. I blame the guy who gives them the wrong specifications, or gives them the right ones but accepts a product that doesn't measure up.
If you have an old junk rim to use as a form, it's pretty easy to make a removal tool.
Ted, I will re-install the original rings and secure them with a couple screws.
Steve, I very much admire your abilities & creativity; however, at my stage in life's journey, there is more admiration for others than there is resemblance! (Besides, I once accidentally burned thru an oxygen hose while using a torch, and have never had the desire to operate one again...my bad!)
Allan, I do believe that this is one time the Chinese have given more than is necessary - the clips on the reproduction rings seem to be thicker than the Ford brass ones, but worse, the clips are larger (taller):
clip is about 7/16 above rim interior, and the tabs are about 9/16...(haven't yet mastered metric, sorry)
whereas the new ring clips are about 11/16, and the tabs seem to be 13/16...:
I realize that is not much, but at least in my case, that gives enough material that the ring cannot be pushed into the bucket far enough to be rotated and locked in position - even with the lens removed...and the clip is too stout to bend over the lens.
Now, I realize that someone with a well equipped shop (nice one, Bob C. - and Les S., both wonderful, could probably remove the excess material in minutes. Me, I know when I'm licked - I'll make do with the old, original ones - and make Lenny proud!
Wonder if Andy Wang is interested in making better rings?