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Trying to get my safety inspection done but the driver side headlight kept fluctuating between dim and normal, decided to replace both bulbs. Pulled the pasenger, no problem, after much tugging finally got the socket disconected, obvious problem. Since the two sockets are differant but the looms looked the same is this normal? Is a replacement socket easy to get?
 

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The blue one is a replacement. PO had problems with that side and replaced the original with the blue one.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks guys

Is it best to replace the headlight bulbs in pairs?
 

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Is it best to replace the headlight bulbs in pairs?
Having two, new bulbs will ensure that the color and intensity of your lights are matched. But that's a fine point - just to pass inspection, an old + new bulb should be OK.

The real question is why those two sockets melted. As Richard2 wrote, the side with the blue socket was already replaced, probably when the PO couldn't pass inspection due to a melted socket. And now the other side is failing. Might the PO have installed higher wattage bulbs than the circuit was designed for? If so, you definitely want to replace that bulb or bulbs.

My own 164 has had a lot of flakey problems, many of them electrical. But its headlight sockets are OK and I don't think this is a common problem.
 

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No, it's not common.
 

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Haven't had them melt, but have had the tabs break from old age embrittlement.
 

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I think the trick may be to clean and cover the connections with dielectric grease to prevent oxidation films, etc, which raise the resistance and thus temperature of the connection. This was the problem with aluminum house wiring, where corrosion would take place in the connection, cause the temps to rise, and potentially cause a fire. Using a special grease took care of most of that. Guy I rented a room from years ago had a new house with that wiring, and he had several wall sockets/housing which started to smoke and melt. Scary.
 

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I have a melted (not too bad) connector on a spare set of lights that I haven't installed yet. Came from a parts yard in PA.

From my experience with a VW, I started changing bulbs in pairs. Change the dead one on that particular car, and the other side went out a week or so later. That car used to eat up headlights and brake lights.
 

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I think the trick may be to clean and cover the connections with dielectric grease to prevent oxidation
I dunno, that thing looks beyond the grease treatment to me. Maybe some dielectric grease would get sharvey past inspection, but I think another new connector is the best long-term fix.

 

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Oh, I didn't mean to imply that you needn't replace that toasted connector. I was talking about future maintenance.
 

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change the bulbs in pairs, keep the "good old one" as a spare. Fingers off the bulb proper and replace the connector. SMALL dab of the dielectric helps. ciao jc
 

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As stringent as our emission laws are here we don't have inspections like some other states. I've heard they even test to see if horns honk and if windows roll up and down. True?
 

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Connecticut, where Steve's car was for several years, is emissions only testing every two years up til the car is 25 years old. Then exempt.

We haven't had physical inspection for a while now. That may only apply to a handful of things, like kit cars and trailers.

Headlights out will certainly get you a warning or ticket though. Bottom half of a van rusted away....no problem.
 

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Washington State is the same, just smog check every two years until 25 years old. Never had an Alfa fail that test.

Not sure why they even bother anymore with that check, as I've read that they have almost 100% of cars passing, and cars which might not are the really older cars, older than 25 years, which are exempt anyway?

I guess they want the money, regardless of the compliance rate. Once they have their nose under the edge of the tent, they cannot find it in their hearts to back away, lol. Same as for red light cameras, where in general, cities like the money even if in most cases, there are more accidents (rearenders) after than before at those intersections. At least a few towns have wised up and removed them after being presented with the before/after data.

I guess that was a rant, sorry.
 

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Boy, this seems common enough. I didn't check the drivers side yet. Got new connectors on order.
 

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Check to ensure that the previous owner didn't put in high wattage bulbs like 100 watts. That's what my PO did and it overheated and burned the connector.

The correct bulb should be 9004 (HB1) 65/45W.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
In Virginia we have safety inspection every year, and I have to say, it has saved more than a few lives. We have owned a service station for 56 years and it still amazing what people will put off until it fails inspection.
 
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