Time to find some parts for the ol’ ’Murlequin.
After fixing that turn signal issue, I decided to finally focus on resolving something that I’ve been putting up with for far too long. The headlamps. Specifically, the one on the right side.
A previous owner had rendered the up/down tilt adjustment useless by welding a bolt to the headlamp bucket where the top adjuster used to be. Because of this, my right headlamp wast casting its beam on the ground, about 30 feet in front of the truck. I guess that’s better than shining it in other drivers’ mirrors...
But I’d had enough of that. After all, how hard could it be to find parts for a mid-’90s GM truck? All I needed to get was an adjuster to replace the bolt, and a new headlamp “bucket”, since the top ear for the adjuster screw was all screwed up.
Surprisingly, I had no luck at my local parts store, neither through their computer system, nor the old parts book. They could get parts for the fancier composite headlamp style trucks, but I was SOL with my sealed beams. I guess that’s another reason why so many owners of sealed-beam trucks swap over to the composite front ends.
So I started looking online, starting with good ol’ RockAuto. Sure enough, they had exactly what I was looking for. The headlamp bucket (a stamped steel “cup” that holds the sealed-beam bulb) and a new trim ring could be mine for the low low price of... $49.99.
So I took the part number and punched it into Google, only to find similar pricing at Amazon and other retailers. Was I completely out of my reckoning on what an appropriate price is for these? I was expecting, Oh I dunno, something like $10 or $20. After all, my descent into the rabbit-hole of reverse-lookups and OEM part numbers revealed that this is the very same assembly used in all kinds of GM vehicles back in the day, from trucks and vans to Monte Carlos and Corvettes.
So I decided to start checking salvage yards. I found one that, according to car-part.com, had a couple of full headlamp assemblies in stock, on an Express van. So I went to go check it out.
Once at the salvage yard, I started a-trekkin’ through the lot. Not the best lot, I gotta admit. None of the cars are perched atop old wheels for easy wrenching. Nor was there nice level gravel underneath. Just a field with muddy paths and weeds growing between the cars that had been there the longest. At least everything was organized by manufacturer.
Not a great place for undercarriage parts, what with everything sitting on the ground. Especially in Michigan lol. They did, however, pull a bunch of axles out, setting them aside for easy access:
Before long, I saw the van:
Alas, the buckets were rusted and the top ears had been bent, presumably in a collision. Welp, time to go check out the truck section.
I soon found this ’93, peeked through the slots and saw an intact bucket. Yes! Good adjusters, too.
Making my way back through the yard, here’s some more stuff that they had there:
Back at the counter, they wanted $5 for the headlamp assembly. Now that’s more like it! I paid them and made my way home.
The bolt twisted away from the old bucket with little effort. As expected, there wasn’t much of the bucket’s ear left. I cleaned up the “new” adjuster and installed the headlamp. It sure is nice not to have to remove an entire bumper cover to do this.
Ta-da! I’ll be sure to adjust these after it gets dark.