Replacement Headlight Gear For 97+ C5 Corvettes
These kits are complete. There is nothing else to buy!
Do not waste your time and money on the aftermarket plastic gears! They are very poor quality and typically last a very short time. Do it right the first time!!
CNC machine made brass gear to replace the failure prone plastic headlight gear in the C5 Corvettes. Easy to install. Why buy a fragile OEM replacement motor assembly when you can make your motor assembly heavy duty with this replacement gear.
Corvette Headlight Gear
|Corvette Headlight Gear (shown installed)
New design for the late style (Late 2000-2004) C5 plastic housing motors!
Re-Engineered for even longer lasting life! Now upgraded to include a newly engineered special steel brace with a special plastic support bushing. I have noticed glue joint failures in the late 2000-2004 C5 plastic housing motors. Glue joint failures happen because the plastic that these headlight motors are made of does not take any adhesive well. The glue joint surface is small and once installed it has to take a tremendous force that occurs when the headlight gets full open and full closed and stops abruptly. For the late 2000-2004 C5 headlight gear kits I have added a special stamped steel brace with a special plastic bushing. This brace and bushing do two things. It applies a slight pressure against the side cover helping to eliminate side cover glue failures. But most importantly it adds a new bearing surface to support the shaft thus removing all the pressure of the shaft from the side cover and transferring it to this new brace. Once installed this repair should last the life of the car. The early (97-99 and some early 2000) C5's have an aluminum housing and do not need this special brace. Those headlight motor assemblies are very heavy duty and only require a new gear and rubber bumper.
Late 2000-2004 C5 plastic housing with steel brace installed
|2000+ Corvette Headlight Gear Kit
Symptoms of a failed gear in the headlight motor:
If your headlight motor makes a grinding noise when turned on or turned off (this usually happens at the full open and full closed position) this is what you need to repair your headlight motor. If you do not repair or replace your headlight motor once this begins to happen - sooner or latter the headlight will not raise at all.
The OEM plastic gear and the rubber bumper are the weak parts in these headlight motors. Once rebuilt with my new heavy duty gears the headlight motors should last the life of your car. The rubber bumper will not last forever but is made of a quality rubber. Like any rubber product it can wear out.
Some are not always sure where the thin white plastic washer goes. So I'm putting a picture here. It goes on the output shaft like this on both sides:
NOTE #1: There are 2 variations of the headlight actuator motor assemblies used on the 1997 and up C5 Corvettes. The 97-99 motor assembly (and some early 2000 models) is all aluminum and has a removable side cover that is held on with 3 machine screws. The gear kit for the 97-99 motor assembly includes a new side cover gasket. The late 2000+ motor assembly is partially plastic (the gear case is plastic - the motor is steel) and it has a glued on plastic side cover. This cover needs to be pried off (broken at the factory glue joint) to replace the worn gear. The cover is easy to pry off and I include a packet of urethane glue to reglue it back on. Included with each replacement gear is a packet of high temerature grease that will not dry out quickly like the grease used by the original manufacturer. Also included: Complete step by step detailed rebuilding instructions and how to remove the headlight motor assembly from the car. Note from a C5 owner who is a chemist: "If you do accidentally get grease on the joint, one C5 owner says you can successfully clean it off with acetone, and the urethane adhesive will then bond to the housing."
NOTE #2: If you have a 97-99 C5 Corvette there is the possibility that one or both of the early aluminum type headlight motor(s) have been replaced with the newer 2000+ style plastic type headlight motor(s). To ensure you receive the correct kit please check to see if the headlight motor(s) in your 97-99 (and early 2000) C5 are plastic or aluminum. The aluminum housing style is the original equipment used on the 97-99 (and some early 2000) C5 Corvettes. They will have 3 screws holding the side cover one while the 2000+ headlight motor assemblies are plastic and the side cover is glued on. This newer style headlight motor change can occur because the 97-99 style motors are no longer available through GM. If a previous owner or a GM dealer has replaced a headlight motor in a 97-99 they may have installed the newer 2000+ style. A quick check will ensure that you order the correct rebuild kit.
1997-1999 (and some early 2000) kit:
If you are not sure which style motor you have look at the pictures below. The early GM assembly line OEM aluminum housing type motor assembly is on the left and the late plastic OEM assembly line type motor assembly is on the right.
Upgrade your older brass headlight gear kits with the new steel brace and better urethane adhesive. Click here for these parts.
Also fits the 1993-2002 Firebird and Saturn SC Coupe 1991-1996. Replaces damaged gear inside motor. OEM#'s: 16516653, 16516654, 16524229, 16524230.
|Early aluminum type (97-99 and early 2000) Late 2000 and 2001-2004 plastic housing type
Note: The pictures above show one side of the headlight motor. The opposite side is similar. On the early aluminum type headlight motors (picture on the left above) you can see the 3 small screws on the passenger side motor but on the driver side motor the 3 small screws are facing away from you and can not be seen.
This is a picture of the 2000-2004 plastic type housing with the headlight motor still in the car in the 2000-2004 C5. The ribs in the cover tell you it is the late plastic type. If the cover is smooth is is the early aluminum type.
New GM dealer replacement motors note: If you have bought a GM dealer replacement motor like the ones shown below the 97-99 kit fits these GM motors. Order the 97-99 type kit(s) if you need a new gear for these motors. The side cover is held on with 3 screws. The case is a hard plastic. NOTE: There are 2 variations of these aftermarket motors. Some have a smooth cover and some have a ribbed cover. The one area to look at to determine if you have these is where the motor attaches to the housing.
All my kits now include the special washers GM recommends so the arm hits the insulator (bumper) better. (This is only used on the drivers side)
See these pages for more information on the washers and insulators.
Brace and urethane ordering note:
Each 2000-2004 headlight gear kit includes the all the parts needed to rebuild the headlight motor(s). I do sell the rubber bumper, brace and urethane separately. This option (Brace and Urethane) is for those that have bought my gear kits before I developed this upgrade and now wish to upgrade to the new steel side brace. These parts are available on this page.
Last week I purchased your kit to replace both plastic headlight gears in my 03 Corvette. Your product was exactly on target. Quality was excellent, everything required to do the job was included and the instructions were the most detailed and straight forward I have encountered in aftermarket repairs. Job completed and saved myself over $900.00.
Service bulletin that addresses the problem of the headlight raising up again once closed. The insulator/bump stops are worn or missing I have new bumpers/insulators in stock.
Some installation tips from a C5 owner:
1.) If removing the two bolts in the headlight assembly hinge point, you need a very high quality Torx T-20. It is a very tight bolt installed with locktight and most Chinese T-20 wrenches are not up to the task.
2.) When removing the two bolts in the headlight assembly hinge point, it is important to turn the nut side while ALWAYS keeping the bolt (Torx) side steady and fully inserted. Then with the nut removed CAREFULLY remove the bolt without putting side load on it. The reason for this is there is a small flanged plastic bearing around the Torx end of the shaft that is easily damaged. This part is not available from GM separately and is basically impossible to replace without purchasing a entirely new headlight assembly.
3.) The big socket on the wiring harness is held to the fender well with a press-to-fit plastic slide clip which is very tough to detach without breaking. It is not available separately from GM. Dorman products makes a "GM Panel Retainer 961-072" which contains three press-to-fit plastic pieces (enough for both headlight motors) which make a good replacement. They press into the fender-well hole and have a piece on the top that the wiring harness plug will slide on to. This requires zero modification to any piece.
4.) The best chance to remove the wiring harness plug from the fender-well without breaking it is to spray some silicone spray under the plug where its attached to the retainer and then slide the entire plug towards the windshield of the car keeping it on the same plain as the fender.
ALSO: I forgot to add that with the headlight assembly removed its a great time to consider replacing all the bulbs that are nearly inaccessible otherwise. Its $50 per side to replace all the bulbs with the optional fog lights and $40 without.
Search this C5 forum for many write ups, pictures etc:
Check Utube for videos. Many have been posted on Utube and other sites.
- Single headlight gear kits (upper ordering boxes)
- 97-99 (and early 2000) aluminum housing: $45.75/single kit
- Late 2000 - 2004 plastic housing: $46.75/single kit
- Double headlight gear kits (lower ordering boxes)
- Double 97-99 (and early 2000) aluminum housing: $89.95/double kit
- Double late 2000-2004 plastic housing: $91.95/double kit
- Double kits include one grease packet which is enough to do both headlight motors.
Shipping: Shipping in the USA is via Priority Mail and is a flat rate charge of $8.00 (single or double kit).
Shipping to areas outside of the USA: Generally I ship these kits postal air first class mail. Shipping varies depending on what country they are going to. It ranges from $16.50 to Canada to $24 or more to Japan etc.
Please use the drop down box below to select the year and quantity.