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2005 Tribute, Replace Headlight Assembly

02-03-2008, 10:40 PM
Hi everyone,

I need to replace the passenger side headlight assembly on a 2005 Tribute. I believe the front bumper cover has to come off, and I found some instructions on how to do this on an '02. I know the '05 won't be exactly the same, but I figure it should be close.

Has anyone done this? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

02-06-2008, 06:05 PM
No..I haven't done it...but since this forum (the Tribute, don't get much traffic)...I think that is how I would approach it. Take as much off as you need. Sometime the flex parts bend enough to get things out without removing it completely. Long extensions and flex sockets help a lot too.

02-06-2008, 10:31 PM
Well, I appreciate the reply! Yep, I figure that's what I'll do, just start taking it apart little by little, and see how it goes. I'll post the results, in case I can help out someone else in the future.

Thanks again!

02-24-2008, 10:10 PM
Well I did this about 2 weeks ago, now, I guess. I said I would post what I had to do, so here we go. I wasn't able to take any pictures, as the battery in my camera conveniently died on me, but I did take notes, so between the notes and my memory, these instructions should be accurate. Proceed at your own risk, however. I make no guarantees.

The whole process was really quite simple. Took me exactly 2 hours, and that includes getting my tools together, putting them all away, and performing some minor adjustments to the new headlight's alignment, along with test drives around the block.

As far as tools go, I think I just ended up using a phillips screwdriver and a ratchet with a 10mm socket. Oh, and a flathead screwdriver to pry a couple of the plastic plugs out with.

I was going to try to "cheat" and not take off the entire bumper cover, just maybe one side, but I couldn't seem to be able to get the clearance I needed to get to the headlight. So, I would recommend just going ahead and take off the entire cover.

Basically what you have to remove is a bunch of bolts and plastic screws. To make it easier to describe, I will start on the passenger side and work across to the driver's side.

Just in front of the passenger side front tire, in the wheel well, there are 3 plastic screw/plugs. Unscrew them a bit with a phillips screwdriver, and then you should be able to pop out the plugs. There is a fourth plug on the side, which actually goes up through the bumper cover into the bottom of the fender. To get to this one, you have to bend back the inner wheel well liner. I took out a couple of screws that were retaining the liner to make it a little easier.

There was one plastic screw I really had a problem with. I had to keep a good amount of pressure on the screwdriver, so it would grip the screw to turn it. However, it was enough pressure to keep pushing the screw back it, so I never was unable to unscrew it enough. Finally gave up and just pried the thing out with a flathead screwdriver.

Now, continuing from the bottom corner of the bumper cover, and proceeding all the way across to the other side, there are a total of 7 10mm bolts that have to come out. A ratchet and socket worked great for me.

After you get those out, you have the same 4 plastic screws/plugs in the driver's side wheel well.

Now, there are 2 more screws/plugs located in the top of the lower air duct opening (below the grill) in the front of the bumper cover.

Finally, open the hood and you will see 2 more 10mm bolts above the grill, just in front of the radiator.

Now, the cover should come off. It can be done by yourself, but I can see it would be easier with 2 people. There is a pin, I guess you would call it, sticking out each side of the vehicle, and corresponding sockets they fit into on the inside of the cover. Give one side of the cover a pull, and it should pop out, then do the same with the other side. Now the cover should be off the car. You will have to unplug the wiring from each of the driving lights, and I understand that if the car has an outside air temperature readout, that sensor is in the bumper cover, so you will have to unplug that, too.

Now, you just have to find a good, safe place to set the bumper cover, I ending up setting it out in the yard, on some soft ground.

As far as actually replacing the headlight, I believe there were just four bolts to remove, one behind the turn signal light, 2 on the top of the headlight, and one down below.

Of course, you can reverse the above steps to put it all back together!

03-24-2008, 09:37 AM
Thanks for the update.

Good write up.

03-29-2008, 11:37 PM
You're welcome! Thanks for the compliment, glad you liked it.

Hopefully it will help someone out.

03-01-2009, 02:12 PM

I just had to do this job myself (to fix water leaking in and causing condensation). I was able to do it without removing bumper cover from the car.

Here is my write up:


1.Loosen inner fender from front bumper-only the front area plastic clips need to be removed
2.Loosen and lower the bottom splash guard on the side the unit is on (10mm head screws)
3.Remove top screws from grille (torx heads)
4.Remove two plastic push fastener from inside of grille
5.Remove one plastic push fastener from corner of bumper where it meets the fender (only on the side you are working on); you will need to bend the inner fender cover to get to this hard to reach fastener; use a Philips screwdriver to get the insert out
6.Pull bumper cover forward on the side you are working on and let it drop
7.To remove headlight unit, remove three 10mm head screws and one nut (use a towel to avoid scratching paint on bumper cover)
8.Pull forward after prying up at the three areas where there are small guide pins (one is at the side below the fender).
9.Disconnect the head light connector (squeeze inward).
10.Disconnect the side light/turn signal connector by rocking it gently (careful not to break the tabs).
11.The unit can now be removed from the car and the bulbs can be removed.
12.Notes: the headlamp bulb has clips (this bulb can be replaced without pulling unit); remove the rubber boot before servicing the headlamp bulb; the turn/running lamp should be replaced to avoid having to remove the assembly again for servicing this bulb (3157NA[amber]).

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