Plastic headlamp rings

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rodo
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Your car is a: 1981 Spider

Plastic headlamp rings

Postby rodo » Sat Apr 07, 2018 11:36 am

Is there some mystery source for these rings, the thick black molded rings that fit just behind the chrome rings? somewhere that does not sell them for $33 each? Or alternative? 3-D printing? Anything? I won't ask if the Italian engineers were inebriated when they designed the headlamps to attache with these.

wetminkey
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Your car is a: 1979 2000 Spider
Location: Ault, Colorado

Re: Plastic headlamp rings

Postby wetminkey » Wed Apr 11, 2018 8:12 pm

My Spider, through some terrible misfortune, ended up with one of each,...a pre-'79, and a post-'79 headlight bezel attachment. I tried to replace the black plastic ring, but my old one is flat and round, while the new one has an smooth extension to one side and a lot more trim plastic (bezel to fender) than just a "giant washer", like my old one.
I'm done with the plastic ring.
I've devised a way to add headlight bezel mounting tabs to my fender's headlight 'can' (that mounts the headlight bucket). That will give it a headlight bezel attachment just like the pre-'79 fenders. My driver's side headlight 'can' has a small 9/16" cutout at the top of the 'can', and a similar 3/4" cutout at the bottom. Identical to the older fenders, just missing the tab to hook the top of the bezel, and the tab w/hole, for the bezel's attachment screw at the bottom. I also find a thin space, between the 'can' edge, and the fender, in each location. These spots are not welded closed, and strips of metal will fit through these slots. After bending 90 degrees (to conform with the back of the headlight 'can', inside the wheel well), they could be MIGed to the back edge of the 'can'.
I do not know if your headlight 'cans' have the same small cutouts and slots. If so, this MOD could easily be accomplished on your car!
Just devised this today. Haven't completed it, but I have light cardboard templates already,...
Hope this helps.
Engineering most of the time,...Todd.

wetminkey
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Your car is a: 1979 2000 Spider
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Re: Plastic headlamp rings

Postby wetminkey » Thu Apr 12, 2018 9:17 pm

I see this to be possible with both, different types of fenders. Each has a slot at the top that will accommodate a tab,...both the old fender that uses a rubber strip as a gasket, and the newer fender that uses a black, plastic ring.
The older fender still has it's lower tab, and the newer fender has a slot at the bottom to accept a tab. I'll be able to make BOTH fenders accept the headlight bezels in the same manner!
Brady is going to cut proper sized strips of sheetmetal for me,...they'll wrap around the outside of the back of the 'can' that houses the headlight bucket, inside the fenderwell. They could be just left as is, JB Welded, or MIGed in place. Then undercoated,...
More ASAP. Todd.

rodo
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Your car is a: 1981 Spider

Re: Plastic headlamp rings

Postby rodo » Fri Apr 13, 2018 8:00 am

Keep posting Todd! I'm done with plastic rings, too. Sounds like you are on to something good.

I'm really curious to know, to see, how the chrome ring sings on the headlamp hole w/o a ring.

wetminkey
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Re: Plastic headlamp rings

Postby wetminkey » Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:41 am

Curiosity is killing me, rodo,...are the post 1979 fenders all configured the same way, or will this only work on my particular fender?
If you have a headlight bezel off, can you spot a slot at the top, and the bottom, of the fender to headlight 'can' that the headlight bucket mounts into? If so, THEN I might be on to something!
I bent down the remains of the shorty tab on my pre-'79 'half a fender' and I find the very same slot, between it and the welded headlight 'can'. So, I'll replace my stubby tab for a new one of proper length. Got some pics that I'll post after downloading,...
Todd.

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dinghyguy
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Re: Plastic headlamp rings

Postby dinghyguy » Fri Apr 13, 2018 1:30 pm

I just took the headlight ring off my 1979 to get the headlight adjusted so it would pass a safety inspection.....and i am confused about the plastic ring you guys are talking about, please post a picture. Oh and would the 78's have it too, because being such an early 79 some things are still 78 on my car.

cheers
dinghyguy
1979 blue spider
2008 blue audi A3
1971 16' mirror camping dinghy (team coastal express in 2016 race to alaska)
2004 11' mirror dinghy

wetminkey
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Re: Plastic headlamp rings

Postby wetminkey » Fri Apr 13, 2018 4:58 pm

Guess I'll need some more pics,...coming soon!
Here's the 1979/pre-1979 fender with the headlight 'can':
Image
You can see the small slot at the top of the headlight 'can' edge, that contains the welded metal hook (bent end of a 9/16" metal strip) that retains the top of the chrome headlight bezel/rubber seal. The hook in this photo is a bit shorter than it needs to be. At he bottom, you can see that this headlight 'can' still has a usable 3/4" metal strip for the headlight bezel retaining screw.
This is my driver's fender, with the black plastic headlight bezel retaining ring removed:
Image
This fender/headlight 'can' also has the same slots, top and bottom.
I can see that I need some pics of headlight bezels in place with the thin rubber strips. I'll get one of my plastic retaining ring in place on my newer fender,...

wetminkey
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Re: Plastic headlamp rings

Postby wetminkey » Fri Apr 13, 2018 5:23 pm

This is the black, plastic headlight retaining ring, dingyguy. It snaps into the headlight 'can', and the chrome headlight bezel snaps onto it:
Image
And here's my older fender, with the bezel/thin rubber seal in place:
Image
This is the newer fender, with only the bezel/thin rubber seal in place. This is what I propose to accomplish with a couple of thin strips of sheet metal:
Image
Bingo, no plastic rings.

zachmac
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Your car is a: 1978 Spider [1979 2 ltr engine]
Location: Aiken, SC

Re: Plastic headlamp rings

Postby zachmac » Sat Apr 14, 2018 11:43 am

Plastic rings were only used from 79 on, not used before that so you always have the option of retrofitting the pre-79 assembly but that has to cost more than the plastic rings (Midwest Bayless has them I think for under $20).
Jeff Klein, Aiken, SC
1980 FI Spider, Veridian with Tan (sold about a year ago), in the market for another project
2009 R350 Mercedes, family hauler
2005 S600 Mercedes V12, 620 hp, 740 ft lbs torque

wetminkey
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Re: Plastic headlamp rings

Postby wetminkey » Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:37 am

So, I have still not seen the answer to my question,...
Do ALL Spider fenders have slots, top and bottom?
Whaddya think dinghyguy,...have you looked?

wetminkey
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Re: Plastic headlamp rings

Postby wetminkey » Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:39 am

And I'm doing this for FREE on my Spider. Just some scrap metal. Began the change-over yesterday.

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dinghyguy
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Re: Plastic headlamp rings

Postby dinghyguy » Mon Apr 16, 2018 12:48 pm

Ok, so went and put the beauty rings back on the lights on my early 79 (in the first 100 of the series) and thus likely a 78 in this detail. The pix are below.
Hook the chrome ring over the tab at top, fix it with a single screw into the tab at bottom.
Image

No plastic ring like you guys are talking about, but a rubber bit around the chrome ring, presumably to protect the car paint.
Image

Hope this confuses people further.
cheers
Dinghyguy
1979 blue spider
2008 blue audi A3
1971 16' mirror camping dinghy (team coastal express in 2016 race to alaska)
2004 11' mirror dinghy

wetminkey
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Re: Plastic headlamp rings

Postby wetminkey » Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:49 pm

Thank you, sir! I appreciate the pics!
This is identical to my passenger side fender (before, and after, the most recent accident). So the damaged fender, and the 'half a fender' share the "hook and tab" bezel attachment. I would guess that if dinghyguy were to bend that tab down, he would find the 9/16" wide slot that I'm going to use to repair my short tab. My bottom tab, for the bezel's screw attachment, can be used without problems.
HOWEVER, on my driver's side, as you can see from the pics, I have a black plastic ring that attaches to the fender first, and then the chrome headlight bezel snaps into it (held at the bottom with a screw - into the plastic). There are no tabs. Looks crappy, works crappy, and mine needs replacement. And it's not the same shape as a new one.
So,...get rid of the black plastic ring!
That's what I'm doing. I should have the sheet metal strips this week,...
Fiat changed the design starting in 1979, but it seems earlier fenders were being used up at the same time,...and who knows what was installed if one was replaced/repaired later on.

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dinghyguy
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Re: Plastic headlamp rings

Postby dinghyguy » Tue Apr 17, 2018 12:55 am

Glad to be of service
Now all you need to do is get proper chrome bezel to go with your beauty rings!
Cheers
dinghyguy
1979 blue spider
2008 blue audi A3
1971 16' mirror camping dinghy (team coastal express in 2016 race to alaska)
2004 11' mirror dinghy

wetminkey
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Re: Plastic headlamp rings

Postby wetminkey » Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:53 am

I'm cool there,...all of the bezels are the same. The only changes Fiat made were to eliminate the attachment tabs and that thin rubber bezel seal. They used the black, plastic ring as the new mechanism to attach the bezel and the plastic replaces the rubber seal. All of this happening in, and around, 1979.
I've seen a couple of Spiders with two different types of bezel mountings (pass. vs driver's side), like mine. Mix 'n' Match!
As an aside,...I also notice some slight changes in the older fender's contour, just at the headlight area. The older fender (passenger's side) has sharper angles around the 'teardrop' shape of the headlight area. It also has a tighter contour around the headlight area. The newer fender has more rounded angles, protrudes a bit more at the fender crease near the side reflector, and over the headlight 'brow'. I'm making some minor changes to match the two.
I figured that all of you Spider veterans already knew all of this,...sorry to cause such confusion!
Todd.


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