Changing the headlamp bulb

OK call me a dummy. I can't figure out how to change the bulb in my '04 Focus ZX5.
I've got a burn out and I want to replace the bulb. There is the bulb
holder and a wire that holds the bulb in place. The problem is, I can't figure out how to make the g$^$#&dam retaining wire to move out of the way. Wouldn't you know it but the retaining wire looks nothing like it does in the manual. Is there a technique to this - do I need to have really small hands to get in there to move or what????
Help!
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I just bought a bulb tonight myself. I did this once before and it was a royal pain in the ass.
This may help but I doubt it: http://www.edmunds.com/ownership/howto/articles/45308/article.html
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"EOO" <whereeverforever.com> wrote in message

Ok, I just changed it again and I think the best approach is to feel for the rounded ended of the retaining clip towards the top of the bulb. Push it towards the front of the car and then up. It should release from the retainer and then pull it back.
It is actually an easy setup if only you could see in there.
I hope I can remember this 2 or 3 years from now.

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On Tue, 7 Mar 2006 11:15:18 -0500, "EOO" <whereeverforever.com> wrote:

umm, DOH! It's so easy when you figure it out. Push the wire in, don't pull. I was using everything short of a tackle and pulley to pull out that stupid little retaining clip and it wouldn't budge. Once I read your clue I changed the bulb in a matter of seconds....

Definitely easy, even for a blind man.
For those who wish to give a go try replacing your ordinary dim yellowish bulbs with new xenon ultra-white bulbs on EBAY. They are relatively cheap compared to auto stores. And the bluish-white colour sets you apart from other cars! All Foci use the H4 bulbs (except perhaps the HID equipped headlights?) Get the ones that are legal (4500*K not > 4850*K) and don't use a bluish coating on the bulb that actually filters out some of the light.
http://tinyurl.com/k5qlx
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On Tue, 07 Mar 2006 19:34:11 -0600, Roarmeister

agreed I have the HID units in my 2003 Ghia but I replaced the high beam units (which are normal halogen bulbs) with the ultra brites and it made a big difference to the lighting even with the HID units which are brilliant.
My next Focus will be the new ST3 which claims to have bi xenon units, which kind of hints that the high beam is also HID but the pictures I have seen seem to not back this up. If I am correct then the first thing I will be doing is another high beam bulb upgrade.
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"EOO" <whereeverforever.com> wrote

Just so happens I had recently purchased a set of Nighthawks and was waiting for a warm enough day to put them in, which turned out to be yesterday. This advice was therefore timely and worked great, so thanks. I also found that a) I had to get in there with my big fat fingers and untangle the wires from the clip (which took the bulk of the time) and then b) installing the new ones was tricky, since I had to first make sure that the wires didn't foul the clip and then make sure that the clip was completely in. This took a couple of tries, and it would have been easy to leave the bulbs loose by accident.
At the same time I replaced the lamps on my Chrysler van and I must say that Chrysler's design was more logical and less fiddly, but both were by no means fool-proof. So the lesson for the owner is, if you're not confident of your home mechanic skills maybe better leave lamp replacement to the technicians.
Incidentally, I like the Nighthawks, definitely an improvement over the 6-year old original Focus lamps.
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I just had this nightmare of a job and eventually used pliers to pull the wire out enough to slip the bulb past. Re-setting was a case of bending the wire back into some reasonable shape and hoping the whole lot stays in there! So far so good but it may need a more permanent fix at a later date.
One from the ministry of crap design.
JG
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JG wrote:

When I first had my Focus, I fitted uprated bulbs. When one blew recently I swapped back to the originals. Total time in each case was less than five minutes. I can't see a problem with the design.
Now if you were to try doing it on a '03 Corolla I would understand the problem...
In fact many cars now need some dismantling to change headlamp bulbs, including things like bumper removal!
Chris
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I suppose I would have had the same nightmare if I had let myself become frustrated (which believe me I have done). Fortunately I was able to stay calm and look carefully at what I was doing, so I didn't need violence.
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Dave Gower wrote:

pressure from both sides however on my focus the left edge of the clip is fixed solid to the edge of the headlamp fixing. Therefore a certain degree of force rather than violence as you put it was needed.
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I've got a RHD Focus TDCI.
Only sensible way to remove the nearside bulb is to remove the battery first. I'm becoming quite proficient at doing this now, having done it 3 times.
The offside bulb is no problem.

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Thankfully, I've got a NA car not a British one. And thanks to another poster who told me about the unobvious technique - changing the bulb is actually pretty easy.
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<Top posting fixed>

Acedrew wrote:

I've changed both bulbs twice on my RHD LX, and never found the need to remove anything other than the cover over the bulbs. I have got fairly small hands though!
There are many modern cars that need a lot more dismantling for headlight bulb replacement than the Focus.....
Chris
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I'll second that! It's a nuisance, but it's impossible to manouver the lamp unit cover off with the battery holder in place. It took me four hours the first time I changed the bulbs, because it doesn't say in the manual that you need to remove this, and it was dark and raining, etc. I can do both sides in about 25 mins now thankfully!
Gary.
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Gary wrote:

I'm guessing you must be in the US, and the design is different. I honestly think I could do a UK one in 25 mins blindfolded!
Chris
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Nope! UK. The pre face lift model had a screw off cover, the 2002 or so onwards model you have to unclip a clip, and hinge the cover upwards like a door. The problem is that the battery holder gets in the way and won't let you hinge it open far enough to remove it from its retaining slots. It may well be easier on petrol models, but on the diesel there's hardly any room in the engine bay to get at anything. Even the nearside one requires a fair bit of dexterity!
Gary.
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I have a 2001 zx3 - US model built in Mexico and the bulb I changed was on the battery side.
Absolutely no need to remove the battery unless you want to see what you are doing.
Now that I can visualize how the clip works, it is 3 minute job tops. Actually, I could now do it in less than 60 seconds.
I just hope I remember this the next time I need to change bulbs.
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