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'97 Tacoma Headlight Replacement Question

Discussion in '1st Gen. Tacomas (1995-2004)' started by greenmonk, Mar 9, 2012.

  1. Mar 9, 2012 at 11:50 AM
    #1
    greenmonk

    greenmonk [OP] Member

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    I have a question for you guys. I need to replace my headlights for my 1997 Tacoma 2wd V6. I talked to my mechanic who called around to find out the price of OEM headlights. He said after a bunch of calls, he finally found them through NAPA for about $150 each. That seems kind of high to me for a headlight assembly with a plastic front. He said I could also buy my own headlights and he would install them.

    My question is this, are there any headlights that will last a long time like my original headlights that aren't as expensive? Or are there other headlights that I should be looking at other than the OEM's?

    If I'm going to have to spend that much on a headlight assembly, I'd like it to at least be a good and reliable headlight. He said I could upgrade to halogens (?), but it would cost about $300 more in labor to do the conversion (if I understood what he was saying).

    Can someone help me so I can get the best headlight without breaking my bank? Being able to see stuff at night is very important to me. Right now, I can barely see in front of me. Thanks!
     
  2. Mar 9, 2012 at 1:40 PM
    #2
    Dhawk1313

    Dhawk1313 Well-Known Member

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  3. Mar 9, 2012 at 3:08 PM
    #3
    TacomaV6

    TacomaV6 Well-Known Member

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    x2
     
  4. Mar 9, 2012 at 5:59 PM
    #4
    mizzac

    mizzac Well-Known Member

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    best replacements, replaces the sealed beam to a conventional beam.

    1000x better light and you can replace just the bulbs.
     
  5. Mar 9, 2012 at 6:02 PM
    #5
    Boilermaker99

    Boilermaker99 555

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    On a 97 just buy the ebay aftermarkets for 60 bucks. If you need to replace them you can do it 5 times before your in the hole for the price of the one set of OEMs.
     
  6. Mar 9, 2012 at 6:03 PM
    #6
    TACOMABOSS

    TACOMABOSS Well-Known Member

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    I know that those lights fit 1997 trucks, but I think the OP meant 1998-2000 :notsure:
     
  7. Mar 9, 2012 at 6:05 PM
    #7
    Boilermaker99

    Boilermaker99 555

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    Says on her profile she owns a 97?
     
  8. Mar 9, 2012 at 6:23 PM
    #8
    mizzac

    mizzac Well-Known Member

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    Ive noticed on alot of websites, it says the headlights are for 97-00 but they definatelyu wont fit a 97.
     
  9. Mar 9, 2012 at 6:31 PM
    #9
    TACOMABOSS

    TACOMABOSS Well-Known Member

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    yeah, the body styles were 95.5-97, 98-00, 01-04
     
  10. Mar 9, 2012 at 6:32 PM
    #10
    TACOMABOSS

    TACOMABOSS Well-Known Member

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    If she does in fact own a 97, the first few lights that were posted will not work. The ones mizzac posted will
     
  11. Mar 9, 2012 at 6:33 PM
    #11
    greenmonk

    greenmonk [OP] Member

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    It's definitely a 1997 and a 2wd. Had it since it's first miles on the odometer. It's only at 150k now. Still using the original lights. Hardly any light passes through them now. I need new lights or I won't pass VA inspections this year. I've been warned the last two years by the inspector that they're getting worse and probably won't pass this year.

    I'll definitely look at Ebay and see what there is. My only problem with getting the cheap ones is that I don't know how to replace lights, so if they don't last I'll have to pay someone to replace them for me. That really will eat into my savings from getting the cheaper ones. Does that make sense?

    Also, my headlights are the plastic ones where I can replace the bulb. They aren't like the 4x4 version if I'm not mistaking. They are different, right? Or is it the model years that are different?

    I just want something that gives me good light output. It's really dark where I live. Thanks for your replies. Any other suggestions or thoughts?
     
  12. Mar 9, 2012 at 6:37 PM
    #12
    TACOMABOSS

    TACOMABOSS Well-Known Member

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    Not 100% sure because yours is 2wd, but my 4wd(same body style as yours) is a sealed unit. the lights them selves cannot be replaced. The ones mizzac posted are what I want to get
     
  13. Mar 9, 2012 at 6:41 PM
    #13
    ruler1

    ruler1 stump thumper

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    97 is a strange year for the headlights. I have also had good luck with eBay headlights. Spend some time reading feedback reviews and you will be fine. I went with a stock smoked (lightly tinted) headlight on the car and they were awesome. Night and day compared to old ones.
     
  14. Mar 9, 2012 at 6:43 PM
    #14
    MapleMoose

    MapleMoose Drunk Canadian

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    The headlights on the 95.5-97 were all standard 7X9 glass sealed headlight. You could get the aftermarket with the replaceable bulb. I buy my headlights for $19.95 a piece at a auto store. The part# is H6054 and they fit on many different vehicle makes and models.

    If you want to go aftermarket, and it sounds like you already have the after market headlight unit, then just replace the bulb inside and restore the plastic lens with a light restore kit.

    EDIT: The 2wd models came with the same headlight as the 98-00 Tacoma. Non-sealed headlight with replaceable bulb. I would just restore the lens and replace the bulb.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Mar 9, 2012 at 6:47 PM
    #15
    ruler1

    ruler1 stump thumper

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    The 2wd headlights are different on 97. That is the first year of the switch. Only the 2wd 97's though.
     
  16. Mar 9, 2012 at 6:49 PM
    #16
    TACOMABOSS

    TACOMABOSS Well-Known Member

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    I never knew that. Thats interesting. OP disreguard my last few posts.
     
  17. Mar 9, 2012 at 6:55 PM
    #17
    MapleMoose

    MapleMoose Drunk Canadian

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    "EDIT: The 2wd models came with the same headlight as the 98-00 Tacoma. Non-sealed headlight with replaceable bulb. I would just restore the lens and replace the bulb."
     
  18. Mar 9, 2012 at 6:56 PM
    #18
    Boilermaker99

    Boilermaker99 555

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    You just live up the road, if you need help replacing come to hoodbridge and I will swap them for you. No charge hombre!!
     
  19. Mar 9, 2012 at 6:58 PM
    #19
    greenmonk

    greenmonk [OP] Member

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    To restore the headlight, it would have to be wet sanded, right? I've used the restoration stuff that comes in a small bottle to try and buff it out for the last two years to get through VA inspections, but the guy told me it wouldn't work for another year. It was that discolored, so not enough light was passing through.

    And both headlights let me change the bulb because I changed both bulbs maybe 6 months ago when one of the lights went out. Maybe it's a 2wd thing because I've replaced the bulbs at least a couple times since I've owned it. I know they aren't aftermarket because I've owned the Tacoma since the beginning. I can't imagine the dealer would change out the brand new lights before selling it to me. :notsure:

    EDIT: I see you guys beat me to posting and someone confirmed that the 2wd models allow you to change out the bulbs.
     
  20. Mar 9, 2012 at 7:02 PM
    #20
    ruler1

    ruler1 stump thumper

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    Yea I saw you changed it while I was posting.


    I would still say an eBay unit though. You can only do so much to a 15 year old headlight housing.
     
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