June 8th, 2009

planet

it only takes one engineer to change a light bulb

yesterday I jumped in the ford focus to head to the tweetup and noticed that when I flipped on the right blinker, it blinked like three times as fast as when I flipped on the left blinker. stopped for gas and confirmed that the rear right blinker wasn't lighting up at all.

So I went to the tweetup, but it was bugging me... I haven't been taking great care of my cars. I've been paying other people to fix weird little things, the focus went WAY too long without a side mirror, I should be able to fix the blinker myself right away.

On the way home I stopped at O'Reilly's and they got weirded out when I told them I was looking for the bulb for the hatchback (ZX3), like there WASN'T one or something. I said, "Maybe Ford did some crazy housing thing? That'd be stupid though." The guy behind the counter shrugged and said, "Well it is Ford."

There's that pride in America we're looking for, huh?

So I borrowed a screwdriver and headed out to take the existing bulb out and maybe go off that... but could not get the damn light assembly out. There's one screw, then some mystery clips you can't see or imagine. I headed home to check for tips on the internet. I found none. One site said if you pull the assembly back from the top, it comes off... so I just went out and pulled, got one clip off so I could sort of twist the assembly around and get to the lightbulb. The owner's manual just says, "Remove screw, then remove assembly" or something helpful. At one time I had a maintenance manual, but it sort of rotted away, I've had this car seven years now.

For other ZX3 owners, it seems like there are two clips centered horizontally, spaced out even vertically. Nothing on the sides to deal with, I can confirm that for you. I'm still not certain which direction to pull, I guess technically straight out might be best but that's somewhat difficult to gage.

Went BACK to another parts store, told this computer thingy what car I had and it told me a light bulb to get, which was the wrong one. Apparently the way to shop for light bulbs is to have the old one in your hand in the store. Lesson learned. So I returned it and got a new one and got it fixed up right there in the parking lot.

Two parts stores and way more angst than I planned for. And I managed to break off both side clips on the light housing connector... old plastic. But it fits pretty snug, and if it shakes out we'll know. I feel a tiny bit good about myself fixing something on the car with no help, but egads, it did not have to be so weird.