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Thread: Help & assistance desperately needed - Cutlass Ciera headlight conversion in Germany

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    Junior Member Tristar_100's Avatar
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    Default Help & assistance desperately needed - Cutlass Ciera headlight conversion in Germany

    Hi, currently I am trying to get my `88 Cutlass Ciera Coupe to pass the painfully irritating and tough German inspection in order to finally register it and be able to drive it. I have mastered all but one of the hurdles, but this one is really giving me an headache. The front headlights are not legal in the EU and my inspector will not budge on this issue. He finally accepted the rear lights having no amber turning-signals and all the other little things he had listed. I will get an exception permit for all of those. No chance with the headlights though. As there are no European headlights available for the 88 version he actually suggested constructing the headlights from another car with euro spec lamps into the front. He suggested the headlights of a Spanish Seat Toledo. In my eyes that seems absolutely ridiculous as they are a lot shorter than the Oldsmobile lamps. Aside from the car looking absolutely stupid. But he would accept that. A more reasonable way - that he would also accept - would be the conversion to the older Ciera models headlights as there are euro spec versions of the rectangular sealed beam headlights.
    I can also live with the older version of the Ciera`s headlights. I can´t live with Seat headlights.
    Now the problem is that there is no way to get the required parts at any scrapyard here. There simply are none.

    So, I would really need help from someone living in the US with access to a scrapyard, the time to go there and cannibalise an older Ciera (the complete header assembly) and ship it here to Germany.

    I know this whole project will cost a fortune, but I really do not want to drive around with a ridiculous looking front end with Seat headlights.

    This is what I have:
    https://hosting.photobucket.com/imag...080&fit=bounds

    This is what I need:
    https://hosting.photobucket.com/imag...080&fit=bounds

    And this is what I definitely want to avoid:
    https://hosting.photobucket.com/imag...080&fit=bounds

    Of course I will cover all expenses for the parts I need to convert the front to the older model, the shipping, taxes and so on and I will also gladly pay anyone who will actually help me out with this project for his time and expenses. Anything to keep my Ciera looking like a Ciera ...

    Any help is greatly appreciated!

    Trevor



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    One place I like is car-part.com. Gives you an idea of what?s out there. Only thing is a lot of the yards I?ve used don?t have email. Best bet is to call them. You want a complete header panel assembly with grille and headlights and wiring pigtails. 1985, 1986, and 1987 all used different grilles so you can choose whichever you prefer. I prefer 1985 but I think the 1986 grille was to provide more cooling. Some 1987 Cieras came with sealed beams, but some came with the composite headlights like you need to get rid of.

    Only thing is you won?t have a side marker. The sealed beam nose had its side markers in the trim, and the things next to the headlights were for decoration. You might be able to mod it and stick a bulb in there. Or just add a thin strip side marker along the trim

    Or you could craft up a Euro headlight assembly to bolt in and replace the composite lights. People have done it with Berettas often. A starting point might be the 88-91 or so Chevy trucks. Then you would keep everything else intact.
    Last edited by tlc1976; 12-03-2020 at 06:46 AM.

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    Thats going to be a hard one to come by.. I will keep an eye out, and see what I can find. I know a long time ago, I did the reverse conversion of this, so I know its almost plug and play. There is one bolt behind the corner lens that is different.. But otherwise, its a direct bolt up.

    I checked all my local yards (inventory available online), and they have the newer ones, like you have, but nothing older. And I am not seeing anything on ebay either.
    Brian - Carpe Diem

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    When ordering/getting these parts, although the header panel, from my small bit of research, from 82-85 sealed beam, and 85-87, are NOT interchangablet. The 82-85 bezels and grill, and 85-87 bezels and grills. So be mindful so you dont end up with parts from one series, and other parts from another series. Some came with cornering lights as part of the headlight bezel, others did not. EDIT: See next post.

    The header panel is still available new (surprisingly).., Althou incomplete. I dont know which generation this is.
    https://www.gmpartsdirectonline.com/...4aAnyNEALw_wcB

    I would try to reach out to this ebay seller, and see if he is willing to sell the entire header panel, with grill bezels, headlights, wiring, etc..
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Driver-Head...temCondition=4

    Or
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Passenger-R...temCondition=4

    Or
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Driver-Left...temCondition=4

    Some random bits needed to finish the mod... Did not check for which generation
    Headlight Bezel
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/82-OLDSMOBI...temCondition=4

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/82-86-OLDS-...temCondition=4

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/PASSENGER-R...temCondition=4
    Last edited by Pontiac6ksteawd; 12-03-2020 at 06:06 PM.
    Brian - Carpe Diem

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    More people have died in the name of "God" than in all wars combined thruout history
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    Generation 1 with cornering lights


    Generation 2 without cornering lights


    And since you have the sealed beam with cornering lights in the bumper cover, I believe you are going to be better off finding Generation 2..

    Sealed beams also draw more power over composite, so watch you wiring.
    Brian - Carpe Diem

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    More people have died in the name of "God" than in all wars combined thruout history
    01 Pontiac Aztek GT AWD 127k - 04 GMC Envoy SLT XUV 193k

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    Another possible option.. 1993ish? BMW M3 or 3 series (I think) or E36 headlights.. Since it was sold in Germany, it would already be EuroSpec. You would have to measure, and modify on your own, as this is just a best guess... You should be able to find a set at a local breakers, and see what you can come up with. They look fairly reasonable on price in the eBay listings I can find on ebay.de .



    This is Forum Member SilentWing , But he hasnt been on line in a long time. I dropped him a message to see if he has any input.

    EDIT: A bit more info, although not much.. (the project links no longer work)
    https://www.a-body.net/forums/showth...dlights-update
    Last edited by Pontiac6ksteawd; 12-03-2020 at 06:47 PM.
    Brian - Carpe Diem

    I dont have to love my president, or any god, to love my country!!
    More people have died in the name of "God" than in all wars combined thruout history
    01 Pontiac Aztek GT AWD 127k - 04 GMC Envoy SLT XUV 193k

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    Senior Member Zaloryan's Avatar
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    Before you go to the effort and work of coordinating a front header panel swap to accomodate an older headlight design, you may want to approach Daniel Stern.

    https://danielsternlighting.com/

    This fellow runs a lighting business to assist people in meeting lighting requirements. He is very well versed on European headlight standards as noted the technical articles of his website. He may be able to make a more reasonable recommendation which will satisfy your safety inspector.


    On a different topic, I find it odd how the United States market vehicles now regularly come with radar cruise control but we have headlight requirements that haven't changed in over 35 years...
    What is this & what does pulling it out do?

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    SilentWing is a female. I was disheartened when I saw the links didn?t work anymore. I knew of someone who put BMW lights in a Corsica so that would be an option too.

    Edit: here is her Cardomain page.

    http://www.cardomain.com/ride/3852355/1994-oldsmobile-cutlass-ciera/photo-gallery/

    http://www.cardomain.com/ride/3852355/1994-oldsmobile-cutlass-ciera/

    The header piece from GM parts direct says 85-87.

    Do you have to swap bumper covers to fit the 85-87 header on an 88? I didn?t think you had to but I could be mistaken. But if you did swap them, it would take care of the side marker issue as you would now have a side marker in the trim. Those appear to be available new too.

    https://www.gmpartsbin.com/p/Oldsmob...iABEgKa1PD_BwE

    I hadn?t thought of the 82-84 as they would probably be even harder to find.

    The eBay route might work well. It would be most economical to get the complete header assembly and bumper cover and lighting pigtails.

    Pretty sure all years used the same headlight switch, but if you?re concerned about amp draw, you can get a headlight relay system off EBay for pretty cheap. I put one on my Jeep after swapping to higher output bulbs.
    Last edited by tlc1976; 12-04-2020 at 01:02 AM.

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    Junior Member Tristar_100's Avatar
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    Hi all,

    first of all I am really thankful for all of your support. It really means a lot to me!
    Today I spent the morning and afternoon trying to put in the Seat Toledo`s headlights in the Cutlass header assembly. ( I really want to at least past that inspection and get to drive the car ) It actually turned out a LOT better than I had expected and doesn´t look as horrible as I thought it would. Nonetheless this is definitely only a temporary solution as I do have a tendency for perfection and this isn`t even a compromise - but it will get me through the inspection and on the road. What comes after that is a different story.
    I have decided to start off with the conversion to the earlier (2. generation ) version and will try and modify either the facias to have the running lights instead of the deco or alter the inserts in the bumper. I have contacted the company with the white Ciera (Link from Brian) and asked for a price for the entire assembly and hope they will ship internationally (that will be expensive, but well, having a unique care here obviously comes with a price)
    I will also contact Daniel Stern and see if he has any good ideas for my problem. We will see. I don`t think I want to pursue the BMW Angel Eyes idea as it doesn`t really fit to the character of the car. A great job done there though.
    Again I want to thank you guys for the help and especially Brian for his extensive research for me!

    Here is what my awkward workaround looks like:

    https://hosting.photobucket.com/imag...unds&crop=fill

    Interested in what you think!

    Trevor
    Cars aren`t like people - cars need love ;-)

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    Junior Member Tristar_100's Avatar
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    How do you get those pictures to display instead of adding a link?
    Cars aren`t like people - cars need love ;-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tristar_100 View Post
    Hi all,

    first of all I am really thankful for all of your support. It really means a lot to me!
    Today I spent the morning and afternoon trying to put in the Seat Toledo`s headlights in the Cutlass header assembly. ( I really want to at least past that inspection and get to drive the car ) It actually turned out a LOT better than I had expected and doesn´t look as horrible as I thought it would. Nonetheless this is definitely only a temporary solution as I do have a tendency for perfection and this isn`t even a compromise - but it will get me through the inspection and on the road. What comes after that is a different story.
    I have decided to start off with the conversion to the earlier (2. generation ) version and will try and modify either the facias to have the running lights instead of the deco or alter the inserts in the bumper. I have contacted the company with the white Ciera (Link from Brian) and asked for a price for the entire assembly and hope they will ship internationally (that will be expensive, but well, having a unique care here obviously comes with a price)
    I will also contact Daniel Stern and see if he has any good ideas for my problem. We will see. I don`t think I want to pursue the BMW Angel Eyes idea as it doesn`t really fit to the character of the car. A great job done there though.
    Again I want to thank you guys for the help and especially Brian for his extensive research for me!

    Here is what my awkward workaround looks like:

    https://hosting.photobucket.com/imag...unds&crop=fill

    Interested in what you think!

    Trevor
    That actually doesnt look to bad to me.. They kind of have a 89 Pontiac Grand Am look, and its not to bad. If you go to Gen 1, from what I can tell, you would have to change the bumper cover, and possibly the bumper reinforcement. If you go to Gen 2, you would loose the side marker bulb on the side of the headlight, as it was moved to the bumper. Would your inspector care? I dont know. Since it is eurospec, I would imagine you have to have the mid wing/fender marker light that all EU cars have.


    Quote Originally Posted by Tristar_100 View Post
    How do you get those pictures to display instead of adding a link?
    The 13th button over, across the top of your reply box is a little box that looks like a mini-picture, and if you hover your mouse over it, it should actually say, Insert Image. If you click on it, and follow the instructions in the pop-up box, you should be good.

    Name:  Click Here.jpg
Views: 44
Size:  21.1 KB

    Alternatively speaking, if you are trying to share a picture from another website (that is not Photobucket), you can drag and drop that image into the reply box, and it will insert it for you..
    Brian - Carpe Diem

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    More people have died in the name of "God" than in all wars combined thruout history
    01 Pontiac Aztek GT AWD 127k - 04 GMC Envoy SLT XUV 193k

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    Junior Member Tristar_100's Avatar
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    Update: This morning I finally passed the German inspection (T?V) and tomorrow I will register my Ciera and will finally be able to drive it. I passed with the Seat Toledo headlights installed and the minute I got home I put the original headlights back in. I figure the common police officer will not notice and frankly will be more fixed on the red turning signals in the back that the inspector actually accepted as an exception to the regulations. (Why that was not possible for the headlights leaves me clueless) - anyway, looks are back to normal and I won?t have to bother with the lights again until I must go back to inspection in two years. (That will be the Toledo`s time to shine again )
    Anyway, needless to say I am overjoyed and am lookin forward to cruising. I am sure there will be a few issues I will still need to sort out as I go along, but it`s good to know you guys are here with tons of knowledge!

    I really want to say a big big thank you to all that have helped me here with ideas and suggestions! Thank you a million
    Cars aren`t like people - cars need love ;-)

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    That?s great you got a workaround. If that?s all it takes is a headlight swap to pass an inspection once in a blue moon then just do that. But the 85 nose is my favorite, especially on wagons. If mine wasn?t so nice I?d probably do that.

    I can understand why some parts of Europe don?t allow American headlights as they drive on the other side of the road. But I don?t know about the rest. Have you gotten a chance to drive with the Seat headlights in the dark and see if the lighting is noticeably different from the stock Ciera?

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    Junior Member Tristar_100's Avatar
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    I kind of like the 2. gen lights as well, but they are practically unobtainable here in Germany. And all the yards I wrote to in the US either did not bother to respond or don`t ship internationally. But as I have passed the inspection it isn`t a pressing matter.
    I didn`t drive much in the dark with the Seat lights as I converted it back as fast as I could. Simply driving down the road I can`t really make out any difference. If you drive up to a wall or a garage door, then the light / dark areas are different. I assume it makes a difference if you are coming toward a car with the US lights in the dark? Here in Europe, only the British drive on the left. All others drive on the right. (If you drive to Great Britain you need special stickers to put on the lenses so that the oncoming traffic isn`t blinded.
    Cars aren`t like people - cars need love ;-)

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