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Grace
Hagerty Employee

How to install Euro-spec glass headlights on your Volvo 240/245

When you live in an apartment complex and are investing into the automotive hobby on a tight budget, the options to jazz up your "new" 1986 Volvo are limited. Slammed drift wagon? Michigan's infamous potholes would like a word. LS swap? Pricey, and I have no garage for a large-scale project.

 

I'm still adjusting to my biggest adult purchase since putting down a rent deposit. Swapping out my Volvo's cloudy, plastic headlight lenses for Euro-spec glass units struck me as affordable and not too intimidating. Once the weather decided to play nice on a free weekend afternoon, I got to work outside in my parking lot. Aside from my first sunburn of the season, here's what it took.

 

Read the full article on Hagerty.com: https://www.hagerty.com/media/maintenance-and-tech/how-to-install-euro-spec-glass-headlights-on-your...

6 REPLIES 6
Sajeev
Community Manager

This has all the win on the planet.  Great work. 

Tim
Instructor

How much did the new parts cost?

Grace
Hagerty Employee

$300! Bulbs included, too. 

RepeatOffender
New Driver

Nice Job !

First, please don't read anything into my username that is not intended. I created it for TurboBricks (where I found the link to your awesome headlight swap), and the reference is to breaking traffic laws (speed limits), nothing else.

This is a HUGE improvement to the stock, US lights!!!! I'm looking at an older model 245, and the first thing that has to go are the headlights. I've loved these cars for decades, but those headlights are hideous.

The link to the FCPEuro kit has the signal lights included. With the exception of the items you mentioned retaining from the old assembly, did you have to remove & trash the entire existing headlight/signal light assembly? I thought I've seen where you could just buy the bulbs.

Also, I'm confused about the signal light wires that you spliced together. Looks like they are all connected to each other, with that black, round bulbous thing in your pic. Are these wires being disabled, or adapted to connect to the new headlight assembly?

Thanks !

Grace
Hagerty Employee

Thanks so much for the feedback! I’ve been very happy with the upgrade - would definitely recommend. I did end up tossing the entire old, plastic assembly after cherrypicking a few bits.

Re: your splicing question: yes, I had to cut off the wiring assembly (low beam, high beam, ground) for the main lights and adapt them/reattach them to the new. The black bulbous bit you mentioned is part of the FCP euro kit - you’re looking at the rubber backing of a three-prong fastener that literally plugs into the back of the new headlight. (In hindsight, I could have provided another picture here.) The low/high/ground wires that I spliced to the old harness came attached to that rubber-covered plug. Make sure the plug is snug against the back of the lens; I had one work loose this winter and give me a “light out” alert on my dash. Nothing was broken, thankfully; just needed to “replug” the rubber-covered fastener to the back of the headlight.

The new turn-signal unit, on the other hand, is a plug-and-play situation. One thing that impressed me about the FCP euro kit was that it includes a male fastener that clips directly onto the old turn-signal connector/harness. No splicing necessary there.
Sajeev
Community Manager

Hi @RepeatOffender You can buy different bulbs, but the problem there is twofold: 9004s are a terrible filament design (high and low beams are stacked against each other uniquely) that doesn't respond well to newer conversions (especially LEDs) and the factory US-spec headlights are a terrible design intended to only meet our terrible headlight regulations.  The Euro lights actually have a beam pattern that's acceptable by modern standards, you gotta do them both to do the upgrade.