DODGE CARAVAN HEADLIGHT COVER


I presume you have a service manual, though I may include brief pointers from it to make this advice more cohesive.

The headlight bulb on the restyled Caravan, circa 1990-1995, removes easily from the rear.
Beware that using higher-powered bulbs may increase yellowing of the plastic headlight cover.

But replacing the headlight cover is considerably more difficult than Chrysler's manual advises.
You may need to replace it due to yellowing and fogging (from sunlight or dust abrasion) - the difference in visibility from new is substantial. (See instructions below or advice on Allpar.)

On my vehicle the +-shaped slots were not large enough, so removal was difficult once the +-shaped retainer was turned to match (perhaps worse if you chew them up a bit trying to turn them). Use a wide blade screwdriver between the tab on the headlight cover and the other +-shaped piece behind it.
Chrysler's manual does not indicate a tool is available, but given the +-shaped retainer is quite difficult to turn with pliers I expect there might be. Try an open end wrench of 1/2" (13mm), preferably closed on the other end to better twist with a screwdriver blade stuck through it, carefully.) Or saw a wide slot in a wrench socket or 1/2" nut driver - that works much better. (Best with a long shank on the driver/socket as the headlight cover sticks out a bit.)

An additional challenge is gaining access to the lower retainers. You have to take the parking light assembly off, as the manual suggests - except one of the wires is too short to pull the assembly away enough. I was able to twist the assembly to vertical position outboard (it is L-shaped, amber on bottom and clear at top side).

First though, remove the screws attaching the adjacent end of the grill (you may be able to avoid taking the entire grill off as you do not need to move the grill forward much - the lower screw goes through the end of the parking light assembly which you can slide sideways enough to clear the grill), remove the screw on the side of the body, and remove the vertical shaft just behind the outboard end of the headlight cover.
Beware that the screw holding the parking light assembly to the side of the body is slightly smaller than the screws holding the grill on, so keep them separate. (Sigh, why can't Chrysler designers avoid such basic barriers to efficient servicing of the vehicle?)

BTW, the screw driver type needed to remove grill and parking light assembly is Torx 20, preferably a long bit or full screwdriver to minimize chance of dropping a short bit when doing the grill screws that are recessed somewhat.

Restoring surface:
You may be able to restore the surface with one or more of the following:
> Plastic polish, such as Novus (three types in sequence as required: number 3 for heavy scratches, 2 for light scratches, 1 to polish.
> Automotive paint rubbing compound, followed by automotive paint polishing compound or baking soda.
> Sandpaper of 1000 through 2500 grit (usually comes in steps of 500, must be the wet-dry type), as needed if scratches or yellowing are deep. > Permatex sell a kit, often hidden with their sealants instead of in lighting section of stores. It contains sandpaper, polishing cloth, and polishing liquid (seems like Novus 1, in my experience you need all three Novus types if you've used sandpaper). With effort, patience, and experimentation. I suggest testing a small area with the Novus sequence.
(On my Caravan there was little yellowing despite using higher-powered bulbs, the biggest problem was dulling of the surface. So far I have not restored the cover to new but have made a good improvement in clarity.)

BEWARE OF DEFECTIVE COVERS
Some new Chrysler parts suck water in, sometimes enough for water level to get up to the bulb and break it.
I tried sealant all around the joint between transparent & opaque parts, but it deteriorates.
I am testing use of a small vent hole in a location that should minimize water or dust - just below the bulb socket, and alternatively a hole at the bottom.


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