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headlight cover install

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I figured that since I was going to put these headlight covers from MSA on my car, that I would do a little write up for those that are thinking of doing this mod. It’s about time that I do this anyway; I’ve had this kit in my garage for about 2 or so years now. But anyway, here we go.


In the box were 2 headlamp covers, rubber seals, and all of the tabs, screws and sticky 3m double-sided tape to either mount this kit with or without drilling into the headlamp buckets. I chose to hard mount the covers to the buckets with the self-tapping screws because I just do not trust the double-sided tape to maintain a tight bond. For too many years I have had problems with those tinted rain deflecting window cover things on my truck.




The steps:

  • While holding the lens with seal against the bucket, place a strip of low tack tape opposite of the lens mounting holes on the headlamp bucket. You will be marking the hole locations on this tape.


  • Using a pencil, mark the hole locations directly across from each hole.
  • Thoroughly clean the surfaces in the headlamp buckets with a glass cleaner or such as to remove all dirt, oily film, or car wax. You will be sticking the tabs to these locations shortly.
  • Peel off one side of the double-sided tape and apply it to the backside of the mounting brackets.


  • Cut the template from the directions sheet and use this to measure the locations for the brackets.


  • Hold the template across the earlier penciled marks and press the brackets up against this template lining up the mounting holes. Press firmly for a moment to help insure adhesion.


  • Test fit the lens into the headlamp bucket now to insure that the holes do line up. It’s better to adjust the brackets now than later after the tape has set. If you are not going to drill holes into the buckets to hard mount the lens, then you now need to leave it alone for 24 hours for the glue to set. If you are going to do as I did and hard mount these into the buckets, then move on to the next step.


  • Using a 1/8-drill bit, drills a hole through the mounting brackets and using the supplied self-tapping screws, screw them into place.
  • Now install the lens into the bucket again using the supplied screws and nylon washers.


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  • 3 weeks later...
Guest Heuristicism

Nice attention to the details, nice writeup. Post some more pics of your car if you get the chance.

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Another little hint. At least it worked for me.


I found the MSA headlight covers did not fit very well. They fit when forced slightly, but I was worried the lenses might crack over time. I ended up using a hairdryer to heat up and slightly bend the covers to make a tighter fit. they still fit the same, but were no longer under tension when secured in place.



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Just as a side note to this (I've done headlight covers a few times), I found it much easier to simply remove the headlight buckets, attach the brackets to the covers, and lay the cover onto the bucket. Then mark the holes from the inside. Makes for a tighter fitting cover.



Nice write up!



(edited, my headlight buckets do come off the fenders!)

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That wont work on a 280ZX though because the bucket is part of the whole fender!:D



Do you have aftermarket fenders? The fenders and buckets on my 83 280zx are seperate pieces just bolted together. Here's a pic I took during the bodywork process.




If they are aftermarket fenders, where did you find them? I would prefer them over this stock setup.

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Now you guys got me thinking, I nevery really took a close look from the back side of the bucket/fender. I could have sworn that it was one piece. Since I do have the fenders off I will have to take a closer look next time I'm working on my car! I will have to update my post if I'm mistaken! :-)




(I took a look at my headlight buckets this week and they do come off! I have already edited my previous post!)

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  • 3 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Quick question...I'm two clicks away from buying covers for my 76 from MSA, but their site says


"his kit includes all mounting hardware, trim, and instructions. It requires no drilling of the headlight cases to install."


But I don't want to do any lame double sticky tape stuff. Does it also come with hardware to screw it into the bucket? If not, what's the solution?

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

FWIW A bit of Z car history here...



The msa covers are actually manufactured by Altec Products Inc.

My father started this buisness some 30 years ago with 240Z headlight cover. In the early days they were vacuum formed using silcone covered molds in the garage and later on in the 80's injection molded. We still sell them today.

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