photos and story by pablo deferrari
So you have a fog lamp out on your 944; easy enough to fix. Two screws take the lens out, pull out the old bulb and pop the new one in. Bullshit.
When dealing with a car that’s 26 years old, every screw turned is asking for trouble. In this case, the screws that hold the lens to the fog lamp bucket tend to be worse for wear since they’re exposed to the elements. This is compounded by the fact that aerodynamics force water and debris into every crevice of the fog lamp.
Luckily, the good engineers at Zuffenhausen decided to make this item serviceable should the mild grade screw break off.
Here’s the problem. The fog lamp bucket has two “nuts” with serrated outer barrels inserted into both ends. Although made of mild alloy metals, there is a tendency for the Philips Head screw to break off where corrosion has set in. It’ll be very evident when the lens is off.
After removing the lens, you need to work from behind the front spoiler and locate four Philips Head screws that hold the bucket to the spoiler. Let me tell you now, these can be a real motherfucker to loosen because of spatial issues. You’ll need to use a combination of short and medium length screw drivers, or possibly a detachable screwdriver head bit where you can insert them into a ¼” socket and use a ¼” drive to back them off.
Do NOT strip these heads…you will blow an entire day trying to get them out of an already hard spot. PB blaster is about as useful as tits on a bull…the threads are plastic. Take your time and as many beer breaks as you need because this is the hardest part.
With the assembly out, you can clearly see the problem and will be relieved to know how easy it is to take the offending piece out. Use a suitable punch and hammer and drive it out—that’s it.
The repair is dirt simple. Run out to the Home Cheapo, buy a few packets of M5-.8 x 25mm cap screws (allen head), and a handful of ½” long alloy barrels with an inner bore slightly smaller in diameter than an M5 screw and an outer bore slightly larger than the original piece inside the fog lamp bucket. It’s OK if the outer bore is slightly smaller since we’ll be using glue to hold it in. I found these in one of those pull out bins in the hardware section.
Back at the garage, place the one of the barrels into a vice, grab an M5-.8 tap, and gently ream out a new thread. Use care here since you’re dealing with a small scale of components.
When you’re done, check to make sure that the cap screws go in and out easily.
Now you’re ready to glue the barrel into the fog lamp bucket. I used Loctite super glue because should I have to take them out in the future, it’ll be easier to deal with than JB Weld.
Place a few drops of glue into the fog lamp recess where the barrel will live and press the barrel fully home. You can work on the other ones while this one cures or take a beer break. When the others are finished and set, you’re ready to re-insert the fog lamp buckets back behind the spoiler and finish the job.
Before you put the lens back on, make sure that the new screws slide in and out easily from the bores in the lens half. You may need to drill them out the next size up so that they do. Otherwise, when you attempt to screw on the lens, you’ll thread the plastic bore and will never get a good bite on the barrel in the fog lamp bucket. Use anti-seize when putting in the new screws in too…your bulbs will burn out eventually and you’ll have to go back in there again.