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I have a question on what is the proper level the headlight bucket should be at.

My car has the passenger side bucket over an inch lower than the fender when up.  The bracket had been cut & rewelded to the headlight bar before, but not aligned poperly when installed. Not enough adjustment on the up limit switch to move it up enough.

I see some cars have them flush to the headlight opening lip when up & others are slightly below, but they still look to clear the opening.

My drivers side was slightly below, but the bucket is 1/4 in or more forward of the opening. So there is no way for it to come up through the opening & flush to the lip. I tried repositioning the welded bracket but nothing seems to get the bucket centered when closed & to clear the opening & flush to the lip when up.

Included a few pictures of other cars to show what I mean by flush & just under.

Any tips on best way to get both aligned when closed & flush to the opening when up? If it matters, I have an early '72 car. Maybe the alignment differs by model?


Images (2)
  • Screenshot_20240318_125357_Chrome: Flush to opening lip
  • Screenshot_20240320_185156_Chrome: Just under lip
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Hi Simon,

Yes, at some point in it's past the passenger front fender was replaced. There was left rear wheel well damage from a broken half shaft as well that was probably the cause of an accident. I fixed all that already.

I'm just now trying to tackle the correct alignment of tbe headlight buckets to their openings. They both looked good and centered when down, but when up the buckets were not at the same level to the opening & the gaps between the healight & fenders were different when viewed from inside the car. Time to get it all corrected as I work towards getting it repainted.

I though it would be as simple as centering the bracket & bucket in the hole with the bar at it's down limit. Then just weld the bracket to the bar. Doing this worked for keeping it centered when closed, but when up the bucket cannot clear the hole to be flush with the lip of the opening.

Perhaps a bar location issue if it had been replaced & it's off a bit? Or is it normal for the headlight bucket to not fully clear the opening & be below the opening a little when up?

Last edited by trstno1

The headlight bucket base should be essentially flush with the fender opening when up.  If your buckets are both flush when down  and resting on the rubber stops but off by an inch from one another when up, then the bucket itself is either bent or your one fender is misshaped somehow.  It is also possible that the buckets themselves changed in dimension over time and your one bucket different in size from the other.   Did you measure the actual dimensions of both buckets?

When there is a wrong bucket ( from an early build Pantera you can see this easy because the gaps , but it's possible the fill the caps with bondo.

think your problem is the fender , maybe not good installed/welded or it has a big dent.

US carshops usual use more filler on a car than on a house .

when everything looks OK, than your problem is the bracket between barr and bucket .

when you grind this backet from the barr and bring it a little to the front of the car, maybe 1/2 inch and a little upwards than the headlight goes closer to the fender when they are open.

easy to say , but takes hours of adjustment.

also it;s possible your bucket has a dent on the area where the bucket meets the bracket.

I just was restoring a 72 Pantera, 2 different front fenders , when I bought this the headlight system was deleted.

I bring back everything as stock, but it was taken a couple of days of thinking , adjusting , welding, grinding apart, and again, and  again.


I verified both buckets are original to the car & have not been modified. Headlight holes are also correct. So it now begs the question, how to get them both centered when closed & up flush when open.

After looking at it more, I think I can now see what I need to do. The brackets welded to the bar need to be at a different angle & raised up a little. This should allow the bucket to clear the opening & remain centered when closed.

Here is the passenger side, showing how low it sits in the hole with the up limit almost maxed out. So, the bracket needs to be moved back & angled up slightly...I think. I'll mock it up tomorrow & see how it lines up. I'm sure it'll be a process until I get it just right.



Images (2)
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  • 20240322_184544

I agree with what you said. By angle change, what I really meant is, the bracket will be rotated up some (relocated on the bar) to allow the bucket to come up flush. To achieve this, the bucket will also need to be moved straight up to allow more clearance to the fender as it fully opens. The angle of the bracket to bar will not change, just the final up position of the bracket will look more rotated (different angle) than it is now when fully up.

I did a quick mock up & it will all align like I described by relocating the bracket on the bar.

Another thing I noticed, with where the bracket is now, when fully up the headlight motor teeth were at the very end (almost off) of the teeth on the bar bracket. I will position the bar where it's not on the last tooth when fully up before I set the relocation of the headlight bracket on the bar. I have more adjustment on the lower limit to move it down more. When closed, I have 4-5 teeth before the last tooth.

The buckets move in a confined arc, so if you are at the limit of adjustment when up on the limit switch, then the bar needs rotating in relation to the gear piece (cut and weld). I assume you have plenty of adjustment on the lower limit switch (closed position stop), so you can adjust the close position back with that. It's really about getting the gear drive centered on the motor drive when the buckets are halfway open and then you'll have some adjustment in the open and closed positions. Of course you should also check the headlight beam is correct, but that is adjustable at the sealed beam under the trim with 3 screws.

For adjustment of the bucket position in the opening, the buckets are bolted to a bracket on the rod and can be accessed from inside the fender to adjust side to side or front to back slightly. If one bucket is slightly out in relation to the other you can shim a little between the bucket and bracket as well.

Yeah, the bucket bracket had previously been remounted in the wrong spot, thus not allowing any further rotational up due to being at the end of the travel on the teeth.  The bracket needs to be cut off the bar & relocated correctly & like you said, where it's in the middle of the teeth travel when half way up. Could also cut the bar & rotate it,  but the correct way woukd be to just properly relocate the bracket on the bar.

Took way too long, but I got the driver side bucket now flush when up & centered when closed. To achieve this though, the gap between the fender & headlight is a lot more since I had to move it up, but It's the only way I got it to work with the arc the bracket is on when the bar rotates. I've seen quite a difference in pics of other cars, so I'm not sure if mine is that abnormal, but twice the gap I had before.



Images (3)
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