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17 Forester Premium
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106 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
We had some heavy rain this week and I noticed some moisture on the inside of the lens (middle top) a few days ago.
Today it had lots of water and I took the headlight out.

It has some gaps in the housing, however the other headlight looks the same but it's completely dry. I'm not the original owner so I don't know any repair history.

How am I supposed to open the screws which hold the lens together ? I never seen such thing.









 

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2004 FXT 5MT
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1,142 Posts
Hmm you can either bake the lens in the oven with the gap side facing up, hopefully the moisture will escape; then you can use some black silicone to seal it good.

Or are you asking what kind of screws those are? They look like square heads to me. Best to take it to a bolts and nuts place and they'll know for sure.
 

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07 fxt
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396 Posts
the lens should be able to pull apart if you want to clean it..
but that may look like a gap but its not.. that is a very overlapping joint filled with silicone that never completely dries.
at least this is how it was on my07 when i took them apart to paint them
 

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106 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
I decided not to mess with screws. Dried the headlight in oven and sealed the gaps with silicone. So far no problems.
It looks like the headlights were opened before and weren't sealed properly.

I also pulled the front clearance bulbs and put leds instead. Led strips are next on my list.
 

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02 Forester L (sold) Manual
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1,220 Posts
Replace it. I've never had anyone be able to fix one of those where it doesn't get water in it once it starts. The only other thing you can do is drill a drain hole in the bottom so the water doesn't collect.
 

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2016 Forester XT AT
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1,295 Posts
Replace it. I've never had anyone be able to fix one of those where it doesn't get water in it once it starts. The only other thing you can do is drill a drain hole in the bottom so the water doesn't collect.
We had this issue with our '96 Mercury Mystique and the local auto-body shop was able to fix it for $70. My sister still drives the beast and there is no moisture getting into the lens.

Our '04 Sienna has been getting a bit into the right lens but the dealer (surprise, as I thought they would jump on this one for the money) says its not a big issue and just leave it. They say its only an issue when you get some much in that light output is impacted.
 

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02 Forester L (sold) Manual
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1,220 Posts
The Mercury Mistake ones are made a bit differently; color me surprised that they were able to fix one regardless. I'd never say it's impossible, but many have tried and failed (and I'm dealing with auto body professionals) which is why I said replacement is the only likely long term solution.
 

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106 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Replace it. I've never had anyone be able to fix one of those where it doesn't get water in it once it starts. The only other thing you can do is drill a drain hole in the bottom so the water doesn't collect.
I thought about drilling a drain hole but was concerned about more moisture getting in when humidity is 95% at night.

I don't want to invest more money in a headlight because it's only a cosmetic issue and the moisture dries almost completely after driving 20 min with DRL on.
 

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2018 2.5i Premium
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211 Posts
I have the same prolem before, and I also bought my car used. The dealer want to replace the whole headlight assymbly but instead of spending $$$ on the dealer, I open the headlight assymbly clean it and put high temp sealant. No water leaks for 6 years now!!!!!!!
 

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Fast & Dirty
2009 Forester XT 4 speed auto
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4,039 Posts
You could place the headlight in a sealed box with rice.Wait a day or so then seal everything with black sealant.

Not a fan of sticking a headlight in the same oven I cook with. Not smart.

FYI. the rice absorbs moisture. The key is sealing the container with the headlight and rice so the rice doesn't absorb the moisture in the air.
 

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2006 Forester X Auto
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12 Posts
My sons 2006 headlight had about an inch and a half of water in it this weekend. Dealer drilled a drain hole until a more permanent fix. Do you have to take the front bumper cover off to take the headlamps out to seal them?
 

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2006 FXT FSTi 6MT
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746 Posts
('06-'08) My DIY for fixing leaking headlights

I had a leaking headlight. It's a 2-3 hour job to reseal the light. You'll need butyl rubber to reseal the lights, basic screwdrivers and sockets to take off the bumper and open the headlight. To take it apart you won't need a heatgun or an oven, but when you seal it you will.

As for the drilled hole you'll need to fill it with some sort of waterproof adhesive. Epoxy or something similar.
 

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2006 forester x auto automatic
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12 Posts
water in headlight blues and feedback

I too had water in the passenger side headlight and it got so bad the condensation and fog was lowering light output. I tried all the obvious stuff and later found people on you tube claiming it as a sure fire fix. they obviously just did it and saw the moisture gone and posted the video and didn't wait till next day, where they would have found the moisture back again! I'm talking about the hair dryer/ hot air gun and vacuum cleaner (suck) methods. they seems to leave the inside real dry and clean, but I think the moisture just evaporates and collects at the top of the headlight in amongst the parking light reflectors and later condenses and runs back in again. It's a complete waste of many hours and doesn't work on the complex (2006) X model forester headlight.. I ended up taking out the headlight and that's not a breeze either as you have 5 x 10mm hexhead screws to remove- one on top, two at the side next to the grill ( remove that) and two underneath which you have to remove the bumper to get access to the far right one. The bumper is held in by plastic push in clip/ fastners and these usually just come apart easily but the these must have had dirt and mud and crap caked on them and would not release , so had to pry them up a little and hacksaw off. The clear cover is held together with lock in clips and the sealant looks to be a sticky non setting butyl type rubber , not silicon and pulled all the old dirty stuff out and wiped out the residue with white spirits. Looking to now source some water based butyl/ acrylic sealant rather than silicon which can be awful messy and hard to clean up . These modern ideas are a pain as although the polycarb/ plastic headlight is half the weight of a glass one and about 250 times tougher they create other problems like they scratch easily, can go yellow if the uv coating is damaged, they limit you to less than 60W bulbs ( heat) and the seal is a common area of failure.
Plastic radiators also a compromise problem and when they fail they can cost you an engine, just like timing belts and the sealed bearings they run.
But good to see Subaru has gone back to chain timing and full frame doors ( the pillar less doors often have wind noise due to this design) Be good to see return of glass headlights and hydraulic valve adjusters as this would decrease problems and increase reliability, and time spent on maintenance. I bought a forester as I thought they were better than the mass produced, made to a price cars, but alas, they too have some poor engineering ideas. Not a perfect world, seems the bean counters have influence everywhere. Bit sick of made to a price and compromised engineering.
 
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