Fixing a loose headlamp reflector


A common fault on the 9000 headlamp is that the tie-rod that locates the reflector breaks. On the CS (and later CD), this causes the reflector to drop and the headlamp beam to point at the road immediately in front of the car. On earlier cars, the reflector does not drop but the headlamp beam can be seen to "bounce" up and down when the car drives over a bump and even just with engine vibration.

This part has never been available separately from Saab and up to now the only solution has been to replace the headlamp at substantial cost. New headlamps are very expensive and second-hand headlamps with the tie-rod still intact are becoming increasingly scarce.

SAABits has designed and manufactured a robust steel tie-rod that screws securely onto the headlamp shell to replace the original part with its brittle plastic clip.

Time required

30 minutes per headlamp.

Tools required

  • Small flat electrical screwdriver
  • 7mm


  1. To determine whether or not the tie-rod has broken, examine the plastic fitting at the rear of the headlamp.

    It should look like this:

    A failed tie-rod looks like this:

  2. Remove the headlamp - see here for the procedure.

  3. Remove the cover behind the main-beam bulb.

  4. Using a small, flat-bladed screwdriver unclip both plastic collars.

  5. Withdraw the broken tie-rod, complete with its collar.

  6. Separate the old tie-rod from the plastic collar. It will be quite tight. I find the best way is to grasp the rod in a pair of pliers while restraining the plastic collar with a ring-spanner. Pull squarely or the collar may be damaged. Alternatively, support the collar (perhaps on top of the jaws of a vice) and punch the rod out by driving something suitable through the hole on the end of the collar. Trying to pry the rod from the collar with a screwdriver is guaranteed to break the collar.

  7. The repair kit - this comprises a replacement pin, two washers, a plastic spacer and a nut.

  8. Press the pin into the collar.

  9. Fit one of the washers to the pin.

  10. Fit the assembly to the headlamp shell, followed by the plastic spacer.

  11. Then fit the other washer and secure with the nut. Hold the pin from inside the headlamp shell with a small pair of pliers in order to prevent it from turning as the nut is turned.

  12. Cip the plastic collars back into place and refit the main beam rear cover.

  13. Refit the headlamp.

  14. Check and, if necessary, adjust the headlamp beam aim.