Changing headlight bulbs (the easy way)

S14 Tech Guides

To the uninitiated, changing an S14 headlight bulb may seem a simple job. How wrong they would be!

Access to the back of the headlight units is so restrictive (especially on the battery side) that you would find yourself fiddling about for up to an hour blindly trying to get your fingers into very difficult spaces. Note that access to the S14a headlights is much better.

I have read via a US forum that many people think this guide is pointless and that the bulbs can be changed easily without removing anything. The bulkhead clearance may be more generous for models fitted with the US KA24 engine as opposed to the SR20, so if you can do this, great. For those with SR20s without Japanese or Donald Trump hands, this guide is a piece of piss and much faster. Until you do it, you won't actually understand. It is also interesting to reflect that this process was shown to me by someone at a Nissan dealership. Where time is money, you need to ask why they do this if it's unecessary and much faster with them in place...? Wink

The solution is very simple: remove the headlight unit! This seems quite extreme but is, in fact, a five minute job and is by far the most efficient way to change these bulbs.

There are three important sections to the front lighting system. The sidelights, the H4 main/dip beam lights and the H3 main beam spots.

You need a crosshead screwdriver and a 10mm socket for all the following steps.


First, you need to remove the sidelight unit. Remove the screw arrowed in Figure 1. The unit is held in a ball socket behind it's front bottom edge. Push the unit straight forward to pop it out. It will hang freely against the bumper.

Remove side lightFigure 1 - Remove side light


Next, the grill has to be removed. Undo the two plastic screw clips shown in Figure 2 and remove. The grill will need to be pulled very firmly and evenly upwards to release it from its bumper mounts.

Remove grillFigure 2 - Remove grill


Remove the two side nuts shown in Figure 3 and the two front bolts in Figure 4.

Remove side nutsFigure 3 - Remove side nuts

Remove front boltsFigure 4 - Remove front bolts


The whole unit can now be removed by pulling it towards the grill and then lifting out (Figure 5). There will be enough wiring to allow the unit to be turned to gain top access to the rear of the bulbs (Figure 6).

Remove headlight unitFigure 5 - Remove headlight unit

Remove seal lock, connector and sealsFigure 6 - Remove seal lock, connector and seals


The next instructions are specific to the S14. S14a bulb fittings are different and the bulbs are H1s. However, having got this far, the actual bulb changing is fairly obvious.

In Figure 7 the left bulb is a H4 and the right a H3. To gain access to the H4, remove the rubber wiring connector, twist the plastic seal lock off, then remove the rubber seal. For the H3, twist the plastic seal lock off, then remove the rubber seal.

The bulbsFigure 7 - The bulbs


You will now see the bulbs! (Figure 8) Pinch the wire retainers inwards to release the bulbs. Be careful not to lose the H4 retainer! The H3 bulb uses a spade connector, which will need disconnecting before removing it.

Replace bulbFigure 8 - Replace bulb


H4: replace your bulb, fasten the retaining wire, replace the rubber seal and lock, then plug the rubber connector back on.

H3: replace bulb, fasten retaining clip, reconnect spade connector and replace rubber seal and lock.

That's it! Just carefully position the unit back it place, tighten the side nuts and front bolts, push the sidelight unit into its ball socket and replace the crosshead screw. Replace the grill.


This seems a lot to do. Its not. It will seriously take ten minutes the first time and five thereafter. More importantly, you won't damage the unit, bulbs, seals or your hands!

Christian Jull

During his 'car years', Christian owned, ran and modified a Nissan 200SX (S14) and Nissan Silvia Spec R (S15). He was an active staff member of the UK 200SX Owners Club and one of the founding members of the S15 Owners Club. He owned and administered the club for ten years. Over the course of five years of Nissan ownership, Christian wrote modification guides to aid others. These guides have proved very popular with 200SX/Silvia owners all over the world.

Included with the guides is a record of car ownership over a ten year period.

Christian is now car-less and lives in the public-transport-friendly city of Helsinki in Finland.