'03 chevy Impala headlight plug corrosion

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#1
Make
chevy
Model
impala
Year
2003
Miles
117,731
Engine
V6
My "high beam out" indicator is on. I pulled the plug on the headlight unit and there's some of that green corrosion found on brass, on both halves of the plug. I put some baking soda and water on it like used to clean battery terminals, and it seemed to work for a couple days, but now the indicator is back on. Is there any spray or "dab on" solvent of any kind that will clean the terminals and let them make good contact again?
 
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#2
Various "electrical contact cleaner" sprays available. Good to follow up with "dielectric grease". Sometimes it is more of a mechanical issue and the sockets can be tweaked for a tighter fit.
 
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Would the contact cleaner be found in an auto store or hardware store? When I worked in the defense industry, we had a spray that would turn the nastiest corroded brass into a shiny show piece, but I can't remember the name of it. I also thought of that stuff they used to advertise on TV (Tarn-X), but can't find any of that either. I looked at the female end ( on the back of the light unit), but the terminals are so small and recessed in the plug, I can't figure out how to tweak them. I'm going to pull the unit out again today, and put it under real bright light to see if I can tweak then terminals a bit.
 
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#4
Some connectors have a "support block" inside that will pop out (if you can figure out how to release it...do you like puzzles?).
 
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#5
1581695808468.png Some cleaners are unkind to plastic, you don't want to "melt" your connector or fuse the two halves together.
 

nickb2

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I use CLR, I find it works best for this type of application. It is cheap, widely available and biodegradable so I guess eco friendly, but I am not a chemist or scientist, I just know it is cheap, widely out there and it works, even my local dollar rama has stock gallore. . Trick is to rinse well, or finish with the soda soluttion to neutralize, which I never really do, cuz I use alot of water when I am done.

This was a tip I got from an old mentor of mine back in the day, now, always have a labeled spray bottle on hand, have saved many a pdc from gm/mopar, you name it from rubbish bin by using this. It is hard on the hands, so if you have a cut or two, might want to put some gloves on, but wont hurt the plastic.

Spray it on, let soak, rinse with water, dry, apply di electric grease good to go if the corrosion didn't eat through the contacts to much.

5$ at walmart for a 28oz bottle, you go a LONG way with that. I buy in gallon, cuz all the gus at shop now shun the "high end" products, which come in very small and expensive formats to do same job.

So, that was my $.02 on
spray or "dab on" solvent of any kind that will clean the terminals and let them make good contact again?
 
Last edited:

nickb2

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#8
We also use it to clean rust off of mags from disque wear, or rust runs on white cars, and the coffee maker, just as on tv back in the day, if it don't melt the coffee maker, gotta be golden for automotive grade plastics. ;)

I am just saying, alot of older guys told me ti use, but this mentor of mine just hammered it home, when I started using clr, it was magic. I was sold on high end products that were not really as effective as clr, but my mind was sold on the marketing, not the end result.

This stuff works great for irish green. ;)
 

nickb2

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Disclaimer, I know it says to not use on copper on the bottle, but this is only for lacquered copper or similar. So don't use it on fixtures, or your wifes favorite pan, she will kill you, but here we are talking about automotive application, not the same, works great on irsih green connections that are not too eaten away buy the green.

Dan linked to a product, crc, it is 8bucks USA $$ for a 11oz can, you probably got some clr luying aorund somewhere and don't even know it. I am just sayin, dan is on the ball, I am just trying to say there is a cheaper option that does same trick, and data sheet would probably be same or worse since it is in aerosol. .
 
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God advice, Nick. I live in the country, and have well water, so CLR is a must have. I'll try that on sunday. Gonna be busy the rest of today and tomorrow. Cuttin' a bunch of firewood
 
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#12
No thanks to the EPA for banning electroplating in the US, wonder about Canada, we had to ship to Mexico to get it done, bare brass does corrode. China does a terrible job. Could write to your congressman or file a complaint to GM.

Those are push in terminals, can be pulled out carefully, wire brush and a thin coat of lead tin solder really is a long term fix. Or a thin points file for a quick but not long lasting fix.

Can also file a complaint with the NHTSA, this is definitely a safety hazard.

Four headlights, four directional signal lamps, two back up lamps, and 14 marker lamps needed solder tinning on my Chevy motorhome, that kept me busy for a while. Road salt doesn't help either, but no only connectors, everything else, especially brakes.
 
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Nick, I just read the CLR bottle too, and it also says do not use on brass. Those pins and "sockets" in the plugs are brass. What would you use to push those pins out? I thought they had a little "barb" to hold them in the plug.
 

nickb2

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#14
If you cant find on of these, https://www.princessauto.com/en/detail/2-pc-wire-terminal-and-trouble-code-tool-set/A-p8006462e

A pick can be usefull, a bobby pin, heavy sewing needle,

The one I linked to is an old kit, looks alot like what I got back in the late 90's, and I purposfully tooled the gm trouble code key off to make a euro, who reads gm trouble codes by bypassing the a and b pins in 2020?

Don't buy a kit like this, cuz I did, they disintegrated in my hand, didn't last a week of abuse, total waste of money. https://www.amazon.ca/Extractor-Too...ocphy=9000537&hvtargid=pla-756248543747&psc=1
 

nickb2

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#15
Mostly, I just use a pick set. We have a kit at work that strangely resembles this kit, https://www.walmart.ca/en/ip/ZX001-...moval-Tool-Kit-Set-Auto-Tools/PRD12973EIETWL7

still gathering dust, but usefull when really corroded PDC or ecm cases come in, but again, the kit gathers dust as my trusty chink pick set actually does 96% of what I do. 5$ for pick set. https://www.globalsources.com/gsol/I/Tire-vulcanizing/p/sm/1055303610.htm#1055303610

This is exactly the pick set I use, they are mini. After 6 yrs now, only the 90% angle one turns in shaft, my hands get fatter as I go on in this trade,.

At this point, gullythumper, you realize, for pin removal, anything is a go, as long as it not viking tools for a small project.