by John Pfanstiehl
Lights are like eyes. Clearer and brighter looks younger and fresher. Lenses get a little dingier year after year. It happens slowly, so the degradation is often not noticeable until compared to a new part. Front parking lights are subjected to bombardment from dirt, sand, rocks and whatever else the road throws at them. Because of this, these assemblies lead a much tougher life than side marker lights or tail lights.
While replacing the parking light assembly, it’s natural to look at bulb changes or upgrades or socket replacement. Take a look at Zip Corvette’s options in LED and incandescent bulbs by going to “Headlights & Lamps” and then “Park Lights”. To aid in that decision, a side-by-side comparison of LED and incandescent parking light bulbs is included below.
When replacing the parking lights, the outer grills are removed so it’s also a good time to consider replacing the grills if they’re unsightly or broken. Check out our 1973-1979 Corvette Front Grill Replacement article for additional information and tips on removing and installing the center and outside grills. This tech article covers the installation of replacement parking light assemblies on a 1973 Corvette but the procedure is similar for many other Corvettes.
Follow along to see how an hour or two can return the parking lights to that showroom sparkle.
01: The old parking light has become dull and pitted after decades of weathering and experiencing many thousands of miles of road grime. In addition, the once clear lens has become cloudy and has yellowed.
02: The new 1973-1974 Park Light Assembly from Zip is quite an improvement. The horizontal bars are painted silver on a 1973 parking light but changed to black in 1974. It’s good to see that it’s Made in the USA and a new rubber seal for the socket is enclosed with the assembly.
03: Replacing parking light housings is one of the least tool-intensive tasks. A good #2 Phillips screwdriver, a bright light and perhaps something to sit on is all that’s is generally needed.
04: Remove the four screws that attach the grill. Use a Phillips screwdriver with a tip in good condition to minimize the chance of rounding the heads of the old screws.
05: The wiring harness is long enough to allow pulling the grill out before disconnecting the light socket. Less than a 1/8 turn counterclockwise disengages the socket from the park light assembly.
06: Non-original fasteners are commonly found on Corvettes that are decades old. Note the repairs to the old lamp housing. If different screws were used to attach the housing, replace them in the same position in case one of the screw holes is now larger.
07: While not essential, applying sealant to the junction of the housing and lens helps prevent dirt or water from getting inside. However, do not plug the weep hole at the bottom.
08: Install the two screws that attach the park light housing to the grill. Although there’s not a lot of adjustment available, position the housing for the best alignment of housing’s horizontal bars to the grill’s leading edges. Avoid cracking the plastic housing tabs by not over tightening the screws.
09: A number of bulb choices are available from Zip. Amber 1157 Bulbs were used originally. LED bulbs are also available. Although LED bulbs are much brighter, they draw less current causing the original flasher to stop working. Be aware that a LED Flasher is therefore required and is also available from Zip.
10: Replacement bulb sockets are also available from Zip in case the original socket is broken, loose or corroded. After installing a new socket, try the turn signal or flasher to make sure they are brighter than the parking light.
11: A new amber bulb is installed to replace the old non-original clear glass 1157 bulb. Note that the socket’s rubber seal is dried and cracked.
12: Pull the old rubber seal off of the socket and install the new rubber seal that is included with the replacement parking light.
13: Black oxide cross-recess oval washer-head screws originally attached the grills in early C3 Corvettes. Zip offers a replacement set of twelve correct #10 screws.
14: The new replacement parking light assembly from Zip is a dramatic improvement in appearance. Installation of new replacement grills would make it look even better.
15: The “2 Watt – Super Bright” LED bulb on the passenger side is much brighter compared to the amber 1157 bulb on the driver’s side. Clear 1157 Bulbs are also available but they still won’t be as bright as these LEDs.
16: When amber bulbs are used in the parking lights, the color of their light matches that of amber front side marker lights.
1973-1979 Corvette Parking Light Replacement
Source: Zip Corvette Parts
8067 Fast Lane | Mechanicsville, VA 23111 | (800) 962-9632
Corvette Parts List Related to Article:
- 1968-1982 Park Light Parts
- 1973-1974 Park Light Assembly
- 1975-1979 Park Light Assembly
- 1970-1979 Park Light Socket w/Pigtail
- 1968-1982 Park Light Bulb #1157 (Amber)
- 1968-1982 Exterior Light Bulb #1157 (White)
- Exterior Light Bulb # 1157 LED (White)
- 1956-1996 LED Flasher Assembly
- 1970-1974 Grill Mount Screws
- Shop/Repair Manuals