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Old 02-20-2008, 05:19 PM
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Talking The Great Headlite Cover Screw Caper

I have located another retaining screw to replace the one I butchered when I tried to get it off my '59 Tbird. I have learned a lot about headlight covers and their screws in the course of this.

First of all, I tried to make my '60 chromed Tbird covers fit on my '59 Tbird. No luck. The '60's covers do not have a retaining clip at the bottom. They have a second screw hole. There is no place on a '59 to screw that bottom screw into in the headlight area. So the bottom just sticks out. Along the way, a number of people confirmed what I found that the '60's covers will not work on '58 or '59 Birds. Without doing some modifications to the covers and the car.

Secondly, after spending a lot of time calling major and minor parts places I found that these retaining screws are almost impossible to find. Time and time again, I got the "sorry we dont have any. We just cant find them anymore" story. Same thing with the headlight covers these days. I was gonna buy an old beat up cover with a screw in it if I had to. Apparently, no one makes these very special screws any longer. This screw is a 1" long 1/4"-20 screw, with a small Phillips head and an unthreaded upper shaft. It was suggested that I try ACE Hardware.

So this morning, after working out, off I went to ACE, Lowes, Home Depot, and NAPA. No one has anything like these anymore. Most screws I found of this size had heads that were to large, although the one I found at ACE might have worked. I should have bought one and slipped it into my cover hole to see how it fit, but I did not.

However, the guy at ACE was very good about coming up with an alternative. Since this screw screws itself into a U retaining clip slipped on to an adjustment bar, he suggested I replace the current U clip with a smaller one. After looking through screws for awhile, he selected a stainless steel 1" 8-32 machine screw and matching clip as a replacement. This screw head is about the same size as the original one. So I bought that to test this out.

Home I came, slipped the 1" 8-32 screw into the cover hole and it looks great. It sits flush in the hole. The holes in the '58/'59 covers are not drilled as deep or large, as they are on the '60 covers. (By the way, I have four screws for '60's covers if anyone needs them) Then I slipped the old clip off the retaining bar and put the new 8-32 U clip in its place. Then I replaced the headlight cover and screwed it into place. Works great!

So those of you who need headlight cover screws can try a 1" long 1/4"-20 and use the existing U clip on the adjustment bar. If the head fits well, you are set. If not, go to the smaller 1" long 8-32 and same size U clip, replacing the larger clip on the bar. That should work for you, as it did for me. After testing, I slipped off the new U clip, put the old one back on, put my original screw back in and put my cover back on my Bird.

So, down the road, if we run completely out of these original screws, which is quite likely, here is another way to get around that.. Hope this helps those of you who might be looking for replacement screws like I was.

'59 "Yellow Rose" VTCI 11178
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Old 02-20-2008, 06:00 PM
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Dan Leavens Dan Leavens is offline
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Ray great to know and it's good that you got things worked out. Thanks for posting this alternative.

Dano Calgary,Alberta Canada
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Old 02-20-2008, 06:22 PM
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It seems like that when Joe has a problem he is like the old farmers use to do when they needed to fix something , they just worked on it until they figured a way to get it fix. Great work Joe.

Bob M
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Old 02-22-2008, 11:43 PM
tmjsong1aolcom tmjsong1aolcom is offline
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Default Headlight cover bezel screws

John Draxler at Tbird Ranch has made a bunch of the screws in SS. I bought a couple sets and assume he still has them for sale.

Web site is tbirdranch Google thunderbird ranch

Good Luck
Sun Prairie, Wi
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Old 02-24-2008, 12:09 AM
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Default The Great Headlite Cover Screw Caper

Hi Fuz!

Thanks for that information. I do not think I called Tbird Ranch, come to think of it. I called about every other parts house though.

I went back to ACE hardware today and bought one of their 1" 1/4-20 stainless threaded screws (SKU #Hillman H825990). I tried it on my '59 cover. The head sticks out a bit and does not set flush in the hole. It would do in a pinch, and you would not have to change the U clip inside.

The smaller 1" 8-20 screw is a SKU Hillman H825880 and the matching clip comes out of the 1147F box. You will have to change the U clip on the adjustment bar if you have to go to that screw.

'59 "Yellow Rose" VTCI 11178
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Old 02-29-2008, 10:12 AM
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Default The Great Headlite Cover Screw Caper Reply to Thread

I just talked with John at Thunderbird Ranch. He does have about a half dozen of the headlight cover screws made up. Just like the originals. He can make more when needed. They are stainless steel. I forgot to ask him how much he wanted for them each, but if anyone needs them, you can ask him.

You can contact him at: 715-884-6546 from 9 to 8 central time (please) 715-884-6720 fax email: ... He has an interesting website.

'59 "Yellow Rose" VTCI 11178
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