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55-56 Mopar Headlight Bucket Conversions
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Posted 2022-09-28 8:03 PM (#624568)
Subject: 55-56 Mopar Headlight Bucket Conversions

Expert 5K+

Posts: 8898
Location: Lower Mainland BC
Some years ago, while working around my 56 Dodge Custom Royal's headlight wiring, I removed the entire driver's side bucket to clean the back side (it was coated with black tar-based undercoating).

It took a lot of work to remove the undercoating. Nothing really worked well until I decided to try gasoline. Not the preferred method, but it worked. Eventually revealed that the buckets are aluminum so there was really no need for them to be covered with undercoating in the first place. Because that was such a lot of work, I did NOT bother removing the undercoating on the right side bucket.

Recently (this past summer), Wayne W. had NOS 55-56 headlight bucket for sale. Initially, I was not interested but when he dropped his price (enough), I jumped on it and did the deal with Wayne.

Wayne sold me the headlight bucket assembly with a 6 V "bullseye" sealed beam as a 1626 504 assembly. I couldn't find that PN in the parts book but based on Wayne's photos, I figured that it was correct for my car.,

When I got the part (nicely padded and protected - Thanks Wayne), I did not immediately install the new bucket. I just had it and knew that I would get to it, eventually.

"Eventually" arrived a bit earlier than I anticipated when I decided to try to get my 56 Dodge Custom Royal painted pot metal headlight doors to fit better with the fender (it had been bugging me for some time). This resulted in the removal of the right side "OE" headlight bucket, complete with the ugly tarry undercoating on the back side.

When I tried to install the NOS bucket that I got from Wayne, I found out that I needed to do some grinding with my 1998 Dremel (still ticking even though it has be sorely abused over its life). I think the right front had taken a minor hit at some point in the past so I wasn't surprised that I had to manipulate (grind) the opening a bit to get the NOS bucket in.

After a few trials and errors, I got the new bucket into the fender. Yay. Then I tried to install the pot metal "door" on the new bucket. The bottom screw went in fine but the upper screw would not grab. Nothing. WHAATT???

Then the penny dropped.

Turns out that there were two headlight bucket assemblies in 1955-56: a 1626 512 assembly that covered almost all of the 1955 Mopars from Plymouths to Imperials and some 1956 Mopars *AND* a 1648 139 assembly that covered the 1956 Mopars (Desotos, Dodges and Chryslers) that had the painted pot metal "doors".

The 1626 512 doors work for the 55 and 56 Mopars that had the chromed pot metal doors and all 1955-56 Plymouths (that have stamped aluminum headlight trim pieces). These assemblies have a slot in a tab on the upper edge of the 1626 512 bucket to receive a "clip" on the chromed pot metal doors of the non-55-56 Plymouth Mopars.

The 1648 319 assemblies have a different upper adjusters and these adjusters have drilled and tapped flange that sit above the top of the bucket to receive the upper painted pot metal door attachment screw.

Since, at that point, I was committed to using the NOS bucket that I had purchased from Wayne W., I had to figure out a way to adapt what must have been a 1626 512 bucket assembly to become a 1648 139 assembly.

That didn't take too long when comparing the two buckets, Wayne's and my OE: I needed to remove the upper adjuster from Wayne's and move the upper adjuster from the OE 1648 319 bucket to the Wayne's 1626 512 bucket.

That was accomplished by grinding and drilling out the OE rivets holding the respective upper adjusters to their bucket assemblies and pop-riveting the flanged adjuster from my OE 1648 319 bucket on to Wayne's 1626 512 bucket. There was also some need to bend a tab on the 1626 512 bucket edge to clear the 1648 319's adjuster.

This process could be reversed as long as you had the 1626 512 adjuster but a damaged bucket, you could move the adjuster to the 1648 319 bucket.

Based on the information below you can (hopefully) see the applications of each of these two 55-56 headlight bucket assemblies and how they can be converted from one to the other, if needs be.

Sorry for the trivia but having gone through this (minor) set-back, like always, I like to share so others can learn from my "mistakes". In this case, not so much a mistake but a need to be flexible to come up with a solution (to a minor problem).

Some info to support the above:

Edited by 56D500boy 2022-09-28 8:44 PM




















Attachments HeadlightBucketApplications1626512and1648139.jpg (144KB - 16 downloads)
Attachments 55DesotoCollisionParts_HeadlightBuckets.jpg (137KB - 16 downloads)
Attachments 55ChryslerWithChromeHeadlightDoors.jpg (93KB - 15 downloads)
Attachments 55DesotoWithChromeHeadlightDoors.jpg (114KB - 16 downloads)
Attachments 55DodgeCollisionParts_HeadlightBuckets.jpg (163KB - 17 downloads)
Attachments 55DodgeWithChromeHeadlightDoors.jpg (53KB - 16 downloads)
Attachments 1955DodgeCustomRoyalChromedPotMetalHeadlightDoors_Front_ShowingSingleAttachmentScrewHole.jpg (100KB - 17 downloads)
Attachments 1955DodgeCustomRoyalChromedPotMetalHeadlightDoors_Rear_ShowingUpperAttachmentClip.jpg (143KB - 18 downloads)
Attachments 1955DodgeCustomRoyalChromedPotMetalHeadlightDoors_Rear_ShowingUpperAttachmentClip_Detail.jpg (120KB - 15 downloads)
Attachments 56DodgesWithChromeHeadlightDoors.jpg (123KB - 16 downloads)
Attachments 56ChryslerWithPaintedPotMetalHeadlightDoors.jpg (68KB - 16 downloads)
Attachments 56DesotoWithPaintedPotMetalHeadlightDoors.jpg (112KB - 16 downloads)
Attachments 56DodgeCustomRoyalsWithPaintedPotMetalHeadlightDoors.jpg (105KB - 16 downloads)
Attachments TheNonCustomRoyalHeadlightBucketAndItsUpperAdjustmentMechanism.jpg (111KB - 15 downloads)
Attachments RemovingTheUpperAdjusterFromTheNonCustomRoyalHeadlightBucket.jpg (98KB - 16 downloads)
Attachments 56CustomRoyalStyleUpperAdjuster_BackSide.jpg (206KB - 15 downloads)
Attachments 56CustomRoyalStyleUpperAdjuster_FrontSide.jpg (169KB - 17 downloads)
Attachments 1648339UpperAdjusterRivettedTo1626512BucketAssembly_1.jpg (140KB - 16 downloads)
Attachments 1648339UpperAdjusterRivettedTo1626512BucketAssembly_2.jpg (120KB - 16 downloads)
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Posted 2022-09-30 5:34 PM (#624615 - in reply to #624568)
Subject: RE: 55-56 Mopar Headlight Bucket Conversions

Expert 5K+

Posts: 8898
Location: Lower Mainland BC
Based on a recent posting for a 1956 Chrysler Windsor that is for sale, I have now learned that *NOT ALL* chromed pot-metal headlight doors have only one screw at the bottom (and presumably a mounting tab at the top). The 56 Windsor in question clearly has upper and lower chrome headlight door mounting screws. This implies (to me) that the 1648 139 headlight bucket is the same as the 56 Dodge Custom Royal with the upper mounting flange with the drilled and tapped upper screw hole.

Always learning.

Edited by 56D500boy 2022-09-30 5:37 PM



Attachments 56ChryserWindsorWithTwoScrewChromeHeadlightDoors_1.jpg (129KB - 16 downloads)
Attachments 56ChryserWindsorWithTwoScrewChromeHeadlightDoors_2.jpg (111KB - 16 downloads)
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