At the moment, we don't expect to have any actuators in stock in the near future, so we suggest taking a look at our Electric Headlight Conversion kit here.
ALL ACTUATORS COME WITH A TWO YEAR WARRANTY.
These actuators are sold as a pair on an exchange basis or outright (for an additional charge), two required per car.
For core refund, please send core with a copy of your receipt. If you would like us to hold your order until we receive your cores or for us to restore your cores, please contact us.
*NOTE* Restored headlight actuators are sold on an exchange basis only, or as a restoration service. Service takes about 30 days on our side, please allow for an additional 3-7 days for arrival at your door (foreign orders will be longer). We do not sell these outright, and your core must be rebuildable. We do try to find cores and have rebuilt actuators on the shelf, but we have to have your correct rebuildable core in hand, prior to shipment of your restored actuators. They generally have Ford part numbers on them for identification. Between the car lines there are lots of variations in rod length, internal spring tension, mounting tabs or studs, and vacuum fittings and locations. If you do not have good cores, please contact us as we may be able to provide cores for a fee. Often you will not have to wait for your actual cores to be re-manufactured as we try to keep a set on the shelf, ready to ship as soon as your cores are inspected and verified as rebuild-able.
If we have available cores in inventory, there is a $100 charge per actuator, some applications use two actuators. Please call 503-463-1130 if you are without cores and see that we have this item in stock.
Remanufactured... We do not use this word often or lightly. Many times people will use the term remanufactured when in truth, the more appropriate term to use when describing many parts should be reconditioned or rebuilt. These units are brand new to the market as of 10-15-2007 and we are the only vendors to carry them at present. Soon you will see other vendors stocking these actuators from us and yes, we do very much welcome dealer inquiries. Over $35,000.00 in tooling and parts, as well as hundreds of hours of research have gone into bringing these premium quality units to the market. We have engaged in conversations with former OEM employees, poured over copies of OEM drawings and implemented the best in modern materials and procedures to make these actuators better than new. These die cast actuators were never designed to be opened up and then resealed. For years people have said it could never be done, but it has in fact been done, and done very, very well thanks in part to one very talented "Master Tool and Die Maker"... These actuators are prone to failure in two different areas. First is the small circular upper shaft seal. Often the reason this seal fails is that the "accordion" style dust boot that covers the shaft will fail, causing contaminants to enter and work as an abrasive between the shaft and seal. When the shaft seal goes bad you will find your headlights not raising very fast or not at all. If you continue to run your Cougar with this problem you are running with a constant vacuum leak. If you are puzzled as to why your 1967 - 1968 Cougar does not idle well, lacks performance (dyno tests consistently show a 5-7 HP increase after headlight vacuum leaks are repaired) and or fails to achieve 19-21 mpg with a stock 289 or 302, this may be a good place to start. The second area to fail is the internal "diaphragm" seal. If you use a vacuum tester on your bottom vacuum port and find it does not hold 5 inches of vacuum for prolonged periods of time then this is most likely your problem. Our units have been disassembled, aluminum oxide blasted, coated inside with a Rust Check inhibiting compound (the originals were bare uncoated machined metal), shaft and internal diaphragm plates are clear zinc plated and then the units are meticulously reassembled and resealed. Once they are assembled the factory correct semi-gloss black paint is applied and then baked on just as they were from the factory.
We very carefully matched the yellow and green paint daubs against our NOS examples to get them perfect. Details matter to us...
You will be impressed when you see have fast your headlights will open and close once these units are installed. Further more they should open and close at the exact speed, no more lazy eye syndrome..
We are very careful to not "disturb" the crimped area around the upper seal. Our goal is to make it look as if nobody was ever "there". The over-spray patterns around the perimeter of the upper seal retaining disc are as original as well.
Notice the brass nipples. They have been removed and polished. We replace the damaged ones of course.
After the units are media blasted we coat the inside with a Rust Check inhibiting compound. Aluminum does not rust but it does form oxidation over time when exposed to moisture. The original units were never designed or intended to last forty years but our units are...
Due to the inconsistencies in the metal composition found in the different manufacturing runs, we have found that approximately one in ten of these units do not endure the separating and rejoining process. If your unit happens to be one that fails we will not charge you or reject your core, we will just make up the loss from our core bank.
Here is a picture of the moving parts ready to be reinstalled in the housing.
Notice the Phillips screw holding the upper and lower diaphragm plates to the shaft. Originally this was a heat peened stud that held the plates in place. We drill the original stud end off and then drill and tap the shaft to accept the screw. This is not a quickie process...
If your actuators retract automatically then you have one of the units with this very powerful internal spring. We always discard these springs for two reasons. First of all they put constant pressure on your entire system whether your Cougar / Lincoln / Thunderbird is running or not. This will affect your headlight switch, check valve and even the grill itself. Secondly they affect your fuel economy. This spring is creating a constant vacuum source that is actually competing with your carburetor! Internal documents from the manufacturer suggest the addition of this spring actually increased fuel consumption 8-10%. The fuel savings alone can make this investment pencil out over time. Most Cougar owners will not have to concern themselves as only a very few late 1968 models had this powerful internal spring but many Lincolns and Thunderbirds did come with this style of actuator.
All three rubber parts are made of a composition of 50 durometer nitrile (thickness, strength and material). The originals were made of an inconsistent buna N composition and were all over the chart as to their elasticity capabilities. When you take NOS rubber parts from an actuator and stretch them they will tear when pulled hard enough. It will take a vise, vise grips and a lot of strength before ours will tear. Pictured above is the upper seal that the shaft passes through.
This often times is referred to as the accordion seal when in fact it is only a dust boot, it does not seal anything. The two holes serve to let air enter and escape when the shaft travels in and out of the vacuum actuator. These holes also serve as a lubrication port to inject lithium based grease every few years. Most Cougar owners have neglected this routine maintenance measure over the years causing premature wear.
Not only is our internal diaphragm stronger, it has much better elasticity than original. If you apply forty inches of vacuum to a NOS unit it most likely will rupture the diaphragm, if it does not rupture it will probably leak. Not ours, they are rock solid and will not leak down when vacuum is applied over long periods of time. This in part is due to some "tweaking" done to the original design. We firmly stand behind these actuators as being better than the NOS units you may have seen for sale for $250-$400 each. We offer a 15 year warranty on these units and a 50 year warranty when you purchase them with our all inclusive "Plug & Play" hidden headlight restoration kit.
With our new units installed and ZERO vacuum leaks anywhere in the system you can expect to park your car and return a month later to find the headlights will open and close without the engine being started.
Here is one of the poorer units we have observed. If you send a unit like this in we can at least give partial credit. For our customers that have extra cores we can give you credit towards the purchase of remanufactured units or possibly credit for other items we offer.
Even if your internal parts do not leak often moisture has gotten inside and caused rust to form around the metal parts. When these rust particles are lose inside the actuator they eventually cause the rubber parts to wear down and eventually puncture the diaphragm.
Oxidation such as this left unchecked can eventually destroy these cast aluminum parts.
Here is a picture of a well worn original upper shaft seal.
Most we see do not look this bad...
Here is a picture of a real clean original unit. Notice the seal is starting to come apart.
This amount of rust is easily removed and then the parts get a new clear zinc coating.
Here are the new and restored parts ready for assembly and prepared to offer decades of dependable service. All parts are made in America and all labor is performed by a true Cougar enthusiast / collector. We could have outsourced the parts and labor and saved a lot of money but we chose not to not only because of the issue of quality but pride as well... Why go overseas when you do not have to?
Mounting Tip: The mounting bolts (pins) were originally plated in black zinc. Once this coating wears off the bolt will begin to rust. Once the bolt rusts the vacuum actuator will begin to lose its ability to kant back and forth. These actuators were designed to rock back and forth as the eyelid opens and closes, if you over tighten them damage will result to the actuator and possibly the grill itself. We suggest you buy our new bolts if yours are rusted or damaged.
Replaces Cougar part #: C7WY-13A167.
Click here to see our "Actuators in an Hour" article featured in Legendary Ford magazine on how to remove and re-install your vacuum actuators in under an hour.
1967 - 1968 Vacuum Actuator Location Diagram ~
High Res(≈15 Min @ 56K)
Low Res(≈1 Min @ 56K)
Do you want to replace those worn out actuators yourself or are you looking for some great information on your Cat’s headlight vacuum system? The video below is your ticket!