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Bob, Auto Tech
Category: Chevy
Satisfied Customers: 4087
Experience:  Plus 40 years GM, over 30 certified with Chevrolet, ASE certified Master Tech. (Expired, Retired)
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how do i adjust the headlights on a 1997 suburban

Resolved Question:

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Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Chevy
Expert:  Bob replied 6 years ago.

Headlamp Aiming (Composite)

Composite Headlamps

Two adjusting screws control the horizontal and vertical aiming of each headlamp assembly.


Object Number: 277178  Size: SH

The screws (1, 2) are in the radiator support. The location is not readily visible.


Object Number: 277180  Size: SH

The 2 holes in the radiator support for each headlamp assembly provide access to the recessed adjusting screws (1,2). Using a T15 TORX® head bit, turn the screws.

Adjust the headlamps to the specifications required by the state and/or the local authorities.

Headlamp Aiming Screen


Object Number: 277181  Size: SH

  • If you use a screen, the screen should be at least 1.52 m (5 ft) high x 3.66 m (12 ft) wide with a matte white finish, well shaded from extraneous light.
  • Properly adjust the screen to the floor on which the vehicle rests.
  • The screen should be moveable so that you can align the screen parallel to the rear axle of the vehicle.
  • Position the screen so that a horizontal line drawn perpendicular to the centerline of the screen will pass an equal distance midway between the two headlamps.
  • The screen should have the following items:
  • - A vertical centerline (4)
    - Two laterally adjustable vertical tapes (2)
    - One vertically adjustable horizontal tape (3)
  • If a regular commercial aiming screen is not available, the screen may consist of a wall having a clear, uninterrupted area at least 1.83 m (6 ft) x 3.66 m (12 ft) wide. The surface should be finished with a no-gloss white paint.
  • After the aiming screen has been set up and located, paint or tape a reference line (6) on the floor 7.62 m (25 ft) from the screen. Park the vehicle with the front of the headlamps directly over this reference line.
  • Headlamp Aiming Procedure

    1. Park the vehicle square with the screen, with the headlamps directly over this reference line.
    2. Ensure that the components are in place if other work has been done on the vehicle.
    3. Ensure that the vehicle is on a level surface.
    4. Stop all other work on the vehicle.
    5. Ensure that the vehicle has half a tank, or less, of fuel.
    6. Close all of the doors.
    7. Rock the vehicle sideways.
    8. Line up the centerline of the vehicle with the centerline of the aiming screen.
      Mark the vertical center of the rear and front windows using tape.
      Use these lines as sights in order to line up the centerline of the vehicle and the screen.
    9. Adjust the vertical tapes on the screen in order to match the vertical centerline of each low beam headlamp.

      Measure the distance from the centerline of the low beam lamp.

    10. Adjust the horizontal tapes on the screen in order to match the horizontal centerline of each low beam headlamp.

      Measure the height from the floor to the center of the low beam.

    11. Turn on the low beam headlamps.
    12. Observe the left and the top edges of the high intensity zone on the screen.
    13. Adjust the headlamps to the following specifications:
      The top edge of the center of intensity on the screen for the low beam should be less than 101.6 mm (4 in) above or below the cross section of the headlamp centerlines.
      The left edge of the center of intensity on the screen for the low beam should be less than 101.6 mm (4 in) to the left or right of the cross section of the headlamp centerlines.
    Bob, Auto Tech
    Category: Chevy
    Satisfied Customers: 4087
    Experience: Plus 40 years GM, over 30 certified with Chevrolet, ASE certified Master Tech. (Expired, Retired)
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