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How to Wire the Headlights on a 1971 Chevy Nova

If you want to upgrade your headlights on your 1971 Nova, you may need to wire them yourself because the pins for the new headlight bulbs do not fit the wiring harness that brings power to the headlight. In this case the best practice for wiring in the headlights is to replace the wiring harness. Replacing the wiring harness allows you to change the headlight bulb whenever it burns out; if you wire it in directly, you'll have to wire in a replacement whenever the current headlight burns out.

Tools Used: Heat gun, Solder sleeve connectors, Wire cutter, Wire stripper, Electrical tape, Replacement wiring harness, Latex gloves, Crescent wrench

Wire the Headlights

Turn off your 1971 Nova. Prop open the hood with the support rod. Loosen the negative battery terminal nut. Lift the negative battery cable off of the terminal and set it aside.

Press inward on the side tabs of the headlight wiring harness. Pull off the headlight wiring harness. Pull off the rubber weather shroud from the rear of the headlight assembly.

Put on latex gloves. Disengage the metal retaining clip securing the headlight bulb in place. Pull out the current headlight bulb. Store for reuse or resale.

Cut the headlight wiring harness off of the wires feeding it to the vehicle with your wire cutters. Strip one inch of insulation off of the remaining positive, neutral and ground wires.

Slide a solder sleeve connector over each of the vehicle's headlight wires. Strip one inch of insulation off of the ends of the three wires from the replacement headlight wiring harness. Braid the corresponding wire leads together: positive to positive, neutral to neutral, ground to ground.

Slide the solder sleeve connector over the braided leads so that the leads are covered. Heat the surface of the solder sleeve connector with your heat gun. This action melts the solder in the connector, sealing the connection. Wrap the connection in electrical tape to ensure it holds.

Insert your replacement aftermarket headlight bulb into the headlight assembly. Secure it in place with the retaining clip. Place the rubber weather shroud over the rear of the assembly. Thread the socket on the rear of the replacement headlight bulb through the hole in the rubber weather shroud. Plug in the replacement headlight wiring harness to the socket on the replacement headlight bulb.

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