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Replacing a cracked Header Panel

11395 Views 2 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  sharxbyte
I had a small accident last Fall, and I am looking for advice and guidance on one of the repairs that I need to make.

My 2002 Malibu LS was hit by a deer in the right front, and it damaged the fender, fender liner, mirror, and the header panel. I was able to get the fender parts and mirror from the local yard, but I could not find a good header panel.

I've already replaced the fender and mirror, mostly with help from this site, and now I'm looking for information on the header panel.

I've seen on this site, that others have replaced the panel, but without much detail. At Euthymia’s suggestion, I am posting here so that we all may share.

My first question is how difficult is it to take out and install the header panel? Are there any hidden bolts or pins that are covered by other pieces like the fenders or bumper? I’ve read where others have had to remove the bumper, or the hood latch, and others who did not.

My next question is, I’ve seen prices for the header panel anywhere from $50 to $120 plus shipping. Are there places to avoid or does it matter with a plastic part?

My last question is that I am looking for a good service manual that gives specifics on the mechanical and electrical, as well as, the body panels, any recommendations?

Thanks in advance for your help.
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I did not find it difficult at all to remove and install my header panel. I've actually had to do it half a dozen times as I had crunched the radiator support and had to pull it straight with a come-along and a scissor jack.

Just pop out the plastic pin fasteners and remove the cap screws. Of course, you'll want to remove the headlight assemblies first. To do that, remove the glare shields at each end and pull up on the latch levers as if you would do when replacing a bulb.

There are two screws that must be accessed from below the bumper support, but once you find them, they are not difficult to remove.

The Haynes manual is a very good resource and does include an entire chapter on body part removal.

I got my header panel for $38 shipped on eBay. It fits perfectly.

Here's the one I bought.

One thing to remember is that you will need to harvest the headlight adjusters and mounting stems from the old header panel. Each headlight assembly has 2 adjusters and one metal stem.

The headlight wiring harness clips into channels in the header panel, but that is not hard to figure out. Really, if you've already installed a front fender and a mirror, you've performed tasks more difficult than swapping a header panel.
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