67 Headlight Vacuum Actuator Woes(and repair)


I have had issues with the headlight doors opening and closing since I got the car running a couple years ago. The doors would open, but slowly(&the passenger side even slower). They wouldn’t close at all, unless I did it manually. Well, I did search up some threads here on the forums about solutions to the problem(s). Having the actuators rebuilt, or buying rebuilt ones was out of the question(read:I’m cheap and $500 is a chunk of money for working actuators). I wasn’t interested in the electric conversion for the same reason. I did see that one of the Cougar supply houses sells seal kits to rebuild them, but they’re about a $100 to do both actuators…

Anyhow, I did find some information here about using Corvette seals and dust boots. So, I looked around and found a set of seals and dust boots(enough to do both sides) on ebay for $23 shipped. As some of you already know, it’s not a simple swap. The Corvette seals are quite a bit bigger in diameter, require some modification to the actuator. Below, are a few photos of the process. I probably have three and half to four hours into the whole deal.

Bottom line: Thanks everyone for the information here that has helped me get through some issues on my pile…

Here is the actuator after I removed the original(and destroyed) dust boot

This is the Corvette seal kit for C-3 models

I got a ballpark figure on how big I needed to open up the hole

I know… it looks like a total hack job. Not finished yet

After drilling all the holes, I used a small round file. It isn’t perfect, but the seal fit nicely

I apologize for not getting a photo after the dust boot was installed. I used a little bit of 3M weatherstrip glue to attach it to the actuator can

Overall, it went pretty smooth. The most difficult part was getting the damned bolts out of the bottom of the actuators.

Here is a video of the finished product. I am happy with the end product. Now I need to watch the WCCC video on 'how to straighten the grill…


Nicely done. There’s more than one way to fix a cat.

Source… Part numbers?

I’ve been doing this for years. You can find posts about doing this on Mercurycougar.net from as early as 2006. Here’s a typical listing on ebay:

Very easy to do, lasts a long time.




We will have the proper seals and a how to video soon. I have been working with DCM on the project for about a year now.

That will be great if they can get the material right.

And that has been the issue with the other two version made in years past. They only last a couple of years before the rubber deteriorates!

The Corvette ones that I installed back in 2006 have been great so far. Maybe the manufacturer of those could make the Cougar sized ones too?

What about seals for the solenoid itself. Royce you have any ideas on that, or Don would or could you supply a kit so I guy could rebuild his own?
Good job Roger. Hopefully it will last for you. Your shafts look like they have a little bit of rust pitting to them?

I have to admit I have changed a large number of 67 Cougar headlight systems to use the ‘68 headight switch. Even opened the big hole for the headlight hose grommet.