Headlights

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Headlights

Post by driveit on Wed May 28, 2014 9:30 am

I need new headlights as I have a terrible time trying to see at night. I am thinking of getting some with the led's around them. Anyone have any thoughts recommendations and specs that I should look for. I don't want to make any mods to the light or to the car to make it fit and plug in if possible.
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Re: Headlights

Post by driveit on Wed May 28, 2014 10:55 am

Pilot Automotive Sealed Beam Headlight Conversion Kits WI-HL7A


Thinking about this one, but really wanted to try out the halos.
http://www.summitracing.com/parts/plt-wi-hl7a/overview/
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Re: Headlights

Post by driveit on Wed May 28, 2014 11:36 am

Something like these would be ok as well.


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Re: Headlights

Post by dynchel on Wed May 28, 2014 12:42 pm

I have similar "converted " headlights.  I bought the cheapest ones I found on eBay ($25.00 straight from China). They were a bolt on with only the "city lights" needing to be wired seperatly.
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Re: Headlights

Post by chevellelaguna on Wed May 28, 2014 3:32 pm

If you are going to use that style of headlight with an upgraded halogen bulb , like an H11, then you should really run the headlight circuit thru a relay. The switch and wiring were never designed to have that kind is a load run thru them. That's a high wattage bulb, you'll put a strain on the headlight switch, without a relay.
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Re: Headlights

Post by driveit on Thu May 29, 2014 1:53 am

Do u have an example of the relay? Not sure what you mean.
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Re: Headlights

Post by thatfnthing on Thu May 29, 2014 9:09 am

Any 4 or 5 pole 12v relay like this will work:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/2-PAIR-12-VOLT-PREMIUM-SPDT-RELAYS-SOCKETS-CAR-ALARM-40-AMP-40A-12V-AUTOMOTIVE-/351068048456?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item51bd494c48

The point is that right now all the juice for the headlights runs through the switch in the dash. If you upgrade to something brighter that pulls more juice, it will fry the switch. The stock design eventually fries the switch too, because it's a bad design, but it just took longer because the headlights from back then were weaker.

So instead a relay is used to handle the load demanded by the lights, and the dashboard switch just flips the relay. Think of it like having your dashboard switch flip another switch, but that second switch is BIGGER.

If you're inclined to try it, I can give you a diagram on how to wire it in.
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Re: Headlights

Post by driveit on Thu May 29, 2014 11:50 am

I will keep that in mind. It will be a bit before I can get the cash anyway. Had some saved up, but had a few unexpected bills. Hate those!
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Re: Headlights

Post by driveit on Thu May 29, 2014 11:52 am

Would that do the same as with a new stereo. It is just a cd player with 2 6x9s and 2 6" rounds. No amp or anything special. I have noticed that my lights dim a bit when I turn it up a little.
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Re: Headlights

Post by thatfnthing on Thu May 29, 2014 12:24 pm

If the lights dim when you turn up the radio, it's most likely the alternator is simply not producing enough juice to supply everything with what it wants.

Assuming no obvious problems like a loose belt or bad alternator, it's probably time for an upgrade.  As you add more electrical accessories to a car (brighter lights, better stereo, etc), you have to upgrade the alternator to provide enough juice to service all that.  Time to move up from the original 60 amp alternator to 100 amps.

FWIW there was a CC article not long ago about upgrading your alternator to one of the later GM's from a boneyard -- they produce a lot more amps (and at lower RPMs) than the older models because of all the electrical demands by late model cars.  It's a cheap swap, and most GM alternators are similar size so you should be able to make them fit physically.  The hardest part will swapping a V-belt pulley for the serpentine one.

http://www.carcraft.com/techarticles/ccrp_1109_alternator_picks_and_tricks_junkyard_builder/
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Re: Headlights

Post by driveit on Thu May 29, 2014 12:39 pm

Thanks. I will check into that. I though the one I had was a 100 amp, but I guess its not.
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Re: Headlights

Post by orange Juiced on Thu May 29, 2014 8:33 pm

thatfnthing wrote:Any 4 or 5 pole 12v relay like this will work:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/2-PAIR-12-VOLT-PREMIUM-SPDT-RELAYS-SOCKETS-CAR-ALARM-40-AMP-40A-12V-AUTOMOTIVE-/351068048456?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item51bd494c48

The point is that right now all the juice for the headlights runs through the switch in the dash.  If you upgrade to something brighter that pulls more juice, it will fry the switch.  The stock design eventually fries the switch too, because it's a bad design, but it just took longer because the headlights from back then were weaker.

So instead a relay is used to handle the load demanded by the lights, and the dashboard switch just flips the relay.  Think of it like having your dashboard switch flip another switch, but that second switch is BIGGER.

If you're inclined to try it, I can give you a diagram on how to wire it in.

Can u post a diagram please? I'm currently wiring all gauges and since I'm in the area and planning on doing the headlight upgrade, I can knock it all out at once.
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Re: Headlights

Post by chevellelaguna on Thu May 29, 2014 10:01 pm

No one realizes how important relays are for our old cars. Hope you enjoy this Hot Rodding disease... See how you change one thing and it affects so many other things and so on.....
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Re: Headlights

Post by driveit on Thu May 29, 2014 10:05 pm

Very true.
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Re: Headlights

Post by thatfnthing on Fri May 30, 2014 3:04 pm

orange Juiced wrote:Can u post a diagram please? I'm currently wiring all gauges and since I'm in the area and planning on doing the headlight upgrade, I can knock it all out at once.

Okay, here are two methods.  Method #1 uses only one relay and is simple to implement inside the cabin.  However, it still uses the stock wiring for the rest of the circuit, so you won't be able to go higher than a decent Halogen bulb.

Method #2 requires more effort and requires a second relay, but allows for expansion to some really high powered bulbs (like xenons), and protects the rest of the stock harness -- the dimmer switch actually becomes the controller, and each circuit (hi and lo beams) have their own power supply.  All this wiring should get done out in the engine bay as close to the lamps as possible.



Notes/caveats:
o  In each case a 4-pole relay (pin 87A will be missing) will do, since we don't need the center pin (87A) for anything.  5-poles are just easier to find.

o  You must wire in a fuse that is big enough for the lamps you are using.  I would probably start with 10A and possibly go to 15A.  You can get a rough idea by taking the lamp wattage, multiplying times 2 headlights, then dividing by 12 (volts) -- so a 55-watt lamp x 2 lamps / 12 = 9.16 amps, so a 10A will be about right.  Do not wire this without a fuse under any circumstances!

o  In both cases, the minimum wire size from the batt+ to relay terminal 30 and from relay terminal 87 to the lamps should be 14ga (which is what the factory wires should be).  However, 12ga would be preferred if possible, especially if the lamps are going to be high-wattage.

o  I used the factory colors, so the lt blue, lt green, and tan 14ga wires are the ones you're after.  For method #1, your best place to splice in will be near the dimmer switch.  For method #2, the tan and green will be found easiest in the wiring harness running down the left front inner wheel well.

o I also didn't show the ground wires from the lamps in Method #2 -- they will also be 14ga stock, but if you are rewiring for 12ga, these should be redone also. And if you're going all out, any grounds should run back the battery, not a body ground.
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Re: Headlights

Post by Dinomyte on Fri May 30, 2014 3:57 pm

This is great stuff.  I'm a little confused but that's my lack of electrical skills.  I was just hopping for an original wiring diagram, and is there any difference other than two plugs and a split for a 2 bulb (stacked) style setup?
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Re: Headlights

Post by thatfnthing on Fri May 30, 2014 6:11 pm

Dinomyte wrote:This is great stuff.  I'm a little confused but that's my lack of electrical skills.  I was just hopping for an original wiring diagram, and is there any difference other than two plugs and a split for a 2 bulb (stacked) style setup?

I've never owned a 4-headlight car, but I'm guessing that when you switch to hi-beam, one pair goes off and another goes on -- it's not all 4 lights on at the same time, right?

If so, Method #1 is the same, Method #2 only changes on the headlight end:



Again, grounds from the headlights not shown.

If you need diagrams, there's some posted in a sticky for the Electrical section -- I posted the 73's, don't know what else is there.
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Re: Headlights

Post by dynchel on Fri May 30, 2014 6:15 pm

Every (old)  four light car I ever owned all four were on with the high beams. Off hand I know a '78 Catalina, a '75 lesabre, a '72 new yorker, a '86 caprice, and a '60 Oldsmobile all had all four on.


Last edited by dynchel on Fri May 30, 2014 6:27 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : added details)
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Re: Headlights

Post by thatfnthing on Fri May 30, 2014 6:22 pm

Then I'd have to see the factory diagram to be certain.
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Re: Headlights

Post by orange Juiced on Fri May 30, 2014 8:30 pm

Cool thanks, i think i can wing it after those diagrams. My eyes thank u. . . I have noticed the last couple of years my eyes keep getting worse. I have a harder time seeing at night and the headlights from on coming cars bother me more and I'm not even in my 40's yet. Nothing major yet, but i know down the road it will be.

And yes all four lights turn on when you hit the high beams.
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Re: Headlights

Post by Dinomyte on Fri May 30, 2014 9:36 pm

OK so 75 minutes and 45 miles later I too confirm that all four bulbs are on when the highs are on.
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Re: Headlights

Post by thatfnthing on Sat May 31, 2014 12:32 am

Well, not having seen a factory diagram, I would hazard a guess then that the real difference would be the dimmer switch -- it likely also supplies power to the high beam side rather than switching between high and low. In this case, the above diagram should still work. I would calculate the capacity of the fuse with 4 lamps, though.
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Re: Headlights

Post by Limey SE on Sat May 31, 2014 1:38 pm

Should have just asked the Limester LMAO


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Re: Headlights

Post by Limey SE on Sat May 31, 2014 1:43 pm

I will dig out my headlight diagram later tonight for the single and stacked lights
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Re: Headlights

Post by ant7377 on Sat May 31, 2014 9:08 pm

Mine seemed brighter after I cleaned the grounds on the radiator support. Maybe just my imagination but they did.
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Re: Headlights

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