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Old 04-28-2010, 08:23 AM
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Advice for headlight issue.

Hey guys,

I have had really dim headlights in my 1957 Chevy Truck for as long as I can remember. About 10 years ago I installed a Painless Harness along with stock style Sealed Beams. They are so dim that I keep the on high beam all the time. Even then, its pretty sketchy.

I have been looking at those H4 Conversion set ups. I took the plunge and picked up the Bosch housing and Sylvania Silverstar Ultra bulbs. I was really psyked about it. I wanted to do a comparison for a Tri Five Specific forum, So I installed the New headlight on the passenger side. When I took a step back. They were exactly the same brightness. Very dim! I looked at the connector on the back of my old sealed beam, it had some corrosion on it.

Has anyone experienced this before? I am assuming I may have a bad ground up front. The headlights are grounded to the front sheet metal. The front sheet metal has no specific ground. It grounds through the bolts holding it to the chassis. I would think that if a bad ground was the case the lights would go in and out of brightness in corealation to bumps on the road. They are a steady dim.

Help!!

Any direction in fixing this issue would be awesome!

Thanks all!!!

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Old 04-28-2010, 12:48 PM
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Try this, hook up a seperate ground wire to the head lights and see what happens. Grounds are just as important as a good supply for headlights. You my want to consider using a heavy gauge supply (12V) to the head lights thats relay controlled. That way you will not have any voltage drop through the wiring to the lights. One other area to check is the lighting switch, contacts may be worn and not making good contact. Start checking voltages with a meter to find out where the loss in voltage is.
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Old 04-28-2010, 02:03 PM
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Chances are the wiring is insufficient for the amperage draw on the headlamps. Before you spend the bucks on H4 conversion which may not give you what you want because of the wiring try this. Grounds are very important also, make sure you have low resistance conductive grounds.

MAD Electrical Tech Article

This modification solves any dim headlamp problem. I also have a Painless wiring harness and I did the conversion above and my headlamps are very bright even on lo beam.

Read this old thread for some additional information.

Vince
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Old 04-28-2010, 02:19 PM
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Grounds are important, don't trust that you have a good ground though the core support bolts to the frame.

The relay set-up the Jaguarxk120 referred to and 302 Z28 provided the link to(MAD Enterprises) is the hot ticket. I have done the relay thing on several older vehicles and it is a BIG difference. I was doing it for several years before i heard of the MAD link, it isn't hard to do with a couple ordinary foglamp relays sold at any parts store.

Made such a big difference on a '66 Fairlane that the owner wants me to do every old vehicle he owns from now on, and has referred me to doing several other of his friends cars, they are no longer so nervous if they are out too late and have to drive at night, they used to plan their day to make sure they got home before dark!
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Old 04-28-2010, 03:27 PM
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to test the ground theory just take a piece of wire both ends stripped, long enough to go from the neg bat terminal to the headlight rim, touch the rim with the wire.. If it is the ground that will show it quickly ... It could be the light switch is bad and has a load of resistance across the contacts, causing a voltage drop , same goes for the dimmer switch .. If you have a meter take a reading at the back of the head light look for 12 vdc , if it is low the next place I would take a reading from would be the light switch. check the wire in and the wire out with the switch in the on position. If you find the 12 vdc there on both sides of the switch ... it may indicate the dimmer is the culprit.

Finding the problem without a meter:
You say you replaced the wiring for the very same dim lights and no change. The only other items would be the components themselves and there are two, light switch and dimmer switch.. You have a 50 50 chance of hitting on the bad part the first time shot gunning it , H4 is a great and bright system..... but you must fix the problem you have at hand .
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Old 04-29-2010, 08:11 PM
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I bought the relay kit from LMCtruck.com for my '75 GMC, and it was about $30. Its the same type of relays, but all pre-assembled, so its very fast to install.

I'm using sealed beam halogens as a direct replacement for the old sealed beams, and they are very effective. Probably not quite as good as H4's, but still a big improvement.

Bruce
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Old 04-30-2010, 07:44 AM
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Wow. What great replies. Thanks so much guys. I liberated a few feet of 10g wire from work yesterday. My plan is make two beefy chassis grounds.

After that very informative reading, I have a feeling my problem lies in a few areas. Ill go through the circut step by step and update my results.

On a general note, this was my first technical post on the message board. I am really psyched on the positive input I have recieved.
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Old 04-30-2010, 08:20 AM
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You are very welcome, we aim to provide useful information, hope you find your problem. If you need further help just ask.

Vince
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