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Electrical - Halogen headlamp conversion

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Electrical - Halogen headlamp conversion

Postby TechTeamMod » Tue 9th Sep 2008, 06:49pm

Standard sealed-beam headlamps are pants, we all know it. The Main beam filament is a respectable 60W, but the dipped is just 45. Combine that with a fuzzy lens pattern, and what light is produced is randomly scattered everywhere but forwards, where you want it. When a filament blows in a sealed beam lamp, you have to chuck away the entire unit and replace it with a new one. Auxiliary spot lamps are for main-beam use only. Driving around with extra fog lights makes the plod take an unhealthy interest in you and you'll look a right whopper! The best move is to give your car a useful dipped beam. Halogen gas in modern lamps produces something like 75% more light per watt than the original tungsten torch bulbs (I'm not too sure what gas they use) and Xenon gas makes more again, so the upgrade to halogen makes real sense, both economically and from a performance point of view.

  • Halogen head lights. Produced by several manufacturers including Ring (Autopal), Wipac, Lucas and Cibie (rare). These are readily available in complete kits through most mini suppliers, but I'd recommend tracking down a 90s RangeRover or LandRover Defender is a scrap yard, as I believe they use wipac as standard (my brother's '93 Vogue has them). If you choose this route, make sure to cut the sidelight connectors and a few inches of wire from the car, and the rubber boot, as you'll need these too.
  • H4 Halogen/Xenon bulbs
  • Crimp connectors

  • Screw drivers, flat-blade and pozidrive
  • Wire cutters and strippers
  • Crimp tool
  • Electrical tape
  • Long-nosed pliers

If you have steel headlamp bowls, it's worth changing to plastic, as these won't rot out. If you do this, you'll also need a drill & bits, pop rivets and a rivet gun.

Removing sealed beam lamps

  1. Do as the HBOL says and disconnect the negative battery terminal.
  2. Undo the single retaining screw on the underside of the trim ring, and remove the trim by gently pulling it from the bottom.
  3. Undo the retaining screw from the bottom nearside of the lamp, rotate the lamp anticlockwise to free it from the beam adjuster and remove the little retaining spring (use the long-nosed pliers).
  4. Disconnect the wiring from the bulb contacts, recover the retaining frame and screws, and put the old light unit out of the way. In the bin is out of the way enough!
  5. Slide the sidelight connector off the H4 connector and cut the two wires running to it. Strip these wires back so there's about 1/4" of bare core showing and use bullet crimp connectors to attach the new sidelight bulb holder. You may feel the need to solder these wires but that's entirely up to you! Wrap the connections in tape to protect them.
  6. If you wish to change the headlamp bowls, this is the time to do it. Drill out the old rivets and remove the bowl, insert the new one with the wiring hole towards the bottom and fix with new rivets.

Fitting the new lamps
  1. Fit the retaining frame and a H4 bulb to the new lamp unit (they'll both only fit one way) and fit the protective rubber boot over the terminals of the bulb.
  2. Push the sidelight into the lamp and attach the electrical connections. At this point, have an assistant turn on the side lights, dipped and main beam so you can check all is well.
  3. Offer the lamp into the hole, refit the little spring (again, with the pliers) and position the lamp back onto the beam adjusters
  4. Refit the retaining screw and trim ring.
  5. Reconnect battery cable.
  6. Wait for nightfall and go try them out!


DO NOT use lamps of a higher power than 60/55W as the standard wiring is not up to the job and you'll roast your wiring loom and/or switches.

Article written by Gilesy
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