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Steve_O

MAKING YOUR HEADLIGHTS BRIGHTER :: FAQ!!

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Steve_O

Are you unhappy with your gloomy lights?!!

Are you sick of not being able to see where you're going at night whilst 4x4s dazzle you off the road?!!

Are gloomy lights affecting your sex life?!!*

If so - FEAR NOT - for this FAQ will help you solve all those gloomy light woes!!

There are 3 stages to gaining more light from those tired old lamps...

1) Cleaning the headlights.

2) Fitting good quality bulbs.

3) Uprating the wiring.

So, where better to start than the beginning...

1) CLEANING THE HEADLIGHTS

If you've never cleaned the outside of your headlights, then your 10-15 year old lenses are probably opaque by now - so give your car a well deserved wash and give those headlights a really good scrub.

However - we're not just talking about cleaning the outside of your lights - we're talking about the INSIDES too!!

You wouldn't think it - but the insides of your headlamps will be quite dirty if they've never been cleaned or replaced. Cleaning them inside will not only improve the projection of light onto the road - but will improve your cars looks considerably!!

The Procedure...

For best results - pick a time when you won't need to use the car for at least 24 hours.

FOR EACH HEADLAMP...

1) Remove the bulbs, including sidelights from the headlamp.

2) Remove the headlamp from the car, as per Haynes instructions.

3) Dilute a small amount of washing up liquid in a jug with some warm water and pour into the back of the headlamp where the bulb goes.

4) Fill the headlamp about half way with warm water and swill it around for a minute or two. DON'T DROP IT!!

5) Pour the water out and repeat with clean water a few times until all the washing up liquid has gone.

6) Leave to dry thoroughly in a warm, dry place - preferably overnight.

7) If you're happy with the results, refit the headlamps to your car.

8) Stand back and admire!! {332}

TIPS:

I found the bathtub was the best place to carry out the cleaning, using the shower to rinse out the headlamp, and also the outside of the reflector. The bathtub is also more forgiving if you drop the headlamp than the kitchen floor!!

Don't be tempted to use any scrubbing tools whilst cleaning the headlamps. The reflector coating is very delicate, and you may find some of it comes loose in the cleaning process anyway. You have been warned!!

Warm water and a small amount of washing up liquid will do - not scoulding hot water with a mass of foam!! Also, if you live in a hard water area - then your 'clean' water may leave marks as it dries.

2) FITTING GOOD QUALITY BULBS

Bulb technology is improving all the time (so the manufacturers tell us) and there is a huge range of aftermarket bulbs available to buy.

There are no right or wrong bulbs, so do your homework and find out which bulbs are right for you. The correct fitment for the Mk3 is H4.

I'm using Philips Vision Plus bulbs which claim to be 50% brighter than ordinary bulbs. These cost about £15 for a pair on eBay. Halfrauds will try to charge £20 EACH - so beware how much you are paying.

Don't neglect those sidelight bulbs tho, especially if you're after that xenon look. The correct fitting for these is 233.

I got some Philips Bluevision sidelight bulbs for a remarkable £2 from eBay - tho that was a bit of a fluke admittedly!!

A couple of good sites for bulbs (other than ebay) are http://www.autobulbsdirect.co.uk and http://www.powerbulbs.co.uk

TIPS:

NEVER EVER EVER touch the glass when fitting halogen bulbs. The grease from your fingers will cause the bulb to overheat and fail prematurely.

If you do accidentally touch them - you will need to use a solvent such as acetone or ethanol to remove all traces of grease.

Sidelights are fine, but if you fit them with a clean rag between your fingers then it'll keep them nice and clean.

3) UPRATING THE WIRING

If you're still not satisfied with the amount of light coming from your headlamps, then you could consider uprating the wiring to provide a bit more power.

So if you who know what you're doing when it comes to vehicle wiring and fancy having a go, read on...

The Procedure...

Now, the following guide is by no means prescriptive, and you may choose to do some things differently. I'm just telling you what I did, and I can't take any responsibility if you screw it up!!

To do things the way I have - you will need...

4 x 30 Amp SPDT 12V Automotive Relay (Maplin Code: N00AW)

2 x Waterproof In-Line Fuseholder (Maplin Code: DR82D)

2 x 15A Fuses

WIRE - nice and thick - must be rated higher than 15A!!!

An assortment of crimp fittings and crimper

Let's take a quick look at the end result first - so we can see what we're aiming for...

bay.jpg

As you can see, starting from the positive terminal of the battery, we have a red wire and a green wire running down to two pairs of relays mounted at the front of the engine bay. The existing earth wires are good enough so there is no need to uprate those.

Here I have used two wires and four relays for an extra factor of safety, but this is probably a bit OTT when 2 relays will work just as well (unless you're running extremely high power bulbs).

The bulk of the new loom can be assembled off the car - so, ensuring you have a bit to spare, cut the wires to length and take them inside.

Here is a picture of the part assembled loom...

loom.jpg

As you can see, starting from the middle, we have the red and green wire connected to an eyelet ready to be fixed to the battery connector.

Spiralling out about 6 inches, you can see the 2 fuseholders, one for each wire. These should be as close to the battery as reasonably possible to prevent the likelihood of short circuits. Again, if you want to save a few quid then miss these out altogether, but if one of your wires shorts circuits against something, then you will end up with melted wiring at the least, and perhaps an engine fire at the worst!!

Finally, at the ends of the wires, you can see the relays.

I started by soldering everything to minimise the voltage drop - but this is an unnecessary step as it's hard to replicate the shitness of the original setup and it would undoubtedly be easier to replace a relay if they were just connected with spade connectors.

Let's now take a look at one of the pairs of relays once installed in the car...

relays.jpg

Hmmm - spaghetti!! What have we got here then...

1 - Dipped beam relay

2 - Main beam relay

A - Dipped beam feed (+ve)

B - Main beam feed (+ve)

C - Original common earth (-ve)

D - Main feed from battery (+ve)

E - Original dipped beam feed (+ve)

F - Relay 1 earth (-ve)

G - Original main beam feed (+ve)

H - Relay 2 earth (-ve)

As you can see, the original main and dipped beam feeds have now become triggers to tell the relay when to switch on and off. New wires, A and B, run from the relay output into the original headlamp connector block.

The H4 terminals are an odd size (8mm), so unless you have any of these, you will need to salvage the old ones. You can release the individual connectors from the block by poking a small screwdriver down the side and releasing the catch.

Do this for the main and dipped wires and cut the connectors off. Remove any remaining insulation and solder the new leads onto the connector. Give the lead a good tug to make sure it's a good joint before pushing back into the block.

The only other thing to do is give the relays themselves an earth. In this case I have made a couple of short leads with eyelets one end, which are screwed through with self tapping screws into the bodywork.

That's about it really!! You just need to test it works - and admire!!

*Performing these tasks may not improve your sex life.

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Narrow_Lane

Any chance the photos can be fixed? I'm gonna uprate my headlight loom would be good to have photos as reference...

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mk2 polo power

yer get the photos up then it would make it clearer

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Narrow_Lane

I just did this on my mk2 I'll get photos up 2moro when it's not raining. Mucho improvement :thumbsup:

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EnthusiastOwned™

I just did this... Can't really see much improvement in dipped beam... full beam looks better...

But my sidelights now look like dipped beam as there is that much power going to that bulb!!!

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EnthusiastOwned™

Right.. apparently these cars come with dim-dip or something like that...

So when your sidelights are on the main bulb shines dimmley, so with an uprated loom they shine very bright when they shouldn't

You have to deactivate this by unplugging the yellow wires from the coil which is next to the under-bonnet fuse box (oppersite side to battery)

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Ashley1987

i think I'm going to do all three as my lights are more yellow than white light

any hints or tips which would make it easier or avoid problems people have encountered before

cheers

Ash

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Guest scrobert

i'd just like to add i shattered a lense when pouring warm water into the light :/ the first one was fine but the second didnt work to well. maybe it had somit to do with it being stored face down for a week or 2 (wasnt me).

Couple of weeks after the remaining 'clean' headlight was on the bulbs blew up. so they are all dirty again! not going through that again :p

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Mike_Rigby

Any chance you can add the pin numbers as i'm not using the maplin relays!

I've got:

30 (from memory i think this is ground)

85

86

87

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Mike_Rigby

S'ok, found this!

HeadlightRelayWiringDiagram.jpg

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kerrgreg

If anyone has any pictures of this it would be a great help am thinking of doing this.

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VeeDub9n

I'm stuck on what bulbs to get to make the rings on my angel eyes brighter, i got told they need to be the w5w wedge bulbs (FK headlights for 9n)

I've seen some on ebay

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/10x-T10-W5W-Wedge-Wh...1QQcmdZViewItem

but i need 18 in total (9 per light 5 of which I'm not sure on how to get to cos the projector is in the way)

anyone know where i can bright bulbs for cheap prices seen as i need 18 of them lol :?

cheers

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smithy_6n

I'm gonna be attempting this in a few days, getting parts from Maplin, just not sure on what wire to get... on their website there are loads of different types.. you got a product code for the stuff used in the guide?

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robertvdub

I did this mod, but didnt notice any difference :(

Edited by robertvdub

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Dooleyz

Anyone know what sidelight bulbs to use of these Philips Bluevisions??

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brightsideteeem

You could also upgrade to an H.I.D. Kit for improved lighting. I put some in my Leon, and I'm planing on adding some to my 'loon as I was astonished at the difference! Makes driving at night a whole lot easier, and in adverse weather conditions :)

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Peachy

Instead of pouring warm water into them, on my 6n2 I took my lights apart carefully seperating the lense from the back using a hairdryer to soften the sealer and gently levering it off with a large flat headed screw driver, the warmer the glue is the easier it comes off so if you get it warm enough you can sometimes pull the lense with your hands.

Removed the bulbs.

Then wiped the inside of the lense with a clean cloth to remove dirt/dust/crap, then carefully wiped the reflectors with a soft cloth and breath (Be VERY careful as the reflective coating is delicate to touch and rubs off easily!).

Once it was all clean I removed all the excess sealer on the lense of the light and applied some sealer to the light backing and then placed the lense on and pushed it down into the sealer and put the metal clips to hold it all together while the sealer sets.

Once dry I tried a bit of T-cut on the outside of the lense to remove some crap which had been sprayed on and reacted with the plastic leaving it all bubbly... it sort of worked.

The lights are now much, much clearer! :D

I will get pictures up when I have the time of before and after :)

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raikky

i got the 233 side light bulbs and philips blue vision dipped beam h7. the h7 fit but the 233 dont :9. so now I'm stuck with a yellow and a white light when on dipped beam. sucks.

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mixmasterlooney
:D As a sticky the pics should also be permanent, i need to do this, my lights are utter Sh*T
  • Like 1

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mintvalver

Where's the pics, my valver is in desperate need !

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PHIL SWARBRICK

I put my Mk2 round headlight and spotlights through the dishwasher. It got them really clean.

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samwii

Why couldn't you have let this thread die a peaceful death?

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