Lighting Options, Info, Opinions
> I have seen advertisements for Hella replacement headlights in catalogs from > Atlantic British and Rover's North. They are about $50 per lamp. Has anyone > tried these? Are they much better than the stock Range Rover headlight?
Below some more info regarding these headlights. I do prefer the Cibie light for reasons explained below. Contact Dan for his pricing, it will be the best modification you can do on your RR. Each of my European cars/trucks has these lights.
fredd (just another long time happy customer of Daniel Stern)
Several companies make 7" (large single round, sealed beam size type 2D1) E-code headlamps. First off, it's important to use CAR headlamps, not the motorcycle ones you sometimes find from Bosch, IPF or CPI. These are easily identifiable (they say "MOTORCYCLE" on the lens) and the beam pattern is not at all well suited to use on a double-track vehicle with low-mounted headlamps. In car units, the most widely marketed in the USA is the Hella 70476, standard H4 European-spec headlamp. (You'd also find the 70477, US DOT "Vision Plus" headlamp, which we call the "Vision Minus" 'cause...well, it's got a replaceable bulb, but it's just not that much better than a sealbeam as far as beam pattern goes, and it tends to collect water because of a badly-done drain design.) But as I was saying, the 70476 is around. I don't use it on my cars that take the single large (7") rounds; I use Cibies. Why?
Beam patterns are better (wider, longer-reaching) on low and high beam with Cibies. The main difference, though, is that 7" round and 200mm rectangular Hellas have an irritating beam separation problem. Set the low beams where they belong, and the high beams are up in the trees without enough on-road light. Pull the high beams down where they can be useful, and the low beams are down on the bumper. I exaggerate for illustration, but the effect is to make you try to find a compromise setting where both beams are kinda OK. The Cibies do not have this problem; when the lows are correctly aimed, the highs are correctly aimed. Some folks don't find the beam separation as much of a problem as some other folks--and a lot of people who have only ever used two kinds of headlamps (Hellas and sealed beams) will swear that Hellas are the cat's pajamas. It's certainly true that Hellas are a big improvement over "sealed bum" originals, but Cibies are just better. All Cibie 7" round headlamps have convex (domed) lenses. Clear Lens Classic lamps have highly convex (highly domed) lenses and are generally for use in pre-1972 cars that must look "period correct", also in hot rods where styling is a prime concern, etc. Those requiring a flat-faced 7" round lamp will wish to order the Hella Super, which is brought in directly from Germany and is not marketed through Hella US/Canada supply channels.
Now that we've fixed the beam pattern problem, let's talk about bulbs. Stock wattage is 60/55 (high/low). My "normal" bulbs are German-made high-efficiency 60/55W bulbs; with these, you can just remove the sealbeams, install the Cibies, aim and go with no NEED (though it's always a good idea) for uprating the wiring. Now, the E-code beam pattern, with its sharp cutoff which nullifies glare for oncoming traffic, can support higher-output bulbs without (a) glaring oncoming traffic or (b) creating impossible backdazzle for you in bad weather. Note that it is a VERY poor idea to put overwattage bulbs in with the stock headlamp wiring, which is meant for stock wattage ONLY. We see a lot of car-be-cue type messes when people try to do this. The relays/sockets/fuseholders package to do-up the wiring properly contains all heavy-duty components (dual-output 40A relays, terminal blocks, brackets, terminals, fused fuseholders and headlamp sockets) to accept heavy-gauge wire; supply your own wire from the local economy in your choice of color and length. View and print my "how-to" page at http://lighting.mbz.org/tech/tech.html for full text and color diagrams of how to do this. Now that we have good wiring, we can go to town on bulb wattage. NOTE, if you have a passenger car or other vehicle with low-mounted headlamps (lamps below the level of most passenger car drivers' eyes when seated at the wheel) you can increase both low and high beam power without causing undue glare. If yours is a truck or SUV or other vehicle with high-mounted headlamps, you will want to keep the low beams civilized to avoid dazzling other road users. "Other road users" include cops, so use your head! 100/55W bulbs can be furnished to keep the low beams civilized and still punch the next county with the high beams. I do not handle the 3rd-world bulbs you can find in the pages of JC Whitney and in lots of other places. I carry only German-made (Osram, Philips, Narva) bulbs. My policy of selling ONLY items I would use voluntarily on my own cars extends down to bulbs!
How about city lights? What is a city light? It's a little 5w lamp that sticks through the lamp's reflector into the lamp itself. Ground one of its wires, and run the other of its wires to the parking lamp feed. The city light illuminates the whole headlamp in a "pilot light" fashion; this makes for large-area parking lamps that WORK, and if a headlamp bulb ever burns out, oncoming traffic still sees you as a double-track vehicle. If you use the city lights to REPLACE the dim amber parking lamps common on US vehicles) the turn signals now go "BRIGHT-off-BRIGHT-off" instead of "bright-dim-bright-dim" when the lights are on. Yep, another aspect of lighting that the Europeans got right and we didn't. City lights are especially useful if you have fog lamps. On foggy days, you can put on the city lights which will show other drivers exactly where your car is, and switch on the fog lamps so you can see. Note that city lights are a legal form of parking lamp in the USA. Also note that city lights aren't used on vehicles with flip-door (hideaway) headlamps.
Optional: thin-shell polyurethane impact guards to prevent the lamps being rock damaged or "sandblasted" in normal daily use. For use only on vehicles NOT equipped with hide-away (flip-up/flip-down) headlamps.
Prices at http://lighting.mbz.org/tech/tech.html
Pack and ship two lamps with whatever accessories you wish, $18
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