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Username Post: LED Headlights
Todd W. White 
Posts: 288
Todd W. White
Loc: Sapulpa, Oklahoma
Reg: 02-08-08
11-14-19 06:55 PM - Post#2780183    
    In response to jktucker92

I don't like the look of the LED lights, personally. To me, they don't look "natural" on our trucks. That being said, I spent a lot of time trying different things before I found a solution I'm really happy with.

I tried Halogens, but wasn't totally satisfied, so I kept trying. I even tried Cibie's (I think that's how they're spelled), but, again, not happy. Here's what I ended up with:

First, I replaced the original headlight wiring system, following the instructions written by Mark here:

Mad Electrical Technical Article About Headlights In Vintage Vehicles

Setting up a dedicated ground with a dedicated ground and power terminal for the headlights was one of the best things I did for my headlights.

Second, I switched to what is called an "H4" system. This included different headlight lenses/reflectors, as well as bulbs. Originally, I used the Cibie's with halogen bulbs, but I didn't like the pattern they threw.

I finally found a discussion of this on one of the dune buggy groups (the VW guys), and discovered they were all "gaga" over the Bosch 301 600 118 lens/reflectors. They are 7" in diameter, fit perfectly, and REALLY throw a well-controlled light pattern.

I got a pair and fitted them with HID bulbs made to fit (specifically) the H4 housings. They project a beam with a defined, sharp cut-off, no glare, no stray light, and there is more output of light for each given watt of power. They're also flat, instead of bulbous, which gives a nice clean look and doesn't make my truck look bug-eyed.

For the bulbs, I ended up using HID upgrade bulbs for the H4 Halogen that would have otherwise been installed with these lamps. I got 35W, 4300K bulbs. These are field replaceable, and fit the Bosch units perfectly. They are also not that ANNOYING blue that you see today on so many cars - it's a BRIGHT, but not annoying, white.

Next, for the ballasts, which I purchased separately (rather than entire kit), I used these:


Here's what it looks like:

These are extremely well made, and have lasted for almost 7 years now, with no problems.

Third, my final wiring arrangement was part of Mad Electrical's "New System", and gave me two relays (one each for the high and low beams), which I used thusly:

A. The HID bulbs are one-filament units, not two like we're used to. Therefore, I didn't want it going on and off momentarily when I pressed the dimmer switch on the floor. I wanted to keep the bulbs powered all the time when the headlight switch is pulled out completely. This also increases the life span, I believe, of the bulbs, as they're not being turned on and off each time I go from high to low, or vice-versa. Dad always said that "Every time you turn something on, it's one more time closer to the day it will fail", so that was my guiding principle here.

B. To keep the bulbs burning all the time I am using the headlights, I simply removed the wire and terminal that fed the original low beam side of the headlight system from the dimmer switch connector, tapped the power output from the headlight switch, and connected the supply of power to the Low Beam (tan) wire that runs to the horn relay area.

C. I installed the proper power and ground distribution points, per MAD's instructions.

D. I connected what would have been the Low Beam Relay to the supply (tan) wire that originally came from the dimmer switch - this now activates a relay whenever the headlights are supposed to be on, and keeps them on as long as the main switch is pulled all the way out.

E. Power to the actual headlights is drawn from the Positive Power Distribution Point, feeds through what I am calling the "Bulb Supply Relay", then into the ballast shown above (one per side).

F. The wiring scheme for the High Beam circuit is identical to the MAD design, except it feeds the HID Bulb's small "high beam" connector, which causes the bulb to pivot internally using a solenoid, thus refocusing the beam from where the Low Beam Element focuses through the lens, to where the High Beam Element would normally be projected through the lens. This requires no change in the original wiring inside the cab - the (green) wire that fed the original High Beam part of the circuit from the Dimmer Switch now feeds a relay that tells the headlights to re-aim themselves when I hit the Dimmer Switch.

Conclusion -

* I now have HID bulbs in new glass lenses that are not that annoying blue of so many HID systems.

* I know have modern, relay-controlled and fuseable link protected power supplying my headlight system.

* My original wiring system, though a reproduction from AmericanAutowire, is protected against high current flowing through the Headlight Switch and dash area, thus prolonging the life of the jacketing and minimizing the heating of the wires.

* And MOST OF ALL, MY LIGHTS WORK AND ARE NICE AND BRIGHT! I can see with these better than many new cars, including my son's expensive 2017 Mustang!

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