Poor headlights - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 60 (permalink) Old Aug 2nd, 14, 09:26 AM Thread Starter
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Brian
 
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Poor headlights

I was driving home from a cruise night and I found my headlights are of little or no use.
Both are on and the system is charging. I just think they are old. When I got home I looked at them and one is actually looking gold color and very dim.
I was wondering what is available to get some clear white light back. One is not bad but I am so used to the new cars bright lights. It just seems bad.
I am pretty sure they are both T3s. Not sure if they are repops.
I did a search and nothing really came up.
If you can point me to a web site, that would help.

I have owned 3 69 Z/28s: Garnet Red 30,000 mi unrestored.
Glacier Blue, documented Canadian Z
Rallye Green purchased new in 1969
1968 Camaro Coupe L30 275 horse. ]
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post #2 of 60 (permalink) Old Aug 2nd, 14, 09:54 AM
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Jim
 
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Re: Poor headlights

You might try running test wires directly from the battery positive and negative to see if one or both of either the power or grounds at the headlight connector has an issue.
The power to the headlights has a few connections on it's circuit and poor connections here and there can all add up and reduce the power getting to the headlights. The same holds true on the ground side.
Sometimes too the connections at the headlight terminals and the connector become corroded reducing power and ground.

There is information out there on how to add relays to take the load off of the original headlight circuit and this could be done or a person might find out that just cleaning all of the original connections works for them. The problem with cleaning the male and female connections on the wiring will do nothing for the crimped connections on the wiring but sometimes you can solder the connections and have them perform better but be aware sometimes the corrosion is too bad and will not allow the connection to be properly soldered. In that case a person needs to put on new terminals and cut back into the original wire as needed however then the wire is shorter and may not reach where it did before.

Jim

1974 Spirit Of America Nova (being restored), 1973 Nova Custom, 1968 Chevy II (Garage Find 2012)

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post #3 of 60 (permalink) Old Aug 2nd, 14, 10:03 AM
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Re: Poor headlights

Im betting on 'ground' issues as well, typical on our old cars. remove each ground wire, wire brush the metal surface around it, wirebrush the connectors, use star washers to reconnect the screws and bolts and I bet it improves alot. Relays are the long term best way to help the old lights.

Click..is Jim..former owner of a 69RS-LM1 350/255 - 700r
"There will come a time when you believe everything is finished,
That will be the beginning." Louis L'Amour
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post #4 of 60 (permalink) Old Aug 2nd, 14, 10:35 AM
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Re: Poor headlights

A good set of halogen sealed beams should work great if they are connected and grounded properly. For a sealed beam upgrade check out the Wagner BriteLite - H6024BL

http://www.rockauto.com/catalog/more...222&cc=1034738

...Dennis

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post #5 of 60 (permalink) Old Aug 2nd, 14, 12:22 PM
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Re: Poor headlights

The sealed beam halogens work pretty good, even better when relays are added. There are headlight relay harnesses available that don't require cutting and splicing into the factory harness and installation is pretty simple. Example: http://www.ebay.com/itm/CERAMIC-H4-7...e25827&vxp=mtr


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post #6 of 60 (permalink) Old Aug 2nd, 14, 02:01 PM Thread Starter
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Brian
 
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Re: Poor headlights

Thanks guys. I have never really worried about lights. All of my previous cars seemed to have bright enough lights. I will check the grounds and look at a set of halogen bulbs.
I really don't do a lot of night drivng.
I was not sure if I had to do an modifications to run Halogens. I see it is basically plug and play. Thanks again

I have owned 3 69 Z/28s: Garnet Red 30,000 mi unrestored.
Glacier Blue, documented Canadian Z
Rallye Green purchased new in 1969
1968 Camaro Coupe L30 275 horse. ]
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post #7 of 60 (permalink) Old Aug 2nd, 14, 02:39 PM
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Scott
 
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Re: Poor headlights

Brian,

The wiring in these older cars for circuits such as the headlamps were borderline capable when these cars were manufactured. Add 40 plus years of age and they are even more taxed. They allow voltage loss ( 2 volts is common from electrical system voltage to headlamps) even with good connections and grounds which causes the light output to be much less than it could/should be. Adding new headlamps that draw even more current only makes the situation worse.

One of the best upgrades you can make is a headlamp relay harness, fairly inexpensive, easy to install and no cutting or soldering of the harness if you choose correctly. I installed one last year and did a review of it which can be found here: https://www.camaros.net/forums/showthread.php?t=234681

A headlamp relay kit is very necessary if you install new headlamps that put out more light and draw more current. If you do a headlamp relay harness, I doubt you'll be disappointed. It's one of the best upgrades bang-for-the-buck wise I've done on my car. It relieves the headlamp wiring system of most of the load and even makes your interior lamps on your gauges, etc brighter. The original wiring and your headlamp switch will last longer as they are carrying only a fraction of the original current they did without a relay harness.

69 Camaro Z/28 RS, original Azure Turquoise, M21 & 3.73 12-bolt posi. NOM 406ci, AFR 210 heads, Straub hyd. roller cam & Dynatech 1-3/4" > 1-7/8" headers, QuickFuel 750 Annular. Photos at:
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post #8 of 60 (permalink) Old Aug 2nd, 14, 03:06 PM
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Re: Poor headlights

About 32 yrs ago ?I to hand the issue.. yep clweanedup the ground from the lights stuff all difference, so cleand the frame area around where the light brackets start to join the body.. no difference
So considering going halogen upgrade....
Picked up a couple new std filiment headlamps a few weeks later.. they where on special, nothing fancy.

Whooooh! what a difference!
One of the old lamps was still orginal ex factory, the other was a replacement for a blown lamp 2nd hand out of a 1974 Aussie GM HQ holden, a frirnd had laying around at the time.

Nothing wrong with the factory lamps... so long as they are not old... why 'upgrade/ fix' something thats not broke?

mind u halgons would be great if going off road at night in the camaro right?

My Spelling is not incorrect...it is creative

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post #9 of 60 (permalink) Old Aug 2nd, 14, 04:40 PM Thread Starter
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Brian
 
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Re: Poor headlights

I was thinking along the same lines. I really think they are just old sealed beams. The halogens are about 20 bucks a piece here in Canada, and the normal ones about 10.
The halogens are easier to get than the normal ones.

I have owned 3 69 Z/28s: Garnet Red 30,000 mi unrestored.
Glacier Blue, documented Canadian Z
Rallye Green purchased new in 1969
1968 Camaro Coupe L30 275 horse. ]
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post #10 of 60 (permalink) Old Aug 3rd, 14, 08:10 AM Thread Starter
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Brian
 
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Re: Poor headlights

I did a closer check on the lights. The one is probably an original T3. I find it hard to believe it lasted 46 years. If so it is definitely a golden color. The other is a generic regular sealed beam. A lot brighter for sure.
The grounds are all good and tight with a good clean metal to metal contact.
I will go and pick up a set of halogens and try them.
I kind of hate to pull the T3, but I will keep it for future reference.

I have owned 3 69 Z/28s: Garnet Red 30,000 mi unrestored.
Glacier Blue, documented Canadian Z
Rallye Green purchased new in 1969
1968 Camaro Coupe L30 275 horse. ]
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post #11 of 60 (permalink) Old Aug 3rd, 14, 09:32 AM
DjD
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Re: Poor headlights

Brian check out www.rockauto.com, they have some close out sealed beam halogens that even with shipping may be less than what you mentioned and they have those Wagner BriteLite - H6024BL for $11 ea and they would be an upgrade over what you can get for $20...

...Dennis

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post #12 of 60 (permalink) Old Aug 3rd, 14, 09:44 AM
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Howard
 
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Re: Poor headlights

X3 on the upgrade wiring harness.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/CERAMIC-H4-H...7623ec&vxp=mtr

I tried upgrading my T3's to halogen and it was brighter but all my other lights got dimmer. It also puts a tremendous strain on your headlight switch because of the increased amps that the halogens draw. Once I installed this harness, all my lights were much brighter since the headlights only draw enough current for the relay now.

The thing only costs $35 and is really well made. I don't think you could even build one that cheap. Like an earlier post said, you don't need to cut your original harness and you can hide the wires in the radiator support. Even if you're not concerned with brighter headlights, it's still worth a look because your brake lights will be that much brighter at night. With all the people looking at their phones instead of driving, it doesn't hurt to have better brake lights and directionals.
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post #13 of 60 (permalink) Old Aug 3rd, 14, 10:02 AM
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Re: Poor headlights

That's the same (or very similar) harness that I bought. The only gripe I had with it was that it has a single power feed and fuse for both high and low beams. Should the fuse fail you'd have nuthin'. So....a la Tim Allen, I rewired it for more power. Took a small bit of figuring, but set it up so that each relay socket has its own power feed - eliminated the fuse in favor of fusible link wire for each (personal preference). Also added genuine Bosch 50a relays that I had on the shelf. What I did isn't necessary - I was just bored.


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post #14 of 60 (permalink) Old Aug 3rd, 14, 11:07 AM
DjD
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Re: Poor headlights

All you guys having issue with the factory or factory style headlight wiring must have other issues that have not been isolated. I've had no problems with the '69 or the '72 Nova and know of many other 1st gens without issue. That said the relay isn't a bad idea just shouldn't be necessary....

...Dennis

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post #15 of 60 (permalink) Old Aug 3rd, 14, 11:17 AM
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Re: Poor headlights

Not neccessary but I would highly recommend it if upgrading to higher amp bulbs. Of course higher amp bulbs aren't "necessary". It all depends on how you use your car.

I go on long trips that include night driving in texas where the speed limit is 70mph on the back roads. Back in the day when these cars were built, it probably would have been 50mph tops. I tried one of those trips with my T3s and it was scary. Would have been OK at 50 mph. Speeds keep increasing around here. We have 85mph highway near Austin. Being able to see further is a necessity at higher speeds.
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