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Old 10-13-2015, 04:45 PM   #1
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Headlight brightness

We have a 2008 MDTS low roof model and our headlights are not very bright. I have had them checked and have proper voltage etc. by a RV tech. Has anyone had this problem (I could not find a thread that dealt with this)? I am considering switching bulbs to a higher intensity but was told it would require a separate harness and some type of booster with heavy wiring etc.

Has anyone changed to different bulbs from stock and had any success with the new bulbs? If so, what brand, model number of the bulbs did you use?

I can run with my brights on and very seldom does anyone challenge that they are to bright and I have had them adjusted also. Thank you in advance for any wisdom you can share.
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Old 10-13-2015, 04:58 PM   #2
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It depends why they are not bright. If they really are not bright it is surprising but could be bad bulbs. Changing them would correct that.

If they are not lighting up the road properly it is an alignment problem that can be fixed by most shops.

The other issue is that as we age our night vision drops off so we have a harder time seeing in the dark. Putting enough light on the front to overcome that would take extra power as well as blinding oncoming traffic. A better solution is to park it before dark.
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Old 10-13-2015, 06:19 PM   #3
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Marvin, WRV has had a perceived issue with the headlights since the beginning (there are threads about this back to the beginning of IRV2). There have been several reasons put forth. The bottom line is you are sitting up higher than the average auto and the BMW headlights were probably aligned low, at least in the earlier years, I can testify to the 2005 model year. I replaced my headlight assemblies in either 2008 or 2009 with some from Depot off of eBay because the lenses were fogged and after polishing them twice I figured I would try a replacement. When I installed the replacements I had to drag the alignment holes to get alignment set so I was satisfied and the coach passed the safety inspection, first in California, then in North Carolina and most recently Massachusetts.

For various reasons I avoid driving at night, not the least of which is I think I out drive my head lights even though they are inspected and pass annually and I normally drive with the driving lights on. I think an object in the head light beam reflects better at the level of a passenger car driver (almost straight back) not the higher angle of a motor coach. I also like to be sitting down with an adult beverage when everyone else is out there fighting rush hour traffic. That's my 2 cents worth, but then 2 cents isn't worth as much as it was years ago (maybe I need to put in my $10 worth now).


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Old 10-14-2015, 12:59 PM   #4
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Marvin, I have replaced headlights in 3 different Alpines and all 3 had the headlight assemblies installed in a manner that they could not adjust the beam of light far enough "up" to point the light far enough down the road ahead of the coach.

I agreee 100% with what Dave says above. You just need to alter the position of the headlight assemblies so they are tilted back more at the top.

I am convinced that when the assemblies were originally installed at WRV, they were pointed down to the extent that the adjustment knob had to be turned all the way to one extent just the get the light kind of close to pointing down the road. I am pretty sure that over time, people get in there and try to adjust them past their limit which strips the adjuster and causes further issues.

Replacing the complete headlamp assembly and tilting the assembly back further will fix your issue. The headlights on mine work great.

I'd recommend Depo brand housings something like this: Depo Free SHIP 97 00 BMW E39 5 Series Angel Eye Projector Clear Corner Headlight | eBay

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Old 10-14-2015, 01:18 PM   #5
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Agree with Jeff--the aftermarket headlights are very nice looking and pretty easy to install and adjust...definitely an upgrade to the function and look of the OEM headlights--IMHO......
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Old 10-14-2015, 02:14 PM   #6
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I took my foglamps out and installed LED bar light and find that not only is it brighter but I also feel more secure in the day time with these lights lit.

If people phase out and do not notice the "Bus" they sure do see the lights as I approach them

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Old 10-14-2015, 05:01 PM   #7
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YUP--I love these new Silverstone and LED headlights--great if you are the driver sitting behind them--not so much if you have to meet them from the other direction--just saying.
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Old 10-14-2015, 06:46 PM   #8
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Headlight brightness

Ok, so you got me to take some more pictures. I replaced the stock headlights in 2010 with the Depo halo lights, this is 5 years later. I see a little dirt on the inside of the lenses so I will have to add another item to my "to do" before we head south for the winter.

Here are the low beams.Click image for larger version

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And with high beams.Click image for larger version

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All I had to do was attach the "halos" to the "always on" wire.


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Old 10-14-2015, 06:50 PM   #9
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Sorry, here are the Parking/daytime lights.Click image for larger version

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Old 10-14-2015, 07:13 PM   #10
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You stated that you had an RV tech check out the voltage etc, but what did they tell you? You need to test the voltage when the engine is running, with the HEADLIGHTS ON, check the voltage at the battery, AND at the headlight. Many RV's (probably most) are wired from the battery, through the headlight switch on the dash and then to the headlights.

If there is much voltage drop, you might want to consider installing relays for the headlights. That way, the dash switch only controls the relays which in turn turn power on or off to the headlights. They will probably reduce the total wire run from the battery, and will result in no or at least less voltage drop than running through the dash switch.

If your alternator is putting out say 13.6 volts, the batteries should read 13.6 volts when fully charged. Given 13.6 battery volts with the engine running and the headlights on, you should probably read at least 13.4 volts at the headlights. NOTE: The headlights must be on in order to get an accurate voltage or voltage drop at the headlights.

Not to beat a dead horse, but if the tech measured the voltage with the lights off, the results were meaningless.

We now have relays on our Dutch Star, and it makes a big difference. Also new headlights, but the relays alone reduced the voltage drop.
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Old 10-17-2015, 07:25 PM   #11
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WRV used the BMW headlight assemblies for the look. Unfortunately, w/this design on the original BMW's they angled back a bit for proper alignment, versus the vertical face of the bus. In order for WRV to get a reasonable "look" to the install, they had to angle the assembly down to get the lens more or less flush w/the front gen slide cap face.
I agree w/the chap who replaced the "driving" aka fog lights w/brighter LED versions. They are switched on/off, and those are what I use to alert truck drivers when passing that they can shift back to right lane. They don't see the headlights on/of well enough to know what's going on, especially since ordinary driving brightness is something like 75% until you actually turn on headlight switch.
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Old 10-17-2015, 09:02 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hit_the_Rhod View Post
You stated that you had an RV tech check out the voltage etc, but what did they tell you? You need to test the voltage when the engine is running, with the HEADLIGHTS ON, check the voltage at the battery, AND at the headlight. Many RV's (probably most) are wired from the battery, through the headlight switch on the dash and then to the headlights.

If there is much voltage drop, you might want to consider installing relays for the headlights. That way, the dash switch only controls the relays which in turn turn power on or off to the headlights. They will probably reduce the total wire run from the battery, and will result in no or at least less voltage drop than running through the dash switch.

If your alternator is putting out say 13.6 volts, the batteries should read 13.6 volts when fully charged. Given 13.6 battery volts with the engine running and the headlights on, you should probably read at least 13.4 volts at the headlights. NOTE: The headlights must be on in order to get an accurate voltage or voltage drop at the headlights.

Not to beat a dead horse, but if the tech measured the voltage with the lights off, the results were meaningless.

We now have relays on our Dutch Star, and it makes a big difference. Also new headlights, but the relays alone reduced the voltage drop.
X2. I also added the relays and the yellowish headlight now looks bright white. Made a noticeably big difference, as hit_the_rhod stated.
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Old 10-18-2015, 06:56 PM   #13
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Update

Hi,
I started this thread and have reviewed all the comments and advise. Before I posted we had tested voltage and had 13.8 at the Alternator (replaced and upgraded in 2013) 13.6 at the batteries and 13.1 at the headlights with them on (with the engine running). It has about 90,000 miles and is kept in an inside garage except when traveling and has no discoloration on the lens. We do not go and camp for any length of time but rather use it for traveling with most trips being in excess of 4 to 5,000 miles so it is not sitting in the sun for long periods. What I am hoping for from the forum members is advice.
I have looked carefully and did not find a part number on my headlights, does anyone know if WRV used the same headlights on all model years? Does anyone have the original part number and brand WRV used in 2008?
The "Halo" lights mentioned read "something like these", does anyone who has actually made the change out have the exact part number and brand for the headlights they used for replacement? Did you put in a relay for the new lights? Would you suggest one?
I read that the WRV lights were incorrectly installed, do the replacement lights and or mounting have to be modified to get the correct angle for aiming them? What modification was made in mounting? Do the new ones lay flat and look correct?
I realize I am asking a lot of dumb questions perhaps, but if I can get the correct replacements and know what I need to fix going in it would be terrific. Thank you in advance for all the wisdom that is available on this forum, it really helps instead of reinventing the wheel each time a problem arises.
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Old 10-19-2015, 08:05 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Just Cruising View Post
Hi,
I started this thread and have reviewed all the comments and advise. Before I posted we had tested voltage and had 13.8 at the Alternator (replaced and upgraded in 2013) 13.6 at the batteries and 13.1 at the headlights with them on (with the engine running). It has about 90,000 miles and is kept in an inside garage except when traveling and has no discoloration on the lens. We do not go and camp for any length of time but rather use it for traveling with most trips being in excess of 4 to 5,000 miles so it is not sitting in the sun for long periods. What I am hoping for from the forum members is advice.
I have looked carefully and did not find a part number on my headlights, does anyone know if WRV used the same headlights on all model years? Does anyone have the original part number and brand WRV used in 2008?
The "Halo" lights mentioned read "something like these", does anyone who has actually made the change out have the exact part number and brand for the headlights they used for replacement? Did you put in a relay for the new lights? Would you suggest one?
I read that the WRV lights were incorrectly installed, do the replacement lights and or mounting have to be modified to get the correct angle for aiming them? What modification was made in mounting? Do the new ones lay flat and look correct?
I realize I am asking a lot of dumb questions perhaps, but if I can get the correct replacements and know what I need to fix going in it would be terrific. Thank you in advance for all the wisdom that is available on this forum, it really helps instead of reinventing the wheel each time a problem arises.

NOT dumb questions, the are succinctly stated. I cannot respond with firsthand experience on any of the questions except the one about the relays, which I already posted on. The relays are available from most if not all auto parts stores. If they don't know what you are speaking of, go to the next store! They shouldn't be more than a few dollars each.

If you are having a .7 volt drop from alternator to headlights with engine running and headlights on, you should see a noticeable improvement by using relays. I am a little surprised by the .2 volt drop between the alternator and the batteries however. Have you checked your battery connections for tightness and lack of corrosion? ESPECIALLY the connection at the Battery Ground Wire to the Chassis? That is the one most overlooked! Tighten/replace as necessary.

On the relays, mine are mounted in the front electrical compartment above the generator. I believe #10 ga wire from the relays to the headlights. 2 separate relays, one for each headlight for redundancy in case one of the relays goes tango uniform, I will still have one headlight.

The wiring to and from the headlight switch can be a smaller wire, I think mine is 14 or 16 ga. since it is just powering the relay.

On the headlights, I believe there are several posts on the forum re/ headlight replacement lamps. Or post in the Winny section with your year/make/model. The PO of our coach replaced the two front headlights direct from Newmar and paid about 3 to 4 times what he needed to, but then again, he didn't have to search and find the source identity of the headlights used.

Jump into it! Hopefully it will be an illuminating experience for you! And don't forget to update this thread on what you end up doing and your experience with it. Take care,
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