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Old 10-17-2015, 07:42 PM   #1
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Class A head lights...

With four rectangular headlights it can get expensive changing them so I've been doing them myself but have run into a 'situation' I'd like to ask you all about.

With two 2A2 and two 1A1 headlamps, costing $9 to $15 each plus tax these days, depending where you happen to be in the country, I've gotten tired of replacing these things over and over!

What is it about RV headlamps that ruins them so quickly? It takes about 6 months after I've installed a new lamp that I see condensation inside the glass shell (case? Bulb holder? I don't know what to call it).

The glass outer shell has two functions. It both holds the Halogen bulb, and the silver coating on the inside of the glass intensifies and directs the light forward. (GE calls it a sealed beam Halogen, but it's not very well sealed).

The condensation inside the glass shell seems to dissolve the silver coating inside there. So the headlight is all dim and virtually useless shortly after I see condensation. Right now, these are all GE headlights (because when you're on the road, you don't always have a choice), and two of them had water. But the internal bulbs still work.

I popped out the hot melt glue plug and drained them of about 1 tablespoon of water each. Yikes! Cleaned them up, heated them up to vaporize as much leftover liquid as I could, then taped aluminum foil to the outside of the glass. I left the hot melt glue plugs open to maybe help moisture evacuate the glass case?

They are as bright as the two other headlights that don't have condensation but I don't think they'll last long. I think the packing tape will weather quickly and the aluminum foil will peal off in the road wind.

Anyway, anyone else having this trouble with these crummy GE or Sylvania headlamps? What are you doing about it?

Thanks!

[PS I know there's a new substitute number for these headlamps, that's what I've been buying.]

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Old 10-17-2015, 08:47 PM   #2
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I would like to get these, 4 x 6" Rectangular SEALED Beam Headlamp Conversion Without Bulbs H4654 | eBay
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Old 10-17-2015, 10:47 PM   #3
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If I were you, I would replace the whole headlight assemblies for something new and more than likely better sealed. If you look closely at the outside of the clear part of your headlamp, you will see a number that looks something like XX-XXXX. That is a DOT assembly number. You can do a search on e-bay or Amazon for that number and headlight to find what they originally were used on. For example, the ones on my 2006 Itasca were from 96-99 Ford Windstar vans. I bought a new pair for about $55 on e-bay that even included new bulb. They fit and worked perfectly. Just about all motor home manufacturers use off the shelf headlamps from some other vehicle. My new Tiffin uses headlamp and taillamp assemblies from Chevy Silverado pickups.
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Old 10-18-2015, 01:18 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deano56 View Post
$80 for a single headlight?

$55 for a new headlight assembly?

For $9 I can get a brand new headlight that'll last me a couple years since I tend to drive in good weather and in the daylight so I don't think I'll be switching to an $80 headlight just yet. Interesting idea though.

The headlight assembly idea? No link so I don't know if that would even work since mine are just held in with metal rectangles. I wouldn't know where to put an assembly. Probably not worth the effort. Thanks for the idea though.

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Old 10-18-2015, 08:37 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim_HiTek View Post
$80 for a single headlight?

$55 for a new headlight assembly?

For $9 I can get a brand new headlight that'll last me a couple years since I tend to drive in good weather and in the daylight so I don't think I'll be switching to an $80 headlight just yet. Interesting idea though.

The headlight assembly idea? No link so I don't know if that would even work since mine are just held in with metal rectangles. I wouldn't know where to put an assembly. Probably not worth the effort. Thanks for the idea though.

i thought you just said you were tired of them lasting for only a few months, btw I think those lights are priced for a pair, they are not a normal sealed beam from Walmart
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Old 10-19-2015, 10:23 AM   #6
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The do generally only last a few months before they start showing moisture inside, but I don't replace them as soon as that happens. The light does continue to turn on, but they grow dim as the reflector material inside the glass globe slowly sluffs off.

Then eventually, all that moisture inside the glass causes the halogen bulb to burn out. Or at least I think that's what causes them to burn out, always within two years, sometimes quicker.

I'm able to put off immediately replacing them because I seldom drive at night or in foul weather.

What I was hoping when I posted was that someone who'd gone through this problem had found an aftermarket sealed beam replacement. Something that isn't a GE or Sylvania, I'd pay double, or even a bit more, but $90 per bulb (including shipping) is a bit much. Though I'm happy to get any suggestions.
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Old 10-19-2015, 12:30 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lt Dan View Post
If I were you, I would replace the whole headlight assemblies for something new and more than likely better sealed. If you look closely at the outside of the clear part of your headlamp, you will see a number that looks something like XX-XXXX. That is a DOT assembly number. You can do a search on e-bay or Amazon for that number and headlight to find what they originally were used on. For example, the ones on my 2006 Itasca were from 96-99 Ford Windstar vans. I bought a new pair for about $55 on e-bay that even included new bulb. They fit and worked perfectly. Just about all motor home manufacturers use off the shelf headlamps from some other vehicle. My new Tiffin uses headlamp and taillamp assemblies from Chevy Silverado pickups.

His headlights are the standard, rectangular Sealed beam type, used on a few zillion cars, trucks, motor homes and more for decades. They are not the "Form fitted" style like what you're speaking of and, many have. As in my case. Our coach, is an '04 Itasca Horizon 36GD with the C-7 330HP CAT and, the headlights it utilizes are the same exact ones form a Nissan Pathfinder.

But as stated, his are generic.
Scott

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deano56 View Post
i thought you just said you were tired of them lasting for only a few months, btw I think those lights are priced for a pair, they are not a normal sealed beam from Walmart
Dean,
No, those are NOT priced for the PAIR. That is a price for an individual one. If you click on the little box that says "1" and, make it a "2", then add to your cart, it will show up in the cart as two and, it will have total price of around $159.00.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim_HiTek View Post
The do generally only last a few months before they start showing moisture inside, but I don't replace them as soon as that happens. The light does continue to turn on, but they grow dim as the reflector material inside the glass globe slowly sluffs off.

Then eventually, all that moisture inside the glass causes the halogen bulb to burn out. Or at least I think that's what causes them to burn out, always within two years, sometimes quicker.

I'm able to put off immediately replacing them because I seldom drive at night or in foul weather.

What I was hoping when I posted was that someone who'd gone through this problem had found an aftermarket sealed beam replacement. Something that isn't a GE or Sylvania, I'd pay double, or even a bit more, but $90 per bulb (including shipping) is a bit much. Though I'm happy to get any suggestions.
Jim,
Well Sir, not sure just what to tell you in this issue. We've had many vehicles in our life that utilized those same exact head lights and, I don't remember seeing any moisture in any, that I can recall. And, we also had zillions of them on all our fire trucks for over 25 years and, would only replace ones that burnt out. I don't recall any moisture in those too and, you know what kind of environment a fire truck lives in, WATER!

So, just why you're having such a moisture issue, CONTINUOUSLY is a new one on me. Kind-a interesting.
Scott
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Old 10-19-2015, 01:24 PM   #8
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This is what the headlights look like after 6 or so months driving around the country. I do tend to stay in places where it's not raining so it's not like they are in a downpour most of the year. Just the opposite, actually.

You can see all the moisture inside the glass globe. They still work and I've wrapped them with AL foil so they're almost as bright as a new bulb but I know they won't last long with all that moisture inside.



This is the other side. The lamp on the outside is the newest one. The one next to it is looking cloudy. I don't recall how old that one is but it doesn't show signs of moisture and is nice and bright when on.



I found the cross numbers: 2A1 = H4656; 1A1 = H4651

Did a quick google search and there are different brands but in checking the specs there's never any mention of how reliable they are or if they're tested for 100's of atmospheres without leaks (hyperbole there). At least I haven't found a site that does yet.
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Old 10-19-2015, 02:01 PM   #9
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Mine does the same thing. Perhaps vibration is the cause.
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Old 10-19-2015, 02:20 PM   #10
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I had one that got a rock chip and got moisture in it. Another one with no chip and still got moisture in it. I don't remember the brand of those, but now I have Wagner and so far no problems except for low voltage but that's another story.


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