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Old 01-16-2012, 08:42 PM   #1
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Improving headlight illumination

I am interested in improving the level of illumination provided by the headlights in my 2003 Monaco, LePalma motor home on a Workhorse, gas engine chassis. Does anyone have experience and/or recommendations with regard to Xenon HID Headlight Kits for motor homes? Does anyone have experience with the self leveling feature sometime applied to Xenon head light systems?
Thanks,
John
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Old 01-16-2012, 10:09 PM   #2
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John,
I just bought a 2003 Monaco-Sahara. I noticed that the headlight lenses were cloudy so I used a lens cleaner/polisher compound to restore them. It worked great. I also noticed that the headlight bulbs plug into their housing. You might check the number on the bulb and see whats available.

Jim
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Old 01-16-2012, 10:15 PM   #3
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The lens cleaner will work temporarily but my experience has been that it is very temporary and then has to be done again very soon. I changed a set on my previous coach to Xenon HID and they were FAR superior to the OEM headlights. Loved them, had to experiment a little with aiming them so they did not blind oncoming drivers but got out late at night and aimed them down and the the right and everything worked out great. Good luck. just my experience and opinion.
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Old 01-16-2012, 10:20 PM   #4
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Remember the good ol' days when headlights were made of glass?
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Old 01-16-2012, 11:29 PM   #5
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With most coaches, the builder buys a chassis and then puts their box on it. Because they are buying a standard chassis, the chassis builder builds that chassis with enough extra length wiring to work in whatever box is put on it. I had a '97HR Endeavor DP which was built on a Freightliner chassis. When I investigated my headlight wiring, I found several feet of headlight wiring coiled up in the front cap. The voltage actually delivered to the headlight bulbs (as measured by putting some extra wires so that I could see what the bulbs were getting) with the headlights on was somewhere around 10 volts, not the 12.5+ that what was supposed to be there.

There is a very good article at www.danielsternlighting.com/tech/relays/relays.html that describes the use of relays to feed the battery voltage directly to the bulbs and avoid all the wiring voltage drops that rob you of headlight brightness. Using those modifications, I increased the voltage and brightness dramatically.

There are also some other things that you can do. The easiest is to replace the bulbs with Sylvania Ultrastar. You can also polish out any fogging on the headlight lenses with a kit made by 3M.

Dick Lucas, '04 HR Imperial
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Old 01-17-2012, 11:17 AM   #6
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Check the voltage at the plug on the light bulb. If it is below 12v with the engine running a relay kit will make a big difference.

Jim
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Old 01-17-2012, 11:35 AM   #7
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This is a very interesting discussion. Our new Bounder has the WORST headlight illumination EVER. I thought the beams needed to be adjusted, but even after that it seems like the headlights are very dim. The lenses are not cloudy...but the output from the lights is very weak. Thanks for the tips on voltage and better bulbs.
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Old 01-17-2012, 12:43 PM   #8
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When we first came to the US, I was amazed how wimpy car headlights were. We'd had quartz/halogen bulbs in the UK for several years and main beams were typically 60 watts. My first couple of US cars had sealed-beam units that had a 48-watt main beam. I wasn't happy going over about 50 mph at night for fear they'd blow out in the wind! The lights on our MH are about as wimpy, hampered even more by clouded lenses. Since I almost never drive the MH after dark, I haven't chased getting more lumens. They'r adequate for other people to see me and they're wired as daytime running lights.

JC Whitney used to sell quartz/halogen headlight bulbs up to 100 watts. I haven't looked at that catalog for some time. The packaging said "not for on-road use", but they plug into regular headlight sockets. Not sure if they're dual filament - they might be for quad headlight installations.

You'd definitely need relays to use something taking that much power. The dash/steering column switch wouldn't be adequate.

Another thing to check is how good the grounding is for the headlights. If there's rust under the grounding tag, that can cause dim lights.
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Old 02-16-2012, 09:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann n Gene View Post
The lens cleaner will work temporarily but my experience has been that it is very temporary and then has to be done again very soon. I changed a set on my previous coach to Xenon HID and they were FAR superior to the OEM headlights. Loved them, had to experiment a little with aiming them so they did not blind oncoming drivers but got out late at night and aimed them down and the the right and everything worked out great. Good luck. just my experience and opinion.
This reflects my experience also. The HID kit I used required a separate 20 amp feed from the coach electrical system, and used the old headlight wiring only as a trigger for hi/lo beams. No relays required. For inexpensive HID, check out DDM Tuning DDM Tuning : HID Kits
As cheap as $30 f you don't need high/lo bulbs. Mine have been in service for over a year with no problems.

My experience in ordering was fair...no estimate of delivery time, no tracking number, but they did show up in about 4 weeks and exactly as ordered.

Fred
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Old 02-16-2012, 10:23 PM   #10
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Just a thought....cheap HIDS kits....Ask yourself where do they come from??? Why are they SO cheap?? What do I do when the transformer fails?? I will only know it fails, when I need it!!! hmmmmm,,use caution!
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Old 02-16-2012, 10:52 PM   #11
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Just a thought....cheap HIDS kits....Ask yourself where do they come from??? Why are they SO cheap?? What do I do when the transformer fails?? I will only know it fails, when I need it!!! hmmmmm,,use caution!
Well, they come from the same country that your ipod, ipad, android phone, tv, laptop, etc is produced. When it fails, I change two wiring connectors, pop the old oem bulbs back in, and drive home. Then I troubleshoot to find the problem, and send the bad part back for replacement under the lifetime warranty. When they fail, if they do, I still have two driving lights on also.
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Old 02-16-2012, 11:53 PM   #12
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Cheap HIDs will fail in 1-3 years...

Sylvania Ultrastars come in different brightnesses - and cost ALOT. The brighter they are, the least they will last. The brightest lasts about 1 year...
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Old 02-17-2012, 02:14 AM   #13
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Be careful with the 100 watt "off road only" bulbs from JC Whitney and others. First off, the ones I ordered came with a hokey blue coating to mimic HID or xenon. I scraped that off and did see a significant improvement in the miserable lighting on my Damon. But -- the extra heat eventually melted the bulb sockets. Luckily it didn't destroy the whole headlight assembly which is very expensive. I finally went to extra driving lights.
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Old 02-18-2012, 01:23 AM   #14
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Rallylights.com can set you up with a custom harness that has relays and plugs in between your stock harness and the lights. Heavier gauge wiring, uses your stock lighting harness to trigger the relays.

cost me about $100

If you have glass lights, he has Hella H4 euro systems. I have 80W low beams and 130W high beams.

I also have some Hella 55W tractor lights flush mounted on the rear cap - now I can see to back up.
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