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Old 06-09-2012, 01:25 AM   #1
"Formerly Diplomat Don"
 
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Newmar Owners Club
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Location: Moorpark, Ca.
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Headlight Upgrade

I did an upgrade to my headlights. It will probably be more than most will do, but there are a couple of things everyone can do.

I contacted a guy named Daniel Stern who upgrades headlights Daniel Stern Lighting Consultancy and Supply . I've had his website in my favorites for years and use it for reference. I told him what my isuues were and asked what could be done.

1st...He said the headlight lens on my model and year and several others are a 1997-2002 Buick Century. Even though it was a GM fixture, Monaco used aftermarket knock offs. He named several brands and mine was first on the list and one of the worse. He sent me Federal tests done in 2004 that showed the quality of the lens refraction and fit finish was below Federal guidelines, yet they were still being sold. You can buy one of the new knock offs to replace your fogged lens for about $69.00 - $88.00. The GM ones are $405.00 for both. I went for the whole deal and changed out the lenses.

Note: The lenses, new and old have two adjusters on both lamps. I always thought there was just one. There is one closest to the generator that is visible. This is the up/down adjust. Back in the corners are a second adjustment that is directly under the upper aluminum brace. You need to drill a 1/2" or larger hole in the brace so you can o
insert a torx head down through the hole to adjust the right left movement.

Note....Both the old and new lenses have leveling bubbles built in.....I never new that...the bubble cover is on top of the lense in the center, but is hard to see when it gets old. I asked Stern about these and his opinion was they were useless, but might be a good starting point.

2nd...The wiring is undersized for the coach. He recommends that you add relays and upgrade the wiring. This is the part of the upgrade I would recommend to everyone. His kit is $95.00. You could probably piece the parts together, but some parts would be difficult to find. The kit includes (3) relays and holders. (2) ceramic high beam and (2) ceramic low beam sockets. It comes with (2) adapters that plug into your your stock headlight sockets to do the conversion without cutting any of your stock wiring....these trigger the relays. The kit also includes connectors, but no wiring. I picked up the power for the relays from the run bay and mounted the relays inside the big black box.

Here is the neat part about this. With his kit, there is a relay that keeps the low beams on when you turn the high beams on. This was a FANTASTIC improvement on a dark road.

3rd.....I had added SilverStar bulbs to my coach and seemed like I got improvement. Daniel Stern hates them and says that any bulb you buy that is not clear (SijverStars are tinted blue) is being toned down by the tint and is not a good thing. He doesn't sell bulbs, but recommended some Phillips bulbs from Amazon Amazon.com: Philips 9006 X-treme Power Headlight Bulbs (Low-Beam), Pack of 2: Automotive
in the appropriate size.

Results.....I had a difficult time finding a level area, with a wall and 60' of space to park and back the MH off 25' for adjustment. I did a preliminary adjustment at 11:30 at night (tired) and the went for a drive. There wasn't "oh my gosh" results, but I wasn't overdriving the lights at 65mph.

The big improvement was the low beam/high beam upgrade. I could really light up the highway. I will drill the holes for the other adjuster this week and aim them again when I'm not tired.

The total project was.....hold on.....$600.00. I would recommend to most to do the wiring kit and new bulbs. If your lenses are shot, you may want to at least buy the aftermarket ones to get clear lenses again.

Hopes this helps.....I'll update this week after I find a better wall and can adjust the right/left adjustment.
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Old 06-09-2012, 10:11 AM   #2
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Hi Don

Great feedback. I was following your previous post on this. Looks like the real oem assembly itself didn't make the big difference but the relays and wiring did. It was interesting to know that the oem fixtures we thought were truly not oem. My only input is that perhaps the real GM oem assembly is also not that great. If I look at the vehicles from that vintage, I think those fixtures were not that great in the first place and they are going through the lens hazing like rvrs experience. Also the light output didn't seem that great until recently on a lot of vehicles. Perhaps a lot of 2006/2007 auto lights started getting better. Just my opinion. Thanks for the feedback.
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Old 06-26-2012, 09:04 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diplomat Don View Post
I did an upgrade to my headlights. It will probably be more than most will do, but there are a couple of things everyone can do.

I contacted a guy named Daniel Stern who upgrades headlights Daniel Stern Lighting Consultancy and Supply . I've had his website in my favorites for years and use it for reference. I told him what my isuues were and asked what could be done.

1st...He said the headlight lens on my model and year and several others are a 1997-2002 Buick Century. Even though it was a GM fixture, Monaco used aftermarket knock offs. He named several brands and mine was first on the list and one of the worse. He sent me Federal tests done in 2004 that showed the quality of the lens refraction and fit finish was below Federal guidelines, yet they were still being sold. You can buy one of the new knock offs to replace your fogged lens for about $69.00 - $88.00. The GM ones are $405.00 for both. I went for the whole deal and changed out the lenses.

Note: The lenses, new and old have two adjusters on both lamps. I always thought there was just one. There is one closest to the generator that is visible. This is the up/down adjust. Back in the corners are a second adjustment that is directly under the upper aluminum brace. You need to drill a 1/2" or larger hole in the brace so you can o
insert a torx head down through the hole to adjust the right left movement.

Note....Both the old and new lenses have leveling bubbles built in.....I never new that...the bubble cover is on top of the lense in the center, but is hard to see when it gets old. I asked Stern about these and his opinion was they were useless, but might be a good starting point.

2nd...The wiring is undersized for the coach. He recommends that you add relays and upgrade the wiring. This is the part of the upgrade I would recommend to everyone. His kit is $95.00. You could probably piece the parts together, but some parts would be difficult to find. The kit includes (3) relays and holders. (2) ceramic high beam and (2) ceramic low beam sockets. It comes with (2) adapters that plug into your your stock headlight sockets to do the conversion without cutting any of your stock wiring....these trigger the relays. The kit also includes connectors, but no wiring. I picked up the power for the relays from the run bay and mounted the relays inside the big black box.

Here is the neat part about this. With his kit, there is a relay that keeps the low beams on when you turn the high beams on. This was a FANTASTIC improvement on a dark road.

3rd.....I had added SilverStar bulbs to my coach and seemed like I got improvement. Daniel Stern hates them and says that any bulb you buy that is not clear (SijverStars are tinted blue) is being toned down by the tint and is not a good thing. He doesn't sell bulbs, but recommended some Phillips bulbs from Amazon Amazon.com: Philips 9006 X-treme Power Headlight Bulbs (Low-Beam), Pack of 2: Automotive
in the appropriate size.

Results.....I had a difficult time finding a level area, with a wall and 60' of space to park and back the MH off 25' for adjustment. I did a preliminary adjustment at 11:30 at night (tired) and the went for a drive. There wasn't "oh my gosh" results, but I wasn't overdriving the lights at 65mph.

The big improvement was the low beam/high beam upgrade. I could really light up the highway. I will drill the holes for the other adjuster this week and aim them again when I'm not tired.

The total project was.....hold on.....$600.00. I would recommend to most to do the wiring kit and new bulbs. If your lenses are shot, you may want to at least buy the aftermarket ones to get clear lenses again.

Hopes this helps.....I'll update this week after I find a better wall and can adjust the right/left adjustment.
Don you are right on! D.S. is the lighting GURU i have used his kits to upgrade my Corvette and Rubicon lights with amazing results ( w/ complete harness/relays/capacitors and bulbs ;a true plug n play)
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Old 06-27-2012, 12:10 AM   #4
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We rarely travel at night (about twice a year), but did so last week on a trip to the Sacramento area. The lighting was a nice improvement. It didn't provide down the road lighting like my Lexus with HID's, but it did improve the lighting enough that I felt I wasn't overdriving the lights at 60 mph. The big improvement was to the sides of the coach (45 degree angle from the front corners). The lighting was sharper/crisper too.
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Old 06-29-2012, 12:33 PM   #5
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I knew the lights on my 2001 Executive were bad but after I bought the wife a new car with the LED headlights did I realize how bad. I too have been looking at replacing the entire assembly with something but have yet to determine what. I would definitely love for it to be LED but don't know yet what is available.
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Old 06-29-2012, 09:12 PM   #6
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We have a 2000 Windsor with plastic fogged lenses. I couldn't find a "glass" replacement so I just redid them with plastic again... hoping they'll last at least 2-3 years?? Would love to do the European LED conversion style on the newer ones but too much $$$
The 2000 lenses are Fords..... guess, they were the design at the time!?!
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Old 07-02-2012, 06:00 PM   #7
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I also upgraded my lights several years ago. I purchased entire light assemblies from a wrecking yard and refit them to the motorhome.

I've been thinking lately about switching to HID lights. Has anyone tried this?
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Old 07-02-2012, 06:18 PM   #8
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Newmar also got a bunch of the counterfeit OEM lenses around the 2000 model year as I remember. On our 2002 the lights are OK but could probably use the relay upgrade.
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Old 07-02-2012, 07:44 PM   #9
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Got a question. After replacing the lenses and bulbs is there anything that can be done so the NEW Lenses don't fog up again? keeping them clean is a start. but will waxing help or make them fog sooner? Appreciate knowing the best way to maintain them. ed
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Old 07-02-2012, 09:44 PM   #10
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EDALLSAILS......I think sun exposure is probably the biggest cause of the lenses going bad. My coach is parked behind a wood fence and the headlights don't get any direct sunlight. My original aftermarket lenses were as clear as the day I bought the coach (7 years). I also think that good quality lenses, such as the GM OEM lenses probably last a little longer. Maybe 303 on the lenses would add some UV protection.
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Old 11-02-2012, 10:59 AM   #11
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Well I'm off to the RV to measure my voltage at the bulbs. It sounds like we have a great source for the relay kits as well...many thanks for that information.

One question for the group. When you hooked up the relay wiring system, where did you get your power and ground conncetions from? On our HR I'm curious as to where the recommended connection points would be and also how you ran your wires to the front of the coach.

Thanks.
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Old 11-02-2012, 11:23 AM   #12
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SpursMVP.....I connected and mounted the new relays in the large black box in the run bay. I connected to the large power post that is at bottom center in the box. I fused each connection separately and then soldered to each relay. There is room in the box to leave the relays inside the box. I ran the wiring out of the box and out the front of the bay which leads right to the left front headlight. I picked up my ground from the frame behind the headlight in the generator bay.

I recommend you buy the new light sockets that are designed for higher heat and power and will accept the larger wiring. The only difficult part was getting the sockets and bulbs back in their headlight lens hole. With the beefier wiring, you have to work a little to get the sockets back into place. It's easier if you leave yourself some extra wiring and remove the lens. This way you can install the sockets from outside the generator bay. If you do this, take some blue painters tape and tape the painted areas around the headiight lens before removal.
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Old 11-06-2012, 07:46 AM   #13
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Hey Don Can you post pics of your fog lights? I am doing a HID upgrade on my navigator and need to figure out what to do with the old turn signal locations.

Wished I could find a 2"x8" fog light but thats pretty hard to do. Looking for other options.


Thanks
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Old 11-06-2012, 05:24 PM   #14
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RUNDLC.....My Hella's are phyiscally 2" tall by 6" long. They fit in my 8" long opening and look good.

Hella FF 75 Lights - Best Prices on Hella FF 75 Fog Light & Driving Light Kits w/2 Driving Lamps & 2 (12V/55W) H7 Bulbs
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