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Old 05-09-2017, 11:35 AM   #1
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Headlight bulb advice

Does anyone have an opinion on what brand, brightness, cost, of a good LED bulb.
I have a 2015 Bounder 33C and the headlights need to be improved! Lou camp
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Old 05-09-2017, 12:30 PM   #2
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I'm not sure what bulb your coach uses, but I've had one of these before for my motorcycle. They work extremely well. Cyclops Adventure Sports - Lighting Your Way I currently have a set of LED bulbs in it but they were installed by the previous owner so I'm not sure what brand.
I've not driven much in my coach at night so haven't even considered brighter lights yet.
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Old 05-09-2017, 12:50 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lou Camp View Post
Does anyone have an opinion on what brand, brightness, cost, of a good LED bulb.
I have a 2015 Bounder 33C and the headlights need to be improved! Lou camp

LED has a long way to go before it really becomes a good headlight bulb replacement. The first place to start is the actual headlights themselves. They are more than likely a knock off of an older car or truck headlamp. Figure that out and you may be able to replace them with the genuine part from a junkyard. It will be a much better improvement. In my case I have Audi A4 headlamps in my RV and the genuine parts are almost $800 each and that is used. I ended up going with a better aftermarket headlamp assembly.
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Old 05-09-2017, 04:22 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lou Camp View Post
Does anyone have an opinion on what brand, brightness, cost, of a good LED bulb.
I have a 2015 Bounder 33C and the headlights need to be improved! Lou camp
Lou Camp,
The use of LED replacement bulbs has been done by many, many folks out there in Jeep land, motor home land, motor cycle land and more. About 99.9% of the results are waaaaaaaaay less than desired. The LED bulbs are not designed for the type of reflector etc. that the factory bulbs are designed for. In the Jeep world, we've changed the entire head lamp assembly for superior results.
When a reflector housing is designed for LEDs, it takes into account the way the bulb displays light. In many cases where higher end ones are designed and built, the front lens is also a form of a magnifying glass too, to actually PROJECT the LED light.

One of the things you might want to do prior to spending any money on bulb (any bulb) changes is, get your trusty VOM (Volt Ohm Meter) and see just what kind of voltage your head lights are seeing, right at the plugs. In many cases, there is a reduced voltage for various circumstances. Long runs of wire, improper wiring of higher voltage THROUGH the headlight switch which, is not normally designed to carry that kind of voltage (but manufacturers get away with it), corroded connections and more, will cause lower than desired voltage at the headlight plugs.

Once you've determined that you're receiving maximum voltage at your headlight plugs, then you can experiment with the type of bulb of your choice. But, you can change all the bulbs you like and, it won't do any good if your wiring is sub standard, as many of ours is.
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Old 05-09-2017, 06:10 PM   #5
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Lou, there is a whole write up on this in the Fleetwood section in this forum under Fleetwood Owners. A guy with a Bounder spent a bunch of time & energy figuring it all out. You should check that out, all your questions will be answered.
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Old 05-09-2017, 06:14 PM   #6
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Replaced the bulbs with LED's, found they had a great spread of light, out to about 50 ft, then nothing. My fog lights give more light. Now have high output standard bulbs to replace the LED's with then I get to it. Don't do much, if any night driving now.
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Old 05-09-2017, 09:28 PM   #7
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Lou, there is a whole write up on this in the Fleetwood section in this forum under Fleetwood Owners. A guy with a Bounder spent a bunch of time & energy figuring it all out. You should check that out, all your questions will be answered.
Could you give a link to that tread ?
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Old 05-10-2017, 02:15 AM   #8
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Years ago, I took on the project of improving my headlights on a 2005 Monaco Diplomat. First, the headlight lenses are usually from cars as stated above. If I recall, the Diplomats' were from a Buick Century. When GM builds the Buick, they use DOT approved headlights that are designed to specifically spread light in a pattern. The problem is, when a motor home company decides to use that Buick headlight, they don't buy it from Buick, they buy it from an aftermarket company. The after market lenses are SUBSTANTIALLY cheaper, less than half price. The reason being.....they are not made to the same quality.

As part of my light improvement process, I bought the Buick OEM lenses, $200.00 each. Next, is the voltage issue which Scott mentioned above. Many motor home manufacturers go cheap on the wiring, which ends up being undersized. Rather than provide a full 12+ volts, they often only provide between 10-11 volts, making for a dim light.

There is a website about headlights, written by Daniel Stern:Daniel Stern Lighting Consultancy and Supply The site is great for explaining how to improve your headlights, including wiring. I bought ceramic light sockets, for heat, and relays from the website. The relays were powered by larger 12 volt wiring and triggered by the original lights. With the addition of the larger wiring and ceramic sockets, I now had a full 12 volts at each light. I finished that portion of the project by purchasing high quality Phillips bulbs. The relays also allowed me to wire the lights so that when I turned on the high beams, I also got the low beams, a big improvement on dark roads.

Lastly, I replaced the cheap driving lights in the bumper with Hella HH75 driving lights. In the end, the replacing of the lenses with the Buick OEM lenses was a waste of money. The big improvement came from the upgraded wiring and the driving lights. The upgraded wiring gave me brighter lights and a better pattern. The driving lights gave me more light, farther down the road. Since they were mounted low, they didn't blind oncoming traffic.

Some things you should know. Unless your Bounder came with the new projector lenses (2" round fisheye looking lens within a lens), adding LED's will be useless. The projector lenses will focus the beam and you'll see an improvement in lighting with LED bulbs. If you have just the standard lenses, the LED's will just splatter light everywhere and not improve your night vision.

With that said, I would try and identify the type of lenses the Bounder is using (which car they used, Ford, GM, Chrysler) and see if there is an after market version with the projector lens built in. You can identify your lenses by Googling the DOT number on the lens. It will bring up the brand Fleetwood used. My Dutch Star uses Dodge truck tail light lenses. After doing some searching, I found the same lenses upgraded to LED, not LED bulbs, but LED lenses. They were quite an improvement over stock.

If you're new to Class A motor homes, there is also a phenomena that will cause the lights to seem dim. When driving your car or truck, you're usually positioned in the car, just about a foot or so above your lights as you look out the windshield. Being behind your lights helps you see better down the road. In a Class A motor home, you sit well above your lights, often 3-4 feet and you're looking down on your lighting from above. Your eyes don't see as well in this position and the lights seem less effective.

Here is something else I did on my Monaco, but won't work on headlights that use the same bulb as the high and low beam. It had four bulbs, two high beam and two low beam. A low beam is rated at about 35 watts while a high beam is rated at about 55 watts. The low beam usually has some material painted on the tip to prevent the blinding of oncoming traffic. On my Monaco, they were not interchangeable because of the way they're "clocked" (how they twist lock into the housing). The difference was a small tab. I took a dremel and removed that tab (easily seen when you compare the two). I was then able to insert the 55 watt high beam bulb, without the painted tip, in the low beam socket. This provided quite a bit of additional light and I never blinded oncoming traffic.

Depending on your situation, your best bet would be to replace the lenses with projection type and LED or HID bulbs. Your second option would be to add some good quality driving lights down low. The third option and least dramatic would be to add some good quality halogen bulbs that are a little more powerful.

Good luck.
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Old 05-10-2017, 06:37 AM   #9
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I would look at HID replacements. Here are 2 sights where you can get info on this:

RV / Motorhome Headlight Repair & Conversion

www.DDMTuning.com
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Old 05-10-2017, 12:45 PM   #10
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Could you give a link to that tread ?
Search has amazing results, but since I participated I knew exactly where to find it My Poor Visibility Headlights
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Old 05-10-2017, 01:30 PM   #11
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LIGHTS

In Norway and Sweden they take lights seriously. Lots of long dark nights that far North in the Winter.
8 Extra and factory up top as well!!
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Old 05-10-2017, 07:54 PM   #12
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In Norway and Sweden they take lights seriously. Lots of long dark nights that far North in the Winter.

8 Extra and factory up top as well!!


Not very helpful though here in North Amerine where that sort of thing is illegal.
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Old 05-10-2017, 08:25 PM   #13
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Headlight bulb advice

Journey Cat,

I am the person who DegoRed said spent all the time and energy. Let me first start by saying DegoRed gave some valuable insight and suggestions in that thread which I sincerely appreciated.

Instead of reading through that long thread I will give it to you short and sweet. You need headlight relays. The problem is there is not enough voltage getting to the bulb.

Bulbs are designed to operate at 13.2 volts. My Bounder bulbs were getting in the range of 12.1. Doesn't sound like much, but it's a huge drop off.

Give Daniel Stern a shout via his e-mail and he will ask you about daytime running lights, low beams, high beams etc so he can make you a proper relay harness. Heads up - He can be pretty ornery and is straight to the point. With that said he was an extremely valuable asset in my research and volunteered his services in assisting me with contacts and writing letters to both Fleetwood and the NHTSA.

My Bounder was a 2014 35K. I traded it in on a new Entegra Aspire 3 months ago and the headlights are amazing. It's pretty cool to be able to see the road at night.
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Old 05-11-2017, 08:50 AM   #14
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If you truly want THE highest voltage for the headlights, run the power supply directly from the output of the alternator. Use a size 8 or heavier wire. Don't forget to use a heavy wire for the ground as well. What goes in must come out.
Happy night driving!
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