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As dark nights start to close in one of the only bug bears I have with my car is getting closer to the front of my mind.

The dipped beam is awful on my car! Does anyone else think so on their GS’s and if so has anyone come up with an improvement? Updated bulbs perhaps?

I do have to drive at night a lot and have missed junctions before now because I couldn’t see them approaching.

Help!!

Andy

 

 

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Just upgraded mine last week, eurocarparts LED 501w5w canbus friendly bulbs, well worth it £8.99

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Hi Andy,

Yes I agree, I thought it was just my developing cataracts!!??  I've also had the polycarbonate polished by my local garage but they are starting to look a little dis-coloured too which probably doesn't help.

Mark.

 

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I do need to get the polycarbonate polished which might help a bit.

Paul, did you fit the bulbs yourself?

Thanks for the comments!

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18 hours ago, phil450h said:

Just upgraded mine last week, eurocarparts LED 501w5w canbus friendly bulbs, well worth it £8.99

But that's only a side light isn't it? The OP is talking about dipped beam headlights - and you cannot install LEDs in a headlight housing meant for halogen bulbs anyway or it's an instant MOT failure.

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21 hours ago, Andrew Britton said:

As dark nights start to close in one of the only bug bears I have with my car is getting closer to the front of my mind.

The dipped beam is awful on my car! Does anyone else think so on their GS’s and if so has anyone come up with an improvement? Updated bulbs perhaps?

I do have to drive at night a lot and have missed junctions before now because I couldn’t see them approaching.

Help!!

Andy

 

 

Check the dipped beam alignment before doing anything else. I found the same problem with my GS450H when I first bought it, and found they were set very low to the point where they were lighting up the road immediately in front of the car "not an MOT failure"  in an area that could not be seen from the drivers seat. Adjusting the rod on the ride height sensor behind the near side front wheel cured the problem.
A picture of the adjuster rod shown below. Slacken off the top nut on the rod and move the bolt it is on to a lower position in it's slot then re-tighten the nut. This can be done by turning the steering to the left. No need to jack up the car or remove the wheel. A 10mm spanner is all that is required.

 20161016_104845283_iOS.thumb.jpg.149272445290235589df98f511c6ac03.thumb.jpg.eb1a59fe220fb01ff2cdd61ba2089de0.jpg

John.

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If the above is not the problem the only legal way I know of to improve the light output is to fit 50 watt HID bulbs with a 50 watt ballast unit. The standard setup uses 35 watt bulbs, and ballast.

John.

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dont the headlights have an adjustment on them to set the level . my sc430 did?????

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16 hours ago, hondansxr said:

dont the headlights have an adjustment on them to set the level . my sc430 did?????

The lights do have an adjuster on them, but it is very fiddly to do, difficult to get at, and they both have to be done. The only thing the adjuster behind the front wheel affects is the height of the headlamps, and it adjusts both equally together. A 10 mm spanner is all that is required, and is a simple 5 minute job.
On cars with air suspension the mechanism also affected the cars ride height so this method could not be used, but for cars with ordinary spring suspension it is there just for the headlamps. There is an adjuster on the rear suspension also, this being there to lower the lights when you carry passengers in the rear of the car. This adjuster is difficult to get at requiring the removal of the rear wheel which makes setting the height of the lights difficult with the rear of the car on a jack.

John.    

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I find these days I'm having to wear non vision adjusted spectacles for night driving to lower the glare potential from other cars and i sometimes have to use main beam too when driving as the dipped effect seems too low a light-up for much of the nighttime non-lit roads

Malc

Am I just getting too old or is the road lighting and other road users headlights getting more challenging ..................  for everyone else too I wonder :whistling:

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It doesn't help that so many of our roads no longer have cats eyes, or if they do they seem to be worn out.

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On 9/21/2019 at 7:29 PM, The-Acre said:

It doesn't help that so many of our roads no longer have cats eyes, or if they do they seem to be worn out.

There was a policy going back a couple of years or so of removing centre white lines, and cats eyes on rural roads to increase safety by slowing traffic down. Using this logic maybe all road markings should be removed like stop, and give way markings leaving you to guess where to stop.
However who ever thought this one up did not take into account conditions of poor visibility where the white line are essential to help drivers keep to there side of the road.

John.

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@OldTrout and I discussed this a few months ago. This is what I wrote to him then:

 

There are other options to investigate to boost the output from your headlamps, before going the 55W ballast route:

1) HID lumen depreciation.

Xenon lamps suffer from Lumen depreciation. After so many hours their lumen output is significantly reduced, and in a 10+ year old car this effect will be becoming significant (to the tune of ~50%). Simply replacing the HID capsules could give you a significant increase in lumen output. 

2) "Upgrade" Xenon capsules

Much like Halogens, there are also now upgrade capsules for Xenon lamps. Not produced by fly-by-night chinese outlets, but reputable manufacturers. Osram Xenarc Nightbreaker Laser, for example - in the D4S (I think! please check your owner's manual!) for your GS: https://www.amazon.co.uk/XENARC-BREAKER-brightness-discharge-66440XNL-HCB/dp/B07FYSXYHZ/ref=sr_1_sc_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1553081502&sr=8-3-spell&keywords=D4S+Xenar 

These are fully road legal, and are a combination of improved capsule efficiency, tighter geometry (placing more lumen output at the focal point of the parabolic reflector), etc rather than more Watts. 

I'd suggest that these might actually perform better than a chinese 55W capsule.  

3) Optical system maintenance

There are various surfaces in the optical system that can attenuate light output - three in particular. The surface of the pababolic reflector, the projector lens and the outer cover of the lamp unit. The first two will over the years get covered in fine dust - a blast of compressed air might shift some of it. However, the last one is the important one - Polycarbonate lenses on lamp fittings go yellow and cloudy with age. Cleaning/restoring the surface reduces scattering and attenuation, putting more light where it should be on the road


4) Windscreen

I've always found that an oft-overlooked aspect is the cleanliness of the inside of the windscreen. It takes only a few weeks for a layer of oils and fine dirt to attach itself to the windscreen, and this has a surprisingly big effect in increasing glare (due to scattering) and reducing contrast at night. 

Ultimately my points 1) and 2) are in fact the same - simply putting new capsules in would gain you a lot, and if you're doing that you might as well put upgrade capsules in and gain more. This also avoids any potential legalities of higher-output ballasts and the insurance connotations, as well as costing significantly less. 

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On 9/21/2019 at 7:29 PM, The-Acre said:

our roads no longer have cats eyes,

I remember these were essential when i first noticed them ( about 65 years ago as a kiddy ) driving the then country roads up through the Pennines into the Lake District

The fog or mist across the moors was so dense in those days that without the new and innovative " cats eyes " it would have been impossible to achieve even the steady 15 mph to just get along anywhere :zorro:

It's probably like that these days anyway in the Lake District with the traffic congestion

Malc

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3 hours ago, Malc said:

I remember these were essential when i first noticed them ( about 65 years ago as a kiddy ) driving the then country roads up through the Pennines into the Lake District

The fog or mist across the moors was so dense in those days that without the new and innovative " cats eyes " it would have been impossible to achieve even the steady 15 mph to just get along anywhere :zorro:

It's probably like that these days anyway in the Lake District with the traffic congestion

Malc

I can only assume it's down to saving money.  I recently drove at night on the A358 in Somerset and I simply couldn't see the road whereas years ago the cats eyes would have made all the difference.  I could see where the cats eyes used to be but we're now filled in.  Maybe a certain 16 year old Swede should spend her energy on campaigning for safer roads before some of us become extinct from driving into unseen hedges.

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4 hours ago, i-s said:

@OldTrout and I discussed this a few months ago. This is what I wrote to him then:

 

There are other options to investigate to boost the output from your headlamps, before going the 55W ballast route:

1) HID lumen depreciation.

Xenon lamps suffer from Lumen depreciation. After so many hours their lumen output is significantly reduced, and in a 10+ year old car this effect will be becoming significant (to the tune of ~50%). Simply replacing the HID capsules could give you a significant increase in lumen output. 

2) "Upgrade" Xenon capsules

Much like Halogens, there are also now upgrade capsules for Xenon lamps. Not produced by fly-by-night chinese outlets, but reputable manufacturers. Osram Xenarc Nightbreaker Laser, for example - in the D4S (I think! please check your owner's manual!) for your GS: https://www.amazon.co.uk/XENARC-BREAKER-brightness-discharge-66440XNL-HCB/dp/B07FYSXYHZ/ref=sr_1_sc_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1553081502&sr=8-3-spell&keywords=D4S+Xenar 

These are fully road legal, and are a combination of improved capsule efficiency, tighter geometry (placing more lumen output at the focal point of the parabolic reflector), etc rather than more Watts. 

I'd suggest that these might actually perform better than a chinese 55W capsule.  

3) Optical system maintenance

There are various surfaces in the optical system that can attenuate light output - three in particular. The surface of the pababolic reflector, the projector lens and the outer cover of the lamp unit. The first two will over the years get covered in fine dust - a blast of compressed air might shift some of it. However, the last one is the important one - Polycarbonate lenses on lamp fittings go yellow and cloudy with age. Cleaning/restoring the surface reduces scattering and attenuation, putting more light where it should be on the road


4) Windscreen

I've always found that an oft-overlooked aspect is the cleanliness of the inside of the windscreen. It takes only a few weeks for a layer of oils and fine dirt to attach itself to the windscreen, and this has a surprisingly big effect in increasing glare (due to scattering) and reducing contrast at night. 

Ultimately my points 1) and 2) are in fact the same - simply putting new capsules in would gain you a lot, and if you're doing that you might as well put upgrade capsules in and gain more. This also avoids any potential legalities of higher-output ballasts and the insurance connotations, as well as costing significantly less. 

"Xenon lamps suffer from Lumen depreciation" That's precisely why HID's should be changed in pairs, I discovered that some years ago when I replaced one duff bulb only to find the difference was what you might call striking!

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