DIY Headlight aiming - Some Aiming Specs.

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4,009
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Calgary Canada
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In the spirit of DIY maintenance of BITOG, I thought this might help someone, found this quote: Looking in the Little blue Bosch book, the aiming dimensions are 10 cm below the headlight center height at a distance of 15 Meters; along with centering on the longitudinal axis. Foglights are 20 cm lower than center. Some more information and diagram giving better explanation here (with non-metric measurements): http://www.popularmechanics.com/automotive...html?page=3&c=y If anyone can add to this guide, I would appreciate it.
 
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4,009
Location
Calgary Canada
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My apologies, not sure why it didn't work. Let me try again: http://www.popularmechanics.com/how_to_central/automotive/1272456.html?page=3 An excerpt: "Park your car in front of a light-colored wall in a dark spot indoors, or outdoors at night. Position the car so that the headlights are 25 ft. from the wall, and be sure the car is parked at right angles to the wall. Measure the height of the center of the headlights from the ground. Make a line on the wall with a marker or masking tape at this same height. Now mark a pair of vertical lines directly in front of each headlight. With the adjustment thumbwheel, you can now slue the beam up or down and left or right. If you have trouble visualizing one beam because the other obscures its light, try pulling that lamp's connector, or just covering it with your jacket. The specific numbers vary with each vehicle manufacturer, but at the very least, the left and right beams should be the same with respect to their individual centerlines. The cutoff line should be just below the line at the headlamps' center. The kickup to the right of the beam should start just to the right of the centerline. Do all the adjusting with a trunkful of luggage, a tankful of gas and a warm body in the driver's seat. Many late-model cars incorporate a small bubble level directly into the headlamp housing. Observing the level will help you to make adjustments when you are aiming the light beam. Remember that this is only an initial adjustment. You'll still need to visualize the beam on a wall to trim out the correct alignment. This is because manufacturing tolerances don't always place the filament in the lamp in exactly the same position relative to the lamp's metal base--which can make the beam's alignment quite different when the lamp is replaced. The level will let you make headlamp adjustments when you have to drive a heavily loaded vehicle. Check the settings on the bubble levels, load up the trunk, reset the bubble levels and go. Don't forget to raise the beam after you unload. It's critical to keep both headlight beams' cutoff below the line at the bulbs' height from the pavement. Check this on level pavement."
 
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SC
Those instructions are clearly for ECE (E-code) headlights. Except for HIDs, the typical US beam pattern has no distinct cutoff, nor does it have the right hand flare up (for illuminating signs and pedestrians along the side of the road).
 
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1,856
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PA
I found it really cool that my dad's new VW Jetta TDI came with E-code headlamps... the beam pattern is awesome on them.
 
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10,597
Location
Nokesville, VA
I'm pretty sure my Saab 93 has E-code headlamps It definitely has the beam cutoff with the rise towards the right for signs and pedestrians. Oh, it doesn't have HIDs either.
 
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111
Location
Upstate NY
There can be some overlap between modern SAE and E-code headlights, but a pure E-code headlight is not legal for install at the factory. They contain a city light usually, for which there is no SAE spec., and they lack amber reflectors and side lights. Richard.
 
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it is very easy to determine what kind light the car has. Look for E and DOT markings on the lens(cover). Most foreign cars have e-code/DOT hybrids, with some producing nearly the same pattern as a e-code light -- the exception being reach of the left headlamp, which with hybrid lights is shorter than with e-codes. My Audi has a two part headlight assembly. The headlights themselves are real e-codes (the parking light, "city light" is a misnomer, has not been hooked up), the blinker/marker/reflector assembly is DOT-compliant. Some US states (Washington and Orgeon, for example), allow e-codes.
 
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10,597
Location
Nokesville, VA
On my Saab 93 there are city lights (which come on with the parking lights), the side marker/parking light/amber reflector is not part of the headlight but is part of the "bumper strip". The "E-code" bumper strips have no parking light/reflector and a few people on Saabcentral have installed them.
 
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I have a problem with the term "city light." The reason being, that it sounds like you may drive around the city with just them on -- which is illegal. A European headlight has, besides low and high beam, the following modes (with the ignition off): 1. low beam switch on = both tail lights and both front parking lights (commonly a 5 Watt bulb in each low beam assembly) are on 2. set blinker left = left tail light and left front parking light on 3. set blinker right= right tail light and right front parking light on Having the lights on only one side of the vehicle makes sense when parallel parked. No reason to waste battery juice on the curb side. The use of the parking lights is not mandatory (use common sense). Driving with the parking light on is illegal, even during daylight.
 
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10,597
Location
Nokesville, VA
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I have a problem with the term "city light." The reason being, that it sounds like you may drive around the city with just them on -- which is illegal.
That apparently used to be legal in some cities (London?)
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1. low beam switch on = both tail lights and both front parking lights (commonly a 5 Watt bulb in each low beam assembly) are on
Mine does this.
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2. set blinker left = left tail light and left front parking light on 3. set blinker right= right tail light and right front parking light on
Mine does not do this, I think it's probably a configurable setting with the Tech II scan tool.
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The use of the parking lights is not mandatory (use common sense). Driving with the parking light on is illegal, even during daylight.
I'm not so sure that usage of parking lights is illegal during the day, since some DRLs on some cars use the parking lights. US Federal regulations allowing DRLs overrode any state laws disallowing their use. My DRLs use the low-beam headlights AND the parking lights.
 
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Brian, I was talking about Euro headlights and rules, not about about laws in the US. Regarding London: I'd be surprised if their rules were to differ from other European countries, but then again, they are not part of continental Europe and they do drive on the wrong side to begin with. Regarding point 2: My '96's DOT spec parking lights are both tail lights and yellow markers only in the front. The headlights do not use secondary low power bulbs. I suppose it varies? Regarding point 3: that is a useful feature missing from US models. I doubt it can be reprogrammed. On my car the wiring itself is different. Many DRLs use supplemental 21 Watt bulbs (Europe/Scandinavia), some use reduced voltage low beams (US/Canada).
 
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10,597
Location
Nokesville, VA
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Brian, I was talking about Euro headlights and rules, not about about laws in the US.
What are the rules regarding DRLs in Germany? I drove about 1800 miles in Germany with DRLs and nobody stopped me.
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Regarding London: I'd be surprised if their rules were to differ from other European countries, but then again, they are not part of continental Europe and they do drive on the wrong side to begin with.
It used to be that way in London, apparently, but no longer.
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Regarding point 2: My '96's DOT spec parking lights are both tail lights and yellow markers only in the front. The headlights do not use secondary low power bulbs. I suppose it varies?
Apparently so, I just checked again on the Saab and there is a low-power white light in the headlight assembly. The only other light that comes on in the front when the parking lights are on is the sidemarker.
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Regarding point 3: that is a useful feature missing from US models. I doubt it can be reprogrammed. On my car the wiring itself is different.
On the Saab, a lot of things can be reprogrammed. Turning the DRLs off is just a matter of reprogramming and a dealership willing to do it. There are apparently settings based on the country the car is built for and the DRL off setting is "rest of world".
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Many DRLs use supplemental 21 Watt bulbs (Europe/Scandinavia), some use reduced voltage low beams (US/Canada).
The DRLs on my Saab are low beams. There is no difference whatsoever in the vehicle lighting between DRLs and low-beam headlights. The only function the headlight switch has with DRLs turned on is to allow to you turn on the parking lights only (doesn't work with the key in the ON position--the DRLs still come on!) and to control whether pulling the turn signal stalk flashes the high beams or makes them stay on. (That's a bit of an annoying feature--I would much prefer the push to make the high beams stay on and the pull to flash them).
 
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23,591
DRLs (Tagesfahrlicht) is available and legal in Germany and will probably become mandatory. Sidemarkers (Begrenzungsleuchten) are legal on German vehicles (front only), but they must be white on cars and yellow on trucks. Odd that DLRs on the Saab are running on full power. That wastes a lot of fuel.
 
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12
Location
glorious Galt, CA
Nothing complicated to aiming headlights properly- I use a basalite brick wall, back of the strip mall. Pull up to the wall slowly with your low beams on and watch the patterns: they should only very slightly rise as you approach the wall; if they drop at all, you're 'way too high. Fiddle with the adjusters until they're even, and as you back up, the light patches should drop a bit. If your high beams are a separate adjustment (not so common anymore), they should be adjusted so that there is virtually no movement of the center of the light pattern as you back from the wall.
 
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2,163
Location
Connecticut, USA
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Odd that DLRs on the Saab are running on full power. That wastes a lot of fuel.
Usually when the DRL's use the normal headlights, both lights are reconfigured to be in series with the battery rather than in parallel. The series circuit uses 1/4 the total power of the parallel circuit.
 
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651
Location
Iowa
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Odd that DLRs on the Saab are running on full power. That wastes a lot of fuel.
Usually when the DRL's use the normal headlights, both lights are reconfigured to be in series with the battery rather than in parallel. The series circuit uses 1/4 the total power of the parallel circuit.
Not sure I understand that. If the lights were in series then both would see half the voltage, provided they were both the same size, and would be rather dim. Help me out here.
 
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2,163
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Connecticut, USA
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Not sure I understand that. If the lights were in series then both would see half the voltage, provided they were both the same size, and would be rather dim. Help me out here.
DRL's are dim compared to night time lighting, and that's intentional. Some systems use a couple of diodes to drop the voltage to each low beam bulb in the normal parallel configuration. There are other schemes too e.g. using separate bulbs or fog lamps. Different manufacturers have their own ways of implementing DRL.
 
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