old car

Lighting System

The electrics were badly corroded, although all the lights worked.

April 2004:

the front side-light seen in daylight, now fitted with 10-watt bulbs

the new pork-pie tail lights by day and by night.

the original single pork-pie was replaced by a modern reproduction pair

the upper bulb is a conventional 12volt 10 watt; the lower bulb is a 9-LED unit (still the same - June 11)

the "modern" twin brake lights in the wings were moved up into two "pork pie's" and the "modern" lights removed and replaced by reflectors.

the replacement twin pork-pies at the rear after the work on the rear end was completed.

This is the minimum legal set-up these days and passes the MOT.

The number-plate isn't all that well lit at night despite two conventional 10 watt bulbs shining towards it.

and the headlights, though not abundantly clear which is head and which is dip! -  both appear to be defocussed!

September 2004:
general view of back of reflector

I left the headlights to last as there are so many permutations.  Fortunately I had the original headlights plus an almost identical pair all in repairable condition.

Headlights are 8½" diameter so have plenty of room for a modern light unit inside.

close-up of dipping solenoid - still working!

One of the spare headlamps had an original single-filament bulb in a dipping reflector and was dismantled for a look-see.

this close-up shows the dipping solenoid.

headlamp glass

The law says that the old dip-and-switch (whereby the nearside lamp dips and the offside headlamp goes out) is no longer legal.

The standard modification is to fit 36/36 watt SBC dual-filament bulbs, but two dipping reflectors with single filament bulbs is also legal - the guiding principle being that both headlamps must be the same.

reflector could do with resilvering!

Whilst playing about, I found that the ultra-modern single filament H7 bulb will fit exactly and the filament is exactly at the focus point of the reflectors.

however the relatively poor circular beam pattern will have required the headlamps to be dipped so far that they would not have been very useful on our narrow country roads.

As we live out in the country, safety determined the final decision .  .  .  .  .  which is that both headlamps will have modern H4 QI units fitted.

Although a double dipping reflector system was tempting for originality, there really is no comparison with the beam control and intensity of modern lights.

The rather ugly (I think, too much chrome) converting ring to reduce 8" to 7" to fit sealed beam units is no longer available so I had to make do with what I had.

I found that the dipping units have an 8" mounting ring on which the dipping reflector pivots.  The internal diameter of this ring is precisely 7" after the dipping mechanism has been removed by drilling out the rivets.

It was simple job to gently press my new H4 headlights (flat fronted, not the domed sort) into the rings and then Araldite them in place.

A new H4 connector lead and the headlamp unit is ready for fitting.

All that is left is to reconnect the wires to the forward terminal block next to the coil and check the lights work.

Blue - earth;       Yellow - dip beam;        Red - head beam

terminal block wiring - click for larger image

On my terminal block

- from the left (nearest bulkhead):

1 = fuel sender unit       2 =+12v from headlight switch     3 = (purple) full beams     4 = sidelights    + an additional connector for the dip beams

the new headlight assemblies mounted in the headlamp shell with original fixings

and the new headlights when the original glass and rim were refitted

The dip-switch was stiff and did not always make a good connection; after stripping and cleaning it worked beautifully.

This early dip-switch mechanism is very well made (over-engineered perhaps?) and looks like it will last for ever.

It was tempting to fit relays to reduce the voltage drop, but as the dip switch and wiring (much thicker than modern wires) appear to be in good condition, no relays are fitted at the moment (still OK June 11)