Monday, January 17, 2011

Headlights


Daytime Running Lights

Lazy Daze sells the Ford E-450 chassis without the Daytime Running Light (DRL) feature enabled. Some insurance companies offer a discount for DRL-equipped vehicles. It is possible to re-wire your headlights so you have this feature. Here's how. This link takes you directly to the article on doing what you want to a F series truck, but electrically; it's pretty much the same as an E series van.

Aiming Headlights

The headlights on your Lazy Daze are set for an average position which does not take into account the weight distribution of your rig with your "stuff" loaded onboard. If you drive at night, you might oncoming drivers flashing their high beams at you, which probably indicates your lights are not aimed properly. For safety's sake, you have an obligation to ensure your lights are properly aimed so as not to blind oncoming drivers.

The Ford owner's reference guide has step by step instructions on how to do this yourself. There is just one #2-phillips screw adjustment per headlight (location shown in the manual) for up/down with lights aimed at a vertical wall. There is a small circle molded into the clear plastic light cover that indicates the center of the bulb. Measure from the circle to the ground. Use this measurement to tape a horizontal line on a flat wall (such as a garage door) the length of the width of the motorhome. Then in the dark (or dusk) park the motorhome 25 feet away from the wall (measured wall to headlights) and adjust the LOW beams down where the brightest (upper edge) part of the beams are below the taped line. Be sure to do this with all tanks full and all travel gear onboard.

If you're on a hill, the aiming can still be done, but it gets a little more complex:

1) Park where you will do the aiming.
2) Measure from ground to center of headlight.
3) Mount a marker of some sort at that height at the front and rear axles. You could use various things, such as a camera tripod with a string tied between two legs at the front, and a traffic cone with a broomstick in it, with a piece of tape at the rear axle.
4) Sight between the two markers and have an assistant put a piece of tape on the flat wall at the point where your line meets the wall. This mark becomes "level" from the headlights, allowing you to proceed with headlight alignment regardless of slope. Of course, be sure that your rig is weighted (fuel, water, etc., as it will be for travel.

Replacing Headlights

Brighter headlights are a good thing in general, as long as they are carefully aimed. People who are planning to do this kind of conversion should keep in mind that the color temperature of the lights makes a big difference to millions of us. The higher that number, the more blinding the lights will be to others on the road. Safety experts recommend 4300K bulbs, which actually emit more light than the glaring blue 8000Ks.

Contributors: Victor, Andy Baird, Mike Coachman, Ken Fears

Revised 13 Jun 2011

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