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ZAMM Fanatic
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Aw sheesh.

The low beams on my 95 Lexus are dangerously dim. On a road with streetlights you can barely see 'em. Pretty typical on a 20 year old car with polycarbonate (Lexan) headlight covers...

Some of the choices include buffing the headlamp covers or replacing them, new halogen bulbs (bulbs do seem to get "tired" or perhaps installing HID bulbs / ballasts / etc.

So here in the "Age of Internet Repairs" I turn to a lexus forum for some advice on doing a HID conversion. Lots of owners reporting the same problems, and those who have attempted HID conversions report a LOT of issues...

http://www.clublexus.com/forums/sc-...eplaced-headlights-and-blue-cut-off-line.html

It turns out it's not simple at all to install HID's. At least two styles of HID bulbs, D2S and another.

There is NO simple "Plug and Play" conversion.

Not only that, but if you have so-called "projector" headlamps, the replacement HID bulb must be properly "positioned" in the headlamp so the light comes out the same place it would from a filament bulb.

Now it would be awful nice if someone designed a 9006 (halogen) base with a D2S HID bulb, adjustable in depth, so you simply plugged it in....

But no, I'm reading stories of siliconing bulbs in after determining the right position, etc.

And endless failure stories, as Chinese-made HID "kits" have all the quality of everything else made in China today, regardless of whose label is on it..

This is in addition to a new wiring harness, headlight relays, mounting ballasts, and everything else you'd have to do to change over to HID.

So any of you considering converting your motorcycle headlamp to HID, be warned there may be numerous "issues" beyond simply sticking in a new bulb and wiring in the ballast, etc.

For you youngsters (under 60) headlamp covers were made illegal around 1967 for exactly this reason; they get old, yellowed, scratched and NHTSA determined it was safer and cheaper for owners to be able to change an entire, SEALED BEAM headlight than bulbs. (And required that they could be aimed, as well)

So we had round headlights for awhile, then square ones...

Then, 1980 or so automakers pushed NHTSA for aerodynamic reasons to be allowed to install bulb style headlights with headlight covers again, even if the real reason was styling. Apparently the requirement to be able to aim them with nothing more than a nutdriver went away as well..

And so today you see cars with completely opaque headlight covers driving around ... and headlights pointed toward the sky

Personally I think things like safety inspections on cars are a worthwhile thing; I know you "Nanny-State-haters" think otherwise...
 

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American Legion Rider
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All they check is if they come on. They don't care if they point to the sky or are otherwise worthless. You pass if the light. BIG DEAL!!!
 

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ZAMM Fanatic
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Discussion Starter #3
15% of the cars in Albuquerque have at least one non-functioning taillight. They hit the brakes, you THINK you're seeing a turn signal and start to go around....then they turn the OTHER way... oops!

Of course it'll get thrown back on the engineers... since nobody today will check their tire pressures every car got a $500 TPMS.... next every car will be required to have 13+ LED tail & brake lamps....which go out one at a time instead of all at once...
 

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Retired twice: Navy and as a govt contractor
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Use toothpaste and a soft rag on your headlight covers Wade
 

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HID on motorcycles are a PIA too..at least mine. I bought a set from a reputable dealer and had problems with the relay from the beginning. Wasn't cheap either..$230. When they worked they looked and worked great but seemed like one of them was always out for some reason (relay). I went back to stock and like it that when I turn the bike on I have lights...every time! I was emailing with a guy who wanted to buy the HID from me but changed his mind saying that they were already iffy after being on my bike about a year. He had the same kind before on another bike so I asked him should I continue to try and sell them or should I just chuck them. He said a good quality set would last about 3 years before the parts started going out. And like you said about the Chinese parts, all look the same but with different labels and the market is flooded with them. After all the reading I have done on HID, cars or bikes, they all have problems, cheap and quality sets. I don't want to spend $50-100 every 2 or 3 years to make sure my lights stay on.
 

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Here's a nice new headlight upgrade for your motorbike :)


.. but before you get TOO excited about it, check the local prices. That sucker is over $700!! :eek:
 

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That's a great safety device. How long before it's mandatory with our nanny government? It is after all for your own safety. Or manufactures will add it whether you want it or not and pass the cost on.

Like they've done with ABS. I honestly don't care for ABS. Had them and have them now and still prefer regular brakes. Partly due to the fact I know how to deal with regular brakes and haven't a clue on ABS.

But I do like my wheels to slide sometimes as well to dig through gravel to the hard under surface. But once the Chinese start flooding the market with their cheap knock off's, you'll be able to afford this light or one like it that works sometimes.:)
 

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Use toothpaste and a soft rag on your headlight covers Wade
Yep, that works, I have 3 vehicles with that problem, I start with 800, then 1000,then 1500 then 2500 grit sandpaper ( Wet Sanding easy pressure) then wash thoroughly and using my slow speed buffer and applying light pressure keeping the buffer moving so as not to burn thru the plastic, apply plastic headlight/plastic polish. Usually lasts 18 months or so. On principle, I refuse to spend a bunch of money on something that the car engineers shouldda known was a POS design.
Just my opinion
Ed
 

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When I wax my car, I make sure the lenses, front and read, are coated and polished with the rest of the car. After 10 years, there's no sign of dulling (knock wood).
 

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Garage kept works wonders.:thumbsup:
 

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ZAMM Fanatic
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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Use toothpaste and a soft rag on your headlight covers Wade
Well, I didn't QUITE use toothpaste, Critter.

Picked up a Meguiars headlight restoration kit --- $5 at a garage sale.

My headlights weren't THAT bad so I didn't start with the 1000 grit and 3000 grit sandpaper stages...went right to the "toothpaste like" buffing compound, their buffing wheel and a DeWalt drill..

took it very easy, very light.... actually started by hand..

Since the directions from the box were gone, I had to improvise, so next I rinsed the headlights off with clear cold water to get off any remaining buffing compound or material removed.

Then I applied the sealer/protectant using the enclosed microfiber cloth.

Holy Samoly! They really and truly look like new! I'll report back on if I can see better at night or it's just a cosmetic improvement.

15 minutes to do both lenses. If they'd required sanding I'm sure it would have taken considerably longer.

I have noticed Halogen bulbs age, and get both dimmer and yellower. A 10 year old bulb isn't nearly as bright as a brand new one, and the ones painted blue do output a nicer light..

So I may throw some new Sylvania 9006's in there to boot.... $12 apiece, no biggie.

Thanks for the kick in the rear to actually do something about those dim lights Critter.
 

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Retired twice: Navy and as a govt contractor
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Not a problem, I'll gladly give you a kick in the butt when needed :)
 

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Now why do you get to have all the fun Critter? :D
 

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Retired twice: Navy and as a govt contractor
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Because I can Hog, because I can
 
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