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Old 06-05-2011, 07:56 PM   #1
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1982 28' Airstream 280
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Headlights

Anyone replace the stock headlight lamps with something that actually lights up the road? I have those rectangle ones, four of them on a '82 280.
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Old 06-05-2011, 08:05 PM   #2
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...and must be U.S./Calif legal of course!

Also anyone add a pair of good driving/fog lights?

Thanks
Dean
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Old 06-05-2011, 08:21 PM   #3
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I was surprised how well the headlights light the road when I bought my 91 350. I don't believe my 4 lamps are halogen. They appear to be regular sealed beams. You could try to aim yours for better performance.
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Old 06-05-2011, 08:43 PM   #4
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Dean- On our 1990 345LE there's four, 6 1/2" x 4", rectanglar ones. I'm not sure what type were in it before but like yours these did not seem to light up any part of the road so I replaced them with Sylvania 'Silver Star' beams that a local auto parts had in stock.

If I remember right they were about $15. each and worth every penny as they do their job well.

I've rarely used the fog lights, mounted below the bumper, as we live in the desert but one time we were up in N. Cal they sure did pay for themselves.
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Old 06-05-2011, 08:50 PM   #5
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There are a variety of options when it comes to improved over-the-road lighting.

First of all, see to it that you have full voltage at the lights with the engine running. This should be about 13.6 volts. There are a variety of places where corrosion or similar can result in small voltage drops; as the voltage drops the color of the light becomes more yellow and visibility decreases. If you cannot figure out where the problem lies, running a separate connection (with circuit breaker!) to the batteries, controlled by a relay, can really help.

Second, consider replacing the existing lights w/ brighter lights. Sylvania makes some replacement sealed beam units that are brighter and whiter than the existing units, but this isn't that big a help. Avoid the trendy blue "emulate HID" look ones! Back in the day, we ran Cibie Z Beams for additional light - very nice indeed, w/ replacable H4 bulbs, although this approach tends to be more expensive. Another advantage of the separate bulbs is the ability to install non-DOT-legal 55/100 W bulbs; this was really nice for motorcycles since the high beam would actually show black range cattle at night.....

Lastly, you can add driving lights.... these are available in a bewildering variety; many of them are only useful for dressing up the car, though. In general, fit the largest size lights you can - with a motorhome, this is pretty easy. I've had reasonable luck with Hella lights. You can also fit HID driving lights; this is quite expensive but provides very nice light indeed.

With all enhanced lighting, aim is critical to avoid blinding other drivers. If the vehicle attitude (angle w/ respect to ground) varies a lot w/ loading, take this into account when setting up lighting or add ride-rites (air suspension) to keep vehicle's lights aimed properly.


hth -

- Bart
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Old 06-05-2011, 10:06 PM   #6
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Thanks all for the replies. I'm definitely going to check out the Sylvania lamps. I suspect that part of my problem is low voltage at the lamps. And I agree about aiming them properly. My property up in nor cal is an hour up the mountain off the freeway. When the sun goes down up there it is DARK!

Three years ago when we brought the MH down from Oregon and were headed up the mountain, my other half was behind me in the Jetta. The funny thing was, the Jetta was providing more light ahead of me then my own lights on the Motorhome.

Two years ago I was driving up to the property and was about 10 miles from the destination. It was 1am. I was driving my Explorer towing a new enclosed ATV trailer that I just bought that day. I came around a left 90 degree turn and a black cow in the road spooked and ran into me. It took out the drivers side from front fender through the rear quarter panel and totaled my brand new trailer.

We have everything from cows to wild borr to deer to fox running across the highway up there. Now of course it scares the crap out of me to drive that road in the dark. I want to light up the road as best as I can!
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Old 06-05-2011, 10:58 PM   #7
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Just a thought.
When checking on low voltage at the headlites THE FIRST SUSPECT THAT COMES TO MIND IS "GROUND" Clean all ground points both the line itself and the mounting point.
GOOD LUCK
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Old 10-25-2011, 10:17 AM   #8
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One choice I always used is the H4 (9003) Headlight Conversion. Not sure about the regs in Cali, but they're listed as DOT compliant. It uses an H4 Motorcycle/European bulb light (White/Blue/Yellow...your choice). You can use 4 of them and rig them so all 4 lights come on for low beam as well as for high beam. You can also get the H4 bulbs in many different wattages, but be careful that the unit you use, and your wiring harness, can take the added heat of the higher powered bulbs. Back in the day I used Cibie conversions, but if you search on H4 headlight conversions you will find a bunch. In the future you just replacee the bulbs, not the whole unit. Make sure you get 4"x6" units...I just orderd some from J.C.Whitney that have glass lenses. I'll let you know how they work.
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Old 10-25-2011, 06:58 PM   #9
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navyspook, love to hear and SEE your end result. Have had to replace the low beams on mine. They've had to been the originals, when I pulled them out, the headlights weren't 'sealed' any longer. Came apart in 2 pieces. Plus the reflector part was about all gone. Have seen those conversions, and like the look of them. Post when you're able to get them shipped and installed. Thanks, Derek
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Old 10-25-2011, 07:46 PM   #10
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My Suburban headlamp are the same as the M/H's and I replaced both low and main beams with Sylvania Silverstar seal beamed units..
Huge difference... like 100% better than the originals, and readily available at local stores.
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Old 10-26-2011, 10:29 AM   #11
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Finally! After one week of soaking driver's side hi/lo headlight with WD-40 and anything else I could find, I was successful in replacing BOTH of the headlights. To be honest, doubt that I'll replace the high-beams, as I don't intend on driving at night in the 'beast', and they are working currently. At some point, I will get the replacements like Navy just purchased from JC Whitney. But to be honest, I don't see me on the road 24/7 until I can retire in just over 9 years. But, if it looks like the Post Office is gonna offer an early retirement, I'm GONE!, with new headlights of course, lol
Thanks, Derek
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Old 10-27-2011, 02:38 PM   #12
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Derek,

I'm tackling them this weekend...got 4 from JC Whitney because I wanted to do all 4 eventually and they were doing a free shipping. Got the Hella H4 bulbs (slightly yellow tint because I dislike the blue ones) from Amazon with free shipping and 50% less than Walmart. Pics when I'm done...first ones for me so I may need your assistance.

Bill
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Old 10-28-2011, 10:23 PM   #13
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Hellavision and HID

A simple and fairly inexpensive change would be to go with Hellavision rectangular replacements, then remove the H4 bulbs, and replace with a quality HID lighting kit. I have done this on ALL my vehicles and have never looked back! About $300 total! Make sure you research the color (in Kelvin degrees) the last thing you want is a too yellow, or a too blue/ purple light!
Summit racing used to have the Hella, and check Craigs list or ebay for the HID kits.

Good luck!
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Old 10-29-2011, 04:21 PM   #14
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H4 Headlights

I would have loved to use the Hella's but couldn't find them in the 4" X 6" size my 345 uses.

I have attached pics with the old sealed beams and the new H4 conversions. Major improvement, but I apparently have a short circuit between the high beams and the low beams. I couldn't tell before because the bulbs were burnt out.

I have also attached a pic of the lights the way they came from Whitney. I bought the Hella bulbs separately from Amazon
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