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Old 03-06-2017, 07:27 PM   #1
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Headlight Upgrades?

Hey everyone,

I'd like to upgrade the headlights on my bus. It's a 1999 AmTran and the headlights are horrible for driving at night. Ideally I'd like to upgrade the headlights themselves to LEDs. My lights are either 4x6 or 5x7 units (I haven't measured them yet). It appears there are some LED headlight units out there in those rectangular shapes and I was wondering if anyone had tried them?

I've also considered mounting a LED light bar on the front but that would be my second choice.

Just wondering what the rest of you have done to upgrade your headlights if anything.
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Old 03-06-2017, 08:11 PM   #2
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My bus used H6054 headlights, and they sucked. I made it a priority to upgrade them before I started this trip. I bought some LED replacements from Amazon and holy crap these things are bright! They have a tail instead of pins right on the back so installation might be a bit fiddly.

These are the ones I bought: http://amzn.to/2mcYzPv

I swapped one out and took a comparison photo. Yes, the litle yellow strips is the halogen headlight. The difference is pretty absurd.

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Old 03-06-2017, 08:19 PM   #3
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Here is another pic from in front. I don't think I need to point out which side is the new bulb and which is the old one!



The way these LED bulbs work is they have 6 LEDs on for low beam, and 15 for high beam.
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Old 03-06-2017, 08:28 PM   #4
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Wow that's a huge difference! My bus actually has four headlights on the front of it. I'm assuming two are on for low and all 4 are on for high but I've never actually looked. Thanks for the link, I'll definitely check those out!
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Old 03-06-2017, 08:42 PM   #5
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That's awesome! I just bought a pair for my International also - should arrive tomorrow or Wednesday. Now I'm really excited. Do yours have the Daytime running lamps also (on all the time, but a lower intensity)? If so, how does that look?

Thanks!

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Old 03-06-2017, 08:51 PM   #6
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Thanks for the link. Just ordered a set. My lights are terrible.

OP, if you use a light bar you could get a ticket. They are designed for off road use only.
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Old 03-06-2017, 08:54 PM   #7
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My bus just has the two lights. You could probably make a set of these work for daytime running lights pretty easily, I think at low beam they are only using 18 watts each.
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Old 03-06-2017, 09:03 PM   #8
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That's another reason I want to switch over to LED headlights, very low power consumption. Trying to slowly switch all my lights over to LED and lighten the load on the alternator and engine. What type of headlight do your buses use? Same as brokedown, H6054? Any of you have the 4 headlights like my bus does? It may just be a flat face buses that do. Most conventional buses have two lights, right?
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Old 03-06-2017, 09:46 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rensch26 View Post
That's another reason I want to switch over to LED headlights, very low power consumption. Trying to slowly switch all my lights over to LED and lighten the load on the alternator and engine. What type of headlight do your buses use? Same as brokedown, H6054? Any of you have the 4 headlights like my bus does? It may just be a flat face buses that do. Most conventional buses have two lights, right?
Depends on the year and builder. My '03 Amtran RE has two headlights.
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Old 03-06-2017, 10:20 PM   #10
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I shouldn't try to speak to this, but I will. I don't have a bus yet, but I do have a 98 chev suburban. It has 4 lights. .2 for dim and 2 for bright. Don't know if this will help you. I know this because I changed my lights from stock lighting to aftermarket stuff.
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Old 03-06-2017, 10:32 PM   #11
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Yeah I need to actually pop the lights on and check for myself. I've just never paid much attention to it I guess. I was just under the assumption that 2 of the lights are for dim and the other 2 pop on for bright but it could absolutely be the same as your suburban.
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Old 03-06-2017, 11:12 PM   #12
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My bus had those useless DOT sealed-beam 4" x 6" headlights when I bought it, and after driving it home one foggy winter night from Fresno I quickly decided that they had to go! I first replaced the high-beams with Neolite 938 lights, an Indian-made knock-off copy of German Hella E-Code lights (does that make them I-Code?) - now much better high beams, but the low beams still sucked. Last year I replaced the high/low lights with real Hellas - wow, what a difference! They have a very crisp asymmetric low-beam cut-off to absolutely prevent any glare to approaching drivers, something that DOT lights aren't even close to achieving, regardless of how well they're aimed. I also put 100 watt Hella H1 lamps in the Neolites and powered all four high beams through two relays (one for each side) that are fed directly off the main 100 amp feed from the alternator. Now we're talking! With 320 watts of high-beams I can see a very long way down the road, but obviously only if there's no approaching traffic.

Another worthwhile addition was a pair of Hella Comet 550 fog lamps that I've mounted in cutouts in the front bumper, just like Crown offered as a rare option, but the Hellas are far better than the Perlux fogs that Crown used. The Hellas are true fog lights, not the pointless and annoying pseudo-fog fashion lights that everyone here wants to use whenever they drive, even in the daytime in clear weather! They have a very wide and flat spread with a precise vertical cut-off to reduce glare even in snow or thick fog, and I've wired them through two more relays so they can only be on when the headlights low-beams are on. I use CPI Gold selective-yellow 55 watt H3 lamps in them to also prevent violet-backscatter glare, as recommended by Daniel Stern who knows more about good lights than anyone else. When the fog lights are turned on, a Hella high-intensity red rear fog light also comes on - in fog or heavy rain I'm more concerned about who's behind the bus, so anything to give those drivers more warning of me ahead is valuable. In Europe all cars must have one or two red rear fog lights, but for some reason they've never been understood in this country - I guess Americans prefer to be rear-ended? Also when the fogs are turned on, the original Weldon 2020 red rear warning lights are now repurposed as extra high-mount brake lights, another way to alert drivers behind me in bad weather.

One little filler project I've just done is to make a high-beam flasher. I put a small momentary-on push switch on the end of the turn indicators' lever, and it triggers the high-beam relays even if the headlights are not turned on. The next little project will be to add an extra turn indicator light on each side, then there will be two per side. This should make it more obvious where I intend to go.

Good lights are very important to me. My car has excellent lights, so I wanted something comparable for my bus. After using self-leveling "Bi-Xenon" 90mm HID headlights, there's no way that crappy sealed-beam headlights will ever again be acceptable!

John
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Old 03-07-2017, 07:13 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brokedown View Post
My bus used H6054 headlights, and they sucked. I made it a priority to upgrade them before I started this trip. I bought some LED replacements from Amazon and holy crap these things are bright! They have a tail instead of pins right on the back so installation might be a bit fiddly.

These are the ones I bought: http://amzn.to/2mcYzPv

I swapped one out and took a comparison photo. Yes, the litle yellow strips is the halogen headlight. The difference is pretty absurd.

I have the ones referenced above in my DEV bus.. and they are OK, but they SPEW light.. they are tough to nail down to a good pattern and so in the snow they are awful.. no true high and low beam pattern, just a 6 or 15 LED's lit from Low to high beam..

for redbyrd I ordered the following housings..

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

and then the following bulbs.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

the housings fit perferctly.. the bulbs wanted are a bit deep and I used the flicker boxes included as my bus has DRL's.. (UGH!@!!) .. I got the bulbs installed, the control box fit behind the Bucket, the bulb does bottom out in the bucket before the screws are 100% down, so I used little spacers to tighten them up and no issues.. since the IHC buckets sit into the hood itelf, theres no dust cap to worry about, and even on an all-night drive back from florida the bulbs never over-heated..

this setup has a true high and low beam and I was able to adjust the beam pattern to not blind other drivers and to be effective in fog and snow..

-Christopher
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Old 03-08-2017, 10:18 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brokedown View Post
Here is another pic from in front. I don't think I need to point out which side is the new bulb and which is the old one!



The way these LED bulbs work is they have 6 LEDs on for low beam, and 15 for high beam.
Will have to look into doing this for my bus (97 TC2000).
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Old 03-08-2017, 11:14 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rensch26 View Post
That's another reason I want to switch over to LED headlights, very low power consumption. Trying to slowly switch all my lights over to LED and lighten the load on the alternator and engine. What type of headlight do your buses use? Same as brokedown, H6054? Any of you have the 4 headlights like my bus does? It may just be a flat face buses that do. Most conventional buses have two lights, right?
I read awhile back that if you live in snow & ice areas LED's will not produce enough heat to melt the snow so your headlights will build up really fast
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Old 03-09-2017, 03:51 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Stu & Filo. T View Post
I read awhile back that if you live in snow & ice areas LED's will not produce enough heat to melt the snow so your headlights will build up really fast
In some of the storms I have been in here in the Northeast, even standard headlights freeze over. That's a good sign to get off the road . Lol
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Old 03-09-2017, 05:11 AM   #17
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Led lights can def freeze over, but for as well as they work they are worth it to me... I did get caught in one snow and ice event in DEV which has the 15 led bulb like the OP used and it didn't freeze.

In my own opinion if I'm doing things right, I'll be driving my bus where freezing lights aren't an issue, and running the AirCon more than the heat
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Old 03-09-2017, 09:03 AM   #18
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I'm not concerned with snow not melting on my headlights. Our bus is only used during the warmer months as a toy hauler. But that is good information for anyone else that may be interested in this thread.
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Old 03-09-2017, 09:25 AM   #19
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Rambling off topic

Everything freezes in my climate, headlights, fuel tanks, engine blocks, doors freeze shut, windows haha what the hell is a window for? Roll down or something, yeah about 5 months of the year it is operational.

I have to agree about not caring about frozen headlights. LEDs dont produce much heat but, my halogen headlights on my Vic and F150 freeze over too. A quick run with the scrapper and you are back in business.

The replacement headlight in the pictures above, must get the bus flashed constantly. It looks like a flood pattern compared to a spot and that is trooper heaven. Insta-Ticket and with our types of vehicles, if you answer incorrectly to a standard question we spend two hours on the side of the road searching your vehicle/home.

Remember, if a cop has to ask permission they dont have cause to do it in the first place. All you have to do is say no. If, they are cheap cops and try that nothing to hide ****, tell them you do not answer questions and just stop talking. Do not provide admissions of guilt, do you know why I stopped you? - No, I was not speeding, I used my signal, I am belted properly. Why did you stop me?
Where are you going - that way.
What is that way - the place I am going.
Where are you going - that way.
Why are you being difficult - where I am going, coming from or have been doesnt play a role in why you have stopped me today unless you suspect me of a crime. Do you suspect me of a crime, if so what crime?

If the officer gets defensive or raises his or her voice, stop. Just stop talking, repeat I dont answer questions call your supervisor to the scene. The cop will either jerk you around for five more minutes or throw back your paperwork and you are free to go.

Dont say yes to anything ever. Easy and enjoy the Skoolie life.
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Old 03-09-2017, 12:03 PM   #20
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Quote:
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
I have the ones referenced above in my DEV bus.. and they are OK, but they SPEW light.. they are tough to nail down to a good pattern and so in the snow they are awful.. no true high and low beam pattern, just a 6 or 15 LED's lit from Low to high beam..
Quote:
Originally Posted by New2Skool View Post
The replacement headlight in the pictures above, must get the bus flashed constantly. It looks like a flood pattern compared to a spot and that is trooper heaven. Insta-Ticket and with our types of vehicles, if you answer incorrectly to a standard question we spend two hours on the side of the road searching your vehicle/home.
Please don't take this personally, it's just that careless operators who run maladjusted headlights are one of the things that really set me off on the road. It makes me want to build a 1 kW LED array to help light the way so I can see my own lane over the glare from the oncoming vehicle. Maybe it'll shine "a little" into the eyes of that careless operator, too..

Those headlight replacements are miserable and should only be used off-road where there's no oncoming traffic. Please consider others when upgrading headlights. While I don't advocate sticking to only DOT-approved lights -- it's hard to get anything decent with that restriction -- please invest the work and money to find something that lights the path suitably without interfering with the vision of other drivers. As pointed out by cadillackid, such lights will be better (reduced backscatter) in snow, rain, and fog conditions as well.

By the way: the reason why the H6054 seems so terrible is that its low beam is only 35 watts. H6052 is the same size but has 55 watt low beam. The connector is slightly different: one of the spade blades is rotated to a different angle. I've successfully rotated the blade so it fit the factory H6054 connector, but the wiring harness could also be modified to have a proper H6052 connector instead.

Another good idea is to upgrade the wiring. Halogen lights don't have to be dim, but often a factory harness is running 14 volts near the alternator but resistance in the headlight switch and wiring results in 12 volts or less at the headlight terminals. A heavier and/or relay harness can bring that voltage up and result in significantly more light output.
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