Sunday, 13 March 2016

A journey in the dark ...

Took 't Kreng out for a test drive, in the dark last evening, to see how the new lights perform. It became clear immediately that these lights have a much better output compared to the Lucas 7" units (which in my case are fitted with halogen bulbs). The light pattern on low beam is much brighter and more "focussed" with a fairly clear beam cut. But that is not a problem.
Have to admit though that from a colour point of view the eyes need to adapt a bit. Especially on narrow country lanes without markings the white light just lights everything up. A more yellow light will highlight greens better thus accentuating the verges more. On major roads with marker lines they are perfect.
Also typical for these focussed beams is that at the edges of the beam pattern there is a narrow coloured band. This is caused by refraction on the edges of the focussing elements. Looks a bit weird when driving behind light coloured vans or passing large faced objects close to the road.

Low Beam

High beam is everything that it should be. But here there is a slight draw back. Due to the beam's projection there is a slightly "darker" area in the light pattern in front of the car. On smooth roads this is not much of a problem. But on the less smooth country lanes around here, together with more speed, it sometimes seems like the light pattern looses "contact" with the road. Clearly a small draw back from the very focussed beam pattern. And in my case highlighted by the fact that I adjusted the lights towards their upper legal limit. Lowering the beam a bit should improve this. As will reconnecting the spot lights ! (I disconnected them so I could better judge the LED lights)

High Beam

And finally it was good to drive TR7 in the dark without lights that were vibrating madly on everything but the smoothest of asphalt !

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

First outing of the year

Hadn't really planned to do this, but as the weather was rather fine and the new headlights' aim needed final adjustment, I decided to take 't Kreng out of her mandatory three month hibernation and go for a few hours' drive through the country. Was quite amazed that she started on the second attempt and immediately settled in a fairly steady idle.

First I drove to the local Land Rover specialist in the rural village of America. They did supply the new headlights and agreed to adjust them as part of the service. As usual with the lights' adjusters in good order it took less time to adjust the lights then to get a cup of coffee out their coffee machine.

And with the lights adjusted it was time for some fun, and a few little photo shoots ...

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Adding lightness & light part 3

With all the hardware in place it was time for the final and probably the biggest upgrade, the headlights themselves. While working on this up-grade over the past few months I started thinking off adding some better lights up front, and to replace the ageing Lucas 7" H4 headlamp units (actually originating from BAOR surplus ...), with some more efficient headlights. In the end I went for LED headlights which are more commonly seen on Land Rover Defenders (JW Speaker 8700 Evo2). They are certainly not cheap, and they do add a little extra weight compared to the original Lucas 7" headlights, though less than expected. 

But their high Lumen output and focused beam pattern is absolutely brilliant. And they have a low current draw of only 3 Amp's @ beam, reducing the loads on the switchgear, thus improving reliability a bit. And they were unexpectedly plug and play, with absolutely no changes necessary. Even the original wiring connector was a straight fit ...

Sadly I forgot to inspect the rubber headlamp surrounds properly when I took them off, so when I wanted to refit them most of the steel rings that are moulded into the rubber fell out. Time for another upgrade. Luckily this one was much simpler compared with the work already done. Fabricate eight ΓΈ22,25 mm (in this case 2 mm thick alloy) washers and machine two countersunk screw holes in each of them, and screw them to the back of the headlamp surrounds. Together with some special glue/sealant that should do the trick ...

With the headlight surrounds repaired they were fitted to the headlamp pods and the wiring was reconnected. Job done!

... Well almost, only need to (fine) adjust the headlamps aim.

I have to admit that I have chosen these lights for their performance and not their looks. And I had mentally prepared myself in case they'd spoil the car's looks even more. But I think they don't look to bad, actually the more I look at the end result the more I like it. I still have to drive the car in the dark yet, to see how the lights perform. But I have seen them in action on a Land Rover and they definitely are very effective!

Almost forgot the original target for the project, which was shedding some weight up front. In this I succeed ...

And for those interested, the spec-sheets from the JW Speaker 8700 Evolution 2 headlight units