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Headlight aiming


adallak

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The headlights of my Fleetwood seem to be very strange. It is a four bulb system. I adjust the low beam at 25' so that the brightest spots of both sides are 2" below and to the right of the points corresponding to the points on the wall when the car is only a foot away. Now, the same lens holds the both low and high beam bulbs. In other words, adjusting the low beam automatically changes the adjustment of high beam.

The problem is that the high beams are aimed WAY to far to the left as if I want to blind the oncoming traffic.... If I adjust the HIGH BEAMS so that they would shine straight ahead, then the low beams will illuminate the right ditch and will do little job to illuminate the road ahead.

I bought a heavy duty wiring harness with two relays and planned to replace the OEM bulbs with brighter ones. But that will solve just a part of the problem. Besides, the high beams will literally blind the oncoming drivers. I do not know what to do. It is so stressful to drive after dark. I could get involved in an accident a couple of times because I could not see the road well enough.

Anybody with 93-96 Fleetwoods? How are your lights?

The saddest thing in life is wasted talent

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I never noticed a problem with the headlights on my '93. Is there something damaged on the headlight housing/mounting area?

Kevin
'93 Fleetwood Brougham
'05 Deville
'04 Deville
2013 Silverado Z71

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I never noticed a problem with the headlights on my '93. Is there something damaged on the headlight housing/mounting area?

KHE,

The previous owner - a 84 years old lady definitely bumped it into something. Driver side headlight azimuth adjustment screw is broken, but that is not the problem as I see. I still can move the both lenses as much as I want to and secure them in that position. Just imagine, you have a lens independently sitting on a table. You aim it so that the low beam would be 5" lower and 5" to the right of the axis of the low beam bulb on the screen 25' away and, as a result, your high beam is WAY off the straight line to the left. The position of the bulbs with respect to the lenses is fine, I do not see any damage which could cause missalignment.

EDIT: I am still thinking metric... Sure, it is 2" not 5".

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First of all, you should never have your high beams on when approaching oncoming traffic. Yes, they will blind the other driver, and is actually illegal, but more importantly it is common courtesy to dim hem, as well as an unsafe act.

Secondly, I believe your headlights are working exactly the way they were designed. The point of having low beams is to not blind oncoming drivers, and from your description you seem to be adjusting them correctly, so all is good. Now where you got the idea that you should be able to use high beams when there is oncoming traffic is beyond me. The purpose of high beams is to be able to see BOTH side of the highway when there is no traffic coming toward you. That would be so you can see dangers approaching from either side of the road, such as DEER, which as we all know can care less about traffic rules.

Never underestimate the amount of a persons greed.

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First of all, you should never have your high beams on when approaching oncoming traffic. Yes, they will blind the other driver, and is actually illegal, but more importantly it is common courtesy to dim hem, as well as an unsafe act.

Secondly, I believe your headlights are working exactly the way they were designed. The point of having low beams is to not blind oncoming drivers, and from your description you seem to be adjusting them correctly, so all is good. Now where you got the idea that you should be able to use high beams when there is oncoming traffic is beyond me. The purpose of high beams is to be able to see BOTH side of the highway when there is no traffic coming toward you. That would be so you can see dangers approaching from either side of the road, such as DEER, which as we all know can care less about traffic rules.

JohnnyG,

First of all, why do you think I do not turn high beams off as soon as I see approaching oncoming traffic? Sometimes, I do not even turn them on when I know I will have to turn them off in a short while. I do not use high beams when there is a car in front of me either, so the driver would not be blinded while looking in his rear view mirror. I am not evil! lol

When I am talking about blinding oncoming traffic, I mean rather those split seconds it takes to turn the high beams off.

I see your point about high beams aimed so that I can see the the both sides of the highway. But that EXACTLY means that the high beam should be aimed straight ahead of my car, not to the left! What's the advantage of seeing a deer approaching from the left better/sooner than one approaching from the right side???

I do believe the high beams should be aimed along the longitudinal axis of the car when the low beams are adjusted a little bit to the right and down of the axis.

The saddest thing in life is wasted talent

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I'll take a look in the shop manual this evening and see what it says about the aiming.

Kevin
'93 Fleetwood Brougham
'05 Deville
'04 Deville
2013 Silverado Z71

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The problem is that the high beams are aimed WAY to far to the left as if I want to blind the oncoming traffic....
First of all, why do you think I do not turn high beams off as soon as I see approaching oncoming traffic?
The line quoted above.

Never underestimate the amount of a persons greed.

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Have you tried adjusting your headlights so the high beams are straight ahead, then see where your lows end up?

Oh wait, I see you did that. Maybe a compromise is in order here.

Edited by JohnnyG

Never underestimate the amount of a persons greed.

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Have you tried adjusting your headlights so the high beams are straight ahead, then see where your lows end up?

Oh wait, I see you did that. Maybe a compromise is in order here.

Compromise, that's exactly what I have to do. I need to shoot a video to show what is going on.

The saddest thing in life is wasted talent

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The only thing else that I can suggest is the actual bulbs themselves inside the enclosures. It might be possible that not all bulbs are created equal, and some may be more suitable than others for certain systems. I do know that a lot (if not all) have reflectors/directors attached or in the form of a mirrored coating on the outside of the bulb. Check at the parts store and see if you can determine differences in say A.C Delco type bulbs as compared to others of the same type. Some of the newer "blue" type bulbs may emphasize complete beam dispersal rather than directional output for example.

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After reading your first post again, I must caution you on increasing the bulb wattage too much. We went over this a few years ago when someone melted their plastic housings by going too "hot" on the bulbs. For every candlepower increase, there is typically an increase in the amount of heat generated by a bulb. The enclosures will only take so much heat.

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The only thing else that I can suggest is the actual bulbs themselves inside the enclosures. It might be possible that not all bulbs are created equal, and some may be more suitable than others for certain systems. I do know that a lot (if not all) have reflectors/directors attached or in the form of a mirrored coating on the outside of the bulb. Check at the parts store and see if you can determine differences in say A.C Delco type bulbs as compared to others of the same type. Some of the newer "blue" type bulbs may emphasize complete beam dispersal rather than directional output for example.

The position if filament is critical, and the construction of the bulbs and sockets does not allow much play. I have replaced the original bulbs with GE OEM replacement. Look the same.

The saddest thing in life is wasted talent

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After reading your first post again, I must caution you on increasing the bulb wattage too much. We went over this a few years ago when someone melted their plastic housings by going too "hot" on the bulbs. For every candlepower increase, there is typically an increase in the amount of heat generated by a bulb. The enclosures will only take so much heat.

I have been very reluctant to go with higher wattage. Sometimes, I think folks who use those superbright bulbs are just trying to impress someone... I just need as much light as I feel comfortable and safe with. If the original OEM lights were aligned properly I would probably stick with them. Once I had a passenger who did not think my lights were too weak. I let him drive and he immediately agreed. Things are different when you are behind the wheel.

The saddest thing in life is wasted talent

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Ive had good luck with the silverstar bulbs in other caddys. They are definately brighter and a little bit whiter but keep the same wattage. They even make silverstar extreme or something like that that are even brighter I guess. People always said my regular silverstars were too bright coming down the road.

My fleetwood lights are a little weird as well. I adjusted them on a flat road at night to where they looked just right. But if you look at the headlight itself it looks like one is aimed way right and the edge of the headlight is sticking out past the grille and the other is not. I dont care THAT much about cosmetics so I just go with what works. The spread of light on these is horrible to begin with. Reminds me of the 80s lights that just splash an oval of light out there for each headlight where my 2000 lit up everything around pretty evenly.

I think Ive read the right side should be a touch higher than the left to light up the edge of the road? But otherwise I dont know where they should actually be aligned, Im curious to see what these guys find in their manuals.

Also Ive flipped on the highs a few times and Im not disappointed. High beams are always aimed higher and that same patch of road the lows lit up wont necessarily be lit up as well with the highs because you are supposedly on a highway and need to see further ahead. The high beam pattern looks like its much more spread out on these cars which is good.

Definately cant chalk up these odd headlight patterns with aftermarket junk. I dont think anybody made these headlights in aftermarket? They are glass and not plastic so they lasted longer and the limited production of the fleetwood probably made it so there wasnt much demand for them.

* 1966 Deville Convertible

* 2007 Escalade ESV Black on Black

* 1996 Fleetwood Brougham Black on Black V4P -Gone
* 1983 Coupe Deville Street/Show Lowrider -Gone

* 1970 Calais 4dr Hardtop GONE
* 2000 Deville DTS - Silver with Black Leather and SE grille GONE
* 1999 Seville STS - Pearl Red GONE

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What ever happened to the auto-dimming feature on Caddies? That was one of my favorites.

I am not sure it is autodimming. I suspect the rear view mirror is just some 50% one.

The saddest thing in life is wasted talent

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Here is a reply I read on the other forum. That's exactly what I was thinking. I would just add that the highs are also aimed to the left when lows aimed per manual.

"... GM has set the relationship of the high to low beams so if the lows are adjusted ok, the highs are too high and if the highs are ok, the lows are too low. My 00 Buick is same way. They have done this for years. I just put a relay in so my high beams trigger the low beams when the highs are on, and it fills in nicer and I can aim the lows properly."

When I see something poorly engineered, it may be a shower, a faucet, a chair, a grill, a car, whatever I ask a simple question "have the guys who engineered this stuff actually used it?"

The saddest thing in life is wasted talent

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What ever happened to the auto-dimming feature on Caddies? That was one of my favorites.

I think the auto dimming headlight option was dropped after the 1985 model year. It has been re-introduced as the intellibeam. The intellibeam uses different and more reliable sensors vs. the old style photocells.

Kevin
'93 Fleetwood Brougham
'05 Deville
'04 Deville
2013 Silverado Z71

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What ever happened to the auto-dimming feature on Caddies? That was one of my favorites.

I think the auto dimming headlight option was dropped after the 1985 model year. It has been re-introduced as the intellibeam. The intellibeam uses different and more reliable sensors vs. the old style photocells.

My 2008 DTS (Lux III) has that feature, and it works exceptionally well. The sensors (most likely still photocells of some kind) are built into the headlight housings themselves, rather than in the grill or on the dash like the Caddys of old. To my knowledge, there is no adjustment for sensitivity like the old days, they just work. I'm sure that would run the price of a replacement headlight assembly past $700.00!

Never underestimate the amount of a persons greed.

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Fleetwood Brougham headlight aiming from the shop manual:

- Fuel tank to be at 1/2 full or less.

- Screen to be 25' from front of vehicle.

- The only other load should be the driver unless the vehicle regularly carries an unusual load or tows a trailer. If that is the case, assure such load is in the vehicle.

- Mark the center of the front and rear windows with narrow tape. Use these "sights" to locate the center of the vehicle. Move the vehicle or the screen until the centerline of the screen comes into alignment with the two lines on the front and rear windows.

- Close doors, rock the car sideways to stabilize the suspension.

- Switch the headlights on low beam. If the left edge is more than 4" right or left of straight ahead, adjust the horizontal aim of the headlights to put the left edge even with the vertical line on the screen that is aligned with the headlight center.

- If the top edge is more than 4" above or below the line on the screen, adjust the vertical headlight aiming screw to put the top edge even with the horizontal line on the screen that is aligned with the headlight center.

There is not a separate adjustment for the high beams like there was on the old-style sealed beam headlights.

Kevin
'93 Fleetwood Brougham
'05 Deville
'04 Deville
2013 Silverado Z71

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Ill have to try that someday thanks :) Just curious how close I am to this now and how that will look when done correctly

* 1966 Deville Convertible

* 2007 Escalade ESV Black on Black

* 1996 Fleetwood Brougham Black on Black V4P -Gone
* 1983 Coupe Deville Street/Show Lowrider -Gone

* 1970 Calais 4dr Hardtop GONE
* 2000 Deville DTS - Silver with Black Leather and SE grille GONE
* 1999 Seville STS - Pearl Red GONE

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Thanks KHE. I have FSM too. The screen should have a horizontal line and two vertical lines. The intersections of these lines determine the axes of the headlights, assuming these axes are parallel to the longitudinal axis of the car.

Unlike my 1991 Seville with one bulb and two filaments for high and low beams, the Fleetwood has two different bulbs inside common lens-reflector assembly. That setting allows for more flexibility. You can MANUFACTURE the lens & reflector sealed assembly so that low beams are aimed down and to the right while the high beam is aimed straight ahead. Unfortunately, GM did a very poor job benefiting from that flexibility IMHO.

Look at the procedure in the FSM. There are so many inaccuracies which may result in a very bad aiming. They are talking about centers of headlights while there are two bulbs a few inches apart. If all the procedure is based on aiming low beams there should have been used the axes of low beam bulbs.

The procedure allows very LOSE and ambiguous alignment of headlights. Say, if one spot is 4" right of one vertical line and the other is 4'' left off the other vertical line , one is 4" below and the other is 4" above the line, you will see a terrible results when you will be driving. Particularly, your high beams will look funny in fog. They (or at least one of them) will be hitting the trees instead of hitting the center of the road ahead of you. But it is still within specs per the manual! I need to shot a video of my headlight alignment. Unfortunately, even finding a level ground with a wall dark enough is not easy in my neighborhood.

Besides, they are talking about "left edge". It is the left edge of the blurry pattern of low beams. It is more appropriate to talk about the center of that blurry pattern, which is easier to determine. The pattern itself is about 12" wide.

I decided to put high beam 65 W 9005 bulbs in low beam sockets instead of 9006 50 W low beam bulbs. They are not interchangeable, but I will modify the bulbs so that they will fit nicely. I will also aim the HIGH beams so that they look straight forward and let the low beams be aimed whenever the want to (it is going to be the right ditch LOL).

I removed the headlight assembly to see if I can take it apart to clean the lens and the reflector. The amber bulbs are covered with quite visible layer of dust, so it is safe to assume the same dust covers internal surfaces of the assembly. Unfortunately, it seems to be impossible to take it apart without breaking the lens. So, I gave up.

The saddest thing in life is wasted talent

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What ever happened to the auto-dimming feature on Caddies? That was one of my favorites.

I think the auto dimming headlight option was dropped after the 1985 model year. It has been re-introduced as the intellibeam. The intellibeam uses different and more reliable sensors vs. the old style photocells.

I believe that the Guide-Matic automatic headlamp control feature was last offered for the 1987 model year on the Brougham (D-car) model. The old photo-cells required proper aiming and periodic cleaning, but did not have any digital signal processing ability to ignore street lamps and other non-automotive sources of light.

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Thanks KHE. I have FSM too. The screen should have a horizontal line and two vertical lines. The intersections of these lines determine the axes of the headlights, assuming these axes are parallel to the longitudinal axis of the car.

Unlike my 1991 Seville with one bulb and two filaments for high and low beams, the Fleetwood has two different bulbs inside common lens-reflector assembly. That setting allows for more flexibility. You can MANUFACTURE the lens & reflector sealed assembly so that low beams are aimed down and to the right while the high beam is aimed straight ahead. Unfortunately, GM did a very poor job benefiting from that flexibility.

Look at the procedure in the FSM. There are so many inaccuracies which may result in a very bad aiming. They are talking about centers of headlights while there are two bulbs a few inches apart. If all the procedure is based on aiming low beams there should have been used the axes of low beam bulbs.

The procedure allows very LOSE and ambiguous alignment of headlights. Say, if one spot is 4" right of one vertical line and the other is 4'' left off the other vertical line , one is 4" below and the other is 4" above the line, you will see a terrible results when you will be driving. Particularly, your high beams will look funny in fog. They (or at least one of them) will be hitting the trees instead of hitting the center of the road ahead of you. But it is still within specs per the manual! I need to shot a video of my headlight alignment. Unfortunately, even finding a level ground with a wall dark enough is not easy in my neighborhood.

Besides, they are talking about "left edge". It is the left edge of the blurry pattern of low beams. It is more appropriate to talk about the center of that blurry pattern, which is easier to determine. The pattern itself is about 12" wide.

I decided to put high beam 65 W 9005 bulbs in low beam sockets instead of 9006 50 W low beam bulbs. They are not interchangeable, but I will modify the bulbs so that they will fit nicely. I will also aim the HIGH beams so that they look straight forward and let the low beams be aimed whenever the want to (it is going to be the right ditch LOL).

I removed the headlight assembly to see if I can take it apart to clean the lens and the reflector. The amber bulbs are covered with quite visible layer of dust, so it is safe to assume the same dust covers internal surfaces of the assembly. Unfortunately, it seems to be impossible to take it apart without breaking the lens. So, I gave up.

wow, sounds like youre going to extremes to get more light. Like I said, silverstars put out alot more light than regular bulbs. Is that what you are going for here more light? Or just trying to make the high beams better or what?

* 1966 Deville Convertible

* 2007 Escalade ESV Black on Black

* 1996 Fleetwood Brougham Black on Black V4P -Gone
* 1983 Coupe Deville Street/Show Lowrider -Gone

* 1970 Calais 4dr Hardtop GONE
* 2000 Deville DTS - Silver with Black Leather and SE grille GONE
* 1999 Seville STS - Pearl Red GONE

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Share on other sites

Thanks KHE. I have FSM too. The screen should have a horizontal line and two vertical lines. The intersections of these lines determine the axes of the headlights, assuming these axes are parallel to the longitudinal axis of the car.

Unlike my 1991 Seville with one bulb and two filaments for high and low beams, the Fleetwood has two different bulbs inside common lens-reflector assembly. That setting allows for more flexibility. You can MANUFACTURE the lens & reflector sealed assembly so that low beams are aimed down and to the right while the high beam is aimed straight ahead. Unfortunately, GM did a very poor job benefiting from that flexibility.

Look at the procedure in the FSM. There are so many inaccuracies which may result in a very bad aiming. They are talking about centers of headlights while there are two bulbs a few inches apart. If all the procedure is based on aiming low beams there should have been used the axes of low beam bulbs.

The procedure allows very LOSE and ambiguous alignment of headlights. Say, if one spot is 4" right of one vertical line and the other is 4'' left off the other vertical line , one is 4" below and the other is 4" above the line, you will see a terrible results when you will be driving. Particularly, your high beams will look funny in fog. They (or at least one of them) will be hitting the trees instead of hitting the center of the road ahead of you. But it is still within specs per the manual! I need to shot a video of my headlight alignment. Unfortunately, even finding a level ground with a wall dark enough is not easy in my neighborhood.

Besides, they are talking about "left edge". It is the left edge of the blurry pattern of low beams. It is more appropriate to talk about the center of that blurry pattern, which is easier to determine. The pattern itself is about 12" wide.

I decided to put high beam 65 W 9005 bulbs in low beam sockets instead of 9006 50 W low beam bulbs. They are not interchangeable, but I will modify the bulbs so that they will fit nicely. I will also aim the HIGH beams so that they look straight forward and let the low beams be aimed whenever the want to (it is going to be the right ditch LOL).

I removed the headlight assembly to see if I can take it apart to clean the lens and the reflector. The amber bulbs are covered with quite visible layer of dust, so it is safe to assume the same dust covers internal surfaces of the assembly. Unfortunately, it seems to be impossible to take it apart without breaking the lens. So, I gave up.

wow, sounds like youre going to extremes to get more light. Like I said, silverstars put out alot more light than regular bulbs. Is that what you are going for here more light? Or just trying to make the high beams better or what?

Looks like Silverstars do not last. First, I want to get the best aiming I can and secondly, replace low beam bulbs with modified OEM high beam bulbs.

The saddest thing in life is wasted talent

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