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Volvo RWD 120-130 Forum

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Headlamps, halogens 120-130

I've been getting way to deep into headlamp replacement...

Struck a deer a while back and am getting the car sorted out. I just noticed that one of the headlamps was replaced with a different brand. Works just fine but the difference from side to side bothers me.

Looking up alternatives I see that both Cibie and Hella offer 'conversion kits' using H4 halogen bulbs. Sounds good to me but I notice that per my wiring diagram (Volvo original, Green Service Manual), the low/high beam combination is 40W/45W. It appears that the H4 Halogens are 60W/65W.

Any suggestions? Will the higher wattage bulbs draw too much power through my ancient wiring / relay / switches? Are there lower wattage Halogens available?

I really do like the look of the Cibies or Hellas and would prefer to go that route if possible.

Thank you.
KaiS - 1967 12V P210.





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Headlamps, halogens 120-130

Cibies and Hellas are good but expensive. The Volvo branded halogen replacements, they have Volvo and a big H4 moulded in the lens are pretty good too at less cost. The usual suspects or even a Volvo dealer should be able to supply. You will need new sockets for the H4 bulbs. Relays, correctly wired in will keep the volts up and H4's work at their best when fed the rated voltage. Many have converted without relays and not found much improvement over bulbs which aren't so fussy over voltage. Some H4 bulbs can be had that have a higher output rating for the same watt ratings but that comes at the expense of shorter life. An extra 10% a good compromise but you will get at least that improvement with the relays.





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Headlamps, halogens 120-130

Kai;

When installing sealed beam Halogen equivalents, which are a nice lighting improvement for a very reasonable cost and similar wattage, I do not agree with OP for the reasons detailed here: http://www.sw-em.com/lighting.htm#relay_controlled_headlights

...and for the modest current increase to H4, from 40/45W (3.3/3.75A) vs. 60/65W (5./5.4A) a current increase which is well within the capabilities of the OE 122 Lightswitch (I took one apart recently and found its contacts to be beefier than the load contacts of the typical relays!!) and supply wiring, given that is checked and brought back to low resistance when new...this assures maximum voltage is applied to lights, and not dropped in little bits at every connection along the way (which is also eliminated when installing the often recommended relays...so it is NOT actually the relays which result in the improvement, but the installation of associated new wiring, crimps, and connectors!). Much the same can be achieved when cleaning existing connectors to shiny metal, and if necessary installing new crimps on shiny, newly stripped wire!...and assuring everything stays uncorroded with ACZP.

Cheers





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Headlamps, halogens 120-130

Thank you both. Ron, can't thank you enough for your many well-thought out and detailed responses on this forum. I reviewed the links to your website and feel confident going forward. Will give f/u on how I made out once installation completed.

Thanks much!!

KaiS





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Headlamps, halogens 120-130

https://www.danielsternlighting.com/tech/relays/relays.html
--
82 242-6.2L; '17 Mazda3; '16 Crosstrek





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Headlamps, halogens 120-130

Michael;

I scanned Mr. Stern's writing, and while I don't have any issues with the general information he presents, he makes the argument FOR headlight control relays for precisely the reasons I have discounted on my page (wire gauge and length/distance of run). As an example, he also talks about Crown Victorias (a Ford Road-barge, where there probably are 20 feet of wire between the lightswitch and actual headlights, and who knows what gauge they cost-reduced the wire-gauge down to...)...maybe headlight control relays ARE a good upgrade for those cars...but not for a Volvo 122, where the wire gauge is 1.5mm2 (~14ga.) to the hi/lo-beam switch ,and I bet I would be hard-pressed to come up with half that wire length between switch and headlights!

...and I do take issue with the following specific line from his writing: "But we still want to be able to control the headlamps remotely (from the driving seat), so how do we do that? Install relays!"...making it sound like that is the only valid solution...it is not! The other solution is to install an adequate wire gauge in the first place!! Distance between the power producer is not the issue!...minimizing losses between power producer and end-user are! Power plants generate power miles away from the users...so how do they assure low losses?...they use among other things: ADEQUATE WIRING, for the current flowing!

...and at 1.5mm2, your 122 Volvo had that from the factory fifty years ago! So when not increasing the load current, like for instance installing those Halogen replacement elements, I maintain it is not necessary to increase power handling capability of the harness...because as I have stated: Wire does not go bad, connections, crimps, connectors and components do. Dim and yellow headlight are a result of voltage drops, not across the wire, but across poor connections, and NOT the need for Relays!

Cheers

Edit: I just remembered...I once helped a (non-Volvo) but Crown Vic owner repair his non-functioning headlights...according to him, apparently a not uncommon problem with these cars...and the cause was a failed headlight relay (with a surprisingly minuscule contact [must have also been cost-reduced!] when I took it apart for a post Morten)... "how can that be...it has headlight relays?"...hmmm





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Headlamps, halogens 120-130

Kwas - simply trying to provide the OP with another resource he could draw on to make his choice.

I’ve been performing this “upgrade” on cars of mine for (edit - I'm older than I thought....) 30 years. For me, it started with a simple measurement - put the black lead of your DVM on the location where the headlight bulbs are grounded and the red lead on the hot side of the light bulb - check low beams and high beams as there is additional wiring/switching (V loss) with the high beams. Car warmed up and hold the rpm up a bit. Now check voltage at the alt output at same rpm. If you have more than a volt or two difference, you’re losing significant lumens of lighting. Whether it’s in wire length/gauge, connections or switches only matters if you’re willing to replace the offending bits with upgrades. In my experience, every car has significant voltage drops even when new - primarily because of long wire runs and minimal gauge size. Even my wife’s 2016 sees over a volt drop - and I’d bet money those lights are triggered via control module/CAN system. And if you wanna upgrade to more powerful bulbs, upgrades to the system are usually necessary - many popped fuses on E30 BMW trying to run 100W bulbs through factory wiring. In fact, it was that experience that caused me to investigate the V-drop in the first place.

I upgraded the Volvo in an afternoon using spare relays I’d collected over the years. Keep grounds and wiring large gauge and as short as possible. My DVM currently measures 0.00V difference between alt output and the bulb hotsides. I’m seeing a full 14.2-14.6V at the bulb. Hella euro lights with 55W on the low beam and 100W on the high. No worry about burning up fuses or factory wiring/switches. And I can fry eggs at 50’.

Pull out your DVM. I’d lay odds on a perfectly functioning (clean connections) 50 year old system you’ll see at least a 2V drop....lumens left on the table.

Appears you and I have differing opinions on this. I’m good with that.


--
82 242-6.2L; '17 Mazda3; '16 Crosstrek





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Headlamps, halogens 120-130

MR. Yonut;

I have trouble following your description of voltage drop testing...simpler would be to check voltage across Battery (Source), then at Headlight (or whatever load is being tested) with it's controlling switch(es) ON.

RPM varies system buss voltage because Alt output is variably contributing, so you are seeing voltage differences, but these are a secondary effect, not cause. Voltage drop has nothing directly to do with Idle RPM. Voltage Drops are a function of in-line resistance, which is RPM independent, so if you are reading 2V of drop anywhere, you will see it at any RPM and it's too much and should be corrected.

I understand about giving options, and differing opinions, and when I give mine specifically for the Volvo, it harness, and components, I support them with good science, and practical experience also from the Volvo, not other modern cars, where relays are typical for the reasons I have also given (and discounted as invalid for the Volvo).

Cheers





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Headlamps, halogens 120-130

I'll have to agree with Ron Kwas. I went to my desk to check out an old passport to find out the exact year (April 2005) that I went on a business trip to Argentina and while I was waiting for a taxi on a corner I saw an automotive parts shop with a big Cibie sign. Went in and bought at a great price 2 H4 7" Cibie Valeo headlamps with two halogen 55/60 watt bulbs. Came back to the States and took off the original sealed beams that only produced bad lighting sort of pale yellowish and all of a sudden I had bright white lights that later on when I took off the Bosch generator and put an AC Delco 55 amp alternator had even better lights at low revolutions. No relay, no nothing, I just cleaned the terminals/connections and today after 14 years have the same lighting since day one. I just changed one of the two bulbs that burned out a high beam a couple years ago.





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Headlamps, halogens 120-130

Vasques;

Thanks for adding your practical experience!...it very much makes my point...

Cheers





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Headlamps, halogens 120-130

Rig up a new bit of harness and some relays. Let the original wiring "trigger" the relays. Use 10/12 GA wire for power to the lights and grounds. You'll have no problem getting the higher rated bulbs (use 100W if you like!) and extra juice at the bulb will make a HUGE difference in output/lumens. I made this change on my 242 long ago -- lights up the night.
--
82 242-6.2L; '17 Mazda3; '16 Crosstrek





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