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Sealed beams - Land Rover Series 3 fettling


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#1 ONLINE   N Dentressangle

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Posted 14 March 2019 - 08:10 AM

I'm planning on changing the two sealed beams in my Land Rover S3 today for halogens. The SB's are useless for any driving in the dark these days, partly because they were never very good in the first place, and partly because of the mini suns which most new stuff seems to have bolted to the front.

 

So, I'm gradually building a collection of old SB's. The temptation is to do what happened to the VHS collection a few years ago and bin them. They're still cheap enough brand new on Ebay, so don't seem to have any value. Or am I missing something?


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1963 Land Rover SIIA - in a field, probably waiting for next summer

1974 Land Rover S3 - trialler, wood carrier and donkey

1984 Mini 25 - Mrs D's

1993 Range Rover Vogue SE V8 - liability

1996 Mazda Bongo - camper and comfy* cruiser

2010 BMW R1200GS - economical transport


#2 ONLINE   SiC

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Posted 14 March 2019 - 08:25 AM

The ones on eBay are cheaply made units from India. Original sealed beams with Lucas and the such on them are liked by those wanting to keep their show cars "original". Naturally they don't use them in the dark so the lights only need to pass MOT standards. No idea what people are prepared to pay for them, of anything.

Another good thing I guess is the wattage is lower than H4 and given many old car electrical systems are fairly marginal/badly maintained, upgrading to H4 can release smoke. Especially if the lights are wired directly through an old switch which was standard practice at the time.

If you have any that are going in the bin, I'd be a happy recipient of one! :)
The drivers side unit is blown on my 1100 and certainly initially I'm only really bothered about working lights for the MOT. Once in use and likely to use in the dark I'll probably upgrade, but for now I just need light output!
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#3 OFFLINE   Rusty_Rocket

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Posted 14 March 2019 - 08:39 AM

I  must be the only person in the world to never have a problem with sealed beams.  All my Minis have them and I seldom struggle to see at night time.  Perhaps my expectations are low  :mrgreen:

Good voltage to them is key.  Ropey wiring and connectors will render them pretty useless.

 

As SiC says, the original Lucas ones, marked as such are desirable to classic car people.  They look so much better than modern ones and will sell on ebay...


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#4 ONLINE   N Dentressangle

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Posted 14 March 2019 - 08:42 AM

OK, makes sense.

 

Thanks guys - I'll have a look and see what's in the pile...


1963 Land Rover SIIA - in a field, probably waiting for next summer

1974 Land Rover S3 - trialler, wood carrier and donkey

1984 Mini 25 - Mrs D's

1993 Range Rover Vogue SE V8 - liability

1996 Mazda Bongo - camper and comfy* cruiser

2010 BMW R1200GS - economical transport


#5 OFFLINE   dollywobbler

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Posted 14 March 2019 - 08:46 AM

I  must be the only person in the world to never have a problem with sealed beams.  All my Minis have them and I seldom struggle to see at night time.  Perhaps my expectations are low  :mrgreen:

Good voltage to them is key.  Ropey wiring and connectors will render them pretty useless.

 

As SiC says, the original Lucas ones, marked as such are desirable to classic car people.  They look so much better than modern ones and will sell on ebay...

 

I'm with you. Never had trouble seeing in our Mini at night, and my Rover P6s with sealed beams were fine too. Rover 400 HHR on the other hand - the main beam was like trying to wave a candle in the air. Hopeless.


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#6 OFFLINE   ianbmw

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Posted 14 March 2019 - 08:57 AM

Have you considered adding two small tea lights to the front bumper? This is an instant improvement on orignal lighting

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#7 OFFLINE   Junkman

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Posted 14 March 2019 - 09:17 AM

I  must be the only person in the world to never have a problem with sealed beams.  All my Minis have them and I seldom struggle to see at night time.  Perhaps my expectations are low  :mrgreen:
Good voltage to them is key.  Ropey wiring and connectors will render them pretty useless.
 
As SiC says, the original Lucas ones, marked as such are desirable to classic car people.  They look so much better than modern ones and will sell on ebay...


I'm with you. Never had trouble seeing in our Mini at night, and my Rover P6s with sealed beams were fine too. Rover 400 HHR on the other hand - the main beam was like trying to wave a candle in the air. Hopeless.

 

You are not the only ones. I usually ripped that newfangled tosh out of my P6es and reverted them to SBs so I could see something by night.
Knowing a thing or two about SBs due to yank OS, I went for Wagner halogens with uprated wattage, though, which makes all the difference.
I don't like asymmetrical dipped beam at all, because in the era of the cars I usually own, it was woefully shit. See Granada, 405, etc.

Not sure whether it ever became better, since I never owned a later car, but the real modernz I drove as hire cars had shit headlight altogether.

It's carefully designed to dazzle oncoming traffic, but do not much else.


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#8 ONLINE   N Dentressangle

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Posted 14 March 2019 - 09:58 AM

So, having reduced the side with the original knackered metal headlamp bowl to this:

 

mNvpD2h.jpg

 

can I find the plastic bowl and associated crap I've been tripping over for the past 2 years because I was too lazy to fit both last time?

 

Can I bollocks.


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1963 Land Rover SIIA - in a field, probably waiting for next summer

1974 Land Rover S3 - trialler, wood carrier and donkey

1984 Mini 25 - Mrs D's

1993 Range Rover Vogue SE V8 - liability

1996 Mazda Bongo - camper and comfy* cruiser

2010 BMW R1200GS - economical transport


#9 OFFLINE   MiniMort

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Posted 14 March 2019 - 10:51 AM

Hey video tapes are not pointless! I digitize the ad breaks to get old car commercials off them. Damn useful, I'm sure you'll agree.
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#10 OFFLINE   BeEP

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Posted 14 March 2019 - 11:07 AM

My 1100s and 1800 still have sealed beams which are more than adequate unless the reflectors corrode (admittedly the 1800 hasn't been on the road for eight years so no headlights would be just fine).

 

Sweeping generalisation/ I do wonder if people confuse "the amount of light required to drive safely" with "the amount of light other cars emit therefore I need/want too" /sweeping generalisation.

 

I also have at least 10 times as many VHS tapes as DVDs so maybe that says more about me (DVD's are modern, right......?).


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#11 ONLINE   N Dentressangle

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Posted 14 March 2019 - 11:23 AM

All defences of SB's noted and duly ignored.  :-P

 

I decided to crack on, anyway. The bowl might turn up, and if it doesn't I can pick another one up in Bristol tomorrow.

 

Time for my favourite tool:

 

alRAkp1.jpg

 

No, not the mole grips, although I like those too.

 

All the screws holding the bowl in were rusted solid (of course) so heads ground off, garage full of burning rubber stink from the seal and eventually we're here:

 

ey9rjgl.jpg

 

Getting the bowl out meant detaching it from the loom junction underneath the front slam panel. I tidied this bit up for the sake of smoke prevention when I got this Land Rover. It had suffered a small fire (by Land Rover standards) because of a short in the o/s sidelight wiring, which had melted out other bits of the front loom, so I replaced some of the wiring and made sure the smoke stayed where it should.

 

I'd never released the wiring clips and earthing bolt under slam panel though - chisel and grinder FTW. Finally all is unclipped and ready for cleaning and tidying up. Again.

 

330rtfo.jpg

 

If you hadn't guessed, this thing is used for trialling and green laning, so takes more shite than the usual trip to Waitrose. Most of the poo all over it comes from an unexpectedly deep waterhole on Salisbury Plain a couple of years ago. It got out, but the fucking chalky silty crap is like glue.


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1963 Land Rover SIIA - in a field, probably waiting for next summer

1974 Land Rover S3 - trialler, wood carrier and donkey

1984 Mini 25 - Mrs D's

1993 Range Rover Vogue SE V8 - liability

1996 Mazda Bongo - camper and comfy* cruiser

2010 BMW R1200GS - economical transport


#12 OFFLINE   Junkman

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Posted 14 March 2019 - 11:25 AM

My 1100s and 1800 still have sealed beams which are more than adequate unless the reflectors corrode (admittedly the 1800 hasn't been on the road for eight years so no headlights would be just fine).

 

The whole point of SBs is that the reflectors can't corrode.


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#13 OFFLINE   MorrisItalSLX

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Posted 14 March 2019 - 11:26 AM

VHS tapes have gone from 50c to $2 at my local charity shop, make of that what you will.

 

That being said, they are still $1 for as many as you can carry at the tip.


46166620385_56a84bf2c5_o.jpg


#14 OFFLINE   barrett

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Posted 14 March 2019 - 12:01 PM

The light emitted by sealed beam lamps is not really a problem (remember, it's other cars and their too-bright lamps that cause the problems), but when they inevitably fail, I cannot deal with having to pay upwards of £20 for a new unit instead of buying a replacement bulb for £4 or whatever. Therefore, SBs are BAD for poor people like me.


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#15 ONLINE   N Dentressangle

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Posted 14 March 2019 - 12:16 PM

Update: I suspect the SB's will be staying.

 

The cheapo halogen upgrades I bought are too big for the chrome securing ring on the LH plastic bucket.

 

What a fucking waste of time.


1963 Land Rover SIIA - in a field, probably waiting for next summer

1974 Land Rover S3 - trialler, wood carrier and donkey

1984 Mini 25 - Mrs D's

1993 Range Rover Vogue SE V8 - liability

1996 Mazda Bongo - camper and comfy* cruiser

2010 BMW R1200GS - economical transport


#16 OFFLINE   Rusty_Rocket

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Posted 14 March 2019 - 01:22 PM

The light emitted by sealed beam lamps is not really a problem (remember, it's other cars and their too-bright lamps that cause the problems), but when they inevitably fail, I cannot deal with having to pay upwards of £20 for a new unit instead of buying a replacement bulb for £4 or whatever. Therefore, SBs are BAD for poor people like me.


Buy a pair from N Dentressangle :D
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#17 OFFLINE   BeEP

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Posted 14 March 2019 - 01:33 PM

The whole point of SBs is that the reflectors can't corrode.

 

That is indeed the intention, but the fact is that over time they do.  I'm sure I can dig a few out of the shed and post to you if you'd like proof.


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#18 OFFLINE   lisbon_road

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Posted 14 March 2019 - 02:07 PM

I do find that VHS tapes are now selling on ebay.  I admit they are slow to move, but they are going.


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#19 OFFLINE   PhilA

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Posted 14 March 2019 - 02:23 PM

I had 5 3/4" sealed beams on my Victor. They were utterly useless. To look at from the street they were fine but the light was dim onto the street and if it was raining you might as well just stick to roads with street lights.

I rewired them with heavy gauge wire and used relays powered directly off the battery to save going through 2 old switches, numerous connectors and thin wiring.

The difference was remarkable. Connected to a power source capable of providing the electricity the filaments could consume made the headlights, once correctly adjusted, as good as the lights on my Cinquecento (H4 halogen, large reflectors and glass lenses).

Ditto the 9" sealed beams on my Super Minx- those were crap until I replaced the wiring and cleaned all the connectors and switch contacts. In fact, those were better because of the larger reflector area.

The killer is usually the two (oft 3) switches in the circuit plus thinner wire than really should be used for 40+ Watt bulbs from the factory.

$0.02
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#20 OFFLINE   mercrocker

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Posted 14 March 2019 - 04:26 PM

I see both sides here.   Had SBs on the Minor and had a couple go on me.   As it was on alternator and as I found a pair of H4 replacement headlamp units at an autojumble I changed 'em.   I can see better at night, there is no doubt.   Whether it would be better enough to ditch perfectly sound SB units I would not be sure.  In fact the Cowley still has SB but is on dynamo anyway.     

 

Having H4s means I can carry a spare bulb instead of a headlamp unit (changing them isn't much different in time taken). 

 

Changing a failed SB unit means you have new reflectors/glass as well.   As JM says they're sealed anyway.

 

Horses for courses.  The Cowley lights are good enough, the Minors are a little better but like I said, not really better enough.... 

 

Oh, and I did buy proper convex H4 replacement lamps too - not those fucking flat things.  I would always buy any proper Lucas SBs I saw going for bulb money....


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#21 ONLINE   LightBulbFun

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Posted 14 March 2019 - 05:19 PM

Oooh lightbulb discussion!

 

 

im personally a fan of sealed beams, as because others have noted, you get a new reflector and lens when it comes to replacement time, they are also rugged as as fook :)

 

these days you can even get halogen sealed beams (at least in the US I know you can, as 1970mgb has a pair on his MGB IIRC) so you can get the benefit of both Sealed beams and halogen tech :)

 

its a fun fact to note the factory that made Lucas sealed beams now make Weetabix which I find quite amusing given Weetabix sills  :mrgreen: http://www.lamptech.... UK - Corby.htm


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#22 OFFLINE   Asimo

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Posted 14 March 2019 - 07:32 PM

I may** have mentioned this before, but when the wings on your Autobianchi rot away allowing the tiny, rusty, Italian headlamps to fall out, Lucas 7" sealed beams can be fibre-glassed into the jagged hole. With enough wob, they fit well enough for mot man and illuminate the road ahead in an entirely satisfactory manner.
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#23 OFFLINE   Dead_E23

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Posted 14 March 2019 - 07:34 PM

I was followed on the M25 by a Defender fitted with LED headlamps like the ones on this page.  

 

They looked fucking hideous, but after paying 10 times the price of normal headlamps I should hope the driver could at least see where he was going.


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#24 OFFLINE   MiniMort

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Posted 14 March 2019 - 07:51 PM

I do find that VHS tapes are now selling on ebay.  I admit they are slow to move, but they are going.


I much prefer to buy Beta. You pay more but the quality is better.
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#25 OFFLINE   Junkman

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Posted 14 March 2019 - 07:53 PM

That is indeed the intention, but the fact is that over time they do.  I'm sure I can dig a few out of the shed and post to you if you'd like proof.

 

 

I find owning a set of corroded sealed beams strangely irresistible.

 

Beer tokens and postage offered.


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#26 OFFLINE   DSdriver

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Posted 14 March 2019 - 07:55 PM

I've got as far as updating the DS to sealed beams, probably be a few more years before it gets halogens. ?The directional inbord driving lamps may be halogen as OE anyway?
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#27 OFFLINE   Junkman

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Posted 14 March 2019 - 08:01 PM

This looks interesting.

 

https://www.amazon.c...n/dp/1907527087

41rbVJlW4OL._SX352_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg


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#28 ONLINE   LightBulbFun

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Posted 14 March 2019 - 08:02 PM

That is indeed the intention, but the fact is that over time they do.  I'm sure I can dig a few out of the shed and post to you if you'd like proof.

 

its a bit more complicated then that, the reflectors in a sealed beam reflector lamp Cannot corrode just over time,

 

the only time that it can happen is in 2 situations 

 

1 in a tungsten lamp, if the lamp has gone to air, the moisture in the air will quickly corrode the reflector, (which is just vacuum deposited aluminium) but if you have air in your lightbulbs you have much bigger problems, and your lightbulb will be fucked because of that

 

2, if its a halogen sealed beam, some cheap companies will just glue the front glass on, rather then properly melt it to the rear glass, (because the halogen lamp inside does not need an inert atmosphere) and then crap can get in via the inproper seal, which kinda defeats the whole point of a sealed beam lamp, and why I dont like those "sealed beam lamps" which just take H4s

 

 

I suspect whats happened to yours is, from sitting in a damp place for so long, the wires that go through the glass into the lamp have corroded and let air get into the lamp, resulting situation 1 :)



#29 OFFLINE   Junkman

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Posted 14 March 2019 - 08:05 PM

I've got as far as updating the DS to sealed beams, probably be a few more years before it gets halogens. ?The directional inbord driving lamps may be halogen as OE anyway?

 

Originally the later DSes should have H4 main and H1 auxiliary headlights.


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#30 OFFLINE   BeEP

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Posted 14 March 2019 - 08:59 PM

I find owning a set of corroded sealed beams strangely irresistible.

 

Beer tokens and postage offered.

 

Call it corrosion, call it tarnishing, call it losing the initial reflectiive properties, the fact is that they degrade over time (note that others above have made the point that a new sealed beam meaning a new reflector is a good thing).

 

But what do I know; I've only been messing around with them for 25 or so years.  Obviously my eyes deceive me, and I bow the the superior knowledge of all things automotive that you obviously posess.

 

I know that you find contradicting everything on here as some form of game but I, like Saabnut, find it pretty tedious.


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