Head light adjustment



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Thread: Head light adjustment

  1. #1
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    Smile Head light adjustment

    Hi, I was in a frontal auto accident early last month. No structural damage to my 03 GCV Sport, but the car was not drivable due to radiator damage. Anyways, i brought the car to an Allstate authorized repair shop (turns out there was $5300 worth of repairs) and they turned the car over fairly quickly (2 weeks) Overall i am very satisfied with the repair shop ( they were very professional and knew what they were doing).

    Now to the crux of my problem. The first night i got the car back i noticed that the headlights were aimed low. (let me note that they also put in two new headlamps) The lights were no longer illuminating what they used to and i noticed a profound "V" shaped light concentration on the ground about 25 feet in front of the car coming from my driver side headlamp. I brought the car back in this morning for an adjustment and the tech told me that the lights were properly adjusted according to factory specs and accepted practices. I asked him to raise it anyway, cause i wasn't satisfied with the way it was. They did begrudginly, and i went off on my merry way.

    I will verify that it meets with my satisfaction tonight, but in case it doesn't i don't want to keep going back to them, so can anyone advise me on how to adjust the headlights on a 2003 GCV Sport?

    Thanks,

    Gerard
    Gerard

    2003 Grand Caravan Sport 3.8L
    2012 Mazda CX9

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  3. #2
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    I checked with the NTHSB and there is a proceedure. I don't quite get the whole thing but here's a summary. you need to be a flat level surface perpendicular to a flat wall or garage door. You need to be 20-25' back from the wall then you need to locate the exact center of the vehicle in relation to the wall. I don't get how to do this. Then measure from the center of your car to the center point of the bulbs, transfer that distance to the wall, then measure from the ground to the center of the bulbs and transfer that point to the wall. you will end up with this +, the hot spot will be to the bottom right corner of the cross. so slightly down to the right. Maybe try a web search to find this information with some kind of pictorial presentation.

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    Talking

    manicminivan That sounds about right to me, though I've done it so many times, I can eye-ball it. Basically, I had the adjustment tool with me while I drove down a deserted road, and would occasionally pull over to adjust them. You don't want to blind on coming traffic, but you want them to shine far enough to see. If they are "combination Hi/Lo beam lights", you adjust the high beams for best coverage, and unless the low beams are really off, you live with where the lows end up (or some sort of compromise between the two).

    My driving lights, I'd find a nice level parking lot with a wall at the end of it, and adjust the beam hotspots to fully cover the ground where the wall and parking surface met (preferably 1000 feet or so).

    My old '70 Dodge Monaco, I used GE 4635 lamps for highbeams (fit perfectly in the housings), connected through a heavy-duty relay directly to the battery. I'd adjust these out on the open freeway (Interstate 10 to Blythe, CA. -- flat and straight as an arrow). They'd give me a reflected 3 mile visibility.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AzTraveller View Post
    If they are "combination Hi/Lo beam lights", you adjust the high beams for best coverage, and unless the low beams are really off, you live with where the lows end up (or some sort of compromise between the two).
    That's actually opposite: you set your low beams to be correctly aimed, since they have the proper upper cutoff so as to not blind traffic. Once the low beams are aligned properly, the highs will shine where they will. The high beams are not "aimable" -- there's no visual reference from which to aim them, since light scatters everywhere with them (which is the point, really).

    You set the lows, and the highs will be where they be.
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    Here are the procedures taken from the 2007 service manual. They should apply to any 4th gen van, and will be similar to the procedure for any of the vans really.

    STANDARD PROCEDURE - HEADLAMP UNIT ALIGNMENT

    HEADLAMP UNIT ALIGNMENT PREPARATION

    - Verify headlamp dimmer switch and high beam indicator operation.
    - Inspect and correct damaged or defective components that could interfere with proper headlamp alignment.
    - Verify proper tire inflation.
    - Clean headlamp lenses.
    - Verify that luggage area is loaded as the vehicle is routinely used.
    - Vehicles equipped with automatic load leveling suspension should be driven normally for approximately 5 km (3 miles) before attempting a proper headlamp unit alignment.
    - Fuel tank should be FULL. Add 2.94 kg (6.5 lbs.) of weight over the fuel tank for each estimated gallon of missing fuel.

    ALIGNMENT SCREEN PREPARATION

    - Position vehicle on a level surface perpendicular to a flat wall 7.62 meters (25 ft.) away from front of headlamp lens (Figure 1).
    - If necessary, tape a line on the floor 7.62 meters (25 ft.) away from and parallel to the wall.
    - Rock vehicle side-to-side three times and allow suspension to stabilize.
    - Jounce front suspension three times by pushing downward on front bumper and releasing.
    - Measure the distance from the center of headlamp lens to the floor. My note: 4th gen lamp housings have a small dot molded into the very center of the housing to mark the exact centerline of the lamp bulb. These lights ARE aimable by visual reference. See my note about VOR at the bottom.
    - Transfer measurement to the alignment screen (with tape). Use this line for up/down adjustment reference.

    Figure 1 HEADLAMP ALIGNMENT SCREEN

    HEADLAMP UNIT ADJUSTMENT

    - The low beam headlamp will project on the screen upper edge of the beam (cut-off) at the horizontal lamp centerline 50 ±mm (2 in.).
    - Horizontal aim is preset and can not be adjusted.
    - The high beam pattern should be correct when the low beams are aligned properly (Figure 1).
    - To adjust headlamp vertical alignment, rotate adjustment screw (Figure 2) to achieve the specified low beam cut-off location.

    My note about VOR: note the "VOR" on the very bottom of the lamp housing, with the DOT markings, etc. That indicates that these lights are visually aimable, using the procedure outlined above. If you have an older van with the "prismed" lenses, with no center dot and no VOR markings, they're generally not aimable visually and aim should be checked by a headlamp aiming machine (which is becoming an increasingly rare device).
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    More on headlamp aiming, and the differences between VOL and VOR lights:

    http://www.danielsternlighting.com/tech/aim/aim.html
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    Can anyone show a picture of where the screw is to adjust the headlights vertically? I've looked everywhere and I cant find it. I have one headlight that is higher than the other (annoying )


    Thanks a bunch!

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    Lightbulb

    Quote Originally Posted by norulesjustgo View Post
    Can anyone show a picture of where the screw is to adjust the headlights vertically? I've looked everywhere and I cant find it. I have one headlight that is higher than the other (annoying )


    Thanks a bunch!
    Did you recently replace the bulb ?
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    Quote Originally Posted by norulesjustgo View Post
    Can anyone show a picture of where the screw is to adjust the headlights vertically? I've looked everywhere and I cant find it. I have one headlight that is higher than the other (annoying )
    It's a 7mm hex head and it's loaded through one of the holes in the sheet metal above each lamp housing. If you look down through the holes, only one will contain a screw head; that's it.
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  11. #10
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    and why is it that the headlights have no horizontal adjustment? that's nuts. I replaced ours with SilverStars and I've been working on the adjustment. I'm just amazed there's no horizontal adjustment.

    -Dan

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