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E-Code Headlights

E-Code Headlights

These pictures show four cheap E-code H4 headlights from J. C. Whitney (catalog number 13xx9319P, 88xx9810Y, or 88xx9656N, depending on what wattage bulbs you get with them) installed on Kirby Palm's car.  The low beam filaments on the inner units are simply unused.

Note the square-cornered lenses, as opposed to the rounded domes of sealed beam units.  This is one reason for using four of the same assembly -- making sure they match and look proper together.

Also note the wedge-shaped area of angled fluting on the LH side of the lens (right side in the pictures), which provides the distinctive upper left cutoff low beam pattern of E-code headlights.  This fluting would have to be on the opposite side for RHD cars.

Finally, if you look closely, you can see a dark dot in the center of each headlight.  This is the tip of the H4 bulb itself, which is painted flat black to prevent light leakage directly from the filaments.  Due to the 5-3/4" round units being rather small and the H4 bulbs being rather large as halogen bulbs go, the front end of the bulb is just behind the lens -- perhaps explaining the need for the square-cornered lens design.

Daniel Stern, who presents gobs of information on headlights on his own www site, points out that you get what you pay for and would be well advised to opt for the better Cibie or Hella units for better focussing and light patterns.  Palm's opinion, however, is that even these cheap E-code units are considerably better than the stock sealed beams, which are simply inadequate for nighttime use.

Stern also points out that using four H4 units may assure matching appearance but it doesn't optimize function.  A better idea would be to install H1 units in the inner positions.  Since H1 units are designed from the outset to be high-beam-only units, their lenses can be optimized for long range throw without having to compromise to provide a low beam pattern.

The first picture above also shows the cheap driving lights from Wal-Mart.  These lights are so cheap that you don't even worry about hitting curbs with them, you just go buy another set.  You don't worry about the chrome's durability or rust problems, you just go buy another set.  Unfortunately, the focussing is truly abysmal and there is more light scattered than thrown, so they really add little visibility beyond the set of four H4's on high beam.  The long term plan is to replace these lights with some genuine fog lights (hopefully with dichroic filters) and rewire the car to be able to drive with the fog lights on and the headlights off so one can actually see where he's going in fog.


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