Piston Slap: What to Do at the HID Dead End?

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
piston slap what to do at the hid dead end

George writes:

What can I do about the low-beam headlights on my 1996 Lincoln Mark VIII LSC? Does anybody make replacement parts for this car?

Please help!

Sajeev answers:

Just so everyone knows, the OP’s concern is that nobody makes replacement headlight bulbs for this application, so here’s an update on my proper replacement D2S adapter for the Sylvania 96-98 Mark VIII HID bulb: I gave up.

It took over a year to get CAD drawings rendered — you get what you pay for — and never found a machine shop that’d make a batch without breaking my personal budget.

Speaking of, this mothertrucker is a huuuuuuge product liability: I love the Lincoln community, but damn son, it’s not worth the risk.

So what did I do?

I was down to one functional HID bulb after wrecking my poor Mark VIII, so I got the Delrin 9006 bulb adapters, bolted them to my (now removed from the stripped wreckage) headlights and laid out a Philips HID conversion kit for Classic Cars of Houston to install upon reassembly.

I selected the close-to-stock 4200k color bulbs, and their beam is probably better than stock. I reckon it’s a function of the more efficient HID ballasts, which weigh nothing compared to the inefficient aluminum bricks from the mid-1990s. Sadly, since this is a 9005 bulb bolted to an assembly designed for a bespoke Sylvania HID bulb, I am 99-percent sure the bulb-to-enclosure geometry isn’t completely spot on.

It is very close to the original look, probably because I am using an HID-specific headlight assembly. Am I happy with the result? No, but they’ll fly under the radar in Texas, where lifted trucks with insane HIDs are commonplace. I wanted those D2S adapters to be guaranteed a perfect geometry/light output using a factory style D2S bulb, but you never know if the grass really is greener.

If you want to take off where I left, contact Daniel Stern: I donated my “work” to him. Or maybe one day there will be a DOT legal LED bulb that will simply drop in. I won’t hold my breath for that.

[Images: © 2016 Sajeev Mehta/The Truth About Cars]

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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  • Jpwilliams76 Jpwilliams76 on Dec 14, 2016

    Eh, the heart wants what the heart wants. I drove a 1998 Lincoln Mark VIII LSC back in the early 2000's. Sold the car in 2004 and regretted it ever since. This past spring, 2016, I found a 1998 base Mark VIII with 22,xxx miles on it about 25 miles from where I live. Had. to. buy. it...and I did. Will parts be hard to find? Yes. But that's what salvage yards and Ebay are good for. You have to enjoy the hunt. There are plenty of sewing machines on four wheels out there for folks who are just looking for basic transportation. However, there's something intangible and awesome about keeping unique and interesting older cars on the road. It's not rational, but it makes life more interesting, keeps my mind engaged on fun car-related stuff instead of the usual drudgery, and I love the little "wins" when I can get something back up and working. If you love cars, part of you is a "tinkerer" at heart.

  • Jeff S Jeff S on Dec 15, 2016

    Good for you, drive what you like and enjoy it. I always liked the Lincoln Marks. I have found that owning various types of vehicles that some are more challenging to get parts for even at the salvage yards. Many salvage yards turn their inventory over quicker than they use to and you have to be quick to act in getting parts. There is a trend in parts to reduce the number of years that they are available. Many dealers and parts warehouses turn there inventory over much quicker and parts for many older vehicles are much less likely to be stocked. It is better to have a vehicle that shares parts with other vehicles of the same manufacturer. The more common the parts are to another make or model the easier it is to find them unless the vehicle is much older. This is not only true among vehicles but appliances and outdoor power equipment. I have had to junk lawn equipment that could have been fixed if I could have found a similar part either new or used. I even had that experience on a high end automatic dishwasher that was only 5 years old. Some manufacturers are better about availability of parts than others but the trend is away from stocking any parts for anything that is 10 years old and older and sometimes even if the item is newer than 10 years old then the part is one that cannot be found new and is so expensive that for not much more you can buy a newer item. I had that experience with a Weed Eater One riding mower that was only six years old with very low usage. I paid $650 for the mower new and the part was available at one place after a nationwide search for over $300. This was a friction drive instead of a belt or chain drive and it was a part that had a history of going bad early. Parts were hard to get and available from a limited number of suppliers.

  • ToolGuy CXXVIII comments?!?
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Art Vandelay Dodge should bring this back. They could sell it as the classic classic classic model
  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.
  • ToolGuy Is it a genuine Top Hand? Oh, I forgot, I don't care. 🙂