Piston Slap: Blinded by the Light or BGE Clarity?
Looooooongtime TTAC reader Robin writes:
Even after all these years on the road (driving since 1972) there are still situations that raise the hackles on my my neck. This is my cautionary tale.
The other day I was on 75, heading south to Dallas, from McKinney. It was around 6:00 a.m., a good hour before sunrise. I like to stay in the next-to-the-outside lane, leaving the furthest right hand lane for drivers entering the freeway. So I began my scan to move over one.
Immediately behind me was a late model, full-sized truck. They are high enough that those headlights pretty much flood my rear vision. I could see that he was NOT attempting to overtake me, either. But there was something in my field of vision. It was vague, flooded out by those projector headlights. I hesitated before moving. And sure enough, here came a guy on a motorcycle, passing us all. He was not driving recklessly at all. Yet I could not see him for the briefest instant as he traversed through the glare of those projector beams.
I don’t know what would have transpired, we were all tucked in pretty damned closely.
Bottom line is, no matter how safely one is operating their vehicle, no matter how safely everyone else is operating, it only takes a literal second for things to go sideways.
Piston Slap: A Stern Talkin' to About OEM Headlamps (Part II)
I thought I would give everyone an update on the lighting situation on the Durango. After considering the advice from both you and Mr. Stern, I decided that after all the expense of the new OEM lights, the better bulbs and the relay harness, I would just go with the more labor-intensive lights and less labor-intensive wiring from The Retrofit Source. I ended up spending a little over my budget but the lights are worlds better. They’re also an engineered solution that doesn’t blind other drivers.
I made an album with several pictures, before and after, with different settings. As you can see, on the new set there is a distinct cutoff on the “dims.” The low beams are currently adjusted a bit low and I haven’t taken the time to fix that yet, but on the road it is a major improvement. Other than a confused look from my wife when I had to bake the headlight buckets to remove the lenses and finding a place for the computer, ballast, and relay, it wasn’t too bad.
It was a little more work than I had planned, but the all-in price wasn’t much more than going the OEM route. It is a very significant improvement. I did get to adjust them a bit, and then followed my brother-in-law to see if they were blinding everyone. He said it was no different than other traffic, so I think I will leave the alignment right there. The beans line up on the door with the dims slightly higher than the other lights, but the old lights were sort of a blob on the top and I used a guess as to where the “cut” line was.
Thanks for all the help. I wanted to do it right and have them be able to align correctly. Even though I didn’t follow your exact advice, you gave me the push in the right direction. It still isn’t a bad looking truck for 190k miles!
Piston Slap: A Stern Talkin' To About OEM Headlamps?
I created Piston Slap as a way to bring the diverse knowledge base of your favorite car forum to the autoblogosphere with easy to digest weekly posts. The only problem is when a mistake gets published, the thread never comes back to page one with its correction.
I screwed up, so here I’ll do my best to fix it: I was mistaken about aftermarket DOT/SAE approved lights being just as good or better than original-equipment factory parts. Some of the aftermarket parts are promoted as being “CAPA certified” (Certified Automotive Parts Association), but as we shall see, that doesn’t mean what it sounds like, and it doesn’t help with our reader’s query that started the conversation in the first place. As seen elsewhere, parts not up to spec can have tragic consequences with little recourse for victims.