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Anyone who has went offroad at night, or just driven on back country roads at night knows the value of good (bright) lights.
Sealed Beams - The first thing owners of 1983-1988 Rangers should do is replace their existing sealed beam headlights with halogen replacements. These can be found in most automotive sections where replacement headlights are sold. Halogen replacement headlights can be as much as 50% brighter on low beams and 25% more powerful on high beams.
Replacement Bulbs - You can also get replacement bulbs up to 100/80 watts to go in your factory headlight housings.
Automotive Headlamp Bulbs - What you can do to to increase your headlamp performance - Legal:
Reduce the voltage drop to the bulbs:
By bypassing the standard wiring with relays the voltage to the headlamp can increase, giving improved performance from any bulb. Typically standard wiring is relatively thin and a 1 volt drop is common to the bulbs. When replaced with higher capacity cable and relays this voltage drop can be deduced. A 10% drop in voltage (1.2V) equals 33% drop in light output.
Install upgrade bulbs (+30% & +50%)
Installing compliant upgrade bulbs is an effective way of improving your headlamp's performance. Usually the bulbs can be replaced without additional help and the increase in light is noticeable. The +30% (Xenon) is an cost effective option while the +50% (Xenon plus) achieve the largest increase in light output. Confirm the bulbs are SAE compliant.
Install blue bulbs:
While sold as upgrade bulbs the blue bulbs only increase the color in temperature of the light output (whiter), which gives the impression of more light. Typically a blue bulb produces the same amount of light as a standard bulb. Again make sure the bulbs are compliant.
Install upgraded headlamps
Upgrade headlamps are also available however some may be for styling only and may not necessarily increase performance. Gas discharge may be an option and may be an upgrade available for the factory or aftermarket. Again it is essential to ensure the the lamps comply with our regulations.
Have the lamps professionally aligned
By adjusting the lamps correctly will provide an increase in performance, allowing the lamps to work as designed. Just because the car passes a WOF does not mean the light are aimed correctly. Have the headlamps checked with a beam setter to ensure efficient performance.
Automotive Headlamp Bulbs - What you can do to to increase your headlamp performance - Illegal:
Install higher power consumption bulbs
By installing higher wattage bulbs you can increase headlamp performance, due to more light being produced. It is illegal in the US to install non-compliant bulbs (i.e. non standard power consumption). Other downsides to high power include higher temperatures (melted headlamps and plugs) shorter life (up to 80% less), high cost (usually twice the price), and more stray sight due to the filament being larger. May be used for off-road purposes.
Install a gas discharge conversion kit
There are kits available i which you replace the halogen bulb with a gas discharge bulb. The gas discharge light source is 2.5 times as bright as the halogen bulb and does not focus correctly within the headlamp, as the headlamp was not designed for this bulb. This creates excessive glare (up to 100 times), which blinds oncoming drivers, and is very dangerous.
Install dark blue bulbs
Blue bulbs are deigned to reduce the yellow content of the light, so to make the light look wither. Only a slight tint is allowed before the bulb is below the minimum output required by the regulations. Some manufacturers take the tint further to produce an even whiter light output. This reduces the light output and is dangerous. These bulbs are not compliant
Improving Your Wiring:
The next step would be to improve the wiring of your lights. Below you will find (2) diagrams for improving your headlights. The first one is for having your low beams stay on when you turn on your high beams. The second one is for getting more power to the high beam using a relay. Both of these set-ups can be made using parts found in the electrical section of your local automotive parts store.
Low Beams On With High Beams
What this does is uses your hi beam wire to send power to the relay. The relay then connects the power to your low beams giving you more light. The lights still turn on and off as normal.
You'll need a continuous duty relay rated at around 30 amps and an inline fuse for about 20 amps depending on what wattage bulbs you're using.
Improved Brights Without Using Low Beams
Here is an idea (Below) for improved lighting without using the low beams. This idea works almost the same but in this case you cut the high beam wire (1989-1991 have a purple wire and the 1983-1988 and 1992-1997 have the light green with black stripe) and connect to #86. Number 30 and #85 still connect the same way. Number 87 then goes to your lights. Use a heavy gauge wire from the battery to the relay and from the relay #87 to the High Beams.
What this does is reduce the path the current follows to the High Beams. If you have an older Ranger than the won't flow as well as they did when new. This gives your High Beams power from the battery using a short path for less resistance and the most possible power.
Make the following connections;
Aftermarket Wiring Upgrades:
Enter the BRITE BOX™. Brite Box illuminates the low beams when the high beams are activated which allows 100% of the lighting potential of the vehicle to be utilized. Brite Box provides an even carpet of light that stretches from near to far. Safety and comfort are improved because the driver can now see a larger portion of the road. The safety benefits and circuitry of Brite Box has been proven in millions of miles of over the road testing, and is used by law enforcement and transportation companies.