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 Post subject: Headlamp alignment
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2018 9:08 am 
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Does anyone have a good method of aligning headlamps?

Mine have been apart and will need aligning. I could do it at the MOT station, they'll let me use their beam aligner but I'll get a fail then a pass note which I don't want.

I have a flat surface and a wall/gate to drive up to.


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 Post subject: Okay........
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2018 9:25 am 
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A google search reveals....

https://mattersoftesting.blog.gov.uk/th ... -changing/


Ian.

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 Post subject: Re: Headlamp alignment
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2018 9:26 am 
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Quote:
Does anyone have a good method of aligning headlamps?

Mine have been apart and will need aligning. I could do it at the MOT station, they'll let me use their beam aligner but I'll get a fail then a pass note which I don't want.

I have a flat surface and a wall/gate to drive up to.
Depends how fussy your tester is.

The way we did it was to point the car at a wall, turn the lights on and get the pattern roughly right. The goal is to not dazzle other drivers, so you want the right light to be horizontal on the wall, and the left one to kick up a bit.

https://mattersoftesting.blog.gov.uk/th ... -changing/

That gives all the specs, but you can get close by eye.


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 Post subject: Re: Okay........
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2018 9:51 am 
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Quote:
Yes I am aware of that having done a google search before I posted.

But it doesn't really answer my question though,

Does anyone have a good method of aligning headlamps?
Quote:
The way we did it was to point the car at a wall, turn the lights on and get the pattern roughly right. The goal is to not dazzle other drivers, so you want the right light to be horizontal on the wall, and the left one to kick up a bit.
Thanks, how far away from the wall do you park the car? Do you measure the headlamp height?


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 Post subject: Re: Headlamp alignment
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2018 9:55 am 
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I was told recently by my MOT tester to park 1M from the wall, with the lights on dipped beam where the beam flicks up that point should be 1M high from the ground.
I didn't give it a go, I just made sure the adjusters were free & got him to do it on the retest, as I run out of time with some brake problems I had.

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 Post subject: Re: Headlamp alignment
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2018 10:53 am 
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That's not a good method. When your lamps are 70 cm hight on your car and adjusted 1m height at 1m from a wall you will blind planes. There's a % decal on most car's. It says 1.5 or 2%. The range to adjust is 1.5-4 %. When the middle of the lens is 1m height of your car then at 1m from the wall the height of the sharp vertical line on the wall is 98.5 - 96cm. Etc.it's the percentage lowering per meter.

Jeroen.

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 Post subject: Re: Headlamp alignment
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2018 11:48 am 
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I have no idea if this method is correct but I've never had a MOT fail on beam height and it's what I was taught to do, so as it's handed down information more than likely very wrong. Park right up to garage door/wall on a flat surface, mark the centre of the headlight with a straight horizontal line the width of the headlight (chalk/tape), move the car back about 2m (6') and line the dip flat/cutoff with the line on the wall and centre accordingly. Easier at night!

Edit: My version is it's bad luck to walk under a ladder, just read Jeroen's whose version is don't walk under a ladder as statistically speaking something could fall on you and here are the correct stats so that you can make your own judgement, I would go with the latter! :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Headlamp alignment
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2018 3:48 pm 
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I know you are looking for a method but I had the same problem on the Herald so I just booked the car in for headlamp alignment and MOT (in that order).

No fail (no advisories either :D ).


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 Post subject: Re: Headlamp alignment
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2018 4:03 pm 
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Thanks Alan, I didn't think of that.


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 Post subject: Re: Headlamp alignment
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2018 5:12 pm 
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Park up against a wall and perpendicularly to it and mark the centre points of the lights on the wall. Reverse back 5 metres on flat ground and adjust until the beams hit to the left and below the marks by about 10 cm has always worked for me...


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 Post subject: Re: Headlamp alignment
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2018 7:00 pm 
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If you remove the grill/ surround and make sure the headlight adjustment screw is free and accessible the tester can adjust the beam when he tests it, this is something the are allowed to do as part of the test.

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 Post subject: Re: Headlamp alignment
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2018 11:34 pm 
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If you have a classic friendly tester he will probably allow adjustment there and then (if you heve removed the trims!).

I like to do it in private, and this has always worked for me.

Measure from the floor to the centre of your headlamps. (Hopefully both the same).
Measure the distance between your headlamps.
Put your car a couple of metres from a wall or garage door, on the level.
Find the centre line of your car, follow it forward and mark it on the wall, with masking tape if necessary.

Measure out left and right from the centreline half the headlamp spacing each way.
Follow that measurement up the wall vertically with a plumb line or spirit level, marking the height of the headlamp at each side.
You now have a mark on the wall corresponding to the centre of each headlamp.

Your headlamp aim should be just below the mark, and the hotspot/kick-up should be to the left of the mark. It can be well left of the mark, as long as it still lands on the headlamp test rig. See https://mattersoftesting.blog.gov.uk/th ... s-changing

If you want to be accurate, you can calculate the percentage drop from the car to the wall, but there is quite a bit of leeway, more so recently. At two metres, it needs to be about 1 to 2 inches below the mark. (Forgive mixed units of measurement).

Peter

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 Post subject: Re: Headlamp alignment
PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2018 7:25 pm 
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Quote:
If you have a classic friendly tester he will probably allow adjustment there and then (if you heve removed the trims!).

Peter
its written in the testers manual that adjustment is allowed by the tester as part of the test itself.

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 Post subject: Re: Headlamp alignment
PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2018 7:47 pm 
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So that's now three links to the same page and three different distances the car should be from the wall don'tcha just love the internet ;)

Meanwhile my book of complete car repair and maintenance (from 1988) suggests that the car should be between 5-10 metres from the wall

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 Post subject: Re: Headlamp alignment
PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2018 11:04 pm 
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Quote:
So that's now three links to the same page and three different distances the car should be from the wall don'tcha just love the internet ;)

Meanwhile my book of complete car repair and maintenance (from 1988) suggests that the car should be between 5-10 metres from the wall
The further you get the car from the wall, the easier it is to calculate the percentage drop and the more accurate your alignment will be, assuming of course that the drive/yard/whatever you are using as a test space is perfectly flat! (or, at least, a constant slope) I do mine roughly in the yard at about 5 metres then take a screwdriver with me to the MOT to adjust during the test. My classic friendly tester allows this, mostly without comment, but i'm rarely far enough out to NEED correction on site, I just set them very accurately at max legal level for my own benefit as the local lanes are unanimously unlit and I like to see where i'm going! It's quite amazing how good stock lights can be when accurately set. I only go to this much trouble if the headlamps have been removed or swapped out for better ones as I recently did on the Carledo, substituting some more modern plastic bowls with working adjusters for the original rusted out metal cased ones.

In point of fact, I rarely get a failure on alignment on ANY car, classic or modern, but I do get frequent fails for incorrectly fitted bulbs on moderns, paticularly of the type 477 single filament bulbs. Assuming there are no other fails, I fix these on site and get a pass or sometimes a fail and a pass depending on what sort of a day the tester is having! Personally I see no shame in having a fail and a pass like this, I don't pay for retests, so I generally check very little before presenting a car for test, Why try and second guess a tester when you are PAYING for HIS opinion?!!!!

Steve

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