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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
LOOKING TO UPGRADE THE HEADLIGHTS ON MY 71, HEARD TALK OF WIRING CHANGE AND LOOKED AT HEADLIGHT CONVERSIONS LISTED ON EBAY. JUST WONDERING WHAT OTHERS HAVE DONE AND HOW IT WORKED OUT.
THANKS, ROB...
 

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I'm using standard GE halogen headlamps (not to be confused with HID). I still have to use a pair of 30-amp relays to power my headlamps because the modern halogens draw more current than the old sealed beams. One relay for low beams and the other for high beams.

Without the relays, the circuit breaker in the headlamp switch tended to trip when the high beams were on for more than a few minutes.

Of course, I have a 4-headlamp system. You may be able to upgrade the '71 headlamps without the relays, but your lights will be brighter if you use the relays.
 

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These are the headlights i put in a camaro of mine that are the same size as your chevelle. my lemans has four of these that are 5 3/4".

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2452703200&category=33710

these are great because you can run a standard 55/60 watt bulb or jump up like i did and run a 90/110 watt bulb. first number being low beam; second high. quite a lot more than standard 30 or 35 watt. on coming traffic wont much care for you but boy can you see them :D .

like cjlandry said you will need to run a relay for each low beam and each high beam. this is really easy though once you get the relays and the relay holders.(most stereo stores have both for probably less than 15.00 for all). then use your existing low beam and high beam power wires now to turn on the relays. on a relay there are 4 wires.

1. chassis ground
2. power from battery
3. switched power(your existing high and low beam wires; green and tan i think)
4. power out from relay to headlights.

it is a lot easier than i described. kinda wiring 101. might sound like a pan but it is more than worth the trouble.

one last note the reason for the relays is to use direct power from battery to power up the lights, that way you have no high amperage on your existing wires and all wiring can be done from the front of are. hope that helps. lemanster
 

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Originally posted by 67lemanster:
These are the headlights i put in a camaro of mine that are the same size as your chevelle. my lemans has four of these that are 5 3/4".

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2452703200&category=33710

these are great because you can run a standard 55/60 watt bulb or jump up like i did and run a 90/110 watt bulb. first number being low beam; second high. quite a lot more than standard 30 or 35 watt. on coming traffic wont much care for you but boy can you see them :D .

like cjlandry said you will need to run a relay for each low beam and each high beam. this is really easy though once you get the relays and the relay holders.(most stereo stores have both for probably less than 15.00 for all). then use your existing low beam and high beam power wires now to turn on the relays. on a relay there are 4 wires.

1. chassis ground
2. power from battery
3. switched power(your existing high and low beam wires; green and tan i think)
4. power out from relay to headlights.

it is a lot easier than i described. kinda wiring 101. might sound like a pan but it is more than worth the trouble.

one last note the reason for the relays is to use direct power from battery to power up the lights, that way you have no high amperage on your existing wires and your old headlight wires just turn on the relays. all wiring can be done from the front of are. hope that helps. lemanster
 

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I used to run "motorcycle" headlights with the replaceable bulbs (sounds like what Lemanster is talking about (At the time I bought them from a Motorcycle accessories guy. I chose the "off-road" (and possibly illegal) 100W+ Highbeam bulbs... DAYLIGHT... But I didn't have relays so I could only turn them on for a few minutes at a stretch...

I have since converted my other Chevelle to the relays, and it was very easy... I haven't added the bright bulbs yet, but even the standard Halogen sealed beams are brighter with the relay setup...
 

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The best upgrade is to install relays, that should wake up any bulb. However, before you start digging into the wiring to install relays you should check and make sure that you have a ground wire directly from the battery to the fender (i.e. separate from the one that goes to the engine), and also tighten up all the screws in the headlight assemblies. In my experience, bad grounds and bad connections are the cause of most electrical malfunctions in cars, and the relays won't help much if the ground is bad.

That little fix alone can make a huge difference, so try that plus new headlights/bulbs before you start any serious projects. It's cheap and easy, and you might be surprised when you see what you can get out of a stock setup.

I just checked that eBay ad, and got a bad sticker shock. Those inserts can be bought for about $10 ea in Europe, with an H4 bulb included...
 

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like 1966 the 7"ers in my camaro are actually from my harley and a buddies. kinda had them laying around after putting tri-bars in the bike. what i would look for if this is the course your want to take is a light that take a h-4 bulb like olle mentioned. good luck and keep us informed. i will try and find the web site where i got my lights for the lemans. it include all for lamps, bulbs and the relays. lemanster
 

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I just did this on my 71 this last weekend. I bought a harness from SUV lights and a couple of H6024 bulbs from AutoZone.

I could have done the harness myself but when you can get it all assembled including good relays and ready to just install it just isn't worth my time to fight with it. I think it was $50 or so for the harness. The bulbs were $8 at AutoZone. You can get the higher wattage bumper melting ones for a few bucks more.

It took about a half hour to install it. I ran the new harness next to the old one under the radiator bracket so I didn't cut any of the original harness. I would have just gotten back from running around to get all the wires and connectors the DIY way.

Talk about day & night difference ! :eek: I took time and cleaned al the connectors to ensure a good connection.

I'm real happy with the results.

Hope this helps !

Tom
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
THANKS GUYS FOR ALL THE INFO, I'M GOING TO TRY STD
HALOGENS WITH THE RELAY UPGRADE AND HOPE IT TURNS OUT AS GOOD AS MY SUSPENSION DID, THANKS FOR ALL YOUR HELP AGAIN !!, ROB...
 

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Agree Joe but getting tired of fighting the magazine articles. If it makes them happy there's no harm..the only thing I really care about.
 

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Excellent page, Joe!


I wish I'd known about the Wagners before I got the GE's.
 

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That article is a lot of help. I wonder about the Sylvania Halogen Xtravision (h6024xv) for a 1972 El Camino with stock wiring? Do I need to worry about circuit braker failing?
 

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Yeah Rich, those will work OK. The biggest problem is 30+ year old wiring. the wiring starts to break down and the connectors get dirty = high resistence. Everybody should think of re-wire as next years winter project.
 

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