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Old 02-04-2020, 06:55 PM   #1
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Default Headlights Roadtrek 200 P 2002 Chevy

Having just returned from a 4000 mile trip, I have uncovered a LOT of items that need attention in my 03 200 Popular (Yes, it's on a 2002 Chevy chassis).

One of which is, the headlights. I would like to replace these headlights with brighter ones. Preferably LED if available or at least brighter bulbs. I don't want to NOT use an HID system.

There appears to be 2 versions of Chevy Express headlights. Individual (separate low and high beam sealed beams) and composite, (Lo and Hi integrated in a one-piece mount, with separate bulbs). The RTs have the latter.

While staring at the vehicle in the dark, they appear to be sufficient (IE to oncoming vehicles), however they do not light the way adequately at night for driving. Note: This chassis has DRLs. They are always on when engine is running. They brighten slightly when turning the headlights on as they should. They are just not bright enough when on.

I have tried adjusting them pretty much by trial and error. Does anyone know of a proper procedure for adjusting them?

So the question remains, does anyone know of any aftermarket headlights available, or any means of brightening up my nighttime driving while still remaining legal.

Attached is a pic of my headlights,

Thanks.
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Old 02-04-2020, 08:04 PM   #2
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I replaced mine with aftermarket units. The fit of these was problematic. The bracketry did not match well at all. I was able to get on to fit, the other I had to disassemble the old assembly and use the old brackets on the new housing.

Another note, I have a voltage drop of 1.25 from the battery to the headlights. This is a huge drop in relation to light output. I was going to put in a relay system to get battery voltage to the headlights but was flummoxed by the differences in the wiring diagram and my actual wiring on the van. Mine is an '02 200.

I thought of putting in LED bulbs because they have a wide operating voltage range but got lost in that rat hole of different styles and results. I pretty much do not drive at night so I pretty much just blew it off.
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Old 02-05-2020, 04:20 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveJ View Post
I thought of putting in LED bulbs because they have a wide operating voltage range but got lost in that rat hole of different styles and results. I pretty much do not drive at night so I pretty much just blew it off.
I have a newer model Chevy Express ('2011 chassis) with different headlight design but I agree they are poor, so I too just don't drive at night whenever possible. I realize a lot of the problem is my old eyes.
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Old 02-13-2020, 04:15 PM   #4
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Default Heaflights

I put these in my Ď01 Dodge Pop. Made an amazing difference! Tried the brightest Sylvania bulbs and still sucked. These LEDs are great. Plug n play. Iím sure the company makes them for Chevy. Only about $50.
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Old 02-13-2020, 06:02 PM   #5
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PJW - Thanks for the post. It could have been written by me! I've had the same question for years. Did a bit of research but just ended up putting "brighter" bulbs in. They helped but not much. The lenses are in good shape, not hazed over so I know it's not that.

If you find a solution please let us know.

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Old 02-13-2020, 07:09 PM   #6
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I have a Roadtrek 02C200P. I replaced my bulbs with SYLVANIA h11 SilverStar UltraHigh Performance Halogen a couple years ago and I love the results, they ar far brighter, These are available at Wal-Mart and Amazon as well as most auto parts stores. I also use the same for my Volvo. I do not know how people see with the standard bulbs!
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Old 02-13-2020, 07:41 PM   #7
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I replaced mine with aftermarket, what a mistake. My original ones, 08/09, were all scratched and looked like crap. I should have spent the extra money. Also, the fit was difficult and one of them leaked right away. (The clear caulk was bad) BTW, they both leak now, and have within 30 days.
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Old 02-13-2020, 07:44 PM   #8
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I meant replaced the lenses
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Old 03-18-2020, 03:34 AM   #9
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Update: last week I pulled the trigger on a set of Sylvania Silverstar Ultra 9005 (hi) and 9006 (low) bulbs. A bit tricky getting them in, but I did it.

Kind of hard to tell as I only made quick trip around the block that night, but there's not really a big difference. For $86 I had hoped for a much bigger improvement. Maybe I just need to get out on the highway for a road trip again. The ones that were in there were OEM Wagners.

The lenses are in good shape. They're glass and not scratched, pitted or faded.
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Old 03-18-2020, 10:46 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by PJW73NH View Post
Update: last week I pulled the trigger on a set of Sylvania Silverstar Ultra 9005 (hi) and 9006 (low) bulbs. A bit tricky getting them in, but I did it.

Kind of hard to tell as I only made quick trip around the block that night, but there's not really a big difference. For $86 I had hoped for a much bigger improvement. Maybe I just need to get out on the highway for a road trip again. The ones that were in there were OEM Wagners.

The lenses are in good shape. They're glass and not scratched, pitted or faded.

That is not surprising to me, as it seems to be the common result for most people. The "brighter" bulbs at a much higher price appear to be today's version of "snake oil". I have been changing out all the bulbs on the exterior of my old Buick as they badly mismatched for brightness, including the headlights, and tried a set of the 30% brighter ones which cost more but not as crazy more and they don't seem to be any brighter either in my garage only test to this point.
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Old 03-18-2020, 12:05 PM   #11
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As a previous poster stated, you need to measure the voltage at the bulb with the engine running. Full voltage should be around 13V. If it's below 12V then you should consider installing a relay. It should be powered directly from the battery and triggered by the headlight circuit.
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Old 03-23-2020, 02:42 AM   #12
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I put these in my Ď01 Dodge Pop. Made an amazing difference! Tried the brightest Sylvania bulbs and still sucked. These LEDs are great. Plug n play. Iím sure the company makes them for Chevy. Only about $50.
HBoy, I thought about those, but in the Chevy engine compartment there is not enough room for the heat sinks to stick out. They'll conflict (hit) the battery.
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Old 03-23-2020, 02:48 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Rockwood27 View Post
As a previous poster stated, you need to measure the voltage at the bulb with the engine running. Full voltage should be around 13V. If it's below 12V then you should consider installing a relay. It should be powered directly from the battery and triggered by the headlight circuit.
@Rock, I don't think it's a voltage issue, but in all honesty, I haven't measured it. I would think for the measurement to be of value, it would have to be measured "under load". I am not sure there is any room to "pierce" the wire with a test probe. They're pretty well covered.

Also, don't forget, being a 2002 chassis, it has DRLs. Lower voltage when the switch is off.
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Old 03-23-2020, 02:21 PM   #14
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@Rock, I don't think it's a voltage issue, but in all honesty, I haven't measured it. I would think for the measurement to be of value, it would have to be measured "under load". I am not sure there is any room to "pierce" the wire with a test probe. They're pretty well covered.

Also, don't forget, being a 2002 chassis, it has DRLs. Lower voltage when the switch is off.
While under full load would ideal I pulled the wire off of one side and checked mine to find it had dropped about 1.5 volts. I can only assume it's worse with both sides lit up.

I actually had to drive at night last week on a desolate back road. We got rousted from our "secret" boondocking site less than 100 yards from the Gulf shore near Carrabelle, FL. Wound up dispersed camping in Appalachacola National Forest about 30 miles away.

Maybe I will wire up a relay and fix this problem...
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Old 03-23-2020, 09:10 PM   #15
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Default Roadtrek 02C200P lights

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roadie View Post
I have a Roadtrek 02C200P. I replaced my bulbs with SYLVANIA h11 SilverStar UltraHigh Performance Halogen a couple years ago and I love the results, they ar far brighter, These are available at Wal-Mart and Amazon as well as most auto parts stores. I also use the same for my Volvo. I do not know how people see with the standard bulbs!
I put these in Amazon and it said they did not fit the 2002 Chevy Express 3500....?
Maybe I should try Autozone and see what their database says....
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Old 03-23-2020, 09:21 PM   #16
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Hi Juju,

I can tell you with complete certainty that the bulbs pictured below fit my 2002 Chevy Express cutaway chassis under my Roadtrek. Hopefully this helps you.
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Old 03-23-2020, 09:51 PM   #17
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I think I can say, with quite a bit of certainty, that the placebo effect is a big factor in the evaluation of headlight brightness. Night to night, even hour to hour, conditions vary so much it is very, very difficult to get accurate information from observation. I have tried to do it and been very conflicted each time.


The only way I can think of to get reasonably accurate results would be to pick a moonless night so light direction doesn't change, and then go to the same spots on a route and check to see how landmarks are illuminated before and after the bulb change. Do it sitting still, not moving, as things change too quickly when moving and picking a reference distance gets nearly impossible.


My, admittedly rough, tests have shown that .5-1.0 volt of of voltage change at the lamps will change the illumination capacity considerably more than the more expensive bulbs. Of course, others will disagree, but that is fine with me.
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Old 04-01-2020, 09:36 PM   #18
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I decided to return the Sylvania Silverstar Ultra bulbs and try something different. I haven't decided on what yet. I was thinking about these:

https://www.amazon.com/NINEO-9006-HB...ct_top?ie=UTF8

Any thoughts on HID?

SteveJ and Rockwood27. Per your suggestions, I measured my voltages. My DRL-voltage with engine running is 11.13v. My headlights-on voltage with engine running is 13.65v. I am thinking both are sufficient.

Thanks.
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Old 04-02-2020, 04:13 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PJW73NH View Post
I decided to return the Sylvania Silverstar Ultra bulbs and try something different. I haven't decided on what yet. I was thinking about these:

https://www.amazon.com/NINEO-9006-HB...ct_top?ie=UTF8

Any thoughts on HID?

SteveJ and Rockwood27. Per your suggestions, I measured my voltages. My DRL-voltage with engine running is 11.13v. My headlights-on voltage with engine running is 13.65v. I am thinking both are sufficient.

Thanks.
nice voltage at the head lights.

I had pretty much given up on improving things but with the forced shutdown and gorgeous weather here I may just go ahead and install a relay to power the lights directly from a terminal in the under hood relay box. I have all of the supplies in stock so no running to the store.
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Old 04-02-2020, 12:37 PM   #20
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As I think was mentioned earlier, it may be tough to find a drop in improvement as the location in the reflector is critical, as well as what intensity the light comes off the source to the reflector. What I seem to be seeing in many of even the newer vehicle systems is an attempt to light up the areas to near daylight intensity, but I am also not sure this is a good idea because it tends to severely reduce your vision into the more distant objects that may actually be more important. If the area near the vehicle is very brightly lit, your pupils contract and adjust to that brightness, and as the brightness reduces further away you can't see as much because your eyes are set for brighter.


I did a whole lot of testing of what of have traditionally been called "driving lights" around here decades ago. These would be the mount on front bumper add on lights. They are different from the same looking "fog lights" which put light low and may be more yellow. Driving lights were intended to illuminate the distant viewing and were quite popular in the days before even halogen was around and everything was incandescent sealed beams running on poor voltage. Good driving lights were basically a high powered, narrow beam spotlight. I was fairly often making a 250 mile drive from the Minneapolis area to the Grand Marais area along the north shore of Lake Superior, leaving after work on Fridays. The drive included about 100 miles of two lane, twisty, hilly, road along Superior that was also very heavily deer populated so it was a tough drive if you wanted to go anywhere near the speed limit.


Bottom line was what found was that at the time a set of Cibe relatively small lights did the best job, lighting the road and a bit on each side at a of probably 3-5 times the incandescent big round sealed beams in the car (with good voltage as on relay). They would light up a reflective road sign and deer eyes at nearly half a mile if the road was straight. What I also learned from actually using them a lot in the very testing conditions was that I could see things better if I left the sealed beams on low beam to dim the area closer to the car. The low beams do that area well and were dim enough not to reduce the distant vision being illuminated by the driving lights. I was pretty surprised by that. On straighter roads at higher speeds it was even better to run only the driving lights, although I did get stopped by a trooper who informed me that was illegal as they weren't DOT lights so I had to quit doing that.


The disclaimer is that I was in my 20s then so my night vision was substantially better, I would assume.


I do still follow the lighting information to some degree and look at the pattern they throw when riding in various vehicles, and do think most of the newer ones are putting too much light too close to the vehicle. It probably makes for a great first impression of the lighting, but you really can't tell how good the headlights are until you drive a dark curvy road with worn striping and lots of hazards. Personally, my favorite all around headlight system I have seen is DW's 2009 Honda CRV. It has halogen in huge reflectors and does a very nice and balanced lighting of the road both near and far.



There is quite a bit of chatter getting going also about new legislation to better regulate the new headlight setups and vehicles as the number of complaints from oncoming drivers has gone way up lately. They are starting to try to evaluate how many crashes are being caused by blinding from oncoming traffic also. Tall vehicles with high mounted headlights have been particularly identified as major issues because even when properly aimed they are as high as a car windshield so shine right in directly at full intensity and focus. I expect there will be new rules to require low mounting heights sooner rather than later, but they will have a tough sell with the manufacturers and truck drivers.


I always find these threads very interesting as the opinions vary so much on lighting.
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