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  #1  
Old 04-04-2018, 10:36 PM
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On my 76 280C, what is the brightestest, whitestestest bulb...

...that I can get for my headlights and my fog lights?

Recommendations please?

Thanks in advance.
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  #2  
Old 04-05-2018, 08:07 AM
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Look into Hella H4s.
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  #3  
Old 04-05-2018, 08:42 AM
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A few things to check regardless.

Check voltage at the bulbs with them plugged in, turned on and engine up to driving speed. Older cars generally have a lower charging system voltage, switches / connectors build up resistance due to worn contacts , poor grounds and wiring may be undersized. This leads to dimmer bulbs.

Also check charging system voltage at the battery, the alternator regulator may need to be fooled into thinking it needs to produce more voltage.

If you do go with higher wattage bulbs, consider using a dedicated _fused_ power feed from the battery and relays to power the lights so you don't overload the cars existing system. This way the headlight sw turns on a relay then the power comes from the battery. All of this can be done without cutting the harness, just make a new harness that plugs into the existing stuff.
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  #4  
Old 04-05-2018, 10:23 AM
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If your wiring is in good condition, your lights should be just fine. I would STRONGLY discourage you from getting overly bright bulbs in your low beams, as they could dazzle other motorists (which is getting to be a frequent problem these days). Perhaps swapping your fogs out for a good set of driving lights that go on with the high beams would get you in decent shape lighting-wise.

A good alternative to the 7" sealed beam is the CIBIE 7" H4 lamp. They are available on Amazon at a competitive price. I have used those lights with very favorable results.
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  #5  
Old 04-05-2018, 02:50 PM
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Here's a review of the Hella Cibie replacement.

Take SL320's advice and power them from a remote relay.


https://www.amazon.com/Cibie-082440-82440-Light-Unit/product-reviews/B008DQV88Q


"Real eCode light!

Way better than Hella H4 eCode. I swapped just one headlight for comparison, and put the same 60/55w bulb back in. Side-by-side with Cibie on left an Hella on right. The Cibie was brighter, with wider pattern, and sharper cut-off. Google search for "Cibie Hella Daniel Stern" to find spectrometer graphs for real quantitative analysis.

Hella has more stray light above the cut-off which results in glare to oncoming traffic. With perfectly aimed lights, I still occasionally got flashed by cars coming towards me. With the Cibie, I was able to upgrade to 100/80w bulbs with no one ever flashing me! I would guesstimate there's twice as much light on the road now and much less going into other drivers eyes compared to before.

UPDATE: forgot to mention that the high-beam performance is also better with the Cibie light compared to Hella. When both aimed for optimum low-beam performance, the high-beams on the Hellas went into the trees! Not very useful unless you're a squirrel! The Cibie high-beam was tight and focused and stayed on the road 1km away!"


The above quote is from the review, not me.
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Last edited by Mike D; 04-05-2018 at 03:02 PM.
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  #6  
Old 04-05-2018, 06:45 PM
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Thank you all for all the awesome input. Lots of great info. I guess I'm gravitating towards the Cibie.
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SLOWER DRIVERS KEEP TO THE RIGHT.
DRIVE RIGHT PASS LEFT
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  #7  
Old 04-05-2018, 07:48 PM
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Another bit. Incandescent bulbs _wear out_ slowly growing dimmer before they _burn out_. The hot filament throws off molecules of Tungsten coating the inside of the bulb, this reduces light output.

While I haven't seen a headlight go full black, I've seen plenty of tail light and smaller bulbs do this.
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  #8  
Old 04-05-2018, 08:02 PM
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Also, the headlights reflector / shield and light source position ( where the light comes from ) will alter beam pattern. Some bulbs have the tip coated black to contain stray light, replace this with a clear tipped bulb and you will have stray light.

" Low beams " are only slightly dimmer than " high beams ". The real differences are:

The top of a low beam pattern is cut off so there isn't a direct path of light hitting oncoming traffic.

The pattern side shifts away from oncoming traffic.

This last bit matters if one has sourced Euro lights from a right hand drive car as they are backwards to a left hand drive car. Supposedly there are lights that only drop and not move off center but I don't know for what make / model.
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  #9  
Old 04-06-2018, 01:09 AM
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+1 for the Cibies, I have them on my other European car. Relays are a MUST (assuming your car does not have them from the factory). They make a HUGE difference in light output, as they bypass all the switches, where voltage is lost little by little going through all the contacts. Cibies with relays and good quality 60watt bulbs are SUPER bright, no need for fancy 'high output' or high wattage bulbs.
One more ting that would improve light output is if you convert your alternator to one from a newer car. The old Bosch ones put out ~13.7 Volts, while ones form newer cars put out ~14.7. That makes a difference in light output. I converted both my classics to modern alternators and never looked back.
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  #10  
Old 04-06-2018, 07:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vandor View Post
+1 for the Cibies, I have them on my other European car. Relays are a MUST (assuming your car does not have them from the factory). They make a HUGE difference in light output, as they bypass all the switches, where voltage is lost little by little going through all the contacts. Cibies with relays and good quality 60watt bulbs are SUPER bright, no need for fancy 'high output' or high wattage bulbs.
One more ting that would improve light output is if you convert your alternator to one from a newer car. The old Bosch ones put out ~13.7 Volts, while ones form newer cars put out ~14.7. That makes a difference in light output. I converted both my classics to modern alternators and never looked back.
Newer alternator as in from an MB from the 80s, 90s, or 00s?
From what model car would fit my 76 280C (110 motor?

Thanks
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1976 280C
SLOWER DRIVERS KEEP TO THE RIGHT.
DRIVE RIGHT PASS LEFT
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  #11  
Old 04-06-2018, 09:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vandor View Post
+1 for the Cibies, I have them on my other European car. Relays are a MUST (assuming your car does not have them from the factory). They make a HUGE difference in light output, as they bypass all the switches, where voltage is lost little by little going through all the contacts. Cibies with relays and good quality 60watt bulbs are SUPER bright, no need for fancy 'high output' or high wattage bulbs.
One more ting that would improve light output is if you convert your alternator to one from a newer car. The old Bosch ones put out ~13.7 Volts, while ones form newer cars put out ~14.7. That makes a difference in light output. I converted both my classics to modern alternators and never looked back.
Newer alternator as in from an MB from the 80s, 90s, or 00s?
From what model car would fit my 76 280C (110 motor?

Thanks
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1976 280C
SLOWER DRIVERS KEEP TO THE RIGHT.
DRIVE RIGHT PASS LEFT
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  #12  
Old 04-08-2018, 04:54 PM
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I'd look to changing the voltage regulator to a newer / adjustable one rather than changing the alt ( unless it is a drop in replacement ).

Some change the alternator to a higher amp unit in order to keep up with high loads. However, more amps only helps if you are outrunning your present alternator. RE: If your loads are 30 amps and you have a 50 A alt, there will be no benefit or damage in changing to a 100 A alt.
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  #13  
Old 04-08-2018, 09:44 PM
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Unfortunately he probably has the original 35 ampere which barely keeps up with a completely stock system.

Grab an alternator from a '80's W123 or W126. You might need to upgrade the main cable to a larger gauge but it's pretty much a "plug and play".

Anything newer and you run into pulley problems.
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  #14  
Old 04-09-2018, 10:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomas7 View Post
Newer alternator as in from an MB from the 80s, 90s, or 00s?
Mine is a V8 and I used a GM alternator that was recommended by a forum member.
Maybe others are better, but my experience with voltage adjustable regulators is that you cannot adjust them any higher than what the original output was.
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Last edited by vandor; 04-09-2018 at 11:05 PM.
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