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Old 01-14-2005, 09:30 PM
phidauex's Avatar
BioDiesel Hopeful
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: St. Louis, MO
Posts: 806
AutoPal 7" H4 sealed beam conversion review


In a previous thread I noted that I was getting some Autopal brand 7" sealed beam conversions, and several people were curious about how they worked.

Well, they came in two days ago, and I've used them quite a bit at night since then.

First, the good: The lights are e-code H4 conversions, and are 'drop in'. You just remove the headlight door with the three white knobs behind the assembly, loosen the three screws, pop out the sealed beam, and pop in the replacement. They installed with no difficulty at all, and even had the bulbs preinstalled by the guy I bought them from.

The lights are well made. The reflectors were clean and unmarred, and the glass lens was thick and clear. The rubber boot on the back was fully intact as well.

The quality of light is quite good, and definately an improvement over the sealed beams. I've got 55/60W H4 bulbs in, and they are much brighter, with a much better pattern. Since they are e-code lights they have a very sharp cutoff, and the little sweep up and to the right as is customary in european countries that drive on the same side of the street as we do.

The best 'good'. They are cheap. Really cheap. I bought a pair of 7" lights, including H4 bulbs and city light fixtures and bulbs, for 24$ + shipping, which is just a hair over the cost of sealed beams.

The bad: The city lights on the lenses I purchased don't work without modification (but then, no city light will, on US spec cars). The light doesn't fit into the housing unless you remove the city light bulb, or modify the housing with your trusty dremel. I took the 'easy' route and just removed the bulb for the moment. I'll modify the housing to accept the city light bulb and wiring when the weather is nicer.

The lights are probably not as good as a Hella or Bosch or Cibie, but then, they were less than a 1/3rd the price of even the cheapest Hellas I've seen, and I'm SURE they are better than 1/3rd as good. They are such an improvement over the sealed beams that I'm sure that 'name brands' can't be much better for the same wattage. They were built well and produce a very clean and clear pattern, I don't have any other desires for them.

I bought them on ebay from this ebay store:

The guy responded well to a few of my email questions before hand, and the product was shipped fast. I also ordered a set of 5 3/4 inch lights for converting my fogs to additional driving lights. Bulbs are included in all his lights, and he offers cheap upgrades to higher wattages and whatnot.

Specifically, I bought this item:
Which was the "Euro style" 7" conversion, and I added the 'city light' option. Don't get that option unless you are handy with a dremel.

I don't have any connection to the seller, just a satisfied customer. I know a lot of people are wanting better headlights, but don't want to pay too much. Since these include bulbs they are just a hair more expensive than replacement sealed beams, and give you the ability to use cheap H4 replacements in the future, and give better light. Also, some people are a little sketched out about buying an Indian product, but I wanted to let people know what I thought of them.


"That f***in' biodiesel is makin' me hungry."

1982 300TD Astral Silver w/ 250k (BIO BNZ)
2001 Aprilia SR50 Corsa Red w/ 5.5k (>100 MPG)

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Old 01-15-2005, 12:29 AM
dieseldiehard's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Bay Area No Calif.
Posts: 4,310
I am using a set of Autopals in my 115 chassis. I've had them for at least 4 maybe 5 years, and am pleased as can be with them. I too was skeptical (made in - India??) but they went in with only a little hitch, they were loose in the mounting ring, so I wrapped a big O-ring that I made using small diameter rubber cord around the OD of the lights where the chrome ring holds them in, that solved the looseness. They might fit the 123 without any problems though, I don't know.

Autopals illuminate the road in a distinct wide, flat pattern. I am using Hella plus20 bulbs in mine and that is part of why the light is so bright but not enough to blind oncoming cars (unless hi beams are selected in which case they are REALLY BRIGHT!)
I did not have a choice over city lights or regular lights, but if I did I would run from a City light offer. I have a set of Hellas that have city lights and I put them in storage because I didn't want to take out the Dremel.

I vote for Autopal, if you have a chance to find some and want to upgrade sealed beams, you will be very pleased I am sure, if they aren't City lights.
The only lights I like more are Carello 7-inch lamps (at 5 times the price )
Euros are the way to go if you do much night driving.
'95 E320 Wagon my favorite road car. '99 E300D wolf in sheeps body, '87 300D Sportline suspension, '79 300TD w/ 617.952 engine at 367,750 and counting!
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Old 01-15-2005, 01:02 AM
phantoms's Avatar
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Savannah, GA
Posts: 794
Thank you for the filling us in on your experience with them. In looking, I see they offer the ones you mentioned and one they call a Diamond Cut Crystal version. The later looks a lot different.
85 300CD
83 300TD
78 240D (daughter)
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Old 01-15-2005, 03:40 AM
pawoSD's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Posts: 15,386
These look to be a good alternative light replacement, right now I have the regular sealed beam Sylvania headlights in mine, and they are slightly fogged in the lenses, and produce little mentionable light at night, which I do more than half of my driving in. I think I'll purchase a set of the Blue Light H4's....they look to be a significant change from what I have right now, I really am getting sick of having so little light driving at night. I see cars go past me that have these bright swaths of light all over the road and I just " " at it, as mine are so very dull in comparison. I'm going to look into these.....
-diesel is not just a fuel, its a way of life-
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'17 Metris(VITO!) - 20k - wifes (OC-25k)
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'07 E350 Wagon - 140k - dad's (OC-147,500)
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Old 01-15-2005, 05:57 AM
Posts: n/a
Be careful with that driving light bulb removed (the one you couldn't fit in)
This might allow dirt/water to get in the housing?

I am not sure of the setup, just wanted to give you a heads up...
Nothing is more annoying than dirt where you cannot get to it.
I got some Hella H4's for my VW bug and I love them as well. Nobody would belive it is one of those "crappy old VW's with dim headlights" stereotypes coming down the road

(BTW for those you of who don't know, VW's are attibuted with dim lights becuase they used to have 6 volt systems before the 12v. The percentage drop across the wires resulted in problems at the lower V)

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